For the fifth part of our yoga week, Rasha Balooch teaches us asanas that involve backbends. Not only are these known to beat anxiety and stress but also work to strengthen your core, abdominal muscles and internal organs. So make sure you follow the instructions and bend it right to strengthen your core.

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Upward facing dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Lie on your stomach keeping the one foot distance between your legs allowing your toes to point outwards. Place your palms by your ribs, elbows bent.
Keep the knees and thighs lifted off the floor, toes still in contact pointing out, navel drawn in towards the spine and forehead resting on the floor.
Taking a deep breath in, begin lifting the forehead, shoulders, chest, navel arching through your spine allowing your body to stay parallel to the floor. Drop the head back.
The hands and feet are the only parts of the body in contact with the floor. Hold the pose for a few breaths.  Release on an exhalation and come to position 1.

Tips: It is very important to keep the shoulders away from the ears. Distribute the weight between your palms and feet equally.
It is also very important to keep the knees locked and legs firm otherwise you can experience pressure in your lower back.

Benefits: It helps to relieve a stiff back, said to be good for sciatica and backaches and helps in chest expansion and increases elasticity of the lungs.

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Camel pose or Ustrasana

Kneel down keeping your knees and thighs together, toes pointing back and resting on the floor.
Place the hands on the hips and bring the elbows close from the back
As you inhale, curve the spine back and extend the ribs. As you exhale, place the right palm over the right heel and left palm over the left heel.
Push the palms into the feet, throw the head back and push the spine forward towards the thighs. Contract the buttock keeping the neck stretched back. Hold the pose and take a few breaths.
Release the hands to hold the hips and sit down to rest on the floor.

Tips: It strengthens the hips and thighs.

Benefits: It is good for people suffering from a hunchback or shoulder problem. It also helps to keep the spine stretched and back toned.

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Wheel pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana

Lie on your back with both knees bent. As you inhale, gradually lift the buttocks, hip, abdomen and chest till you feel the chin locked into the chest.
Take the arms over head placing the palms under the shoulder, bending the elbows.

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As you exhale, raise the trunk up placing the crown on the head on the floor. Hold the pose and take a few breaths.
Now as you exhale, lift the trunk, head and arch the back so that the weight is taken on the palms and soles.
Straighten the arms, elbows and pull the thigh muscles up. Halt for a few breaths.
Release the posture and come to step 3 and then relax the neck and bring the rest of the body to the floor in step 1.

Tips: If going up into the full posture is too strenuous stay in step 4 and take a few deep breaths.
The lesser the distance between the feet and hands the more intense the stretch will be.

Benefits: It helps strengthen your core which results into better balance, grace and poise.

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One leg Pigeon pose or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Sit with both the legs stretched out together.
Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the floor so that the right heel touches the left groin. Keep the right knee on the floor.
Stretch the left leg out at the back making sure it is in a straight line resting on the knee, shin and foot.
Push the chest forward, stretch the neck and throw the head as far back as possible.
Place the hands on the floor and bend the left knee bringing the foot close to the head.
As you exhale take the right arm over the head and hold the left bent foot. Hold the pose for a few breaths.

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As you exhale again, allow the left arm to move over the head gripping the left foot. Rest the head against the left foot. Hold the pose for a few breaths.
As you inhale, release the hands from the foot and straighten the back leg to come back to position 1.

Tips: If one is unable to grab the foot with both hands, use one hand or loop a belt around the folded leg and hold the other end of the belt with the hands.

Benefits: It rejuvenates dorsal and lumbar area of the spine. It also keeps the neck, shoulder, thighs and ankles completely exercised.