Pada Sanchalanasana demonstration

Pada Sanchalanasana: 4 Easy Steps to Accomplish Cycling Pose

pada sanchalasana

Discover the benefits, variations, and contraindications of Pada Sanchalanasana, a yoga pose that promotes flexibility and strength.

Pada Sanchalanasana, often referred to as the Cycling Pose is a classic yoga posture that offers a myriad of benefits, including improved flexibility, balance, and overall strength. But what exactly is Pada Sanchalanasana, how do you perform it, and what are the potential benefits and contraindications of this pose? This post aims to provide a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about Pada Sanchalanasana.

What is Pada Sanchalanasana?

Pada Sanchalanasana, translated from Sanskrit, roughly means ‘Cycling Pose’. This posture is practised in the supine position, mimicking the motion of cycling, thus helping to stretch and tone various muscles in the body, particularly in the legs and abdominal area.

It is a flowing asana, meaning it’s not static and you are moving parts of the body to perform it.

Meaning of Pada Sanchalanasana

In Sanskrit, the word “Pada” translates to “foot” in English. It’s often used in the context of yoga poses (asanas) to indicate a position or movement involving the foot or feet.

In Sanskrit, “Sanchalanasana” (संचालन) is derived from two words: “Sanchalan” which means “movement” or “motion”, and “Asana” (आसन) which means “pose”. So, Sanchalanasana roughly translates to “Movement Pose” in English.

How To Perform Pada Sanchalanasana

Stage 1

Step 1: Lie flat on your back on a yoga mat, arms by your sides.

Step 2: Breathe in, bend your right knee, and bring it towards your chest.

Step 3: Raise and straighten the leg completely

Step 4: Lower the straight leg in a forward movement, bend the knee and bring it back to the    chest to complete the cycling movement

This is one round. 

  • The heel should not touch the floor during the movement practice.
  • Perform 10 times in a forward direction and then 10 times in a reverse direction.
  • Repeat with the left leg.
  • Inhale while straightening the leg, exhale while bending the knee and bringing the thigh to the chest 
how to do the cycling pose yoga

Stage 2 

Raise both legs and practice alternate cycling movements as though pedalling a bicycle.

  • Practice 10 times forward and then 10 times backward breathing breathe normally 

Stage 3

Raise both legs and keep them together throughout the practice. Bring the knees as close as possible to the chest on the backward movement and straighten the legs fully on the forward movement. Slowly lower the legs together, keeping the knees straight until the legs are just above the floor, then bend the knees and bring them back to the chest.

  • Practice three to five forward cycling movements and the same in reverse.
  • Do not strain the breath.
  • Inhale while straightening the legs, exhale while bending the legs to the chest. 

Awareness: should be on the smoothness of the movement and proper coordination especially while reverse cycling. When you are relaxing be aware of the abdomen, hip, thighs and lower back and the breath. 

Practice note: keep the rest of the body including the head flat on the floor throughout the practice after completing each stage remain in the base position and relax until the respiration returns to normal. If cramping is experienced in the abdominal muscles inhale deeply, gently pushing out the abdomen and then relax the whole body with exhalation. Do not strain, this applies especially to stage 3 which is a more strenuous practice.

Variations of Pada Sanchalanasana

If you find the standard pose challenging, consider these variations:

Seated Pada Sanchalanasana: Performed sitting on a chair, it is ideal for beginners or those with mobility issues.

Supported Pada Sanchalanasana: Use a yoga strap to help draw your knees closer to your chest if flexibility is a concern.

Ardha Pada Sanchalanasana (Half Leg Movements Pose): In this variation, you perform the leg movements with one leg while keeping the other leg extended on the ground.

Urdhva Pada Sanchalanasana (Raised Leg Movements Pose): In this variation, you lift both legs perpendicular to the ground and perform the leg movements while maintaining the raised position.

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Benefits of Pada Sanchalanasana

The benefits of performing this posture are abundant. It’s great for the hip and the knee joints it strengthens your abdominal and lower back muscles.

Improved Flexibility: The leg movements in Pada Sanchalanasana gently stretch and elongate the leg muscles, increasing flexibility and range of motion.

Core Strengthening: The constant engagement of the abdominal muscles during the leg movements strengthens the core, promoting stability and balance.

Increased Blood Circulation: The rhythmic leg movements stimulate blood flow, enhancing circulation and oxygenation to the lower body.

Toning of Leg Muscles: Pada Sanchalanasana targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, helping to tone and strengthen these muscles.

Stress Relief: The flowing movements of this pose can have a calming effect on the mind, reducing stress and anxiety.

Contraindications of Pada Sanchalanasana

While Pada Sanchalanasana offers numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. It is important to avoid this pose if you have the following conditions:

  • Recent or chronic knee injuries or pain.
  • Severe lower back issues such as sciatica or slipped disc.
  • Pregnancy, especially in the later stages.
  • High blood pressure or cardiovascular problems.
  • Any recent abdominal surgery or hernia.

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Pada Sanchalanasana is a dynamic yoga pose that offers a range of benefits, from improved flexibility and core strength to enhanced blood circulation and stress relief. By practising this pose with caution and considering any contraindications, you can harness its transformative power.

Caution Note: Remember to listen to your body, honour its limitations, and seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor if needed. Yoga teachers can provide appropriate modifications and alternatives to ensure a safe and beneficial practice tailored to your needs.