Salamba Sarvangasana – shoulder stand and Sirsasana- headstand are seen as the queen and king of the yoga asanas. At the same time it are the most dangerous ones. In Sirsasana there is a lot of weight on your neck. In Salamba Sarvangasana the weight should be on your shoulders, but if you do the pose incorrectly it will be on your neck as well.
The asanas are created to restore health. Sirsasana and Salamba Sarvangasana are seen as the asanas with the most health benefits. B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most famous yoga teachers of the last centuries, would prescribe Sarvangasana for almost everything: ‘It is the mother of all asanas. In the same way as a mother strives for harmony and happiness in her household this asanas strives for harmony and happiness within the human body.’ But as I said before: they are both dangerous at the same time. Salamba Sarvangasana is seen as an intermediate pose. Experience with yoga is necessary and the guidance of a good teacher. Sirsasana is an advanced pose. If you want to work on it, ask a qualified and experienced yoga teacher to help you.
Getting into Salamba Sarvangasana – shoulder stand
- Lay down on your back with your legs straight and together
- Place your hands next to your body, palms facing down
- Exhale, bend your knees and bring your knees towards your chest
- Inhale and on your next exhalation lift your hips and support your hips with your hands by bending your arms at your elbows
- Exhale and straighten your legs
- Only the back of your head, your shoulders and arms should rest on the floor. Your chin is on your chest
- Stay in this pose for 30 seconds. Build up slowly up until you can hold this pose for 5 minutes
- Exhale and release
If your head or neck is not comfortable; start with only lifting your legs up. You can rest them against a wall if you like. You will get most of the benefits of shoulder stand without risking injuring yourself.
Benefits Salamba Sarvangasana – shoulder stand
- Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid
- Rejuvenates the heart
- Beneficial for bronchitis, asthma, throat pain
- Calms the nervous system
- Brings high blood pressure under control (first practice hala
- Alleviates chronic headaches
- Heals colds
- Heals insomnia
- Relieves constipation
- Activates digestion
Contraindications Salamba Sarvangasana – shoulder stand
- Neck injury
- Menstruation (this is a discussion in yoga. I advice women not to do Sarvangasana when they have their period. It interferes with the natural cleansing process of the body
- Pregnancy (if you are already practicing shoulder stand you can keep on doing it. If you are new to this pose and you are pregnant don’t do the pose)
Source: Light on Yoga - BKS Iyengar Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long Ashtanga – David Swenson Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Want more? Check out my library of yoga poses or do them with me on YouTube.