April Asana of the Month: Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. Contributed by Asana Girl (a.k.a. Danielle Polen)

Sarvangasana is known as the “Mother” or “Queen” of asanas, as it soothes and nourishes the entire body. B.K.S. Iyengar, in his Light on Yoga, writes that “[i]t is no overstatement to say that if a person regularly practices Sarvangasana, he will feel new vigor and strength, and will be happy and confident. New life will flow into him, his mind will be at peace, and he will feel the joy of life. After a long illness, the practice of this asana…brings back lost vitality.”

Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand):
Sa = with
Alamba = suport
Sarva = all
Anga = limb

Benefits [cited in yogajournal.com]:

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the thyroid and prostate glands and abdominal organs
  • Stretches the shoulders and neck
  • Tones the legs and buttocks
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces fatigue and alleviates insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, infertility, and sinusitis

Cautions/Contraindications:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstruation
  • Neck Injury
  • Pregnancy [According to Yoga Journal, “if you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don’t take up the practice of Sarvangasana after you become pregnant.”] 

Preparatory Poses: 

  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
  • Halasana (Plow Pose)
  • Virasana (Hero’s Pose) 

Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:
Salt-N-Pepa’s cover of Diana Ross’s “Upside Down.”

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