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The Benefits of Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand) September 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized,Yoga — xtinaortega @ 5:54 pm
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The following article was given to me by Usha Zelmer, a yoga instructor I used to practice with. Please see the comment section for a full Bibliography and further reading recommendations.

In Sanskrit sarv means “all”, anga means “body parts,” and asana means “pose” or posture. Thus, Sarvangasana is a posture that works the whole body. This pose benefits all parts of the body. It works on us from head to toe. Sarvangasana and its variations serve as an all purpose energizer, stretching ligaments and muscles of the cervical region, stimulating circulation, strengthening the back, toning the abdominal organs eliminating constipation and refreshing the mind. Some of the benefits are listed below:

1. Blood is drained away from the legs and brings relief for people suffering from varicose veins. In the inverted pose there is less pressure on the walls of the blood vessels of the legs. This enables them to contract and recover from continual strain.

2. It has beneficial effect on the sex glands of both sexes, arresting age degeneration. This pose is very beneficial to women suffering from misplacement of the uterus. In men it has a positive effect upon the prostate.

3. The internal organs and glands are all subject to pull of the gravity all day long. They hang in position as well as lean upon one another in one particular way all the time. When the body is inverted they hang and lean, as it were, upside-down. Parts of them are relieved of pressure and other parts are stimulated by different kinds of contact with other organs. In this position the internal organs, including the visceral organs, are immensely relaxed and nourished by the improved circulation  of the blood. Shoulder stand also relieves gastro-intestinal disorders, dyspepsia, constipation, displaced uterus, hernia and varicose veins.

4. Sarvangasana massages the visceral organs and strengthens the abdomen, hereby counteracting the distention (sagging) of the abdomen.

5. Sarvangasana helps drain the abdomen, ridding it of blood stases in the viscera, and eliminates, at least temporarily, congestion in the lower abdomen. Congestion in the pelvic organs and premenstrual symptoms are alleviated.

6. (This pose) improves circulation to the spine, brain, pelvic area and is beneficial for menstrual cramps, hemorrhoids and urinary disorders.

7. (This pose) brings a plentiful supply of blood to the face, especially the forehead, where the skin at once becomes pink. It irrigates the brain, stimulating mental vigor, nourishing the skin and facial tissues, preventing, dispelling, and softening wrinkles.

8. Sarvangasana also increases the blood supply to the scalp and nourishes the root of the hair, thus preventing the loss of hair and greying of hair.

9. Sarvangasana is beneficial to the asthmatics. In this pose the pressure on the sternum against the chin inhibits breathing from the top of the lungs.

10. In this pose the blood flow soon concentrates at the location of the thyroid gland and the parathyroids. These glands are massaged and stimulated by the increased circulation of blood through it. Sarvangasana regulates body weight, normalizing both overweight and underweight conditions. Thyroid hormones are responsible for the metabolism. The parathyroid secretions regulate calcium and phosphorous metabolism.

11. The pull of gravity constantly tugs at the veins, arteries and the organs. In inverted poses all the systems of the body are free from usual gravitational forces. The inverted poses counteract the aging effects of gravity and rejuvenate the whole system.

12. Gravitational force is continually weighing us down and most of the weight gets settled downwards. In inverted poses the body weight is redistributed and normalized.

13. This pose improves the complexion and the overall condition of the skin of the face, improves the health of the salivary glands, improves the functioning of the eyes and ears, and actually stimulates and refreshes the brain.

14. The yogis also maintain the hardening of the arteries of the brain can be prevented through the years by the practice of the shoulder stand.

15. The inverted poses reduce the incidence and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats.

16. Sarvangasana cleanses ans boosts the immune system. The thymus gland is responsible for this.

17. Ancient yogis claim that inverted poses affect the flow of prana, or life force energy. They draw the prana inward toward the vital organs toward the core of the body and away from the surface. Inverted poses calm and smooth the emotions.

18. A long stay in the pose quiets and strengthens the nervous system, an invaluable gift! The recommended time to stay in Sarvangasana is to begin with one minute and increase it slowly to 3 minutes.

As you can gather from this wonderful article, Shoulder Stand is an amazing pose with tremendous benefits to your health and overall well-being. Practicing Sarvangasana daily will positively impact your practice and your life. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go practice my shoulder stand! Have a great day!


17 Responses to “The Benefits of Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)”

  1. xtinaortega Says:

    Bibliography and Recommended Reading:

    “Yoga, Youth, and Reincarnation”
    by Jess Stern

    “Light on Yoga”
    by B.K.S. Iyengar

    “The New Yoga for People Over 50”
    by Suza Francina

    “Lilias, Yoga, and your Life”
    by Lilias Folan

    “Yoga Self-Taught”
    by Andre’ Van Lysebeth

    “Vitality, Health, and Relaxation through Yoga”
    by David Carmos

    “The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga”
    by Swami Vishnudevananda

    “Complete Hatha Yoga”
    by Kevin and Venika Kingsland

    “The Book of Internal Exercises”
    by Stephen T. Chang

  2. Savannah Says:

    Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

    • xtinaortega Says:

      Thanks, Savannah! Glad you’re enjoying it! Let me know if you ever want to submit an article or question to be answered on this blog!

  3. Ramesh Says:

    I have started practicing Sarvangasana and have found that the same has amazing beneficial effects.

  4. raj Says:

    its a beautiful asana

  5. Gorky Says:

    Sarvaang aasan is really very help full,not only it rejuvenates ur body but mind also

    It gives u some kind of confidence and helps in improving concentration. One should practice it daily u will feel some thing different in u r body.

  6. can a person having bloodpressure practise sarvangasana

    • xtinaortega Says:

      I would not practice this pose if you have high blood pressure. to modify, you can take your legs up the wall while laying on the floor. Hope that helps!

  7. Bhabani Charan Das Says:

    I have been practising Sarvangasana during the last 50 yrs(I am 80 now) helped by some other asanas. Despite this I suffer rheumatism, too much mucous, constipation etc. I think that the benefits as claimed to the practisers of Asanas are full of self praises or otherwise people will not do them at all. What people say about me that I look younger to my age.

    • xtinaortega Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I actually stopped teaching and practicing this posture due to the amount of pressure it places on the cervical vertebrae. I now have students take their legs up the wall with perhaps a block or bolster underneath the hips.

  8. Naveen mehra Says:

    Deeply impressed by this article.

  9. ap.ravichandran Says:

    since doing this asana i am feeling sleepy and fall asleep around 11 am ; sleep well for 1 hour ; is there anything wrong?

    • xtinaortega Says:

      I do not recommend practicing Shoulder Stand in it’s traditional form. Instead, lie on your back near a wall, take your legs up the wall so that your body is in and “L” shape. You will get the benefits of Shoulder Stand without the compression in the cervical vertebrae (necks bones.) If you’re feeling sleepy and need a nap, take your nap but notice how you feel afterwards. If you feel refreshed then that is exactly what your body needed. If you still feel tired and sluggish, take note of your sleeping habits at night and eating habits. Your body may be telling you you need better nutrition that will give you energy instead of making you feel sleepy. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  10. Shalini Nithiyananthan Says:

    Hi, I would like to ask if is it okay to practice sarvangasana for 1 hour 5 minutes. Because i do this everyday.

  11. Very good …………………

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