How To Do Sarvangasana-Steps, Benefits And Precautions

Meaning of Shoulder Stand Pose

  • Shoulder Stand Pose is also known as Sarvangasana.
  • Sarvangasana is a Sanskrit word.
  • Sarvangasana is pronounced as ‘sar-van-GAHS-anna’. 
  • Sarva means ‘’whole’, ‘all’ or ‘entire’, the word anga means ‘limbs’, ‘parts’, ‘organs’ or ‘members, and asana means ‘ yoga pose’.
  • Sarvangasana is good for the entire body. It drains stagnant blood from the legs and abdominal organs, thus suitable for the functions and health of the whole body.
  • Sarvangasana is known by other names, viz. ‘shoulder stand pose’, Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand pose), and the panphysical pose.

What is a Shoulder stand pose-Sarvangasana?

  • The shoulder stand pose is an inverted advanced yoga asana.
  • One of the most important benefits of the pose is to tone and activate the thyroid, parathyroid, and thymus glands.
  • The pose improves respiration, massages the organs concerned with digestion, elimination, and reproduction, and is suitable for various body systems. Regulates all the systems of the body.
How To Do Sarvangasana- Steps, Benefits And Precautions

Shoulder stand pose introduction

After much research and discussion with many critical yoga experts and teachers, the article is being presented. Besides this, I am also sharing my personal experience of yoga over the last 20 years. You will get here to know what Sarvangasana is, how to do it, and its benefits and precautions. The easily explained steps, uses, precautions, images, and videos of Sarvangasana will help you to understand the yoga pose technically correct, thereby extracting maximum benefits from it.

How to do Shoulder Stand Pose step by step

However, it is more complex and challenging than it seems to be. However, its simpler step-by-step technique has been mentioned below.

  1. Lie flat on your back with both legs straight and together.
  2. Slowly raise your legs at 90 degrees so the legs, abdomen, and chest form a straight line.
  3. Put your palms on your back for support. In the final position, the chin should touch the chest.
  4. Maintain the pose as long as you feel comfortable.
  5. Slowly bring your buttock down, then your back and legs.
  6. Do 2-3 rounds.

Mistakes to avoid

Wait to do the asana. It should be done slowly with patience.

  • Raising the legs quickly may lead to breaking or strain in the neck.
  • Don’t raise the head off the floor throughout the entire practice.
  • The chest should be pressed against the chin without straining the neck.
  • The chin should not be pressed towards the chest; the chest should be pressed towards the chin.
  • The asana should be practised as per the suitability of the body. If the body is not prepared, it shouldn’t be performed as it may cause harmful results.

Breathing, Awareness, and Duration

While raising or lowering the legs, the breath should be maintained inside or outside. Breathe slowly and deeply in the final stage. Awareness should be in smooth raising and lowering of the legs. Initially, it should be performed for 30 seconds for a month. After that, the duration may be increased gradually. It can be performed for up to 3 to 5 minutes under the guidance of a yoga expert.

Muscular movement

The various muscles which are involved are Splenius capitis, Splenius cervicis, Rhomboids, Posterior deltoid, Infraspinatus, Trapezius, Triceps, Obliquus capitis superior, Rectus capitis posterior minor, Rectus capitis posterior major, Obliquus capitis inferior, Interspinales services, Semispinalis capitis (cut), Splenius capitis (amount), Longissimus capitis, Hamstrings, Gluteus maximus, Gluteus medius, Latissimus dorsi and Quadriceps.

 Shoulder Stand Pose in different schools of yoga

There are some variations in other schools of yoga while practising Sarvangasana.

  • Iyengar yoga: In the Iyengar school of yoga, the entire body is in a straight and vertical line.
  • Vinyasa yoga: It is similar to Iyengar yoga.
  • Ashtanga yoga: It is similar to the technique mentioned above.
  • Baba Ramdev yoga: It is the same as the technique mentioned above, but the chin is not so much pressed against the chest.
  • Art of living: It is similar to Baba Ramdev yoga.
  • Power yoga: The main focus is given on stretching the posture.
  • Hot yoga: It is similar to power yoga but more strenuous.
  • Satyananda yoga: It is similar to the technique mentioned above.
  • Bikram yoga: Here, the body seems more straight, and to a greater extent, it is similar to Iyengar yoga.

20 health benefits of shoulder stand pose

Sarvangasana is full of benefits. Some of the essential benefits of Sarvangasana are given below.

  1. Prevent the ageing process: The shoulder stand pose helps maintain youthfulness and rejuvenate an ageing body.
  2. Thyroid and parathyroid glands: This is the best yoga pose for the health of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, thus preventing a person from many diseases and disorders.
  3. Bodyweight: The practice of the pose controls metabolism by improving the efficiency of the thyroid gland, thus maintaining body weight. The pose helps to maintain body weight by normalising the endocrine system.
  4. Balances endocrine glands: It helps to balance the entire endocrine system, thus suitable for all the plants, which are dependent on hormones, viz., the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. Sarvangasana integrates all the body systems, improving health and removing disease.
  5. Brain health: It ensures the proper blood supply to the brain.
  6. Bone growth: Sarvangasana directly impacts the parathyroid glands, which helps to ensure average bone growth and regeneration and prevents premature ossification (hardening) of the bones.
  7. Neck ache & headache: The spine bending at the neck region prevents neck pain and headache. It also provides the proper flow of oxygen and blood to this region.
  8. Abdominal breathing: The pressure of the chin against the chest in the final pose forces the practitioner to breathe abdominally.
  9. Asthmatics: The yoga pose is beneficial for asthmatic patients.
  10. Blood pressure: It helps to reduce blood pressure by acting on the carotid sinuses in the neck.
  11. Piles: It is an effective yoga pose to treat piles as it drains accumulated blood from the pile’s region. Pile patients should rhythmically contract and relax the anal muscles so that the stagnant blood easily removes.
  12. Varicose vein: The pose also ensures the drain of stagnant blood in this region and relieves the patient.
  13. Diabetes: Diabetic patients should perform it religiously as the asana has a significant say in the overall functioning of the endocrine gland.
  14. Reproductive organs: It is suitable for the health of testes, gonads and ovaries, and other sexual organs of males and females.
  15. Sexual diseases: The asana helps relieve menstrual, menopausal, hydrocele, leucorrhea, spermatorrhea, etc.
  16. Hair fall: It nourishes the follicles of hair.
  17. Wrinkles: The improved blood supply also reduces wrinkles and spots on the face.
  18. Facial complexion: It also helps to improve the facial complexion
  19. Throat and nose ailments: The practice of the pose helps to eliminate and prevent various types of throat and nose ailments
  20. Mind relaxation: It is said that the shoulder stand pose is one of the excellent yoga poses for refreshing and rejuvenating the mind. Thus, it also keeps you away from stress and tension.

Shoulder stand poses contraindications

Some of the few precautions/limitations of Sarvangasana are:

  • Sarvangasana should not be performed by those who have weak hearts
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive enlarged thyroid
  • Weak blood vessels in the eyes
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Cerebral thrombosis
  • Excessive impure blood
  • Severely constipated condition
  • Slipped discs
  • Feeling physically tired
  • Illness
  • Fever
  • During menstruation
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Pregnancy

Beginner’s tip

Everyone can’t practice the pose as mentioned above. In such cases, it is better to start by bending the legs. Raise the trunk vertically by pushing the lower back with the hands and arms and keeping the legs bent. Try to press the chest with your chin. After performing the same for a certain period, go ahead with the actual Sarvangasana.

Shoulder Stand Pose sequence

Preparatory pose

  • Sarvangasana should be practised at the beginning or end of the asana program.
  • Surya namaskar
  • Shavasana
  • Tadasana

Follow-up / counterpose

  • Bhujangasana
  • Ushtrasana
  • Chakrasana
  • Ardh Chakrasana
  • Supta vajrasana
  • Ardha Ushtrasana
  • Matsyasana
  • Halasana

Top 10 facts about Shoulder stand pose

Here, we will make sure to mention the points to be remembered, tips, and facts regarding Sarvangasana.

  1. It is one of the best yoga poses for general health and well-being.
  2. This is one of the few yoga poses directly impacting the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
  3. If you practice only asanas, it is best to practice Sarvangasana initially, as it ensures awareness and wakefulness throughout the program.
  4. If somebody practices pranayama and meditation after asana, Sarvangasana should be performed at the end.
  5. While bringing the legs down, it should touch the floor like a falling leaf would touch the ground.
  6. Instead of keeping the legs vertical, they may be held slightly inclined.
  7. There shouldn’t be gaps between the legs throughout the practice.
  8. There is a myth that children shouldn’t practice it.
  9. Lots of research is being conducted on Sarvangasana.
  10. It is known as the mother of all asana.

The science behind Shoulder Stand Pose

The chest should be pressed against the chin without straining the neck. This ensures proper blood flow into the thyroid region. The legs should be vertical, straight yet relaxed, and tension-free to ensure adequate blood drainage in the head region.

Video of Shoulder Stand Pose

  • The video of Sarvangasana has been made very simple and easy to help understand the practitioners.
  • It has been developed after a discussion with many yoga experts and teachers.
  • Extensive research has also been carried out while making the video.

Modification and variations

  • Padma Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Lotus Pose)
  • Niralamba Sarvangasana (Unsupported Shoulder Stand Pose)


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