"Sarva" means whole, "Anga" means body parts, and "Asana" means posture that is a complete body posture. Sarvangasana is nicknamed as queen of all the asana, commonly known in English as Shoulder stand.
Sarvangasana gently massages the thyroid and parathyroid glands (found in the neck region) by its firm chin-lock. This gentler massage increases the fresh blood circulation to these glands, thus this gland gets stimulated and starts working to its full efficacy. Thyroid and parathyroid glands are responsible for protein, fat, carbohydrate metabolism and vitamin metabolism. This in-turn is affecting, how the human cells can use energetic compounds. The thyroid also regulates other glands that produce other important hormones. This is a mysterious yoga, which gives wonderful benefits.
How do you do Sarvangasana?
- Spread a thick blanket on the floor; lie flat on the back keeping the legs stretched out, tightened at the knees. Place the hands close to the body palms downwards. Take a few deep breaths.
- Exhale, bend the knees and lift the legs towards the stomach until the thighs press it. Take two breaths.
- Lift the hips from the floor with an exhalation, place the hands on the hip or back, and support it by bending the arms at the elbows. Take two breaths.
- Exhale; lift up the trunk perpendicularly by the support of the hands until the chest touches the chin.
- Only back of the head, neck, shoulders and arms up to the elbows should rest on the floor. Place the hands in the middle of the spine. Take two breaths.
- Exhale, stretch, and straighten the legs with the toes pointing up.
- You can stay in this position for five minutes with normal breathing.
- Exhale, gradually release the hands and slide down, lie flat and relax.
- If you cannot do this asana without a support, then use a stool and do the pose.
- You are really standing on your shoulders with the elbow support. Concentrate on your Thyroid gland, which lies on the front lower part of the neck.
Women should not do any inverted poses during menstruation as it reverses the blood flow. People suffering from blood pressure, glaucoma, hernias, cardiovascular disease, cervical spondylitis, thrombosis, arteriosclerosis, and kidney problems should not practice headstand. Those suffering from neck injuries should perform this exercise after consulting and under supervision of a yoga teacher.
If you are having high or low blood pressure, then it is not advisable to start with, Sirsasana or Sarvangasana, instead start with Halasana. People with hypertension should not attempt Sarvangasana unless they do Halasana first and can stay in it for not less than 3 minutes.
Benefits of Sarvangasana
This yoga works from head to toe and benefits all parts of the body. It energizes, stretches ligaments, muscles in the cervical region, stimulates circulation, rejuvenates your back, stimulates the abdominal organs, relieves constipation and refreshes the mind.
- Thinking power increases and thoughts become clearer. It is best for those whose brain tired quickly.
- It provides required blood supply to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain. Proper functioning of these two glands is necessary for growth, health and vitality.
- Makes you calm, nourishes the nervous system and alleviates insomnia. It helps people suffering from loss of sleep, memory and vitality.
- The lungs gain the power to withstand any climate and standup to any work. It relieves colds, coughs, tonsillitis, halitosis (foul breath) and palpitations.
- Beneficial to the sex glands of both sexes, women with misplacement of the uterus, men with prostate problems, and slow down age degeneration.
- In the inverted position, the internal organs are experiencing the reversal of the gravity. This pose relaxes and nourishes the organs by the improving blood circulation.
- Shoulder stand relieves gastro-intestinal disorders, dyspepsia, constipation, displaced uterus, hernia and varicose veins.
- It improves blood circulation to the face (softening wrinkles), scalp (nourish root hairs, prevent hair loss & graying), spine, brain (improved mental vigor, eases tension, and relieve stress), and pelvic area (useful for menstrual cramps, hemorrhoids and urinary disorders).
- Effective for asthmatic patients; this pose puts pressure on the sternum against the chin, which inhibits breathing from the top of the lungs (helps attain proper breathing).
- This asana provides fresh blood supply and massage the thyroid and parathyroid glands by gentle compression. Thyroid glands are responsible for metabolism, so Sarvangasana regulates body weight by normalizing both over weight and underweight conditions.
- This asana strengthens bones, because of the parathyroid gland gets fresh circulation, which is responsible for calcium and phosphorus metabolism. It strengthens your spine, neck and shoulders.
- This reduces the incidence of hot flashes and night sweats.
- It tones the thymus gland responsible for immunity and thus there is a boost in your immunity.
- Sarvangasana is considering as the queen (or mother) of asana; mother always try harmonizing and bring happiness to the home. Similarly, this asana harmonizes and provides happiness to the human system.
- It allows healthy blood circulation to the neck and chest areas. Thus, persons suffering from breathlessness, palpitation, asthma, bronchitis and throat ailments get relief.
- The chin-lock regulates the blood supply to the head; the nerves are soothed and headaches (even chronic ones disappear).
- Due to the soothing effect on the nerves, sufferers of hypertension, irritation, shortness of temper, nervous breakdown and insomnia are relieved.
- The change in bodily gravity helps the abdominal organs; the bowels moves freely and constipation vanishes. Thus, the system is free from toxins and feels full of energy.
- This asana helps relieve urinary disorders, uterine displacement, menstrual trouble, piles and hernia.
- It also helps to relieve epilepsy, low vitality and anemia.
- Regular practice of this asana brings you new vigor and strength, happy and confident, peace and joy.
- After a long illness, practicing this asana regularly twice a day brings back lost vitality.
- This asana activates the abdominal organs and relieves people suffering from the stomach, intestinal ulcers, severe pains in the abdomen and colitis.