Plow Pose is an inverted yoga posture that stretches the spine and shoulders while rejuvenating the nervous system. Because the pose calms and relaxes the nerves, brain, and heart, it is traditionally practiced near the end of a yoga class to help prepare the practitioner for Corpse Pose (Savasana) and meditation. It is named after the shape of an Indian plow (or plough), which is used to cultivate the land. In practice, the pose’s soothing and revitalizing aspects prepare the landscape of your mind, body, and spirit for deep contemplation and renewal.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. Do not practice this pose if you are currently experiencing diarrhea. Also avoid this pose if you have glaucoma or other eye problems, or a serious back or neck injury. Women who are menstruating should consult with their teacher before practicing inversions, such as Halasana. Women who are pregnant can practice Halasana if it is already a part of their regular practice; otherwise, wait at least eight weeks after giving birth before attempting this pose.
How To Do The Halasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Lie flat on your back, with your arms placed beside your body and your palms facing downwards.
- Inhale, and lift your feet off the ground using your abdominal muscles. Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle.
- Use your hands to support your hips and lift them off the floor.
- Bring your feet in an 180-degree angle, such that your toes are placed over and beyond your head.
- Make sure your back is perpendicular to the ground.
- Hold the position for a minute while focusing on your breathing. Exhale, and gently bring down your legs. Avoid jerking your legs while releasing the pose.
Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Breathe consciously throughout the pose. Continually bringing your awareness back to your breath will help relax your mind and body even further, preparing your body for a deep, renewing state of health and well-being.
- It might feel awkward getting into the pose the first few times you try it. Don’t worry about that, and take your time getting there correctly. Once you’re in the pose, you will gain all of the benefits!
- Take the pose slowly — do not swing your legs up.
- Keep your legs active and firm with straight knees. Do not squeeze your buttocks.
- Be patient. With time and practice, gravity will take over and your feet will eventually come to rest comfortably on the floor.
In this pose (and its companion, Salamba Sarvangasana) there’s a tendency to overstretch the neck by pulling the shoulders too far away from the ears. While the tops of the shoulders should push down into the support, they should be lifted slightly toward the ears to keep the back of the neck and throat soft. Open the sternum by firming the shoulder blades against the back.
Modifications & Variations
Be sure to make whatever changes you need to reduce discomfort when practicing it. Here are a few suggestions:
- For extra shoulder support, place a folded, firm blanket beneath your shoulders before coming into the pose. Your head and neck should be off the blanket.
- Those with very tight shoulders or large breasts can add more height (3-4 blankets) to feel comfortable and supported.
- Many beginners find that their toes do not yet reach the floor. If this is the case, brace a chair against a wall behind you. Then, practice the pose with your legs resting on the chair. If the chair is very comfortable and you want to go deeper, switch to resting your feet on a bolster. Gradually, your feet will come all the way to the floor.
- If you do not have a chair or bolster available, practice the pose with a wall behind you. Rest your feet along the wall for support.
Benefits Of The Halasana
- This asana massages the digestive organs, and therefore, improves digestion and regulates appetite.
- It regulates metabolism and helps in weight loss.
- It is an excellent asana for diabetic patients because it normalizes the blood sugar levels.
- It flexes the spinal cord and releases the strain in the back, thereby enhancing posture and reducing any pain.
- It helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and stimulates the reproductive system.
- It helps reduce stress and fatigue.
- This asana also helps to calm the brain.
- It gives the spine and shoulders a good stretch.
- It works on the thyroid gland as well.
- It helps cure backaches, infertility, sinusitis, insomnia, and headaches.
Regularly practicing Plow Pose can bring a deep sense of serenity and peace to your life, even off the mat. It can be a great pose to practice after a long day on your feet, or after an activity that requires a lot of emotional or intellectual stamina. Allow yourself plenty of time to rest peacefully after the pose. When you let your mind settle, you become rejuvenated and renewed!