Shoulderstand or Sarvangasana translates to “all limbs pose”. In this powerful pose, your body weight rests on the top outer edges of your shoulder. It has long been referred to as the “queen of all yoga postures” while the “king of all yoga postures” belongs to headstand. It is a complete pose, which means it aids functions within the entire body and is recommended by many to be practiced on a daily basis due to its health benefits. According to yogajournal.com, in general any asana that positions the head below the heart or feet above the heart brings harmony to body and mind and are crucial to an effective yoga practice.
There are many benefits when it comes to shoulderstand including:
- Promotes good blood circulation
- Calms nerves by stimulating the nervous system
- Decreases depression and anxiety
- Improves immune function
Here’s how it works:
Start in a seated position with legs extended out in front of you. Take a deep breath and on the exhale, pull your navel to your spine by falling forward and extend hands toward your feet as much as is comfortable. Allow your head to relax down toward the legs.
When you are ready, roll up, one vertebra at a time and roll onto your back.
Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor and arms on either side. Soften your knees, press arms into the ground and reach feet toward the ceiling.
Once you feel comfortable, allow your feet to fall back behind you making sure not to strain your neck.
Reach your feet to the ground for plow pose. Bring hands together on the ground and wiggle shoulders underneath of you one should at a time. Firmly press into your arms and reach through your heels. Breathe here for as long as feels comfortable.
While in plow or modified plow, place your hands on lower back to offer support. Soften your legs and let your knees rest on your forehead. This is called egg pose. Once again, breathe here for as long as feels comfortable.
Once ready, reach feet toward the ceiling one at a time and lengthen your legs once you feel strong and comfortable. Breathe here for as long as feels comfortable.
To come out of this position, slowly soften your knees toward your forehead, return to plow position and lower your back down to the mat.
Shoulderstand takes practice, so if you don’t succeed try again, you’ll be glad you did. Stay tuned to our blog for more Yoga Basics!