Shoulderstand – Salamba Sarvangasana

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Yoga Articles

Type of pose: Inversion

Benefit: Stretches the shoulders and neck

Note: It is advisable to practice this pose using a prop (such as a folded blanket or towel) under the shoulders, as shown. This allows space for the neck to stretch without crunching and improves the alignment of the pose. Place the prop under the shoulders, with the head and neck on the floor behind it.


1. From Plow Pose – Halasana, bend the elbows and bring the hands onto the back with the fingertips facing upward.

2. Try to keep the elbows shoulder-width apart, not splayed to either side.

3. Lift the legs up off the floor toward the ceiling, either one at a time or together, if the abdominals are strong enough.

4. Once you raise the legs, don’t turn your head to the side to look around the room, since you can injure your neck. Keep your gaze upwards and the neck straight.

5. Lift up through the balls of the feet.

6. Bring the hips toward the front of the room and the feet toward the back to straighten the body.

7. Work on moving the hands down the back towards the shoulders.

The correct alignment is with the hips over the shoulders and feet over the hips. Ask the teacher or a friend to help you determine if your alignment is correct.

8. To come out, bring the feet back over the head through Plow Pose.

9. Roll out from Plow slowly.

Beginners: Try using a strap around the upper arms to keep the arms shoulder-width apart. Measure the length of the strap ahead of time and slide it onto the upper arms while in Plow Pose.

Advanced: There are many variations on this pose, including bringing the legs into a wide “V” shape, or into Baddha Konasana or Lotus Position.

Wondering whether to invert while menstruating?

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