Home 9 Yoga Poses 9 Shoulderstand pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Shoulderstand pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)

The Story Behind the Name:

Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) (sah-LOM-bah shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-nuh), comes from five words:

  • “Sa” — meaning “with”
  • “Alamba” — meaning “support”
  • “Sarva” — meaning “all”
  • “Anga” — meaning “limb”
  • “Asana” — meaning “pose”

Shoulderstand / Salamba Sarvangasana has been called the “Queen” or “Mother” of all yoga postures (“asanas” in Sanskrit) and it is an inverted yoga pose that stretches the back of the neck while strengthening the spine and core muscles.

Shoulderstand / Salamba Sarvangasana can promote healthy, refreshing blood flow to the brain and heart after completing other poses that require the head, neck and heart to remain upright.

Shoulderstand / Salamba Sarvangasana is mostly practiced near the end of yoga classes for its calming effects before Savasana. 

Shoulderstand / Salamba Sarvangasana is considered a “full body” or “all limbs” pose because of it’s amazing list of benefits that reach from head to toe.

Difficulty Level: 

  • Intermediate

Drishti point: 

  • Foot/Navel

Technical details and how to start: 

  • Lie on your back with your head is resting on the mat. Arms are next to your body and the palms are down.
  • Inhale and push your lower back into the floor and lift your legs up over your head at 45 degrees into half shoulder stand. 
  • Bend your elbows and place your palms on your hips for support.
  • If you want to stretch your legs up towards the ceiling into full shoulder stand.
  • Draw your elbows in towards each other, and walk your hands towards your ribs. Open your chest and draw your shoulder blades in.
  • Legs straight and draw your thighs towards each other and keep most of weight in your upper back and arms.
  • Relax your face and throat. Gaze point is at the foot or at the navel. You can start by staying in this pose between 7 and 12 breaths.
  • To come out, lower your legs towards the floor to about a 45-degree angle. Then slowly and carefully roll your spine back to the floor (with knees bent if you prefer).

Health Benefits:

  • Blood circulatory system, respiratory system and digestive system will be vivified.
  • Help sexual disorders.
  • Rectifies disorders in ears, nose and throat.
  • Help to stop hair loss and premature graying of hair.
  • Kidney disorders are cured and urinary bladder is also made to function properly.
  • Regular practice of this yoga pose brightens the eye sight, diminishes dimness in hearing and improves the power of smelling in nose.
  • It purifies blood.
  • Re-freshens skins and eased wrinkles in face.

Beginner’s tips

  • Use the props if you are beginner (use folded blankets for extra shoulder support, place a folded, firm blanketbeneath your shoulders before coming into the pose, your head and neck should be off the blanket.) This extra support can also help prevent neck injury.
  • Or practise it under the supervision of a teacher.

Safety Precautions

  • Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, detached retina, recent dental bone grafts, or another condition where you should not allow your head to be lower than your heart.
  • Avoid this pose if you have a neck injury or condition.
  • Do not turn your neck during the pose.
  • If in doubt check with your health practitioner before you start doing it.

Please Note:

People who decide to start practising Yoga and who are suffering from any cardiac problem, asthma, back pain, high blood pressure, neck, shoulder or spine injury or any other health related issue, should consult a doctor before starting any yogic activities and eliminate the positions that are not suitable for their particular case. Also, some particular asanas such as inversion asanas are not recommended for female practitioners who are menstruating.

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