Halasana (Plough Pose)

Halasana (Plough Pose)


In Sanskrit “Hala” means “plough”, “Asana” means “Pose”.  The English name of this asana is “Plough Pose”.

Position : Supine

Type : Inversion

Spiritual Awareness : Vishuddhi chakra
Physical Awareness : Neck, thyroid, shoulders, hamstring, lower back

Dosha Suitability : Kapha

Introducery Asanas : Sarvangasana, Setu Bandha Asana

Procedure:

  1. Ideally this asana should be performed immediately in conjuction with Sarvasana. Moving from Sarvangasana to Halasana, taking the asana when the legs and torso are erect and in a straight line. Bring the feet slightly over the head for balance, remove the arms from behind the back and place them on the floor, arms straight, and palms down. Relax the body and slowly lower the legs over the head, keeping them straight and together until the toes touch the floor. Do not force the toes to touch the floor. Follow how to release the pose as described below.
  2. Taking the asana from shavasana: Lie flat on your back with the legs and feet together in a straight line. Hands and arms close to the body, palms down. Relax your whole body. Eyes are closed Inhale, contract the abdominal muscles slowly raise the legs to vertical position, keeping them straight and together. In an easy, contionous motion, engage your core muscles, press down on the arms and hands, and lift of the buttocks, lifting the spine bring the legs up and over the head. Lower the legs over the head, bringing the toes to touch the floor behind the head without straining. Do not force the toes to touch the floor.
  3. Hands remain palm facing down throughout, alternatively you can support the back or place them on the floor. Chin remains pressing against the chest in chin lock.
  4. To return to the starting position, gently place your arms and hands on the floor, close to place them on the floor. Chin remains pressing against the chest in chin lock.
  5. Exhale, slowly, lower the spine, vertebra by vertebra to the floor, followed by your buttocks. Do not lift your head.
  6. Once buttocks has reaches the floor, lower the legs keeping them straight.
  7. Perform this action without using support of the arms. The whole movement should combine balance with control of back and abdominal muscles.
  8. Relax in Shavasana.

Follow-up Poses:

  1. Ushtrasana
  2. Matsyasana
  3. Supta Vajrasana

Spotlight effects:  Abdomen, back of the neck, thyroid.

Physical Benefits: 

  1. Improves the tone and strength of the back muscles as the back is folded, as well as the leg muscles and abdominal muscles. It also removes the rigidity  of the muscles.
  2. Improves the working of the spinal nerves, putting pressure on the nerves in the neck region which are predominantly sympathetic.
  3. Improves the function of the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands. All of the other endocrine glands are regulated by these main glands and so the overall function of the endocrine system is improved. This results in the improved functioning of all the systems of the body.
  4. Gives a complete stretch to the spine which increases its elasticity and overall  functioning.
  5. Stretches the shoulders.
  6. Activates digestion and helps with constipation, improves the efficiency of all the abdominal organs such as the spllen, pancreas, liver and kidneys. The breathing movements of the diaphragm help to massage the abdominal organs.
  7. Activates the thyroid gland and thymus gland stimulataing metabolism and immunity.
  8. Calms the mind and reduces stress.
  9. Can induce states of Pratyahara.

Therapeutic Benefits:

  1. Calms the brain.
  2. Stimualtes the abdominal organs and the thyroid gland.
  3. Stretches the shoulders and spine.
  4. Improves liver and kidneys functions.
  5. Improves immune system.

Precautions and Contraindications:

  1. Diarrhea.
  2. Helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
  3. Reduces stress and fatigue.
  4. Therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis.
  5. Relieves constipation.
  6. High blood pressure.
  7. Slipped disc.
  8. Menstruation.
  9. Neck injury.
67. Padma Sarvangasana (Lotus Shoulders Stand)

Padma Sarvangasana (Lotus Shoulders Stand)

6In Sanskrit “Padma” means “Lotus”, “Sarva” means “All of every”, “Anga” means “Limb”.  The English name of this asana is “Lotus Shoulder Stand”.

Position : Supine

Type : Inversion

Spiritual Awareness : Vishuddhi chakra
Physical Awareness : Neck, legs, shoulders, spine, breath.

Dosha Suitability : Pita, Kapha

Introducery Asanas : Vipareeta Karani Asana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Supta Virasana

Procedure:

  1. Lie on the back.
  2. Come into Sarvangasana and support the back with the hands.
  3. Bring the legs into Padmasana and hold this position for approximately 1 minute.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Variation:

  1. While in the final position, turn the pelvis and the legs to the right and support the right buttock on the right hand. Hold this position for approximately 1 minute.
  2. Then turn the pelvis and the legs to the left and support the left buttocks on the left hand.
  3. Also hold this position for approximately  1 minute.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Follow-up Asana:

  1. Halasana
  2. Matsyasana

Spotlight effects:  

Neck, shoulders, spine, legs, and breath.

Physical Benefits: 

Apart from the benefits of Sarvangasana, this asana gives an additional stretch and massage to the pelvic region and internal organs.

Therapeutic Benefits:

Remains the same as that of Sarvangasana; however free drainage of blood from the legs is impeded. Therefore, it is not effective in the treatment of piles or varicose veins.

Precautions and Contraindications:

Same as that of Sarvangasana and this asana should not be practiced with a hyperactive thyroid or high blood pressure.

INVERTED POSTURES

INVERTED POSTURES


66. Sarvangasana (Shoulders Stand)

In Sanskrit “Sarva” means “All of every”, “Anga” means “Limb”, “Asana” means “Pose”.  The English name of this asana is “All limbs pose”. However this pose is commonly referred to as “Shoulder Stand”.

Position : Supine

Type : Inversion

Spiritual Awareness : Vishuddhi chakra
Physical Awareness : Neck, legs, shoulders, spine, breath.

Dosha Suitability : Pita, Kapha

Introducery Asanas : Vipareeta Karani Asana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Supta Virasana

Procedure:

  1. Lie flat on your back with legs and feet together in a straight line. Hands and norms close to the body, palms down. (Use a folded blanket necessary.)
  2. Relax your whole body. Eyes are closed.
  3. Inhale, contract the abdominal muscles slowly raise the legs to a vertical position keeping them straight and together.
  4. Press down on the arms and hands, and slowly raise the buttocks and the spine off the floor, raising the torso to a vertical position.
  5. Turn the palms of the hands upwards, bend the elbows and place the hands behind the ribcage, slightly away from the spine to support the back. Elbows should be shoulder width apart.
  6. Gently push the chest forward so that it presses firmly against the chin.
  7. In the final position, the legs are vertical, together and in a straight line with the torso. The body is supported by the shoulders, nape of the neck and back of the head. The arms provide stability, the chest rests against the chin, and feet are relaxed.
  8. Eyes are closed, face and body are relaxed. Remain in this position for as long as possible up to 5 minutes.
  9. To return to starting position bring the legs behind the head so that the feet are above the head, bring the legs straight, gently palce your arms and hands on the floor, close to the body, palms down.
  10. Exhale, slowly, lower the spine, vertebra by vertebra to the floor, followed by your buttocks. Do not lift your head.
  11. Once buttocks have reached the floor, lower the legs keeping them straight.
  12. Perform this action without using support of the arms. The whole movement should combine balance with control of back and abdominal muscles.
  13. Relax in Shavasana.

Follow-up Asana:

  1. Halasana
  2. Matsyasana

Spotlight effects:  

Neck, shoulders, spine, and breath.

Physical Benefits: 

  1. Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands and normalizes their functions.
  2. Strengthens the arms and shoulders and keeps the spine flexible.
  3. Stimulates the prostate gland.
  4. Stimulates the abdominal organs.
  5. Stretches the shoulders and neck.
  6. Tones the legs and buttocks.
  7. Nourishes brain with more blood.
  8. Stretches brain with more blood.
  9. Calms the brain.

Therapeutic Benefits:

  1. Relieves stress and mild depression.
  2. Improves digestion.
  3. Brings relief from constipation and varicose veins.
  4. Helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
  5. Reduces fatigue and alleviates insomnia.
  6. Therapeutic for asthma, infertility and sinusitis.

Precautions and Contraindications:

  1. Avoid if suffering from enlarged thyroid, liver, or spleen.
  2. Cervical spondylitis.
  3. Slipped disc.
  4. Heart ailments.
  5. Weak blood vessels in the eyes.
  6. Advanced stages of pregnancy.
  7. Heavy menstruation.