Banananasana is exactly what it sounds like- banana pose. Remember waaaaaaaay back when we talked about the fundamentals of Yin? (No? You can find it here if you missed it) Yin is based around the idea that our muscles aren’t the only thing that need stress in order to grow and that our joints and connective tissue need that same kind of stimulation, too. Whereas muscle growth you can physically see, the connective tissue and joints grow in strength, but not necessarily in size. We’ve done a lot of strengthening to those tissues, especially with poses like Frog, Caterpillar, and the Dragons. So while bananasana doesn’t technically meet our goal of stressing the joints and connective tissue, it’s a lovely, juicy stretch for when you’re in between poses or on days when “real” poses sound daunting.
Begin by lying flat on your back with legs together and straight out in front of you. Reach your arms overhead and then grasp each opposite elbow or hand, so that your arms are almost framing your head. Keeping your glutes firmly rooted to the mat, move your legs and upper body to the same side, creating an arch through the ribcage. At this point, you should somewhat resemble a banana. Find your first edge (Need a reminder? Find it here.) and remain there for a few moments while your body begins to open. While we are always looking to find stillness in our Yin practice, bananasana is one where you will notice the body gives into the pose quite a bit, which requires some readjusting. This is ok- once you are comfortable again, find stillness again quickly and bring your mind back to your breath. If there is any tingling in the hands, try readjusting your arms, elevating them on a bolster, or simply crossing them across your chest. If you are looking for a deeper stretch try crossing the ankles (the outside ankle over the inside seems to yield the deepest stretch).
Remain here for three to five minutes. Come out of the pose the same way you went in and take note of any areas of stiffness or tension. Don’t forget the other side!
photo credit: www.yinyoga.com