~ Posture #2 of the 12 basic asanas ~
Sarvangasana is an inverted pose with the body resting on the shoulders.
"Sarvangasana, the Sanskrit name for the Shoulderstand, comes from the word "sarva", meaning whole. This Asana strengthens your entire body; it gives many of the benefits of the Headstand, but here the circulation is directed to your thyroid gland instead of the head." - from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta site
* Safeties *
- It is suggested that this asana should not be practiced by people with enlarged thyroid, liver or spleen, any cervical or spinal issue, high blood pressure or other heart ailments, impure blood, thrombosis or weak blood vessels in the eyes.
- It is suggested this and all inverted asana’s not be practiced during menstruation or preganancy
STEP 1 - LEGS IN THE AIR
Before beginning the Shoulderstand, make sure that there is enough room behind you. You must be able to stretch your arms out behind your head and have at least 30 cm (1 ft) between your fingertips and any obstructions. Lie flat on your back, with your feet together. Inhale while bringing your legs up to a right angle.
STEP 2 - MOVING UP
When your legs are verticle, press the arms and hands down on the floor then slowly and smoothly roll the buttocks and spine off of the floor as you raise your trunk to a vertical position.
Turn the palms of your hands upward, bend the elbows and place the hands behind the ribcage on either side of your spine to support your back. The elbows should about shoulder width apart or closer together.
STEP 3 - IN BALANCE
Once you are up and resting on your shoulders, breathe normally or better, deeply from the abdomen, and keep your legs straight but relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds; as the pose becomes easier, increase the time to 3 minutes.
To come down, drop your feet halfway to the floor behind your head. Put your hands on the floor. Unroll your body vertebra by vertebra to the floor.
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