The summer months come with a lot of fun and a lot of heat. Mild-to-moderate summer heat can raise your average body temperature, making your body work overtime and often leave you feeling exhausted.
If exercises such as cardio are starting to wear you out, a good idea would be to switch from cardio to yoga in the warmer months. Yoga routines work to strengthen the muscles in the body and promote mental health, thus maintaining overall well-being.
Shoulderstand Pose (Sarvangasana)
Yoga poses such as the shoulderstand pose are cooling and restorative and can help bring the body’s temperature down. This pose also conditions the heart, strengthens the shoulders, and improves circulation.
Derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Sarva,’ which means Entire, ‘Anga,’ which means body part, and ‘Asana,’ which means pose, shoulderstand pose or Sarvangasana is an intermediate to advanced pose where you balance the entire body on your shoulders.
Shulderstand Pose Directions:
The following steps will guide you through practicing the shoulderstand pose:
Start by lying down in corpse pose with your arms by your side and your legs extended straight out. Slowly raise your legs towards the ceiling to bring it to 90 degrees. Hold this position for a few seconds.
As you inhale, start to extend your legs higher and support your lower back with your palms. Exhale to lift your body higher up towards the ceiling.
Your chest should be brought close to your face and as you focus on your breath, exhale to keep this position and inhale to stretch the body upwards as you plant the shoulders firmly on the ground.
You have the option to extend your arms up towards the ceiling or place them on the ground by your sides.
Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and engaged, your body will be now balancing on your shoulders. Hold this pose for about 10 breaths and try to keep your body comfortable and loose.
Shoulderstand Pose Modifications:
Due to the pressure put on the shoulders and neck, there are various modifications one can do to make this pose more comfortable.
Use a blanket for support.
Modification: If you are finding it uncomfortable to practice this pose, place a blanket under your shoulders and neck to provide more support during the pose.
Use the support of a wall.
Modification: Try to practice this pose by placing your legs on the wall for support as to take the pressure off your neck and shoulders. This is a good way for beginners to get more comfortable with this pose
Bend the legs.
Modification: Instead of extending your legs to 90 degrees, you have the option to bend your legs or bring them as high up as you comfortably can.
Benefits of Shoulderstand Pose:
Practice the shoulderstand pose every morning at around 7 a.m. for five days continuously. Not only will this pose benefit your overall health, but it will also help you stick to a morning workout routine.
Shoulderstand pose comes with various health benefits such as the following:
- Strengthens shoulders and corrects sagging shoulders
- Tones legs, calves, and, hamstrings
- Strengthens the back and spine
- Refreshes and rejuvenates the brain
- Improves heart health
- Improves eyesight
- Promotes weight loss
- Aids digestion and digestive function
Shoulderstand Pose Precautions:
Shoulderstand pose is an intermediate to advanced pose and should only be practiced by yogis who are familiar with other yoga poses. Make sure to practice this pose under a yoga practitioner, especially if this is the first time you are trying to perform this pose.
Avoid practicing the shoulderstand pose if you are experiencing the following situations:
- High blood pressure
- Throat or ear infection
- Heart or cardiovascular problems
- If you are pregnant
- Back pain
1. How can one practice the shoulderstand pose?
By following the directions mentioned in this article, you will be able to perform the shoulderstand pose with regular practice. There are modifications to this pose you can take in order to make this pose a little easier and more comfortable.
Updated by Siya Rajan on 06/07/2018
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Sarvangasana. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tummee.com/yoga-poses/sarvangasana