Shashankasana also known as the pose of the moon or the hare pose is a gentle kneeling yoga posture, which helps stretch the back, spine. It’s also a nice relaxing posture.
- How to do Shashankasana
- Benefits of Shashankasana
- Frequently asked questions
- Related Poses & Sequences
|English Name||Pose of The Moon (Hare Pose)|
|Meaning||Shashankasana is a yoga posture also known as the hare pose or the moon pose. The name “shashank” is derived from the Sanskrit word “shash” meaning hare. Shahshank also means moon. Hence, the pose is known as the moon pose or the hare pose.|
|Base Position||Kneeling position, Vajrasana|
|Repetitions||Practice 2-3 rounds|
|Body Part||Shoulders, Neck, Back|
|Category||Vajrasana Group of Asanas|
|Benefits||Shashankasana is very helpful for relaxing your body. It helps in stretching and relaxing the back, shoulders, and neck. It can also help to improve posture, increase flexibility, and reduce stress and anxiety.|
How to do Shashankasana
- Sit in vajrasana, placing the palms on the thighs just above the knees.
- Close the eyes and relax, keeping the spine and head straight.
- While inhaling, raise the arms above the head, keeping them straight and shoulder width apart.
- Exhale while bending the trunk forward from the hips, keeping the arms and head straight and in line with the trunk.
- At the end of the movement, the hands and forehead should rest on the floor in front of the knees.
- If possible, the arms and forehead should touch the floor at the same time.
- Bend the arms slightly so that they are fully relaxed and let the elbows rest on the floor.
- Retain the breath for up to 5 seconds in the final position.
- Then simultaneously inhale and slowly raise the arms and trunk to the vertical position.
- Keep the arms and head in line with the trunk.
- Breathe out while lowering the hands to the knees. This is one round.
- Practice 3 to 5 rounds.
There are 4 separate variations of Shashankasana. Each variation make a slight adjustment to the base posture of Shashankasana.
|1||Interlock the hands behind your back|
|2||Close the palms and make a fist and place it between the legs and the abdoment|
|3||Stretch the arms forward as far as possible give a stretch|
|4||For people who are unable to touch the floor with forehead comfortably, place a pillow.|
- Hold the right wrist with the left hand behind the back. Relax the whole body and close the eyes.
- Inhale and then, while exhaling, slowly bend the trunk forward from the hips so that the forehead rests on the floor.
- Remain in the final position for a comfortable length of time while breathing normally or deeply or in ujjayi. Return to the starting position while inhaling.
- This variation of shashankasana is more advisable for people with back problems.
- Sit in vajrasana.
- Place the fists in front of the lower abdomen.
- Inhale and then, while exhaling, slowly bend forward until the forehead touches the floor.
- The fists will exert pressure on the lower abdominal organs. Retain the breath in the final position for as long as is comfortable.
- Inhale while raising the trunk and head.
- Practice 2 to 3 rounds.
- This variation massages and improves the efficiency of the intestines and digestive organs, relieving ailments such as constipation and excessive wind in addition to the benefits derived from the basic form of the practice.
- Sit in vajrasana.
- Interlock the fingers of both hands behind the back. Inhale deeply. Then exhaling, move the head and trunk forward and rest the head on the floor.
- Simultaneously, raise the arms up and bring them as far forward as possible.
- Inhaling, raising the head and trunk and lowering the arms.
- This is one round. Practice 2 to 3 rounds.
- This variation releases tension in the upper back and neck muscles, bringing great relief to those who experience stiffness in this area.
- It also gives the benefits of the basic practice.
- If the forehead does not comfortably reach the floor, make two fists and place one vertically on top of the other. Rest the forehead on this support.
- This variation gives basically the same benefits as shashankasana and can be practised by people who are overweight or who have slightly raised blood pressure.
Benefits of Shashankasana
- Stretches the back: Shashankasana is extremely beneficial for the back. It helps extend the spine and provides relaxation. It’s extremely useful for people who sit for long hours. At the end of the day, if you’ve sat on a chair for a long time, this pose can be very relaxing.
- Helpful for the posture: The pose of the moon (shashankasana) can help correct and reset the posture. This happens since it encourages the discs to resume their correct position.
- Calming and Relaxing: Shashankasana while helping reset your posture is extremely helpful is giving a feeling of calm. It helps relax. Variation 4 of Shashankasana is particularly helpful.
- Relieves tension in the lower back: Shashankasana stretches the lower back muscles and reduces tension in the area. This pose is beneficial for people who sit for long periods or suffer from lower back pain.
- Helps with digestion: By compressing the abdomen, Shashankasana can help stimulate digestion and relieve constipation. It also improves blood flow to the digestive organs. Variation 2 of Shashankasana, can further enhance the benefits.
- Stretches the ankles: Shashankasana helps stretch the ankles. It’s beneficial for people who spend a lot of time in driving. Shashankasana is useful since the base position of vajrasana helps stretch the ankles
- Stretching of hips & thighs: The pose helps stretch the thighs and hips. It’s important to make sure that the body is loose when getting in to the posture to get the maximum benefit of the stretch.
Shashankasana is not to be performed by people with very high blood pressure, slipped disc or those who suffer from vertigo. It should also be avoided if you have a knee injury or pain in knees.
Frequently asked questions
Shashankasana is a pose among the Vajrasana group of poses. It’s an extension of Vajrasana where the practitioner after sitting in Vajrasana has to extend the upper body forward and touch the forehead on the floor.
Shashankasana helps stretch the hips, ankes, and thighs. These benefits are coming typically from the Vajrasana position (base position). Stretching the body forward helps compress the abdomen, which provides help in blood circulation. It also helps give an extra stretch to the highs, and thighs. The biggest benefit of the pose is to help straighten the spine and relieve tension in the lower back.
If you have pain in your knees, or have high blood pressure, the pose should be avoided. The forward movement of the body increases blood circulation in the brain. Hence it is advised to consult a doctor before doing this pose.
In Sanskrit Shash means hare. Shashank also means moon. The word Shashnk-asana translates to pose of the hare or pose of the moon. The practitioner looks like a hare when performing this pose.
Shashankasna is a very good pose and a very relaxing pose. It can be done in the evening or at night. This is extremely relaxing for people who work long hours. It helps relive the tension in the back and stretches the spine. It’s also very helpful in correcting the posture.
Shashankasana typically can be done after any pose that involves backward bending as a contraindication. For instance after doing the bow pose, shashankasana can be done to bend the spine forward. The pose is part of most yoga sequences that bend the spine backward.
There is a very minor difference between Shashankasana (pose of the moon) and balasana (child’s pose). In Balasana your hands go backward and you try to touch the heels. In Shashankasana, your hands go forward.
In Shashankasana, if your body is stiff or if you are overweight, your forehead may not touch the floor. It’s absolutely Ok if that doesn’t happen. Yoga has to be done in a steady comfortable manner. You can rest your forehead using a pillow or a cushion.
It’s not advisable to do shashankasana after having a meal. Have a gap of atleast 2 hours.