How to Safely and securely Practice This Valuable Yoga Pose

Two poses in yoga have the high honor of being identified as the “king and queen” of all poses: Headstand (Sirsasana 1), the king, and Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana), the queen.

These two classical inversions reign supreme more than all other postures, not only because of their numerous science-backed added benefits, but some teachers also theorize that these poses hire the crown of the head (Headstand) and neck (Shoulderstand).

Although some may possibly consider that “king” is the best rank, a joke amongst yoga instructors is that the neck moves the head. So, if we had to place these poses on a hierarchy, it could be argued that Shoulderstand is definitely the pose that principles.

Shoulderstand’s esteemed position also reminds us that we want to regard the pose and our capabilities, working towards it with intention and care. This usually means earning sure that the body is very well well prepared and that we can conduct it securely.

The Sanskrit title for Shoulderstand is Salamba Sarvangasana. This means “supported all limbs pose,” with Salamba this means “supported” and Sarvanga which means “all limbs.” In gymnastics, there is a very similar condition referred to as Candle Stick Pose.

In Shoulderstand, your whole physique must be supported by your upper arms and shoulders. If you are unable to get your arms much plenty of beneath you, there’s a risk of bearing also much pounds on your neck or spine.

For this rationale, Shoulderstand is viewed as an state-of-the-art inversion and must be established up mindfully and securely with props.

Shoulderstand is classified as an inversion, which is any position where by the legs go previously mentioned the coronary heart. Inversion therapy is an alternate treatment method for back again ache.

Though exploration to aid its effects is however fairly confined, the thinking behind the method is that going upside down relieves force on the discs induced by gravity, assisting build size.

Shoulderstand is regarded to be a calming pose, supporting persons shift into their parasympathetic nervous procedure, by inducing the relaxation response. As this kind of, it’s often practiced toward the conclusion of class.

In a single 2017 study, people who had moderate to moderate depression confirmed major enhancement in their signs or symptoms and mood right after practising Shoulderstand and a handful of other poses for 8 months (1).

In addition, a 2018 research showed that working towards Shoulderstand aided cut down the blood glucose ranges of men and women with form 2 diabetes (2).

Yet another oft-touted advantage of Shoulderstand is its guidance in lymphatic drainage. The lymph program is critical in taking away squander and harmful toxins from our overall body. While you will uncover a large amount of yoga sites and books proclaiming this profit, they are often anecdotal and there is restricted investigation supporting this declare.

A big aspect of what helps make this an sophisticated pose is not just the actual physical demands, but the level of interest it needs to set up effectively.

Props necessary

  • 2–3 blankets, to defend your neck
  • yoga mat, to even further avoid slipping of your elbows
  • optional: a block, for tighter hamstrings, and a strap, looped around your elbows to continue to keep your arms in spot

Prop set up

  1. Neatly stack your blankets toward the leading of your mat.
  2. Consider the front conclude of your mat and fold it about your blanket.
  3. Optional: If your hamstrings are restricted, place your block guiding your mat, over where your head is heading to go.


  1. Lie down on your blankets. The back again of your head really should be on the floor, and the tops of your shoulders should be right at the edge of the blankets.
  2. On an inhale, just take your hips and legs overhead, beginning in Plough Pose (Halasana). Take a minute listed here to snuggle your upper arms beneath you, so that you are substantial on to your higher arms and shoulders. Please take note: If your ft really don’t attain the flooring, consider positioning them on your block or see underneath for a modification at the wall.
  3. Draw your higher arms beneath you, getting as superior onto your shoulders as attainable. Remember, this pose is referred to as Shoulderstand, not Neckstand.
  4. Bend your elbows and place your palms flat onto your back. Professional tip: It assists to have your palms instantly on the skin of your again, as garments can be slippery.
  5. On an inhale, raise your ideal leg little by little up to the sky, followed by your remaining.
  6. Press the backs of your arms into the blankets and achieve strongly by means of your legs.
  7. Start out with 10 breaths, but about time, try constructing up to longer retains.

How to come out of Shoulderstand safely

Choose your time coming out of the pose. Come down with as much treatment as you established you up with, and really do not rush.

  1. Lower a person leg at a time back again into Plough Pose.
  2. Clear away your arms from your again. Slip out of your strap and get the edges of your mat. This will aid slow your physique as you roll out.
  3. Bend your knees, and on an exhale, roll your spine down little by little right until your pelvis is on the ground.
  4. Use your belly to control your descent, so your higher body and head don’t pop off the blankets.
  5. It is normally useful to counter Shoulderstand with a variation of Fish Pose (Matsyasana). An simple way with the blankets is to slide your physique headward right up until your upper again is on the floor above your blankets and your legs are stretched out straight.
  6. Rest here for a several times before sitting down up, or far better but, roll around to just one side to occur up.

You can however get many of Shoulderstand’s benefits with no having to do the whole pose.

Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) variation at the wall

Several men and women have problem obtaining their higher arms beneath them much plenty of to definitely stand perfectly on their upper arms.

This variation works by using the wall as added aid for the legs, so you’re not completely excess weight-bearing on your upper again nonetheless however benefitting from the upper body opening.

  1. Take your blanket and mat setup (see previously mentioned) to the wall and spot it 1 foot from the wall.
  2. Lie down with your head absent from the wall and sit bones from it.
  3. Bend your knees and area your toes on the wall.
  4. Carry your hips absent from the ground.
  5. Wander your higher arms beneath you as considerably as you can, either interlacing your fingers or holding the edges of your mat.

Legs-Up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani)

There could be a wide range of motives why somebody can’t do the whole pose, from neck injuries to reduced electrical power. Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose gives you lots of of the positive aspects of an inversion, with out substantially physical hard work.

  1. Carry the limited edge of your mat up versus the wall.
  2. Sit sideways versus the wall.
  3. Lie onto your again and provide your legs up the wall.
  4. The back of your pelvis must be flat on the flooring. If it is not, slide back again a few inches.
  5. Optional: Location a rolled towel or blanket underneath your decrease back again.

Secure your neck with blankets

One particular of the crucial functions of this pose is the ability to provide your chest up to your chin as deeply as attainable. This motion is known as neck flexion. A normal variety of movement is 40 to 80 degrees, with several people slipping towards the reduced finish of this spectrum.

Northern California-dependent actual physical therapist and yoga trainer, Olivia Barry, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, explains that when we practice Shoulderstand devoid of blankets, we possibility flattening the normal curvature of the neck, which can lead to herniated discs and cervical instability.

Significantly today, in which additional and more of the population assumes forward head posture or text neck, which also flattens the cervical curvature, we require to acquire treatment to apply the pose in a way that establishes proper neck alignment.

Doing the pose with your shoulders elevated on blankets assists sustain the pure curve of the neck. It also matters how a lot of you use. As these, Barry recommends learning the pose less than the guidance of a seasoned trainer who can identify how many blankets you want.

Piking at the hips

Numerous people today deficiency the main strength to fully straighten their body in the pose. Instead, they close up piking at the hips, which is when the thighs are in hip flexion and somewhat forward of the hips.

This will make it challenging to get your upper arms beneath and may well place undue force on your neck and reduce back.

Do not check out if you have eye injuries

If you eye injuries or other eye problems, this sort of as a detached retina or glaucoma, steer clear of Shoulderstand and other inversions, as getting upside down might elevate strain in just the eye. 1 2015 analyze located this result during Plough Pose and Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (3).

Shoulderstand is a hard inversion with quite a few added benefits. While, what helps make this posture superior may possibly have significantly less to do with the physical requirements and much more to do with the good setup and required precautions.

Though you are initial studying it, this pose is finest practiced under the supervision of a teacher. Fortunately, there are some wonderful other poses that give you identical added benefits.

Make guaranteed to find acceptance from your healthcare experienced prior to starting up any yoga exercise. As you keep on to increase in both energy and confidence, you will be absolutely sure to reap all the benefits this pose has to offer you.