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Shashankasana or Rabbit Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Rabbit Pose, Hare Posture
Sanskrit
शशांकासन/ Shashankasana
Pronunciation
shuh-SHUN-kuh-suh-nuh
Meaning
Shashanka = Hare or Rabbit
Asana = Posture; pose

Shashankasana at a Glance

Shashankasana, Rabbit Pose or Hare Posture, is known as the moon pose. Shashankasana activates the root chakra, sacral, solar plexus, and the crown chakra. This asana helps to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles and the reproductive organs. Shashank’ is a Sanskrit word that means moon. The moon symbolizes peace and calm; it emits soothing and tranquilizing vibrations.

Benefits:

  • Shashankasana asana is good for the digestive system.
  • It is helpful to people with diabetes.
  • This helps to relieve stress and tension and calm your body and mind.
  • It relaxes and stretches your upper body, back, neck, and shoulders.
  • Shashankasana helps to improve the body posture.
  • The hare pose tones the Pelvic muscles and relieves sciatic pain.

Who can do it?

People who are already practicing yoga can do this asana. Beginners can do the simpler version to start with. People with continuous stress and tension with their work can opt for the Hare pose. Individuals who want to improve their flexibility and posture can do this pose regularly.

Who should not do it?

People with knee, leg, or back injuries should avoid it. Pregnant women should avoid doing this pose. People with very high blood pressure and migraines should avoid doing the Shashankasana. People with slipped discs, acute backache or those who suffer from vertigo should avoid this pose.

How to Do Shashankasana?

Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

To do Shashankasana, you would need some level of flexibility, so it’s better to do the simple variation and then gradually get into the intermediate-level pose. Do it under the guidance of a professional yoga trainer.

  1. Sit on the floor on a yoga mat or a soft carpet on an even surface.
  2. Sit straight in the Dandasana and come to the Vajrasana by bending your knees back, placing your buttocks on your heels and kneeling.
  3. Your heels should be separated, the big toes touching each other, and keep your palms on your thighs.
  4. Sit in the Vajrasana, take deep breaths and relax your body and mind.
  5. Take a deep breath, lift your hands straight, and stretch (pull your torso up).
  6. Now, breathe slowly, bend toward the ground, and touch your calf or heel (behind you) with your palm.
  7. Bend from your hips, touch the front of the head to the floor (as far as close to the knee), breathe out completely and lift your hips off the heels.
  8. Keep the hold of your heel or calf firmly with your hands still at the back.
  9. Don’t put more pressure on your body to stretch. Keep it as far as you can.
  10. Keep breathing gently as the whole spine and back muscles relax, help deepen the breath, and hold the Shashankasana according to your limit.
  11. When you want to release the pose, exhale slowly and release your hands in front, lift your torso slowly, and return to the Vajrasana pose and relax.

Beginners Can Do the Simple Variation

  • In a thunderbolt pose, inhale and stretch your arms straight up and extend your spine.
  • Exhale and fold your body forward from your hip and come down to the floor, bringing your chin, nose or forehead touching the floor.
  • Your arms in front of you are stretched and touching the ground.
  • Keep breathing normally and be in this pose within your comfort level.
  • Release the Shashankasana, come back and take some deep, gentle breaths.

What are the Benefits of Shashankasana?

There are many benefits derived from the practice of Shashankasana.

  • Your spine gets good stretch, flexibility, and strength.
  • It gives good blood flow to the abdomen, which helps the digestive organs and keeps your constipation and bloating away.
  • Rabbit pose helps to stimulate the functions of the Pituitary, pineal, and thyroid glands.
  • There is good blood flow to your brain when doing the Shashankasana, so it helps to improve your memory power, focus, and concentration.
  • It helps to alleviate disorders of both male and female reproductive organs.
  • Rabbit pose can also help to reduce the excess fat in the waist and lower abdomen.
  • It helps you to be calm and relaxed and helps reduce stress and anxiety (helps improve mental health) while you bend to the ground with a deep exhalation.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Shashankasana

  • It helps to decrease your blood pressure and helps to enhance heart health.
  • Rabbit pose helps in weight management.
  • It strengthens the abdominal and back muscles.
  • Shashankasana can help to relieve Sciatica pain.
  • This pose could be amazing for the digestive system if practiced regularly. It can clear your constipation and help with a better digestion process.
  • This is good for your mental health (depression), as it relieves stress and anxiety and can help manage anger.
  • This can also be helpful to lower your cholesterol problems when practiced regularly.

Safety and Precautions

  • People with severe back pain should avoid doing this pose.
  • If you suffer from vertigo, avoid it (consult your doctor).
  • If you have slipped discs, don’t do this asana.
  • Pregnant women should be careful or avoid it completely.
  • If you suffer from neck, back, shoulders, or arm injury or any recent surgery, please consult your doctor or avoid this asana.

Common Mistakes

  • Do the Shashankasana in the mornings before meals or else after 3 to 4 hours after your food.
  • Ensure you don’t force your head to touch the ground if your body doesn’t allow you to.
  • If you are a beginner, make sure to do it under the guidance of a professional yoga trainer and do the simple variation.
  • Use props like cushions, folded blankets, or yoga blocks for comfort.

Tips for Shashankasana

  • Do this pose on an even and soft surface.
  • Do it regularly to avail yourself of the benefits of the pose.
  • Don’t force your head to touch the floor.
  • Use a cushion or blanket under your forehead.
  • Keep normal breathing throughout the pose.
  • Maintain the alignment for a safe and comfortable pose.
  • Dot the preparatory pose like a child’s pose before practice.

Physical Alignment Principles for the Shashankasana

  • Sit in the starting position, the Vajrasana pose, and keep your head straight.
  • Keep your knees and feet together
  • Your upper side of the feet should be on the ground.
  • Toes are touching each other and pointing outside.
  • Let your shoulders be relaxed.
  • Don’t forget to engage your core muscles.
  • According to your variation, keep your front head on the floor or your forehead, chin, or nose.
  • Bring your arms lengthened in the front or catch hold of the heel or calf.
  • Breathe gently, and don’t hold your breath.

Breath and Shashankasana

Breathing is very important to improve the benefits and maintain a safe posture. Inhale deeply, stretching your spine and neck, breathe out completely, and engage your core to bend forward by bringing your chest and forehead to the ground. This deep exhalation helps to deepen your stretch, relaxes, and calms your mind and body. In this final position, Shashankasana keeps breathing gently and continuously. As the breath deepens, the body gets a deep relaxation. The breath in this pose helps you to be in a state of experiencing your inner peace and gives you better mental clarity.

Shashankasana Variations

  • Simple Shashankasana
  • Hare Posee with lifting your buttocks
  • Rabbit pose by locking your fingers behind your back.
  • Shashankasana, by extending your arms on the sides, forming a T.

Take Away

Shashankasana is also called sasakasana. Reducing your back pain and strengthening your back, arms legs, and abdomen muscles is good. This can help maintain your weight and good heart health, manage your anger level, and improve pelvic floor health. This is good during the menstrual cycle. This relieves stress and anxiety, calms your mind and body, and cools down your nervous system.

People with health concerns should contact their healthcare professional, and beginners should do it under the guidance of trained yoga professionals.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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