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Sarvangasana

Shoulder stand yoga pose

How to do Sarvangasana?

1. Lie on your back, legs straight, feet together, hands along the body with the palms facing the floor. Relax your body for several seconds.
2. With an inhalation slowly lift your legs to a 90° angle.
3. Push the floor away with your arms.
4. Interlock the fingers and push yourself onto your shoulders, then support your lower back with your hands. In the final position the shoulders and back should be in an upright position with the chin close to the chest, but without straining the neck.
5. Close your eyes and completely relax the body, focus on the breathing process – slow and deep; and hold the asana for as long as it is comfortable.
6. In the final position the toes should not be tense.
7. To return to the starting position, bring the legs over the head until they reach the floor, either one at a time, or together if you can. Slowly release your hands and place your arms on the floor beside the body with the palms facing down. Gradually lower the back, vertebra by vertebra.
8. Bring the legs back over the head so that you are in a completely supine position.
9. Completely relax your body.
10. Do not do this asana quickly or with any jerking movements; do not turn the head while in the inverted position.

How to breathe during Sarvangasana?

  1. Inhale in the starting position.
  2. Retain the breath inside while assuming the final pose.
  3.  Practice slow, deep abdominal breathing in the final pose when the body is steady.
  4. Retain the breath inside while lowering the body to the floor

Awareness during Sarvangasana ?

  1. Physical: On the control of the movement, on the breath or the thyroid gland.
  2. Spiritual: On Vishuddhi Chakra.

Contra-indications

  1. ·Chronic back pain.
  2. High blood pressure or weak heart.
  3. Enlargement of the thyroid gland, liver or spleen.
  4. Poor vision or other eye disease.
  5. During illness, fever, cold and flu.
  6. During menstruation or during pregnancy.
  7. Immediately stop the practice if you feel shortness of breath, dizziness or palpitations.

Benefits:

  1. Stimulates the thyroid gland by pressing the chin against the chest.
  2. Balances the respiratory, digestive, reproductive, nervous and endocrine system.
  3. Tranquilises the mind, relieves mental and emotional stress, and helps clear psychological disturbances, boosting the immune system.
  4. Its influence on the parathyroid glands ensures normal development and regeneration of bones.
  5. Abdominal breathing is induced, improving the exchange of air in the body, relieving stress and massaging the abdominal organs.
  6. Releases normal gravitational pressure from the anal muscles, relieving haemorrhoids.
  7. Tones the legs, abdomen and reproductive organs, draining stagnant blood and fluid, and increasing circulation to these areas.
  8. Improves flexibility of the neck vertebrae and tones the nerves passing through the neck to the brain. Circulation is increased in this area generally, revitalising the ears, eyes and tonsils.

Sequence:


· Sarvangasana is ideally practiced immediately before Halasana. After Halasana either Matsyasana, Ushtrasana or Supta Vajrasana should be practiced as a counter pose for half the combined duration of Sarvangasana and Halasana.

 

Sarvangasana Variation:

Padmasarvangasana (shoulder stand in lotus pose)
·

  1. From Sarvangasana fold the legs into Padmasana.
  2.  Hold as long as it is comfortable. To return to the initial position, reverse the order.
    The effect of this asana and its Contra-indications are the same as for Sarvangasana.

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