Sarvangasana Introduction, How to Do It step by step, Its Benefits, and Contraindications with Modifications

Soham Yoga School Rishikesh, India

Sarvangasana Introduction, How to Do It step by step, Its Benefits, and Contraindications with Modifications

Sarvangasana, commonly known as Shoulder Stand, is a revered yoga posture that offers a plethora of physical and mental benefits. As an inversion pose, it holds a special place in yoga practice for its ability to rejuvenate the body, calm the mind, and promote overall well-being. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to perform Sarvangasana step by step, its benefits, as well as contraindications and modifications for safe practice.

Sarvangasana derives its name from Sanskrit, where “Sarva” means “all” and “Anga” means “parts” or “limbs.” Together, Sarvangasana translates to “Whole Body Pose” or “Shoulder Stand,” emphasizing its comprehensive effects on the body. In this inverted posture, the weight of the body is supported by the shoulders, with the spine and legs extending vertically upward.

How to Do Sarvangasana:

  1. Starting Position: Begin by lying on your back (supine position) with your arms resting alongside your body, palms facing down.

  2. Engage Core Muscles: On an inhalation, use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs off the floor, bringing them perpendicular to the ground.

  3. Support Lower Back: Place your hands on your lower back for support, with your elbows shoulder-width apart and fingers pointing upward.

  4. Lift Hips: Continue to engage your core as you lift your hips off the ground, bringing your legs and torso into a straight line.

  5. Straighten Legs: Extend your legs upward toward the ceiling, keeping them active and toes pointing toward the sky.

  6. Maintain Alignment: Ensure that your weight is evenly distributed across your shoulders and upper arms, with minimal pressure on the neck.

  7. Hold the Pose: Hold Sarvangasana for 30 seconds to several minutes, breathing deeply and maintaining awareness of your alignment.

  8. Release: To exit the pose, slowly lower your legs back down to the ground with control, returning to the supine position.

"Elevate Your Practice: Journeying through Sarvangasana"

  • Improves Circulation: As an inversion, Sarvangasana enhances blood flow to the brain and heart, promoting circulation and oxygenation of the body.
  • Strengthens Shoulders and Core: Holding the body weight on the shoulders strengthens the shoulder girdle and core muscles, improving stability and posture.
  • Stimulates Thyroid Function: The gentle compression of the throat in Sarvangasana stimulates the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and energy levels.
  • Calms the Nervous System: Inverted poses like Sarvangasana activate the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a sense of relaxation and reducing stress.

Benefits of Sarvangasana:

Neck or Shoulder Injury: Individuals with neck or shoulder injuries should avoid Sarvangasana or practice it under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. They can modify by placing a folded blanket under the shoulders for support or practicing the Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose instead.
High Blood Pressure: People with uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid inverted poses like Sarvangasana. They can practice a modified version with legs propped up on a bolster or skip inversions altogether.
Menstruation: Women should avoid practicing Sarvangasana during menstruation, as it may disrupt the natural downward flow of energy. They can practice gentle restorative poses instead.
 

Contraindications and Modifications:

 Sarvangasana, or Shoulder Stand, offers a holistic approach to health and well-being, providing physical, mental, and emotional benefits when practiced mindfully. By following proper alignment cues and considering individual needs and limitations, practitioners can safely integrate this rejuvenating pose into their yoga practice, unlocking its transformative potential.
 

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Soham Yoga School is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga school located in Rishikesh, India, offering 100-hour, 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour yoga teacher training programs. These programs cover traditional Hatha and Ashtanga yoga styles, as well as meditation, pranayama, and yoga philosophy. The school provides accommodation and meals for students, and graduates receive internationally recognized yoga teacher certifications.

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