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N I K U N J A S A N A
Nikunja means in Sanskrit tree, bush, thicket. Nikunjasana, "the thicket asana" is one of the most effective yogic techniques for improving one’s immune system.
THE TECHNIQUE ITSELF
THE STARTING POSITION
The starting position is on the knees, with the trunk parallel with the floor, supporting on our hands, in the classical - "on all fours". The arms are stretched, the knees slightly spread, and the soles touching each other. The hips are perpendicular on the floor and will remain thus, if possible, during the whole time you do this asana.
In this position, breathe deeply a few times, as follows: breathe in through the nose, while you lift the body up, and compress the area of the kidneys as much as you can. Breathe out through the nose, bend over the head, and relax the lumbar area.
It is important to relax the spine musculature as well as possible, especially the dorsal area, between the blade shoulders and also the shoulders musculature because it will be worked out a lot in this asana.
THE FIRST STAGE
Bend the arms simultaneously and place your chin on the floor, as forward as possible, but keeping your thighs on a perpendicular line on the floor.
Stretch your arms forward, and look straight ahead. Stretch the spine musculature as much as you can. Breathe deeply, several times before moving on to the final stage of the asana.
THE FINAL POSITION
If you breathe deep enough and relaxed the back musculature well enough, you will be able to adjust the final position correctly.
Turn your head so as to place your right cheek on the floor. Thus, the upper part of the trunk can touch the floor, and this will add pressure to this area, in which the thymus is also located.
Breathe deeply and calmly for 5-10 times, then revert the position of the head, placing the left cheek on the floor and breathe again deeply and calmly for 5-10 times.
Perceive a state of inner tranquility, calm, energy, activation of the heart chakra, of the back, and spine. Perceive the activation of Anahata Chakra and perceive the universal love entering your soul.
There are no contraindications to this asana. It can be also practiced by the pregnant women during pregnancy, except for the last weeks.
The most common and frequent error is not properly pressing the thorax on the floor, because thus the effectiveness of the exercise is very much reduced.
Mainly it is a mistake that the femoral bones do not remain perpendicular on the floor during this asana, however the beneficial effects of this asana are not dramatically decreased if this perpendicular axis will be a little bent.
However, you need to avoid stretching your arms too much in front of you, because, as we already noted, the pressure on the upper thorax will be considerably smaller.
Nikunjasana stretches the entire musculature from the upper part of the spine. It also relaxes the neck muscles. However, its characteristic action is on the upper part of the spine, whose problems due to incorrect sitting habits and incorrect posture are thus solved.
Many people, especially from those who have the tendency to stay "hunchbacked" will find Nikunjasana quite difficult, but they need to persevere in this asana, as it truly represents the best means to eliminate this problem.
Sedentary persons and especially those sitting long hours at a desk will benefit greatly because of this asana at the end of a working day.
In fact, we recommend that you practice this asana even during the day, after several hours of work, to prevent the unwanted and painful contractions of the musculature of the spine.
THE ACTION ON THE THYMUS
The thymus is one of the most mysterious endocrine glands. Until recently, it was thought that the thymus played no part in the organism of an adult.
It was also believed that this gland, highly important for the development of the fetus and which in the beginning is very developed, is gradually atrophied during puberty and it almost disappears in the adult organism.
Nonetheless, the recent researches revealed the fact that the thymus has the role of a central organ of the lymphatic system, and we can realize its importance if we think that the immunity of our organism depends on the lymphatic system.
Nowadays it is considered that the thymus has an essential role in defending the organism against microbial and viral attacks. The thymus is a great reservoir of lymphocytes and it transmits fighting instructions to the cells.
From this perspective, the importance of the stimulation and harmonization of the activity of this gland speaks for itself. The modern science knows very little about this gland.
Nonetheless, the yogis know the secret connection there is between the thymus and the affective perceptions. It was noted, medically, that there are people whose thymus is not atrophied and these people are candid, good, and creative.
The thymus is generally difficult to stimulate, due to its position behind the sternum. Nikunjasana can achieve this stimulation in an effective manner, because it stretches the thorax and compresses the area corresponding to the thymus, especially if we are indeed carefully to breathe deeply during the final stage of Nikunjasana.
Nikunjasana contributes to the creation and preservation of a very good immune potential. Another pose that has this effect is Sarvangasana, the Candle Pose. The effects of these two asanas are wonderfully complementary.