The Importance of Counterposes

Whenever you bend a paper clip and instantly bend it in the wrong way, over and over, it will get weaker and weaker till…snap!

There’s a typical false impression in yoga that while you follow massive poses, you must do the other motion straight away. This is called counter posing. For instance, after you follow a giant backbend, comparable to Wheel or Camel Pose, the counter pose can be a ahead bend. Counter poses assist to bodily and energetically steadiness the consequences of huge poses—hopefully with out negating the advantages.

Your physique is extra resilient than a paper clip, however you get the thought: You don’t should put your physique by extremes. Let’s discover a center floor, we could?

When you may need skilled rapid counter poses in lessons, comparable to drawing your knees to your chest instantly after a giant backbend, what for those who paused after a giant pose and as a substitute went very steadily in the wrong way? What for those who first recognized what particular components of your physique want the counter pose as a substitute of merely conforming your complete physique into the other form of what you simply did?

Listed here are some examples of extra gradual counter poses based mostly on the precise actions demanded by every kind of pose.

Counter poses for backbends

                      (Photograph: Getty Photographs)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)

Comparable backbends embody: Ustrasana (Camel Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), and Eka Pada Rajakapotanasana (King Pigeon Pose)

Actions embody:

  • Femurs press ahead
  • Glutes interact

Frequent counter pose: Hugging knees to chest

Attempt these poses first: After you come down from Wheel Pose, relaxation in a impartial place for a second by mendacity in your again along with your legs outstretched or your knees bent and your toes planted on the mat. As a result of Wheel Pose is a giant chest and hip flexor opener, many college students (and lecturers) are desperate to do the everyday counter pose of hugging the knees into the chest. However by first resting horizontally, you give your physique time to neutralize the backbend as a substitute of instantly doing the other.

When your system feels extra settled, steadily come into poses that counter the actions particular to the actions the backbend produced. These might embody:

As soon as the actions of the pose have been countered, you possibly can hug your knees to your chest.

See additionally: The most effective—and most secure—counter poses for backbends

Counter poses for ahead bends

(Photograph: Getty Photographs)

Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

Comparable ahead bends embody: Paschimottanasana (Seated Ahead Daring)

Actions embody:

  • Hamstrings stretch
  • Muscle mass alongside backbone stretch
  • Quads interact

Frequent counter pose: Purvottanasana (Reverse Plank or Upward Plank Pose)

Why you shouldn’t do it straight away: Whenever you come out of Tortoise Pose, pause in a impartial seated or supine place. As a result of Tortoise pose is so rounded, you ultimately need to counter pose with a backbend, however the neutrality of merely sitting or laying down makes the journey much less excessive.

Attempt these poses first: Whenever you really feel prepared, steadily work into some light counter shapes, which might embody:

When you’ve lined the actions of the large pose, you possibly can come into Purvottanasana.

Counter poses for arm balances

Arm balances don’t essentially have counter poses, though many arm balances additionally function one other asana class, whether or not a ahead fold, outer hip stretch, twist, and so forth.

Woman practices Crow Pose in her home
(Photograph: Getty Photographs)

Bakasana (Crow or Crane Pose)

Comparable arm balances embody: Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana) and Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Actions embody:

  • Core and hip flexors interact
  • Wrists flex
  • Backbone rounds

Frequent counter pose: Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Attempt these poses first: Launch from Crow Pose and pause in Malasana (Squat or Garland Pose) or a impartial seated place. As a result of Bakasana is a ahead bend balancing in your arms, the counter poses will steadily unwind towards a backbend. These poses might embody:

  • Coming face down in Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)
  • Coming into Sphinx Pose after which taking a quad stretch in Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog)
  • Progressively transferring towards an even bigger backbend, comparable to Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) or Purvottanasana (Reverse Plank)

When you’ve lined the actions of the large pose, now attempt Camel Pose.

Counter poses for inside or exterior rotation of your arms

Whereas not technically a class of asana, poses with inside or exterior rotation of your arms can profit from a delicate unwinding towards counter poses.

Noose Pose (Pasasana)

Pasasana (Noose or Snare Pose)

Comparable poses embody: Something with a bind, comparable to Fowl of Paradise and the total expression of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Aspect Angle)

Actions embody:

  • Inner rotation of arms
  • Deep flexion of hips, knees, and ankles

Attempt these poses first: Unwind from Pasasana and right into a impartial seated or supine place. As a result of Pasasana so deeply internally rotates your shoulder, give your physique a second to settle earlier than externally rotating your shoulder. After just a few moments, attempt a modest externally rotated pose for the shoulders, comparable to:

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