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Shoulder stand, Sarvangasana, Salamba sarvagasana steps, benefits and precautions

The supported shoulder stand pose or Sarvangasana is also referred to as Salamba sarvangasana. It is an inverted yoga pose that is an indispensable part of modern yoga practice.

Supported shoulder stand pose, Sarvangasana steps, benefits and precautions

Sarvangasana meaning

The name ‘Sarvangasana’ is made of three sanskrit words.

  • ‘Sarva’ meaning whole or all
  • ‘Anga’ meaning body parts
  • ‘Asana’ meaning pose

The meaning of Sarvangasana literally translates to a yoga pose for all your body parts. This Asana is supposed to be very beneficial for improved blood circulation, reduction of fatigue and anxiety and an improvement in overall physical and mental well being.

Since it is an inverted asana, it is considered to be a very important part of any practitioner’s yoga practice.

supported shoulder stand pose

How to do the supported shoulder stand?

Here is a step by step guide to do the shoulder stand or sarvangasana.

Step one

Lie down flat on a yoga mat. Bring your feet together with your hand on the side of your body. Bend and bring your legs closer to your chest.

Step two

Take a deep breath and exhale. While taking the breath again, contract your abdomen and lift your legs up. Bring them perpendicular to the floor. 

Continue by raising your waist and lifting your hips off the floor. Now place your hands on your back for support and slowly lift your legs up away from the ground.

Step three

With the legs completely straight, your entire body including legs, waist and back should be in a straight line so that your arm is supporting your back. Your elbows will be resting on the ground.

Step four

Rest your chin against your chest in a chinlock position. In this position, all the pressure of your body weight is on your shoulders, neck and head. 

A lot of people strain their neck during the initial phase of their practice when put their neck in the chinlock position. Please be very careful not to move your neck when you are in this position during the asana.

Try to breathe in a normal fashion while you maintain this position.

Hold this pose for a period of 1-2 minutes. Try to keep it to a maximum of 2 minutes in the initial stages of your practice.

Step five

Now, release your hand and lower your body slowly by making your back straight while keeping your legs perpendicular to the floor. This should be done in a gradual fashion with the support of your hands.

With your back completely on the floor, straighten your legs and move back to the starting position of step one.

Take a few deep breaths and then rest a while, breath normally.

Benefits of the Shoulder stand

  1. Sarvangasana leads to an improvement in blood flow throughout the body. Since, a lot of beginner practitioners face issues in practicing advanced poses like the sirsasana (headstand), they can take advantage of the same benefits of an inverted pose through the shoulder stand.
  2. Due to the inversion pose, the supply of fresh blood in lower parts of the body like abdomen and legs is improved leading to an improvement in the overall blood circulation system. 
  3. For people suffering from Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism, Salamba sarvangasana is a god send. With an increased blood and oxygen flow, it helps in better functioning of endocrine glands like Thyroid and Pituitary glands.
  4. This yoga pose also helps in relieving fatigue and anxiety. It rejuvenates the mind and reduces chronic stress as well.
  5. It leads to an improvement in the functioning of the immune system.
  6. This asana also helps people who are suffering from hemorrhoids and helps in reducing the problem of varicose veins.
  7. It detoxifies the body and gives a youthful look to the practitioner.
  8. Sarvangasana also leads to an increased body flexibility. It improves the yogi’s lung capacity as well.

Precautions and Contraindications

  1. Sarvangasana should not be performed by people suffering from issues like high blood pressure.
  2. Anyone who has any heart conditions on brain issues should avoid practicing this yoga pose.
  3. Pregnant women should avoid this asana.
  4. Women should not practice this asana during their menstruation cycles.
  5. People with back issues like slip discs should not practice this asana at all as it can further aggravate the issue.

Related yoga poses to supported shoulder stand

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