Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
This asana is also known as the shoulder stand. The meaning of this asana in Sanskrit is “a posture for the complete body”. This asana can be performed as follows;
- Place at least two or more firm blankets into rectangular shape and stack them one on top of the other.
- Now lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported (and parallel to one of the longer edges) and your head on the floor. Lay your arms on the floor on sides of your torso, then bend your knees and set your feet against the floor with the heels close to the sitting bones.
- Breathe out or exhale and press your arms against the floor, and push your feet away from the floor, drawing your thighs into the front torso.
- Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and then the back torso away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face. Stretch your arms out parallel to the edge of the blanket and turn them outward so that the fingers are pressing against the floor. Bend your elbows and draw them toward each other. Lay the backs of your upper arms on the blanket and spread your palms against the back of your torso. Raise your pelvis over the shoulders, so that the torso is relatively perpendicular to the floor. Walk your hands up your back (toward the floor) without letting the elbows slide too much wider than shoulder width.
- Inhale or breathe in lifting your bent knees toward the ceiling, bringing your thighs in line with your torso and hanging the heels down by your buttocks.
- Press your tailbone toward your pubis and turn the upper thighs inward slightly. Finally inhale and straighten the knees, now press the heels up towards the ceiling.
- When back of the legs are fully lengthened, lift through the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer.
- Soften your throat and tongue. Firming the shoulder blades against the back, and moving the sternum towards the chin.
- The forehead should be relatively parallel to the floor, your chin perpendicular.
- Begin pressing the back of your upper arms and the tops of your shoulders actively into the blanket support, and try to lift the upper spine away from the floor.
- Remain in this pose for about 30 seconds. Then you can go on to gradually add 5 to 10 seconds to your stay every day or so until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes.
- To come down of this pose exhale, and bend your knees into your torso again, and roll your back torso slowly and carefully onto the floor, keeping the back of your head on the floor.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Calms down the brain and helps to relieve mild depression and stress.
- Stimulates the thyroid, prostate and various abdominal glands.
- Brings about improvement in digestion.
- Helps to relieve symptoms of menopause.
- Reduces fatigue and insomnia.
- Has great therapeutic value in asthma, infertility and sinusitis.
- Brings about the toning of legs and buttocks.
- Stretches the shoulders and neck.
- Regulate the sex glands.
- Vitalizes the nerves and purifies the blood promoting circulation and strengthening the lower organs.
- Very beneficial in constipation, indigestion, and poor circulation.
- Recommended for women after child birth and in those suffering from painful menstruation.
- Helps to prevent and reduce varicose vein.
- Helps to rely blood from heart to brain.
Precautionary measures in this asana are:
- Women should not practice this asana during menstruation.
- People should not practice suffering from blood pressure, glaucoma, hernia, cardiovascular diseases, thrombosis, spondilitis, and kidney problems.
- Should not be practiced if suffering from neck injury.
- Should not be practiced if suffering from diarrhea.
- Should also not be practiced in late pregnanacy.