Halasana 

Hatha Yoga

The Plough Pose - Halasana

Introduction

Halasana is the third of the 12 basic postures of hatha yoga. It is very similar to the shoulderstand pose. In this asana all muscles from the neck to the heels are stretched.
As you practice, please watch your neck and keep your body symmetrical.

Physical Benefits

  • Brings fresh blood to the throat and thyroid gland.
  • Locking of the chin massages the thyroid gland.
  • Extends the cervical section of the spine giving it a powerful stretch. Same to the rest of the spine as well as hamstrings and calves.
  • During the inhalation intense pressure is applied to the abdomen giving a good stimulation to the digestive system.
  • Opens up the shoulder joints.

Energetic (Pranic) Benefits

  • Stimulates the vishuddha chakra (throat psychic center).

Mental Benefits

  • Reduces lethargy, mental sluggishness and laziness.
  • Appeases insomnia and restless sleep.

Technique

This posture can be taken from the lying position, however we usually go into it from the shoulderstand pose, so we will explain it as such.
  • From the shoulderstand pose, bring your feet at an angle above your head.
  • Bring your hands behind your back to support and control the descent.
  • If possible bring gently the toes to the floor keeping your knees straight. Once the feet touch the floor bring your arms flat on the floor with palms down touching the floor.
  • For more advanced students, interlock the fingers keeping your hands in contact with the floor.
  • Try breathing as comfortably and rythmically as possible.
  • If you do not have the necessary flexibility to do the full posture, it is okay to keep your feet up in the air and to let your knees be bent as required by your back muscles.
  • Hold the asana from a few seconds to one minute.
To come out of the posture, lift your feet up to a 45 degree angle, bring your palms flat on the floor and slowly bring your back, hips, legs and feet onto the floor paying attention to keep the head and shoulders on the floor. Relax on your back.

Contra-indications

You should not to halasana if you have any neck problems. If you suffer from "rounded shoulders", a.k.a. kyphosis, do not stretch too far and do not hold the posture too long. Consult your doctor or chiropractor before practicing.
The plough is part of the basic yoga class.



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