Sarvang asana or shoulder stand is a yoga pose in which the whole body is balanced on the shoulders. It is also a part of the Padma Sadhana yoga sequence.
‘Sarv’ means all, ‘anga’ means part of a body, and ‘asana’ is posture. As the name indicates, Sarvangasana influences the functioning of all parts of your body.
This asana is highly beneficial in maintaining mental and physical health and is also referred to as the ‘Queen of asanas’.
How to do Sarvang asana (Shoulder Stand)
- Lie on your back with your hands by your side.
- With one movement, lift your legs, buttocks and back so that you come up high on your shoulders. Support your back with your hands.
- Move your elbows closer towards each other, and move your hands along your back, creeping up towards the shoulder blades. Keep straightening the legs and spine by pressing the elbows down to the floor and hands into the back. Your weight should be supported on your shoulders and upper arms and not on your head and neck.
- Keep the legs firm. Lift your heels higher as though you are putting a footprint on the ceiling. Bring the big toes straight over the nose. Now point the toes up. Pay attention to your neck. Do not press the neck into the floor. Instead, keep the neck strong with a feeling of tightening the neck muscles slightly. Press your sternum toward the chin. If you feel any strain in the neck, come out of the posture.
- Keep breathing deeply and stay in the posture for 30-60 seconds.
- To come out of the posture, lower the knees to the forehead. Bring your hands to the floor, palms facing down. Without lifting the head slowly bring your spine down, vertebra by vertebra, completely to the floor. Lower the legs to the floor. Relax for a minimum of 60 seconds.
Benefits of Sarvang asana (Shoulder Stand):
- Stimulates the Thyroid and Parathyroid glands and normalizes their functions.
- Strengthens the arms and shoulders and keeps the spine flexible.
- Nourishes the brain with more blood supply.
- Stretches the heart muscles by returning more venous blood to the heart.
- Brings relief from constipation, indigestion and varicose veins.
Contraindications of sarvang asana
Consult your physician before doing the Sarvang-asana, if you have any of the following health conditions:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Problem
- Slip Disc
- Neck Pain
- Acute Thyroid Problem
Sarvang asana should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation.