|Yoga Asana Guide|
Shoulderstand - Sarvangasana
The Shoulderstand is
said to benefits all parts of the body, hence its Sanskrit name
which comes from
'Sarvanga' meaning 'all parts'.
Although most people have the impression that they are bending backwards, Shoulderstand is actually a
forward bending exercise.
1. Lying flat on the back, bring the feet
together, arms next to the body.
2. Keeping the head and neck on the ground, inhale as you lift both legs until they are at a right angle to your body.
3. Place the hands onto the hips. Gently push
the body up by walking the hands down the
back until you are resting on the shoulders.
Try to hold as close as possible to your
4. Breathe deeply in this position. Begin by
holding this position for at least 30 seconds,
slowly increasing the time to 3 minutes.
Students should try to straighten the back as
much as possible. Readjust the body by
bringing the hands closer to the shoulders
and the elbows little closer to each other.
5. Beginners should come out of the position
by lowering the feet to a 45 degree angle
over the head. Placing the hands flat on the
floor behind the back. Keeping the head on
the ground, gradually unroll the body. Come
down as slowly as possible, vertebra by
vertebra. When the body is completely on
the ground, relax in Savasana (corpse pose).
• The main benefit of the Shoulderstand is that it strengthens and balances thyroid function. One of the
most important glands in the endocrine system, the thyroid supervises the other glands. The thyroid is a
butterfly-shaped gland located just below the larynx; it regulates the body's metabolism and heat
production, promotes the growth and development of the body, and controls the heart rate. Many weight
(both under and over) problems are the result of a poorly functioning thyroid. Regular practice of the
Shoulderstand can help to overcome these.
• As the flow of blood to the head is restricted, headaches and many inflammatory problems can be
• The Shoulderstand centralizes the blood supply in the spinal column, as well as stretching it. This aids in
keeping the spine strong and elastic.
• As most of the body is inverted, venous blood cannot stagnate in the lower limbs. The Shoulderstand
encourages the blood to recirculate. Thus it is a strong tonic for people who must stand on their feet all day
and those with a tendency towards varicose veins.
• The Shoulderstand encourages deep abdominal breathing as it limits the use of the top portion of the
lungs. A gentle massage is given to the heart and lung region.
• Indigestion, constipation and stomach troubles are relieved. One is able to eliminate toxins more rapidly
from the system.
• The throat and thoracic regions are strengthened.
• The cervical region is stretched as well as the shoulder muscles.
• Shoulderstand relieves mental sluggishness and lethargy.
• It brings independence and self-control.
• It helps to cure insomnia and depression.
• Students with neck injuries / problems should consult their physician before attempting this posture.