Shashankasana, Rabbit Pose
sasaka: “rabbit” or “hare”
Shashankasana (śaśakā āsana) gives a good stretch to the upper body, including the spine and postural muscles, which releases pressure on the spinal nerves. The forward bend massages and stimulates the abdominal muscles and organs, which improves digestion. The pituitary, pineal, thyroid and parathyroid glands and the immune and endocrine systems are also stimulated. This pose tones the pelvic muscles and relaxes the leg muscles and relieves sciatic pain. Compression on the legs can reduce varicose veins. It can also help those with sexual disorders (by strengthening the uterus, for example) and diabetes.
Shashankasana supplies the brain and sensory organs with blood, improving concentration and memory and inducing relaxation. The pose resembles the fetal position, which creates a sense of security and a feeling of surrender. This pose is recommended for those that feel emotionally unbalanced or have difficulty controlling anger or frustration.
Avoid this asana if you have back or leg pain or if you feel dizzy. Those with knee, neck, spine or shoulder injury should also refrain. Also women who are pregnant should avoid this pose.