Jordan Feeley's Yoga Blog of Salamba Sarvagasana

Jordan Feeley's Yoga Blog of Salamba Sarvagasana
ISPE- Yoga 12:30 A, C, E

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Asana: Salamba Sarvangasana

Salamba Sarvangasana or (ShoulderStand) is a beneficial stretch for the whole body. Shoulder Stand yoga asana or Salamba Sarvangasana gets it's name Sarvangasana from the sankrist word "sarva", meaning "all-parts". This probably refers to all the parts of the body exercising and benefiting from this asana. The meaning of Salamba, the sankrist word translates to "with support" so all together the sankrist asana Salamba Sarvangasana most accurately translates to "With Support of all-parts (of the body)"

The Critical Elements of Salamba Sarvangasana

For this pose you want to maybe stretch your shoulders, some ways I stretched was your left arm over your right arm, twisting. Or you could put one arm over your shoulder and the other around the back to touch or you can use a belt or strap to get closer.


1. To support your back and neck you may use a few blankets under your back. Stagger the blankets and have your shoulders end right at the edge of the blanket so your neck and cervical spine is off the blanket.I used the wall for my modification so the blanket was also about touching the wall, depending on how long it is.

2. With support of the wall I put my butt right against the wall to lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the wall. Relax in the position, and exhale to get comfortable. Make sure your spine is straight with your neck and your head lying on the ground. It is important not to move your neck in this position. Your arms can lay on the side of your body.

3. With the next exhale, begin to lift your hips up, with your arms and elbow right at the side pushing into the mat. With more space under your hips you can start walking the shoulders or elbows in by just rocking back and forth. You can have your hands supporting your hips and keep walking your shoulders in the get more up and straight. This whole time keep your feet firmly on the wall, with your knees bent and your shin straight.

4. By this time your torso should be straight up with your feet on the wall and your neck just looking up. This is the modified supported shoulder stand I attempted. If you wish to continue to full posture from this, be comfortable and focused in this pose and push your elbow into the mat for support while just lifting your feet off the wall and straight up, one at a time. You can also point the heels of your feet up to stretch more of the spine, and give more height to your legs.

5. To keep balance it is best to keep your legs from wobbling and just straight with your hips. If your shoulders blades are correctly pushed together under your back and support from your hands and elbow, this pose should keep your straight up with balance, deep breathing, and focus. In this position the blood flow is going to your head causing a more open mind. You can relax your face and soften the tongue and throat. The neck should have no tension.

6. A beginner can usually hold this for about 30 seconds so to come down, gently bend the knees letting the thighs come down to the chest. You can relax your abdominal muscles and release your shoulders and arms back down to the mat. Keeping your head on the ground then just turn to let your knees fall back to the ground. Relax on the ground for a few seconds or take any added stretches you need. You successfully completed Salamba Sarvangasana!

Physical and Therapeutic Benefits

Salamba Sarvangasana is often called the Queen of Yoga Poses because its a very beneficial yoga pose. As for physical benefits from stretching or working that specific muscle are that you strengthen buttock or legs from trying to squeeze into the center of your body for balance. Many time it says that one of the best benefits is that this exercise can help the better functioning of your thyroid. Some people who are overweight may have improper functioning of the thyroid. This position helps regulate your metabolism, which is very important for people who are looking to loose weight. When you are in the position you really depend on balance and push into the mid line of your body and rely of your spine to be straight. This posture stretches the spine and helps strengthen keeping it strong and elastic. While trying to keep balance you focus on your deep breathing to keep you steady, normal deep breathing is beneficial to get the heart rate under control and massages the heart and lung regions.

When your head is lower than your heart, the heart draws more oxygenated blood to the brain, opening up the heart and lungs to create more space. In that way your brain or head feels more light or calm, relieving stress. Stretching these muscles and changing the blood flow actually helps people deal with sleeping problems, anxiety problems and even depression. All this is linked to your brain and energy, or blood flow so the position helps relieve this tension.It is also highly therapeutic for asthma, sinusitis, and infertility problems.

Mental Awareness

I tried the shoulder stand multiple times, each time trying longer to stay balanced and centered and keep my legs and torso straight up. The first few times I could only keep it for a few seconds and keep my legs from wobbling. With help starting out from the wall and some help and I got to keep it longer focusing on my legs and breathing. Keeping my entire back straight and even pointing my toes I could feel a stretch in my back. It really helps the closer you get your shoulder blades under your back together and pushing your elbows into the mat to support the hips. Each time I tried this im glad to say I could do it longer with more balance with alot of focus on your body and deep breaths like I was breathing down to my feet. I was expecting the blood to be rushing down or something but for me I didn't exactly feel that mostly because your neck is straight and your head is on the ground so their really wasn't any discomfort. I hope to improve even more in the shoulder stand.