SUPPORTED SHOULDERSTAND (Salamba Sarvangasana)

   

Contra-indications:  Menstruation, pregnancy, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, hiatal hernia, neck injury, shoulder or wrist injury, headaches, glaucoma or other disturbances of the head area.


Lie on the back with the arms at the sides, palms facing downwards, and bring the knees towards the chest. On exhalation, engage the abdominal muscles, press down with arms and palms, lift the buttocks and straighten the legs upward and backward, reaching them behind the head. Tuck the hands into the lower back and slide them further down towards the ribcage. Try straightening up by working the elbows closer together and the hands further down the back toward the shoulder blades. If possible, press the hips forwards until they are above the shoulders, and bring the feet back so that they come more in line with the hips. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and press your inner thighs together. Maintain a deep and smooth breath.
If thoracic spine is rounded and the elbows are splayed apart, don't hold the pose longer than 10 breaths. If thoracic spine is straight and the elbows are close to each other, hold up to 2 minutes. If your body forms a straight line from the shoulders to the toes, slowly build up the length to 5 minutes.

To come out of the pose lower legs over the head and roll out slowly placing the hands on the ground beside you, or continue to support the spine with the hands on the back. Roll the spine down, vertebra by vertebra, until the whole spine is resting on the ground. Allow the head to come off the floor to lessen the pressure on the back if needed, then exhale as you slowly lower your bent legs.


Do not turn the head, talk, cough, swallow or clear the throat while in the pose. Do not strain the neck - it should maintain its natural arch and the weight of the body should rest on the shoulders and elbows.


Do keep the elbows drawn tightly together, let the chest come toward the chin, and press up through the feet as you lengthen the entire body.


What if... I feel pressure on my neck? To eliminate extra pressure on the back of the neck place a folded blanket (3-5 cm thick) under the shoulders, upper back and elbows, so that when you lie on it, it comes to the top edge of your shoulders.


Benefits: Provides an inverted gravitational pull, which suspends and relaxes all internal organs. Stimulates the thymus, thyroid, parathyroid and sex glands. Revitalizes the ears, eyes and tonsils, preventing and relieving various throat and nose ailments. Gives a healthy stretch to the neck and upper spine muscles strengthening the muscles of the back, shoulders, arms and abdomen. Enriches blood flow to the brain, vitalizes the nerves, tranquillizes the mind, relieving mental and emotional stress. Invigorates and rejuvenates whole body stimulating and calming in equal measure. It's beneficial for thyroid disorders, asthma, diabetes, colitis, poor circulation, constipation, indigestion, varicose veins, female disorders and for men with seminal weakness and reduced virility.

 
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