Bananasana

The Bananasana Explained

The Bananasana Performed

Bananasana with ankles crossed
Benefits:
  • A delicious way to stretch the whole side of the body
  • Works the spine in a lateral flexion (side bend) from the iliotibial (IT) band to the tops of the side rib cage
  • Stretches the oblique stomach muscles and the side intercostal muscles between the ribs
  • We can even get into the arm pit and get a nice stretch there

Contra-indications:
  • If prone to tingling in the hands when extending your arms overhead, you may need to place a bolster under the arm or simply bring the hands down.
  • If you have lower back issues, you may wish to not go too deep in this pose.

Getting Into the Pose
  • Lying on your back with your legs together and straight on the floor, reach the arms overhead and clasp your hands or elbows. With your buttocks firmly glued to the earth, move your feet and upper body to the right. Arch like a nice, ripe banana. [1] Be careful not to twist or roll your hips off the floor. Find your first edge. When your body opens more, move both feet further to the right and pull your upper body further to the right, as well. Keep playing this edge. Don't forget to do both sides!

Alternatives & Options:
    Bananasana with bolster under arms
  • When your feet are as far to the side as you can get them, try crossing the ankles. Most students feel the greatest stretch by crossing the outside ankle over the inner ankle, but some feel more benefit crossing the other way.
  • If you feel any tingling in the hands, trying supporting the arms with a bolster, or rest the arms across the chest.

Coming Out of the Pose
  • Simply move your legs back to straight and bring your arms down

Counter poses:
  • Hug the knees to the chest to release the back in a gentle forward fold.
  • Circle the knees to massage the sacrum and lumbar.
  • Or, spontaneously erupt into any pose that feels organic.

Meridians & Organs Affected:
  • This is a great opening and stretching of the Gall Bladder meridian, which runs all along the side of the body.
  • If the student raises arms overhead, she may also be stimulating the Heart and Lung meridians.

Joints Affected:
  • This moves the spine and the rib cage in a lateral flexion.

Recommended Hold Times:
  • This can be held for 3~ 5 minutes to allow your banana to become really ripe.

Similar Yang Asanas:
  • A lying down version of Half-moon or Blown Palm.

Other Notes:
  • Occasionally a student will ask for a pose that can work the iliotibial band (the IT band). This is it! If you feel tugging at the outside of the hip (the greater trochanter), then you may be working your tensor fascia latae [2] or the gluteus maximus, both of which attach to the IT band.



The above video is an extract from Using Props in Yin Yoga,
which is a 50-minute video.




1 -- Stop before you turn completely yellow with brown spots. No bruised bananas, please!
2 -- This is not a drink from Starbucks, but the muscle that connects the IT band to the iliac crest.


(Go back to list of asanas)







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