Shoulderstand Pose

8 Dec

shoulder stand pose

Intention

Is to create a calming, relaxing inverted pose that cools the body and reduces stress and Anxiety of the mind.

Benefits

  • Stretches and releases tension in the cervical spine and neck
  • Promotes the circulation of blood towards the heart, lungs and brain
  • Reduces excess fluid and swelling in the feet and legs
  • Creates relief for varicose veins
  • Compresses and stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands
  • Increases the circulation of blood to the thymus gland
  • Stimulates the thymus gland
  • Believed to aid digestion and reduce constipation
  • Calms the CNS central nervous system
  • Cools the body
  • Believed to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Relieves anger, frustration and irritation
  • Promotes the relief of insomnia
  • Believed that the flow of Apana Vayu is reversed

Contraindications

  • Injuries, inflammation or arthritis of the cervical spine or neck
  • A prominent cervical vertebrae C7 at the base of the neck
  • Unsupported large breasts
  • Heart disease
  • History of a stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Glaucoma or detached retina
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy

Teaching technique

  1. Lie supine on the mat with the legs together, the arms by the outer sides of the thighs and the palms of the hands facing downward on the floor
  2. Bend the knees and lift the pelvis upward placing the palms of the hands on the sacrum to provide support and balance
  3. In this position exhale and activate Mulabandha to support and stabilized the connection of the pelvis with the legs and the lumbar spine connection of S1L5 then activate the obliques internal and external, transverse and rectus abdominals to wrap them around the inner core of Mulabandha to create an extremely strong stable foundation for the legs
  4. Inhale activate Uddiyanabandha then activate the outer muscles of the ribcage intercostals, serratus anterior, pectoralis, rhomboids major, latissimus dorsi, trapezius to wrap around the inner core of Uddiyanabandha to create an extremely strong foundation for the body and the legs as they are raised into a vertical position
  5. Exhale raise the body, legs and feet towards the ceiling and draw the scapulas towards the spine, the elbows towards each other and press the palms of the hands fingers spread wide into the back of the torso with the thumbs separated towards the sides of the ribcage to create a stable foundation for Salamba Sarvangasasana
  6. Push out through the inner heels of the dorsi-flexed feet as they rise towards the ceiling, activate the quadriceps and draw the kneecaps upward then rotate the thighs slightly inward releasing the feet once the asana is completed into a planta-flexed position
  7. Check that the hips, knees, ankles and big toes are horizontally aligned to create symmetry and that the entire body is vertically aligned from the chin, sternum, navel, pubic bone to inner ankle bones
  8. Hold this pose for as long as it is relatively comfortable using thoracic horizontal breathing that does not disturb the foundation of the pose
  9. To release this pose bend the knees towards the forehead and the feet over the head towards the floor into Halasana if you are able then release the hands from the back of the torso and place the palms of the hands onto the floor in their original position
  10. Use the arms as levers on the floor to counteract the weight of the body as it is slowly under control rolled back onto the floor one vertebrae at a time until it resumes its prone position on the floor

Modifications

  • Place the number of blankets required under the shoulders to release the tension and provide enough room for the cervical spine and neck
  • A strap can be used just above the elbows to prevent them from spreading apart
  • Legs can be rested on the wall until the core strength needed to support the pelvis and legs is developed
  • Knees bent legs at right angles the soles of the feet can be pressed into the wall to provide support for this inverted pose and create vertical alignment
  • Viparita Karani as a substitute asana if Salamba Sarvangasana is too difficult or dangerous
  • Leg variation of Upavishta Konasana legs wide apart
  • Leg variation of Baddha Konasana knees bent with the soles of the feet together
  • Leg variation of Padmasana one leg downwards with the foot resting on the floor

Common misalignments

  • The shoulders are not lifted away from the floor enough so that the thoracic spine cannot move into a vertical position
  • The head is allowed to turn away from the vertical line of chin, sternum, navel and pubic bone
  • The scapulas are allowed to move away from the spine collapsing the chest and allowing the thoracic curve to exaggerate
  • The hands are allowed to slide up the back towards the buttocks losing their ability to lift and support the body in a vertical position
  • Uddiyanabandha is released, the foundation for the lower body is lost and the upper torso sags
  • Mulabandha is released and the pelvis tilts into PPT posterior pelvic tilt or APT anterior pelvis tilt
  • The pelvis is allowed to twist and lose its symmetry with the lower torso
  • The knees are hyper-extended
  • The legs are not aligned symmetrically with the inner ankle bones together
  • The torso and the legs are not vertically aligned

Counter pose

Balasana where the torso and arms are rested while the spine is gently stretched from the sacrum to the skull to release any tension created by salamba sarvanghasana.
Deep abdominal vertical breathing is used to create hydraulic pressure that flows downward from the chest diaphragm through the inner organs of the torso releasing tensions created in the previous asana

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