Salamba Sarvangasana

Definition - What does Salamba Sarvangasana mean?

Salamba sarvangasana is an inversion asana that is often included at the end of a yoga practice in order to encourage cleansing blood flow and an inner sense of calm. The term is derived from the Sanskrit salamba, meaning "supported," sarva, meaning "all," anga meaning "limb," and asana, meaning "pose" or "posture."

To enter the pose, start by lying backside-down on the mat. Bend the knees and place the feet on the mat as close to the buttocks as possible. On an exhale with a strong core, press the arms and upper body into the ground and press the legs up overhead, moving the hips and legs off the floor. Bring the knees (still bent) toward the head and then lift the buttocks 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. Upper arms should remain straight against the body and grounded on the floor. When you feel balanced and secure in the pose, inhale and lift the feet towards the ceiling, aligning the legs with the rest of the body so they are 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 toward the chin and face. To exit the pose, exhale and bend the knees back toward the torso and face. Keeping them bent, roll the spine onto the floor gently and gradually, one vertebrae at a time.

Salamba sarvangasana is also known as supported shoulder stand pose in English.

Yogapedia explains Salamba Sarvangasana

Salamba sarvangasana is often included as one of the end poses 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.

In a spiritual practice, salamba sarvangasana is thought to awaken kundalini, the primal energy force coiled at the base of the spine. It also opens the visuddha (throat) chakra, which is thought to be the purification center for the body and an influence on creativity.

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