Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Shashankasana, Rabbit Pose
Sanskrit
शशकासन
Pronunciation
śaśakā āsana
Meaning
sasaka: “rabbit” or “hare”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

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.

Studies based on different Yoga postures such as Rabit Pose have shown that they have various benefits for physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The pose helps in stretching different parts of the body like the spine, hips, upper back muscles, etc. which in turn improves blood circulation to those areas and results in healthy functioning of organs situated there.

Muscle Focus

Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose on several muscles such as

  • The Shoulders (Deltoid)
  • Arms (Biceps)
  • Back (Trapezius and Rhomboids)
  • Abdominal Muscles (Lower Abdomen)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Helps to de-clutter the mind and body.
  • Helps to relieve tension stored inside the body.
  • Improves endocrine gland functioning.

Benefits of Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose

1. Stretches Back Muscles

The back muscles are one of the most important muscle groups in our body as they play a crucial role in posture, movement, and balance. Shashankasana helps to stretch these muscles, making them stronger and more flexible. This not only enhances your physical health but also reduces the risk of injuries.

2. Stimulates Abdominal Organs

The forward bend in this pose stimulates the abdominal organs such as the stomach, intestines, and liver. This can help improve digestion and get rid of constipation. It also massages the abdominal muscles, which is beneficial for those who suffer from menstrual cramps or fertility problems.

3. Tones Pelvic Muscles

The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, uterus, and bowel. They are often weakened after childbirth, which can lead to problems such as urinary incontinence and prolapsed uterus. Shashankasana helps to tone these muscles, restoring their strength and function.

4. Release Stress from Spinal Vertebrae

The forward bend in this pose releases tension from the spinal vertebrae, which can help relieve stress and anxiety. It also stimulates the adrenal glands, leading to better overall health.

5. Stretches Leg Muscles

The stretch in the legs feels good after a long day of sitting or standing. The pose also massages the sciatic nerve, which is often compressed due to tight hip flexors and hamstrings. This can help relieve pain in the lower back and legs.

6. Reduces Varicose Veins

The compression on the legs from this pose can help reduce varicose veins.

7. Improves Reproductive Health

Shashankasana is beneficial for both men and women when it comes to reproductive health. For men, the pose strengthens the reproductive organs and helps improve sperm quality. For women, it tones and massages the muscles of the pelvic region and sciatica nerve. This can help with problems such as infertility, menstrual cramps, and post-menopausal symptoms.

8. Improves Endocrine Gland Functioning

The endocrine glands are responsible for secreting hormones that regulate various body functions. Shashankasana helps to stimulate the functioning of these glands, which can lead to improved overall health.

9. Helps with Diabetes

Shashankasana can help those suffering from diabetes by stimulating the pancreas and improving its function. This in turn helps to regulate blood sugar levels.

Contraindications

Avoid this asana if you have back or leg pain or if you feel dizzy. Those with knee, neck, spine, or shoulder injuries should also refrain. Also, women who are pregnant should avoid this pose.

Variations

  • Parivrtta Uttana Shishosana (Revolved Puppy Dog Pose)
  • Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Dog Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Marjarasana-Bitilasan (Cat and Cow Pose)
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)
  • Karnapidasana (Ear Pressure Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you find it difficult to touch your forehead to your knees, place a folded beneath your head for support.
  • Keep the arms parallel to each other, and do not let them splay out to the sides.
  • Do not worry if you cannot hold the pose for very long at first. gradually increase the time.

How to do Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose

  • We will begin by sitting into the thunderbolt pose or Vajrasana. To do this, bend your legs and sit on your inner side of heels with the tops of your feet flat on the ground. Place your palms on your thighs right above your knees, keeping the eyes closed and relaxing the whole body.
  • Inhale and raise the arms above the head, extending them straight out from shoulder height with elbows locked. Maintain a shoulder-width distance between the arms.
  • With an exhalation, slowly bend your torso forward, bending from the pelvic region and spine. Rest your crown on the mat.
  • With inhalation, catch your heels with your fingers and thumbs. Pull your heels with your hands and your forehead touches the knees.
  • Remain in this position for a minute, then release with an exhalation.
  • Now inhale, and lift up to starting position. Vajrasana or thunderbolt pose.

Mental Benefits of Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose

  • Creates a sense of security and a feeling of surrender.
  • Helpful for those who feel emotionally unbalanced.
  • Induces relaxation.

Bottom Line

Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose is a great way to stretch and relax your body. It has many benefits for your physical and reproductive health. The pose is easy to learn and can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels. So why not give it a try? You may be surprised at how good you feel after just a few minutes in this pose.

1 sources
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336942/
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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