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Rabbit Pose

Rabbit Pose

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    The Rabbit Pose, also known as Sasangasana, is a deep forward bend and inversion yoga pose that is beneficial for the spine, shoulders, and neck. It is a part of the 26 postures in the Bikram Yoga sequence and is often practiced towards the end of a yoga session to help cool down the body and calm the mind.

    The pose involves sitting on the heels, reaching the hands towards the heels, and rolling the body forward until the crown of the head touches the mat and the hips lift off the heels. The arms then extend towards the sky, creating a gentle stretch in the back and shoulders.

    Practicing the Rabbit Pose under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor is crucial, as it requires proper alignment and technique to avoid injury. It’s also important to note that this pose may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with neck or back injuries. However, when performed correctly, the Rabbit Pose can provide numerous physical and mental benefits.

    Pose Details

    Difficulty LevelIntermediate
    Sanskrit Name and PronunciationSasangasana (sah-sahn-GAH-sah-nah)
    Pose Type Forward Bend, Heart Opener

    How to Do the Rabbit Pose

    1. Start in a Child’s Pose (Balasana) with your knees hip distance apart and your arms extended in front of you.
    2. Reach your hands back towards your feet, palms facing up.
    3. Slowly roll your torso up, lifting your hips off your heels and bringing your forehead close to your knees.
    4. Reach your hands back further to grasp your heels. If you cannot reach your heels, use a yoga strap or towel around your feet to hold onto.
    5. Exhale and lift your hips up towards the ceiling, rolling onto the crown of your head. Keep your forehead as close to your knees as possible.
    6. Pull on your heels to lift your hips higher and roll further onto the crown of your head. Keep your neck relaxed and your shoulders away from your ears.
    7. Hold the pose for a few breaths, feeling a stretch in your back and neck.
    8. To exit the pose, lower your hips back down to your heels and unroll your spine, returning to Child’s Pose.
    9. Take a few deep breaths in this position before repeating the pose if desired.

    Muscles Worked

    Upper Body:Deltoids, Rotator Cuffs, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major, Biceps, Triceps
    Core:Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Transverse Abdominis
    Back:Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids
    Glutes:Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus
    Legs:Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Adductors, Gastrocnemius, Soleus


    While there are many research-backed mental and physical benefits of yoga, there are few — if any — official studies on the rabbit pose. However, it’s generally believed that practicing the rabbit pose provides several health benefits.

    Improves Flexibility

    The Rabbit pose requires a combination of neck, back, and shoulder flexibility. Practicing this pose can help increase flexibility in these areas over time.

    Strengthens the Back

    The Rabbit pose requires a significant amount of back strength to hold the pose. Practicing this pose can help build strength in the back muscles, which can help improve posture and reduce back pain.

    Stretches the Spine

    The Rabbit pose involves a deep forward bend, which can help stretch and elongate the spine, promoting better spinal health.

    Relieves Tension in the Neck and Shoulders

    The forward bend aspect of this pose helps to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders, which can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

    Promotes Relaxation

    The Rabbit pose requires focus and balance, which can help calm the mind and promote relaxation. The pose also encourages deep breathing, which can further enhance relaxation and stress relief.

    Drawbacks and Risks

    Practicing the Rabbit pose also comes with its own set of potential risks and drawbacks. It’s crucial to perform this pose under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor to ensure proper alignment and technique, thus minimizing the risk of injury.

    Some potential risks of the Rabbit pose include potential injuries to the:

    Neck. The Rabbit pose involves tucking the head and rolling forward, which can put a significant amount of pressure on the neck. If not performed correctly, this can lead to strain or injury to the neck muscles or cervical spine.

    Spine. The rounded position of the spine in the Rabbit pose can cause discomfort or injury if not performed correctly. It’s important to maintain a gentle curve in the spine and avoid rounding too much, which can compress the vertebrae.

    Knees. The Rabbit pose involves kneeling, which can put pressure on the knees. If the knees are not properly cushioned or if there is pre-existing knee injury or condition, this pose can exacerbate the discomfort or pain.

    Wrists. In some variations of the Rabbit pose, the hands are clasped behind the back, which can put strain on the wrists. It’s important to keep the wrists in a neutral position and avoid overextending the joint.

    If you experience discomfort or pain while practicing this pose, stop immediately, modify it, or come out of it. It’s also important to warm up properly before attempting this pose and gradually build up to its full expression.

    Common Mistakes

    Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when practicing the Rabbit pose.

    • Not Warming Up. Just like with any other yoga pose, it’s crucial to warm up before attempting the Rabbit pose. This can include yoga practices such as cat-cow stretches, neck rolls, and other poses that help warm the neck, shoulders, and spine.
    • Straining the Neck. The Rabbit pose involves tucking the head and rolling forward, which can put a strain on the neck if not performed with proper alignment. It’s important to keep the neck relaxed and avoid pulling or straining the neck muscles.
    • Rounding the Spine. The Rabbit pose is a deep forward bend that requires a rounded spine. However, if the rounding is forced or exaggerated, it can lead to discomfort or injury. It’s important to keep the spine long and only round as far as it feels comfortable.
    • Forcing the Pose. The Rabbit pose requires a certain level of flexibility and should never be forced. If you can’t reach your heels or if your head doesn’t touch your knees, that’s okay. It’s more important to maintain proper alignment and gradually deepen the pose over time.
    • Not Using Props. If you’re new to the Rabbit pose or have limited flexibility, it can be helpful to use props such as blocks or straps to support the body and help you find proper alignment. For example, a strap can be used to reach the heels if they are not yet accessible.

    Modifications and Variations

    If you’re new to the Rabbit pose or have limited flexibility or strength, several modifications can help you build up to the full expression of the pose. Here are some modifications to try:

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    Use Props

    If you’re having trouble reaching your heels or maintaining balance, you can use props such as blocks or blankets to support your body and help you find proper alignment. Place the blocks or blankets under your knees or forehead to help lift your body off the ground and provide additional support.

    Practice on Your Knees

    If you’re finding it difficult to hold the pose while sitting on your heels, you can try practicing on your knees. Place your hands on the ground and slowly lower your forehead towards the ground, reaching for your knees. This modification can help you build strength and stability in the pose.

    Practice with a Wall

    If you’re having trouble finding balance in the Rabbit pose, try practicing with a wall for support. Place your hands on the wall and slowly lower your forehead towards the ground, reaching for your knees. This modification can help you find stability and build confidence in the pose.

    Practice the Child’s Pose

    This pose can help stretch and strengthen the back muscles, preparing you for the Rabbit pose. It’s a similar pose but less intense, making it a great starting point for beginners or those with limited flexibility.

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    Disclaimer: The information on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.
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