Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Yoga) is a Yoga posture through which the muscles of the entire body get the exercise and all parts of the body get cleansed. The thyroid gland is particularly benefited by this posture. When the thyroid gland works properly, many other activities of the body become orderly.
The impure blood of all the organs of the stomach like intestines, liver, spleen, pancreas, etc gets purified in excess quantity. When the impurities are removed, many ailments of the stomach, like indigestion, lack of appetite, constipation are also removed.
We can also call this posture the younger brother of the Headstand Posture (Sheersha Asana), which is described later. This posture is easier in comparison to Headstand. In actual practice, when one has practiced the Sarvangasana, it is only then that one should attempt to practice the Headstand.
Unless a person has learned and practiced the Shoulderstand and the Headstand, he or she should not consider the required course of Yoga postures is complete. Both these postures are beneficial to all the parts and constituents of the body.
Sarvangasana Steps: How to do Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Yoga)
- Lie supine on a mat. Legs and feet should be placed together and the arms should be close to the body at its sides, with palms facing the ground. The body should be in a relaxed position, and not tense.
- Slowly, raise your feet and legs up to an angle of 30 degrees and hold them there for a few seconds. Thereafter, raise the feet and legs to 60 degrees and then to 90 degrees. In the beginning, some difficulty will be encountered in practicing this posture. However, later it becomes comparatively easier. It is inappropriate to raise the legs in one jerking motion.
- Once you have been able to raise your legs to the right angle, raise your waste. For this purpose, give support of your hands, with your arms bent at the elbows. Raise your back so that you are able to touch your chin with your rib carriage bone and the whole body forms 90 degrees angle. Supporting your back with your hands, place your elbows on the ground. Try to make your legs erect. Your eyes should either be shut or you should be looking at your toes.
- In this position, the weight of the whole body will be on your shoulders. The chin should be touching your chest. The feet should be joined. The toes should be raised skywards. Breathing should be normal. With your eyes shut, meditate on your trachea (Adams Apple). It is in this region that the thyroid gland is located. One should contract one’s neck and anus in this position.
- To come out of this posture, bend the legs backward but keep the knees straight. Straighten both the arms on your back and press the ground with your palms.
- Slowly, resting the waist on the ground, bring the legs backward but down to the ground making an angle of 90 degrees, then 60 degrees, and then 30 degrees. Thereafter, form the Corpse Posture and rest awhile in this posture
Benefits of Sarvangasana
- The practice of this posture benefits all parts of the body. This posture is as beneficial as the Headstand (Sheersha Asana). This posture causes blood to flow towards the heart and the brain in sufficient quantities, as a result of which premature graying and falling of hair get cured.
- The hernia patients should form this posture along with Uddiyana Bandha (please refer to the Bandha Section). This posture is also beneficial to the ladies. In the complaint of the shifted uterus, if this posture is performed along with Moola Bandha Uddiyana Bandha, then prompt relief is obtained.
- This posture has special importance to keep the Thyroid gland active and healthy. The health of this gland results in the health of the whole body. This is an endocrine gland. (Note: Endocrine glands are those glands, which secrete hormones directly into the blood.) This gland is situated in the lower part of the neck and along the length of the fifth, sixth, and seventh vertebrae.
- Various capillaries (small tubes carrying blood) supply pure blood to the Thyroid gland. The health of the gland depends on the health of the capillaries supplying blood to it. The thyroid gland constantly needs pure blood. If this gland becomes inactive, many ailments are generated. This problem can be remedied by activating this gland by supplying higher quantities of blood to it. The Shoulderstand helps in supplying more blood to the capillaries carrying blood to the Thyroid gland.
- The blood supply in the capillaries is regulated by Vasco Motor System. When some part or parts of the body need higher quantities of blood, then Vasco Motor System reduces blood supply to some other part or parts of the body and provides more blood to that part.
- The flow of blood is also affected by gravitation. In the Shoulderstand, the advantage of the law of gravitation is taken. In this posture, the body is raised at right angles to the body. Only the neck, shoulders, and head are placed on the ground. The chin is pressed against the chest. The right angle on the ground. The chin is pressed against the chest. The right angle of the neck and pressure of the collarbone on the neck regulates the carotid arteries.
- Blood flowing from the artery is released in greater quantities in carotid arteries for onward supply to the capillaries which provide blood to the Thyroid gland. As a result, the Thyroid gland is able to get rid of itself of toxins accumulated therein and proper secretion of hormones takes place. This posture also regulates the capillaries.
- By modern research, it has come to light that endocrine glands have a close relationship with one another. For example, secretion from the Thyroid gland is affected by secretion from the Pituitary gland; and secretion from the Pituitary gland affects adrenal and prostate glands and ovaries. Those young men whose testes have not fully developed due to any reason can get rid of this ailment with the Shoulderstand. The ovaries in the case of women reap equal benefits.
- Malfunction of these glands in women results in obesity, infertility, reduced appetite, and chronic constipation. The Shoulderstand removes these complaints. With the Thyroid gland becoming active, appetite and digestion is increased and obesity and other ailments are removed. This posture also indirectly benefits the liver and pancreas.
- Like the Thyroid gland, parathyroid glands are also benefited by this posture. These are four smaller glands. Secretion from these glands helps in maintaining muscle tone. Apart from this, another hormone (which is anti-toxic in nature) is produced by these glands which neutralize other toxins of the body. Reduction in the supply of this secretion results in Epileptic fits.
- With this posture, the blood easily reaches the heart due to the effect of gravitation. There are values in veins at different places, which do not allow the blood to flow down. In the posture of Shoulderstand, these valves are put at rest, thereby increasing their efficiency. The tiredness of the feet is removed and the body rejuvenated. When the Thyroid gland works properly, wrinkles of the face are removed making the person look younger. The life-force of the body is largely dependent on the hormones secreted by these endocrine glands. When these glands receive adequate rest, their efficiency increases. This renews the body and fills it with power, agility courage. Those suffering from eye ailments and tonsillitis are also benefited from this posture. This posture is also considered beneficial for those who like singing. This posture provides clarity to the voice.
- Those suffering from asthma usually breathe from the upper part of the lungs by raising their shoulders. In the Shoulderstand, the shoulders become still. Breathing also becomes deep and up to the abdomen. Due to the weight of the intestines and other parts of the stomach, the diaphragm gets toned up, thereby facilitating easy breathing. Therefore, this posture is beneficial in the early stages of the onset of asthma.
Meditation During Sarvangasana
This posture is very beneficial for the meditation of the Serpentine Energy Centre (Kundalini Chakra*). One can also meditate on receiving energy from the lower part of the body and supplying the same to the brain.