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Embrace the Serenity of Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

Updated: May 21

Yoga is a practice that brings together the body, mind, and spirit, offering a sanctuary of calm in our busy lives. One such pose that encapsulates this harmony is Sasangasana or Rabbit Pose. This gentle, yet profound asana, nurtures your spine, opens your heart, and invites deep introspection. Let's dive into the essence of Sasangasana and discover how it can enrich your yoga practice.

Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

Sasangasana, also known as Rabbit Pose, is a forward-bending posture that emphasizes spinal flexion and promotes relaxation. This pose is known for its calming effects, providing a deep stretch to the back and shoulders while stimulating the crown of the head.


The name "Sasangasana" is derived from the Sanskrit words "Sasang" (meaning rabbit) and "Asana" (meaning pose). The posture resembles a rabbit curling up into a ball, which is where it gets its name.


Sasangasana is pronounced as: Sah-sahng-AHS-uh-nuh


Sasangasana engages various parts of the body:

  • Spine: The pose deeply flexes the spine, promoting flexibility and relieving tension.

  • Shoulders and Upper Back: It stretches the upper back and shoulders, releasing built-up stress.

  • Arms: Engage and stretch the triceps and forearms as you hold onto your heels.

  • Neck: Gently stretches the neck, encouraging a release of tension.


How to Perform Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

  1. Start in Child's Pose (Balasana): Kneel on your mat with your big toes touching and your knees apart. Sit back on your heels and extend your arms forward.

  2. Lift Your Hips: Inhale deeply, then lift your hips off your heels while keeping your arms extended.

  3. Place the Crown of Your Head on the Mat: As you exhale, place the crown of your head on the mat, close to your knees.

  4. Reach for Your Heels: Reach back with your hands and grab your heels firmly.

  5. Roll Forward: Slowly roll forward onto the crown of your head, lifting your hips towards the ceiling. Your arms should remain engaged, creating a gentle pull on your heels.

  6. Engage Your Core: Engage your abdominal muscles to support the spine and maintain balance.

  7. Breathe and Hold: Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths, focusing on deep, steady breathing.

  8. Release: To come out of the pose, slowly lower your hips back to your heels and release your hands, returning to Child's Pose.

Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

When to Do It

Sasangasana is best practiced towards the end of your yoga session or during a restorative practice. It’s a wonderful pose for winding down, promoting relaxation, and preparing for meditation or savasana.


Preparatory Poses

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose): Prepares the spine and hips for forward bending.

  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose): Opens the chest and stretches the spine, counterbalancing the forward bend of Sasangasana.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): Stretches the entire back body and shoulders, preparing for the forward fold.


Follow-Up Poses

  • Savasana (Corpse Pose): For deep relaxation and integration after the deep stretch.

  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend): Continues to stretch the spine and hamstrings.

  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): Further elongates the spine and hamstrings.


Chakra

Sasangasana is connected to the Sahasrara (Crown Chakra). This chakra, located at the top of the head, is associated with pure consciousness, spiritual connection, and enlightenment. By stimulating the crown of the head, Sasangasana helps to balance and activate the Crown Chakra, fostering a deeper sense of unity and peace.

Sahasrara (Crown Chakra)

Mantra for This Pose

Chanting the mantra can enhance your practice of Sasangasana. This mantra invokes peace and calmness, aligning beautifully with the serene nature of the pose.

“Om Shanti Shanti Shanti”

Alignment Cues

  • Ensure the crown of your head is placed gently on the mat to avoid strain on the neck.

  • Keep your arms engaged and pull slightly on your heels to deepen the stretch in the spine.

  • Maintain a gentle engagement of your core to support the spine and balance.

  • Avoid pressing too hard on your head; the stretch should be gentle and controlled.


Duration of Hold

Hold Sasangasana for 5 to 10 breaths, gradually increasing the duration as your flexibility and comfort with the pose improve.


Drishti

Your drishti (gaze) in Sasangasana should be inward, focusing on the sensations within your body and your breath. This inward focus enhances the meditative quality of the pose.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Physically, Sasangasana stretches and relaxes the spine, shoulders, and neck. Spiritually, it encourages introspection and a sense of calm, promoting a connection to your inner self. The pose invites you to let go of external distractions and embrace a moment of stillness and peace.


Beginners’ Tips

  • Use a folded blanket under your head for additional support if you find the pressure on your head uncomfortable.

  • If reaching for your heels is difficult, you can place your hands on your lower back instead.

  • Focus on maintaining a gentle, controlled roll forward without forcing the pose.


Who Should Not Do It

  • Individuals with neck injuries or severe spinal issues should avoid this pose.

  • Those with high blood pressure or vertigo should practice with caution and consult a healthcare provider if unsure.


Who Should Do It

  • Practitioners seeking to enhance spinal flexibility and relieve tension in the back and shoulders.

  • Those looking to cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation in their practice.

  • Individuals interested in balancing and activating the Crown Chakra for spiritual growth.


Benefits of Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

  • Physical Benefits: Stretches and elongates the spine, shoulders, and neck. Improves flexibility and releases tension in the upper body.

  • Mental Benefits: Promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and calms the mind. Enhances focus and introspection.

  • Spiritual Benefits: Stimulates the Crown Chakra, fostering a sense of spiritual connection and unity. Encourages mindfulness and inner peace.


Variations of Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

  • Supported Rabbit Pose: Use a yoga block or bolster under your head for additional support and a gentler stretch.

  • Half Rabbit Pose: Perform the pose with one hand on the heel and the other hand extended forward for a modified version.


Modifications for Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

  • Use a Blanket: Place a folded blanket under your knees for added comfort and support.

  • Hands-on Lower Back: If reaching for your heels is challenging, place your hands on your lower back for a gentler variation.


Common Mistakes

  • Pressing Too Hard on the Head: Avoid putting excessive pressure on the crown of your head to prevent neck strain.

  • Rounding the Shoulders: Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears to maintain openness in the upper back.

  • Forcing the Pose: Practice gently and avoid forcing yourself into a deeper stretch than your body is ready for.


Safety and Precautions

  • Practice mindfulness and awareness of your body's limits to avoid strain or injury.

  • Use props and modifications as needed to ensure comfort and safety.

  • If you have any medical conditions or injuries, consult with a healthcare provider before practicing Sasangasana.


Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face: While practicing Sasangasana, facing east can symbolize new beginnings and clarity, aligning with the calming and introspective nature of the pose.

What to Wear: Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing that allows for ease of movement, such as yoga leggings and a fitted top.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil/Fragrance: Practice in a quiet, clean space with a non-slip yoga mat. Diffuse calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile to enhance relaxation and focus.

Music for This Pose: Soft, instrumental music or nature sounds can create a serene environment, allowing you to turn inward more easily and deepen your connection to the present moment.


Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose) offers a gentle yet profound way to stretch the spine, release tension, and cultivate a sense of calm and introspection. This pose, with its blend of physical benefits and spiritual significance, can be a powerful addition to your yoga practice. Approach Sasangasana with mindfulness and patience, and allow its serene energy to guide you towards greater harmony and inner peace. As you embrace the essence of the rabbit, may you find a deeper connection to yourself and the world around you.



Happy yoga-ing, everyone!

Namaste!



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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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