Sarvangasana is often included as a finishing pose in Ashtanga yoga. As an inversion, 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. Because the blood flow is “reversed” to concentrate on the head and heart, this pose evokes a sense of calm and can awaken the mind with renewed circulation.
Often referred to as the “queen” of asanas, sarvangasana is thought to awaken kundalini, the primal energy force coiled at the base of the spine. It also opens the visuddha, or throat, chakra, which is thought to be the purification center for the body and an influence on creativity.
In salamba sarvangasana, the hands, arms, and sometimes additional props are used to support the torso. However, in sarvangasana, the arms are kept pressed against the mat, palms down. This is considered an intermediate to advanced asana and should be practiced by beginners with the assistance of a yoga teacher.