Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
1) Lie in supine position on a folded blanket.Check that the head and spine are aligned and that the legs are straight with the feet together.Place the hands beside the body with the palms facing down.Relax the entire body and mind.
2) Contract the abdominal muscles and, with the support of the arms, slowly raise the legs to the vertical position, keeping them straight.When the legs are vertical, press the arms and hands down on the floor. Slowly and smoothly roll the buttocks and spine off the floor, raising the trunk to a vertical position.
3) Turn the palms of the hands upward, bend the elbows and place the hands behind the ribcage, slightly away from the spine, to support the back. The elbows should be about shoulder width apart.
4) Gently push the chest forward so that it presses firmly against the chin.
5) In the final position, the legs are vertical, together and in a straight line with the trunk. 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 the feet are relaxed.Close the eyes.
6 Relax the whole body in the final pose for as long as is comfortable.
7) To return to the starting position, bring the legs forward until the feet are above and behind the back of the head. Keep the legs straight.Slowly release the position of the hands and place the arms on the floor beside the body with the palms down. Gradually lower each vertebrae of the spine to the floor, followed by the buttocks, so that the legs resume their initial vertical position.Lower the legs to the floor slowly, keeping the knees straight.Perform this action without using the arms for support. The whole movement should combine balance with control so that the body contacts the floor slowly and gently.Relax in shavasana until the respiration and heartbeat return to normal.
Inhale in the starting position.Retain the breath inside while assuming the final pose. Practise slow, deep abdominal breathing in the final pose when the body is steady.Retain the breath inside while lowering the body to the floor.
1) By pressing the chest against the chin this asana stimulates the thyroid gland, balancing the circulatory, digestive, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.
2) It improves blood flow to the brain, it also tranquillises the mind, relieves mental and emotional stress, fear and headaches, and helps clear psychological disturbances.
3) The thymus gland is also stimulated, boosting the immune system. Its influence on the parathyroid glands ensures normal development and regeneration of the bones, preventing premature calcification.
4) Abdominal breathing is induced, improving the exchange of air in the body, relieving stress and massaging the abdominal organs.
5) Sarvangasana releases the normal gravitational pressure from the anal muscles, relieving haemorrhoids.
6) Flexibility of the neck & upper back is improved and the nerves passing through the neck to the brain are toned.
7) Sarvangasana is used in yoga therapy for the treatment of asthma, diabetes, colitis, thyroid disorders, impotence.
This asana should not be practised by people suffering from enlarged thyroid, liver or spleen, chronic nasal catarrh, cervical spondylitis, slipped disc, high blood pressure or other heart ailments, weak blood vessels in the eyes, thrombosis or impure blood.
It should be avoided during menstruation and advanced stages of pregnancy