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
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
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
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.
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.