Salamba Sarvangasana Benefits and Steps To Do The Supported Shoulderstand Pose

blog images

There are many changes that we go through physically and mentally as time passes. Although going through such kinds of changes is a natural thing for a human being, not all of those changes can be categorised as good or pleasant. Some of the changes we are talking about are sinus issues, prostate issues, anxiety, menopause and in some unfortunate cases, infertility. Luckily, there is a yoga pose which can help you manage such changes and go on about life with ease. That pose is Salamba Sarvangasana, which is also known as the Supported Shoulderstand. This article will tell you all you need to know about it.

Let's embark on a journey into the depths of this elegant posture, exploring the benefits of Salamba Sarvangasana, unraveling a step-by-step guide on how to perform the Supported Shoulderstand Pose, delving into the anatomy of Salamba Sarvangasana, addressing important considerations regarding when not to perform the Supported Shoulderstand Pose, and finally, addressing common questions and doubts about Salamba Sarvangasana that may arise along the yogic journey.

What is Salamba Sarvangasana a.k.a Shoulderstand

Salamba Sarvangasana is a Yoga position which is found in Hatha Yoga’s roster of poses. The name of this position comes from Sanskrit and has three parts. While the first part, Salamba means Supported, its other two partitions, Sarvanga and Asana mean “All body parts” and “Poses” respectively. This name implies that the position engages all of your limbs. It is known as the Supported Shoulderstand pose since you are required to stand in an upside-down fashion and put most of your body weight onto your shoulders. 

Salamba Sarvangasana yoga position is also known as an Inversion pose since it forces the body to stand in an upside down formation. It is one of the most physically demanding positions due to its very nature, hence it must be done by a student or practitioner who is either on an intermediate or an expert level. However, given its benefits, it is certainly a position that a yogi must add to their routine.

What Are The Benefits Of Salamba Sarvangasana

The Salamba Sarvangasana, like almost all of the Yoga poses, comes with many physical and mental benefits, but it also comes with a handful of unique positives as well. Some of them are as follows:

  •  Salamba Sarvangasana Therapeutic For Prostate And Thyroid Glands: This position forces you to essentially stand upside down, which makes the blood move towards the upper body. This direction which has been forced upon the bloodstream inevitably improves the blood circulation in your thyroid and prostate glands, thereby reducing the chances of any issues related to those areas.
  • Salamba Sarvangasana Helps You Get Through Menopause: Unarguably, menopause is one of the most dreaded and turbulent periods in the life of a woman. Around this time, the person going through it could have hot flashes, mood swings and anxiety attacks, all of which could be directly or indirectly linked to the blood circulation situation at the time, which usually is far from ideal. Since this position increases the blood flow in body parts, this pose can perhaps make the symptoms of menopause all the more manageable for those who are experiencing it.
  • Salamba Sarvangasana Therapeutic For Sinusitis And Asthma And Infertility: On the physiological front, this Asana causes the expansion of the chest and engages the head as well. While engaging the chest, this asana broadens the air passageways through which the fresh oxygen that is needed by the body passes. If there is any blockage in these areas, it can lead to an asthma attack. But since this pose expands the passageways, the chances of such a thing happening reduces. On the other hand, it also helps with the sinus and infertility as this position increases the blood flow to your head and reproductive organs.
  • Salamba Sarvangasana Can Calm You Down And Help You With Insomnia: Two of the things which cause Insomnia are anxiety and depression, which are usually caused by an imbalance of cortisol and dopamine levels in the brain. Cortisol is the anxiety and depression-causing chemical found in the body, while Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone which is found alongside serotonin in the human mind. This position, while improving the blood flow in some of your organs, also increases the secretion of Dopamine and curbs the same for Cortisol, thereby helping you with your depression and anxiety to an extent and consequently improving the quality of your sleep. However, you should not solely rely on Yoga asanas alone for your mental health issues and must consult a trained professional.
  • Salamba Sarvangasana Increases your Confidence: As mentioned before, since this asana regulates the levels of chemicals found in the mind, it can make you a calmer individual. What’s more, an increase in Dopamine and reduction in Cortisol levels can also help you with your self image, self confidence and awareness. 

How To Do Salamba Sarvangasana a.k.a Shoulderstand

If you follow the step-by-step guide for doing the Salamba Sarvangasana properly, you will be able to execute the pose with relative ease. It is as follows:

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 1: Lie down on your mat. Make sure that your upper back and neck are supported by two towels that are folded and stacked on top of each other.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 2: Bring your knees as close to your chest as possible. Once you do so, hug them tightly.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 3: Bring your hands to your sides and make sure that your palms are facing the ground.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 4: Raise your feet high up in the air with your toes pointing towards the ceiling.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 5: Use the strength of your arms to lift up your hips by pushing down on the ground. Keep doing so until your legs are over your head.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 6: After you touch the ground with your toes, try to balance as much of your body as you can on your shoulders.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 7: Place your palms as high as you can on the backside of your ribs.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 8: Adjust your elbows to make sure that they are at shoulder length from each other.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 9: Lengthen your neck and ensure that you avoid turning your neck from side to side at all costs.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 10: Raise your legs one at a time until you get them into the position described in step 4.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 11: Lengthen all the way from your elbows to the tip of your toes and engage your inner thigh muscles in the process. Pull your navel and ribs in as well.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 12:Try to hold this position for up to 30 seconds if you are a beginner and then gradually try to increase the duration with every session.

Salamba Sarvangasana Step 13: Come back to the original position by first bringing your legs down in a bending position and then your hips.

When To Practise Salamba Sarvangasana a.k.a Shoulderstand

You can either do the Salamba Sarvangasana in the morning or the evening. It is recommended that you get into this pose at the very end of your yoga session since it is a physically demanding pose which will require almost all of your muscles in optimal condition.

Salamba Sarvangasana Contraindications

There are certain circumstances under which you should either completely avoid doing the Salamba Sarvangasana or go for it under the watchful eye of a trained Yoga instructor. They are as follows:

If you have recently sustained a neck or back injury, you should certainly avoid this position. However, if a certain amount of time has passed since the same, you can do this pose with the consent and under the supervision of a professional.

If you are prone to head rushes, you must certainly avoid this position.

If you have a weak upper back or neck, you should work on making them stronger and then attempting this position.

If you have injured any of your lower body muscles, certainly avoid doing the Salamba Sarvangasana.

Anatomy of Salamba Sarvangasana a.k.a Shoulderstand

The Salamba Sarvangasana is a fairly physically, mentally and emotionally demanding Yoga position, which it makes up for with the number of muscles and body parts that this position engages. In fact, it is the very reason why it is called a Sarvangasana, as the first half of this word, Sarvanga is Sanskrit for “All body parts”. Due to this very reason, it should be a staple part of every intermediate or advanced stage Yogi’s routine.

It will be easier to appreciate the Salamba Sarvangasana for the kind of effect it can have on the human body after going through the anatomical exploration of it, which can be found below.

Right from the get go, when you are bringing your knees as close to your chest as possible, you are engaging your quadriceps, hamstrings and adductor muscles. When you raise your legs upwards in order to make sure that your toes are pointing towards the sky, you put the lower half off your legs to work as the act causes the stretching of your calves. This kind of engagement is good for the microfibers present in these muscles, as they have a tendency of only coming back stronger if the student gives his/her body enough resting time.

When you push down to bend your body in order to bring your legs in front of your face, you begin to feel a stretching sensation in your back, starting from your lower back, then the middle deltoid muscles and then finally, the trapezius muscle, which is more commonly known as the upper back.

Simultaneously, as far as the front half of the body is concerned, you will begin to engage it starting with your pelvis, hips, abdominal muscles and then finally, the chest. In short, this Yoga asana engages your entire torso, which is one of its primary focus points. Not to mention that since your arms are doing some work at this stage, the biceps, triceps and the forearm muscles are getting activated as well.

Next, when you are placing your palms on your lower back, you end up engaging your arms more.

Finally, you start understanding what this pose is actually about when it is time for you to raise your entire body in the air while supporting the entirety of your body weight onto your upper back, shoulders and neck. A few seconds after achieving the final position, all of the body parts mentioned above will begin to feel more of the pressure that they were feeling already since you also tend to stretch your body from toe to head while achieving the final form.

We are certain that now you have a better idea of how the Salamba Sarvangasana can truly be a game changer for you in many ways. Would you be adding this pose to your Yoga routine? Let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions About Salamba Sarvangasana

Why Is It Called Salamba Sarvangasana

Salamba Sarvangasana gets its name from Sanskrit. This name has three parts, which are as follows:

Salamba: Supported  Sarvanga: All Body  Asana: Pose

The name implies that the position uses all of your body parts. It is also known as the Supported Shoulderstand pose since you are supposed to put most of your body weight onto your shoulders.

What Are The Techniques of Salamba Sarvangasana?

Some of the alternative techniques of Salamba Sarvangasana are:

One-legged Supported Shoulderstand: In this variation, you only raise one of your legs.

Unsupported Shoulder Stand Pose: This is a more challenging version of the Shoulderstand as here, you are not supposed to support your back with your hands.

Shoulderstand Pose With Bent Legs: in this variation, the student only raises their legs halfway.

Shoulderstand Against A Wall: This is your standard Shoulderstand variation, but it is done against a wall for additional support.

Unsupported Shoulderstand With Arms Along The Sides: In this variation, you are supposed to raise your arms just like the entirety of your lower body, with arms positioned right besides your sides. 

How Can One Get Better At Salamba Sarvangasana

One can get better at Salamba Sarvangasana by practising it regularly and trying out new variations of the same.

Contact for Best Deals!