Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand pose):

The word Sarvangasana is a Sanskrit word that consisted of three words Sarv, Anga, and Asana. Sarva means all, Anga means limb/parts of the body and Asana means yogic pose. An asana for every part of the body.

Technique-

  • Lie supine on your mat, check the head and spine are aligned and that the legs are straight with the feet together.
  • Bring your chin in towards the chest, make sure that your nape of the neck to lie flat on the ground.
  • Continue normal breathing and bring your legs to the vertical position.
  • Then, inhale and slowly raise your legs towards the sky using your core muscles.
  • A pause may be made during the raising of the legs- first at 30 degrees and another at 60 degrees.
  • Hold your lower back and lengthen your spine then bring your elbows closer and move your palms towards the upper part of your spine.
  • Gently push your chest to fix the sternum with your chin and keep your mind free from any thought.
  • Stay calm, relax the calf and thigh muscles, therefore take care not to point the toes.
  • Breathe normally and stay 1 to 5 minutes at the final position.
  • To return to the starting position, exhale and bend your legs from the knees then gently place the back on the mat without lifting the head from the ground.
  • To relax the nape of your neck, practice Matsyasana as a counter posture.

Caution /Avoid–

  • Do not work in a jerk.
  • Do not separate your legs.
  • Do not kick off to reach the vertical position.
  • Never push your chin towards the chest.
  • During your return, do not fall heavily to the ground.
  • Never hold or suspend your breath at the final position
  • Any scissor-like movements at the final position.

Contraindications-

Hernia, enlarged thyroid, high blood pressure or other heart ailments, peptic ulcer, any problem with eyes /ears/blood vessels of the brain, etc.

Why did the yogis choose Sarvangasana?

Sarvangasana which gives mostly similar benefits like the other best-inverted posture Shirsasana, but it differs from the same in two areas. First, it is easy to practice for most of the practitioner and second, it stimulates and activates the thyroid gland by pressing the chin with the sternum. Followings are few important beneficial effects of Sarvangasana –

Circulation of blood–

This asana improves the flow of venous blood from the legs and abdomen towards the heart (pumping station) with the support of gravitational force and thus, easily improves circulation. Because of this beneficial effect, experts are recommending this asana to those suffering from varicose veins and to people whose work demands long hours of standing.

The spine-

Sarvangasana not only strengthens the spine by smoothening the curvature but also helps to increase the flow of blood the entire spinal column.

The brain and nervous system-

“Sarvangasana / Shoulder stand” pose is specially designed to act upon the cervical section of the spinal column, where the network of meridians, especially prolific in this region is freed, toned up, and revived. The up-side-down position, as well as gravitational force, increases the flow of oxygenated blood towards the brain through these meridians. Thus, this posture improves the function of connected nervous and the brain.

Gut-

 This posture decongests the gut helps to improve its function with the flow of fresh blood. Gut which is also known as “the second brain”, secretes 90% of serotonin (neurotransmitter) in the digestive tract. Serotonin / happy hormone is an important chemical of the human body that helps to regulate mood, sleep, memory, appetite, digestion, sexual desire, etc.

Heart–

This top-down posture increases the circulation of venous blood towards the heart with the help of gravitational forces.  The lungs and heart of our body receive this venous blood easily with the piston-like movement of the diagram and without spending much energy. Thus, Sarvangasana makes it easy for our lungs and heart to receive deoxygenated blood and to redistribute the oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Thyroid and Pituitary Gland-

This inverted posture and the special position of the neck creates acute compression in this region and stimulates the carotid artery as well as thyroid glands. This means Sarvangasana balances the slight hyper or hypo-function of thyroid glands, which play a major role in the metabolic process of the body. This asana increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and properly irrigates the pituitary gland which is also known as the master gland and control house for all other glands located below.

Halasana (The Plough pose):

Halasana means Plough Posture. It is one of the asanas linked by name to an important tool. The primitive plow of ancient India.

Technique –

  • Lie supine on your mat, hands at the sides of the body, place your palms firmly on the floor.
  • Make sure that the head and spine are aligned and that the legs are straight with the feet together.
  • Continue normal breathing and bring your legs to the vertical position.
  • Then, contracting the core muscles stretch out your legs slowly towards the floor behind your head.
  • Stretch out the legs above the face and allow the feet to sink as far as possible to the ground so that in distancing themselves from the head.
  • Stay at this position for 10 to 15 breathe and return back the starting position in the reverse order (do not allow the legs to fall back heavily, nor the head to come up from the ground).
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times with relaxing your spine in-between the practice.

Note-

  • Throughout this exercise, breathing remains normal.
  • Push your legs gently to reach the floor, above the head.
  • Never force your legs/toes to touch the floor, it will take time.
  • The beginner may feel discomfort in the final position (breathing may be restricted) but soon improve.
  • Experts of yoga advocates that no other asana is as good as Halasana for spinal health. Besides having all good impacts on the spine and other parts of the body, it alerts the mind and gives the feeling of self-confidence and self-reliance.

Contraindications:

Hernia / cervical spondylitis / slipped disc / any heart ailments / pregnancy/ arthritis of the neck / during menstruation.

Why did the yogis choose Halasana?

This asana works upon the entire spinal column and activates the dense network of ganglia and their fibers. It acts as a powerful tonic and easy to feel how this asana is so rejuvenating and reviving. Followings are few important beneficial effects of Halasana –

Spinal Column-

This posture restores and protects the spinal column which is essential for good health. The stretching of the back muscles expels the blood which is then replaced by fresh blood. This posture is very reviving. If you try this posture in the evening after a long day work, it will take a minute or two to it. Because during the final stay, this inverted posture not only improves the suppleness of the spine but also improves the flow of blood to the head and irrigates the brain better.

Thyroid and Pituitary Gland-

As the body is in the inverted position, the increased flow of fresh blood to the thyroid gland and pituitary gland regularise the metabolism rate and immune system in the body. These glands influence the youthfulness of the body, slows down degeneration of cells and tissues, as they control and regulate hormone secretion of various other glands.

 Abdominal Region-

This asana comes as a blessing for the abdominal viscera. It stimulates the liver, kidneys gall-bladder, intestines, spleen, and corrects all functional disorders. The pancreas, too, is stimulated and toned up by this posture and promotes insulin production. This asana is quite helpful to cure constipation, diabetes, dyspepsia, indigestion, and poor appetite.

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