Definition - What does Salamba mean?

Salamba is a Sanskrit word meaning “to support.” Its opposite is niralamba, which means “unsupported” or “without support.” In the context of yoga, salamba describes a pose in which the yogi uses the hands, arms or other type of support for balance or to otherwise aid in exercise of the posture.

Although an infrequent use, salamba can also be used to describe a type of samadhi, or the final "limb" of Ashtanga yoga. Salamba samadhi is a stage in which mental consciousness is supported by a physical or mental object of focus.

Yogapedia explains Salamba

Salamba yoga poses should be mastered before the yogi attempts the more challenging niralamba versions. Some common salamba poses include:

  • Salamba kapotasana (supported pigeon) - a half split with the hands placed on the ground for support
  • Salamba sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand) - the upper arms rest on the ground and the hands rest on the lower back
  • Salamba bhujangasana (supported cobra, or sphinx) - the forearms provide support for the backbend
  • Salamba sirsasana (supported headstand) - the forearms and interlocked hands form a sort of basket to support the head and provide balance
  • Salamba balasana (supported child's pose) - the torso and head rest on a prop, typically a rolled-up blanket or several blankets
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