Plough Pose

7 Dec

plough pose

Intention

Is to create a strong gentle inverted asana in the shape of a plough that Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands which influence metabolism, Growth and vital immune response and introverts the mind

Benefits

  • The entire spine and the muscles associated with it are stretched and tension released
  • The muscles of the upper and lower back are stretched and tension released
  • Promotes circulation of blood and lymph
  • Thyroid and Parathyroid glands are compressed creating tissue pumps
  • Thyroid and Parathyroid glands are stimulated influencing metabolism
  • Calms the CNS central nervous system
  • Believed beneficial for bronchitis and Asthma
  • Calms the mind relieving stress and anxiety
  • Believed to improve digestion and relieve constipation
  • Believed to stimulate functions of the kidneys, liver, spleen and pancreas
  • Believed to beneficial for diabetes

Contraindications

  • Injury, inflammation or arthritis of the entire spine especially the cervical spine and neck
  • A prominent cervical C7 at the base of the neck
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Glaucoma or detached retina
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • History of stroke

Teaching technique

  1. Lie supine on the mat with the legs together and the arms by the sides with the palms of the hands facing towards the floor
  2. Draw the scapulas towards the spine opening the chest and creating room for the neck with the head facing forward towards the sternum
  3. Activate Mulabandha to support and stabilize the pelvis with the legs and the lumbar spine and lower back and activate the obliques, transverse and rectus abdominals so that they wrap around the inner Mulabandha core creating greater strength and stability
  4. Bend the knees and lift the pelvis up towards the ceiling until the torso is in a vertical position and the legs over the head until the toes of the feet make contact with the floor
  5. Release Mulabandha and the outer abdominal muscles to soften the lower torso and push through the inner heels of the feet to dorsi-flex the feet which pivot on the toes on the floor
  6. Interlock the fingers of the hands and draw the elbows towards each other while pushing the little fingers of the hands into the floor to create stability then roll up onto the tops of the shoulders
  7. If you have the required flexibility the tops of the feet can be placed on the floor while you relax comfortably in this asana
  8. Release Halasana by bending the knees towards the forehead, releasing the fingers and separating the hands which are returned to their original palm to the floor position so that the arms can be used as a lever to support the spine, pelvis and legs as they are gently under control rolled back onto the floor

Modifications

  • Support the shoulders on blankets to create more space for the neck and reduce the angle of flexion
  • Strap the upper arms together just above the elbow to prevent the arms from moving apart
  • A bolster or block can be place under the feet if they are unable to reach the floor
  • Practice a supported version of Halasana using a chair to support the shins parallel to the floor
  • Practice Halasana with the soles of the feet placed against the wall, walking the feet down the wall as the body relaxes

Common misalignments

  • The head is not in vertical alignment with the torso, chin to sternum, navel and pubic bone
  • The scapulas are released and move away from the spine causing the chest to collapse
  • When the scapulas move Halasana is not supported on the top of the shoulders
  • The torso rolls back and is supported by the posterior shoulder
  • The torso is not vertical from the floor
  • The pelvis is tilted or twisted
  • One buttock appears to be higher than the other
  • The legs are not symmetrical and the inner ankle bones are not together
  • The knees are bent
  • The feet are not symmetrical because the feet are twisted, collapsed or the outer blades of the feet are protruding
  • The arms are symmetrically aligned behind the back
  • The hands are not clasped strongly together and one wrist is bent

Counter pose

Setu Bandah Sarvangasana to release any tension created in the anterior spine and gently stretch and open the spine in the opposite direction.

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