Shoulder Stand Pose

Definition - What does Shoulder Stand Pose mean?

Shoulder stand pose is an inversion that starts by lying backside-down on the floor. Bend the knees and place the feet on the floor as close to the buttocks as possible. On an exhale with a strong core, press the arms and upper body into the ground and lift the legs up overhead, moving the hips and legs off the floor. Bring the bent knees towards the head, and then lift the buttocks and hips up to bring the hips and torso perpendicular to the floor. To support the body, place the hands on the lower back with bent elbows. Once balance has been reached, hands can be removed from the back and should remain straight against the body, grounded on the floor with palms facing down. When you feel balanced and secure in the pose, inhale and lift the feet towards the ceiling, bringing the legs in line with the rest of the body and perpendicular to the floor. With your gaze towards your feet or chest, press the shoulder blades down into the ground and, if you are able, move the heart closer towards the chin and face.

To exit the pose, exhale and bend the knees back towards the torso and face; and, keeping them bent, roll the spine onto the floor gently and gradually, one vertebrae at a time.

Shoulder stand is also known as sarvangasana in Sanskrit.

Yogapedia explains Shoulder Stand Pose

Shoulder stand pose is often included as a finishing pose in Ashtanga yoga. Often referred to as the “queen” of asanas, it can promote healthy, refreshing blood flow to the brain and heart after completing other poses that require the head, neck and heart to remain upright.

This pose is very similar to supported shoulder stand pose where the hands and arms (and sometimes additional props) are used to support the torso. However, in shoulder stand pose, the arms are kept pressed against the floor, palms down. It is considered an intermediate to advanced pose and should be practiced by beginners with the assistance of a yoga teacher.

Shoulder stand pose is believed by some to improve digestion and offer relief from fatigue or respiratory/sinus issues. Individuals who have neck problems, headaches or high blood pressure should avoid this pose.

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