Table of Contents:
- Meaning of Sarvangasana(Shoulder Stand)
- How to do Sarvangasana
- Beginner’s Tips
- Benefits of Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
- Precautions and Contra-indications
- Preparatory Poses
- Follow-up Poses
Meaning of Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
‘Sarvangasana’ means ‘Shoulder Stand’. Here, ‘Sarva’ means ‘entire’, ‘anga’ means ‘Body’, and ‘Asana’ means ‘Pose’. So, it benefits the entire body.
This asana, when combined with ‘seated forward bend pose’ and ‘Head Stand’ can make one perfectly fit and healthy.
How to do it?
Step#1 Lie down in Shavasana.
Step#2 Relax your entire body for a while.
Step#3 Now, take the full support of your arms, contract the abdominal muscles, and slowly raise your legs to a vertical position.
Step#4 Press the hands and arms down on the floor.
Step#5 Slowly raise the buttocks, and spine off the floor, so that the spine and the legs are in the same line.
Step#6 Move your palms of the hands upward, bending the elbows, and place the hands behind the ribcage to support the back.
Step#7 Make sure that the elbows are shoulder width apart and legs are together.
Step#8 Then, let your chest move towards your head so it firmly presses the chin
Step#9 Now, you’ll find that your chest rests against the chin, arms provide the stability, and your body is supported by the shoulders, nape of the neck, and back of the head.
Step#10 Relax the entire body in this posture as long as you feel comfortable.
Step#11 Now, slowly come back to the initial position by following the above steps in reverse order.
Step#12 Relax in shavasana till your heartbeat and respiration becomes normal.
See the below Video.
There are multiple variations possible for this Sarvangasana. Simply, you have to change the position of legs.
In this variation, we have to be in sarvangasana only, but we have to change the position of the leg.
So, Exhale, bring your one leg forward (keeping the other as it is) i.e. parallel to the floor.
Hold the position for a few seconds.
Then inhale and bring the leg again in sarvangasana. Repeat the procedure with other leg also to complete the complete set.
In this variation also, we have to be in sarvangasana initially. Exhale: Bend your hips little forward and lower both the legs forward so that both of them are parallel to the ground.
Remain in this pose for a few seconds.
Inhale: Bring back both of your leg to initial position, i.e. sarvangasana.
For this variation also, be in Sarvangasana.
Inhale: Move your legs forward, parallel to the floor. Then bend the right knee and gently place it on your head such that sole of the right foot on the left leg.
Remain at this pose for a while.
Exhale: Return to Sarvangasana.
Variation-4 is nothing but halasana. Remain in Sarvangasana. Inhale: Take both of your legs forward, parallel to the floor. Then let the fingers of both the legs touch the floor.
Hold the position for a while. Exhale: Come back to Sarvangasana.
Note: Change the position of the legs in sarvangasana, and let the new variation come out.
Meditate on the following:
- On various sensations of the body.
- On the neck or thyroid gland.
- On Vishuddhi chakra.
Do this Shoulder Stand once in your asana practice. Beginners can maintain the final posture for a few seconds only. Gradually, one can go upto 5 minutes after a period of weeks for normal health.
It is better to practice Vipareeta karani asana (Inverted Pose) initially rather than directly moving to sarvangasana since it gives similar benefits of sarvangasana with less pressure on the neck.
Benefits of Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
There are multiple benefits of Sarvangasana which are mentioned below:
1) Stimulates thyroid gland.
This asana involves pressing of a chest against the chin which stimulates the thyroid gland. This further regulates numerous metabolic processes throughout the body.
2) Balances Circulatory system.
Circulatory system is an important cardiovascular system that circulates blood, transport various nutrients, and blood cells to and from the cells. This asana helps in balancing that circulatory system.
3) Tranquillizes the mind
As this asana decreases the pressure on heart, therefore it minimizes the rate of breathing, and hence helps in soothing the mind.
4) Relieves mental and emotional stress
Stress, in one sense, is related to shortness of breath. But this asana encourages slow and deeper breathing, which ultimately helps in mental and emotional stress.
5) Clears psychological disturbances
One of the contributing factors of Psychological disturbances includes chemical imbalances in the brain. As this asana supplies an ample amount of blood to the brain, thus helps in relieving imbalances present in it.
6) Boosts immune system
This asana promotes good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move freely throughout the body, and hence helps in doing the job efficiently. This results in better immune system.
Although there are many factors responsible for better immune system, but this asana would be one of the many factors for boosting the immune system.
This asana gives elasticity to spine, resulting in everlasting youth.
8) Increases digestive fire
It augments jatharagni (digestive fire), removes constipation, and cures chronic gastro-intestinal disorder. Those who are underweight can practice this asana to increase the digestive fire.
9) Good for ladies
Women can practice this asana for curing multiple problems, but with safety.
This asana ensures abdominal breathing, massages abdominal organs, and improves the exchange of air in the body.
11) Parathyroid glands
It stimulates parathyroid glands, located in neck behind the thyroid gland. This maintains blood calcium level in the body.
It improves flexibility of neck, and tones the nerves passing to the brain.
13) Ears and Eyes
It revitalize the ears and eyes by increasing the amount of blood to them.
14) Balances various systems of the body
It balances respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, endocrine system, and reproductive system.
15) Legs, hamstrings, and calf muscles
It tones the legs, hamstrings, and calf muscles by draining stagnant blood and fluid to upper regions of the body.
Considered one of the best asanas for heart as it slows down the heart rate by reducing strain to it. Heart can work efficiently by performing this asana regularly.
This asana releases the normal gravitational pressure from anal muscles; relieving haemorrhoids.
18) Varicose veins
This asana is very good for varicose veins as this asana takes the stagnant blood to upper part of the body. Besides, it releases the pressure on legs.
19) Arms and shoulders
It strengthens the arms and shoulders as most of the pressure is coming to them.
20) Weight loss
Helps in losing weight as this asana increases the digestive power.
21) Hair fall
Those who’re suffering from falling of hair can practice this asana. It increases the supply of blood and nutrients to scalp. Therefore, it massages your scalp, and reduce the hair fall.
22) Sound sleep
As this asana makes you stress free, therefore it helps you in getting peaceful sleep.
Precautions and Contra-indications
Avoid this asana if you’re suffering from the following problems.
- We should not practice this asana when we are suffering from enlarged thyroid.
- Slipped disc
- High Blood pressure
- Heart ailments
- Weak Blood vessels in the eyes
- Enlarged Liver or spleen
- Thrombosis or impure blood
- During advanced stages of Pregnancy.
- During menstruation.
- Acute thyroid problem
- Shoulder injuries
- Middle ear problem
We can treat following asanas as preparatory poses of Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand):
- Vipareeta Karani Asana (Inverted Pose)
- Dwi Pada Uttanapadasana (Both legs raised Pose)
- Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)
- Ardha Sarvangasana (Half Shoulder Stand)
- Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
Those asanas which make the effect of asana more intense are called Follow-up poses.
- Halasana (Plough Pose)
- Karnapidasana (Knee to Ear Pose)
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
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