If you’re looking to add more inversions to your yoga practice, the Shoulderstand pose is an excellent place to start. Also known as Salamba Sarvangasana, this asana offers numerous benefits for both the body and mind.
How to do Shoulderstand Pose
However, it’s important to approach this pose with caution and proper preparation. In this section, I’ll guide you through the information you need to know, the level of difficulty, and the preparatory poses to ensure a safe and effective Shoulderstand practice.
- The Shoulderstand pose is an inversion that offers many benefits for the body and mind.
- Proper preparation and caution are essential when practicing this pose.
- There are several preparatory poses that can help enhance your Shoulderstand practice.
- The Shoulderstand pose can be challenging for beginners, but modifications are available.
- Consult with a qualified yoga instructor if you have any concerns or questions.
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Shoulderstand Pose Benefits
Salamba Sarvangasana, commonly known as the Shoulderstand pose, offers numerous benefits for the mind and body. Here are some of the most significant advantages of adding this asana to your yoga practice:
- Stimulates the thyroid gland: Shoulderstand pose offers a gentle massage to the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and energy levels in the body.
- Improves digestion: Practicing this pose can help you overcome digestive issues by stimulating the digestive organs and assisting with nutrient absorption.
- Enhances blood circulation: As an inversion pose, Shoulderstand increases blood flow to the upper body, which can relieve pressure on the lower extremities and boost cardiovascular health.
- Strengthens the shoulders and core: Holding the pose strengthens the upper body muscles, including the shoulders, back, and chest, while engaging the core muscles and improving overall stability.
- Calms the mind: The inverted position can also have a calming and balancing effect on the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety.
However, it’s important to note that Shoulderstand pose is a more advanced yoga pose and may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any concerns or medical conditions, it’s best to consult with a qualified yoga instructor before attempting this asana.
Shoulderstand Pose Cautions
Before attempting the Shoulderstand pose, there are a few precautions you should take into consideration.
First and foremost, if you have a neck injury, you should avoid this pose altogether. The Shoulderstand pose puts a significant amount of pressure on the neck, and any pre-existing neck injuries could worsen with this pose.
Additionally, if you have high blood pressure, you should consult with your doctor before attempting this pose. When in the Shoulderstand position, the body’s blood pressure increases, and those with high blood pressure levels could experience complications.
Those with low bone density should also approach this pose with caution. The Shoulderstand pose puts a significant amount of pressure on the neck, shoulders, and arms, and those with low bone density could be at risk for fractures.
Pregnant women should avoid this pose, especially in the second and third trimesters. The pressure applied to the abdomen in this pose can be harmful to the developing fetus.
Finally, it’s crucial to note that this pose requires a significant amount of strength and flexibility. If you are a beginner or have limited experience with yoga, it’s essential to start with preparatory poses before attempting the Shoulderstand pose.
Remember to always listen to your body and practice with caution. If you experience any discomfort or pain during the pose, release it immediately and consult with a qualified yoga instructor.
How to Practice Shoulderstand Pose
Shoulderstand pose, also known as Salamba Sarvangasana, is an invigorating posture that can be challenging for beginners. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure you practice this asana safely and effectively.
Step 1: Set up
Start by lying on your back with your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Bend your knees and bring them towards your chest, using your hands to support your low back.
Keep your elbows close to your body and draw your shoulder blades down your back. Take a deep breath and exhale as you slowly extend your legs towards the ceiling, keeping your knees slightly bent.
Step 2: Support your back
Press your hands into your back and lift your hips and legs towards the ceiling. Use your hands to support your back and keep your elbows close together.
Walk your hands further down on your back towards your shoulders, until your elbows are shoulder-width apart. Interlace your fingers and press your forearms down on the mat. Use your hands to support your back and keep your elbows close together.
Step 3: Straighten your legs
Slowly straighten your legs towards the ceiling or slightly in front of you. Keep your toes flexed and your legs active. Point your toes towards the ceiling and engage your abdominal muscles to lift your hips higher. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed on your shoulders and upper arms.
Step 4: Hold the pose
Breathe deeply and hold the pose for up to a minute. If you’re a beginner, start with 15-20 seconds and gradually increase the duration as you build strength and flexibility. To release, exhale and lower your legs, one at a time, back to the starting position.
- Don’t lift your head off the mat.
- Avoid turning your head to either side. Keep your gaze fixed towards your toes.
- If you have neck issues, place a folded blanket or a thin pillow under your shoulders.
- If you have trouble straightening your legs, practice with a strap or a block under your feet until you gain more flexibility.
With consistent practice and patience, you can master the Shoulderstand pose and enjoy its numerous benefits for your physical and mental health.
Shoulderstand Pose Modifications and Props
As with any other yoga pose, it’s essential to modify or use props to accommodate your body’s unique needs. Below are some modifications and props that can help you practice the Shoulderstand pose with ease and safety.
If you have a sensitive neck or find the floor too hard, you can use blankets to cushion your shoulders and the back of your head. Fold one or two blankets so that they are thick enough to provide adequate support.
Place them on your mat before you begin the pose. When you come into the Shoulderstand pose, make sure your shoulders and back of your head are on the blankets.
If it’s challenging to reach your feet in the Shoulderstand pose, you can use a strap to help you. Wrap the strap around your feet and hold onto the ends with your hands. This modification can help you maintain the pose for an extended period.
If you have tight hamstrings or find it challenging to lift your legs straight into the air, you can place blocks under your hips. Make sure the blocks are at the right height to enable you to lift your legs. This modification can also help prevent strain on the neck and shoulders.
If you’re a beginner and find it challenging to balance in the Shoulderstand pose, you can use a wall for support. Place your mat with one end against the wall. When you come into the pose, make sure your shoulders and back of your head are on the mat, and your legs are extended up the wall.
By incorporating these modifications and props, you can adjust the Shoulderstand pose to suit your level of flexibility and body type. Remember to listen to your body, and don’t push too hard. With regular practice, you will improve your strength and flexibility, and reap the benefits of this powerful inversion pose.
Shoulderstand Pose Variations
Once you’ve mastered the basic Shoulderstand pose, you may want to explore different variations to challenge your body and deepen your practice. These variations can also help you target specific areas of the body and bring new benefits to your yoga routine. Here are some Shoulderstand pose variations to try:
In this variation, supported shoulderstand pose, you can use a prop, such as a folded blanket, to support your shoulders and neck, allowing you to hold the pose for a longer time and experience a deeper stretch. Place the prop under your shoulders and keep your neck aligned with your spine. You can also place your hands on your lower back for support.
If you’re not ready for the full Shoulderstand pose, you can try the Half Shoulderstand variation. In this variation, you only lift one leg at a time, keeping the other foot on the ground. This modification can help you build strength and prepare your body for the full pose.
The Lotus Shoulderstand variation adds an extra challenge to the pose by incorporating the Lotus position. Begin in a seated Lotus position, then lift your legs up into Shoulderstand, keeping your feet crossed. This variation requires a high level of flexibility and balance.
The Chin Stand variation takes the Shoulderstand pose to the next level by bringing your chin to your chest, creating a deeper stretch for your upper back and neck. This variation requires a lot of core strength and balance, so it’s essential to practice with caution and under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.
The Plow Pose is a common variation of the Shoulderstand pose, where you bring your legs over your head and toward the ground, stretching the hamstrings and lower back. To perform this variation, move your legs behind your head and place your feet on the ground, keeping your hands on your lower back for support.
Shoulderstand with Eagle Legs
This variation involves crossing your legs in an Eagle position while in Shoulderstand. The Eagle Legs variation can help improve balance and flexibility while also targeting the hips and thighs. Cross your legs at the thighs, then lift your legs up into Shoulderstand.
As we conclude our guide on the Shoulderstand pose, it’s essential to remember that this asana offers a range of benefits for us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
By practicing this pose regularly and incorporating variations and modifications, we can experience the full potential of Salamba Sarvangasana. However, it’s crucial to listen to your body throughout the practice and consult with a qualified yoga instructor if you have any concerns or questions.
Continue to explore and challenge yourself with this pose, and enjoy the physical and mental rewards that come with it!
Benny Martica, a certified Hatha Yoga teacher based in Argentina, is a dedicated and passionate advocate of yoga’s transformative power. With a deep commitment to mindfulness and holistic wellness, she empowers her students to find balance and well-being through the practice of yoga. . Her mission is to inspire others on their path to personal growth and self-discovery.