Supported Shoulder Stand Pose

Definition - What does Supported Shoulder Stand Pose mean?

Supported shoulder stand pose is an inversion that is often included at the end of a yoga practice in order to encourage cleansing blood flow throughout the body.

To enter the pose, start by lying backside-down on the ground. Bend the knees and place the feet as close to the buttocks as possible. On an exhale with a strong core, press arms and upper body into the ground and press legs up overhead, moving the hips and legs off the floor. Bring the bent knees towards the head, and then lift the bottom and hips up to bring the hips and torso perpendicular to the ground. 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, bringing the legs in line with the rest of the body and perpendicular to the ground. With your gaze towards your feet or chest, press the shoulder blades down into the mat and, if you are able, move the heart closer towards the chin and face.

To come out of the pose, exhale and bend the knees back towards the torso and face and, while keeping the knees bent, roll the spine onto the floor gently and gradually, one vertebrae at a time.

Supported shoulder stand pose is also known as salamba sarvangasana in Sanskrit.

Yogapedia explains Supported Shoulder Stand Pose

Supported shoulder stand pose promotes circulation to the head and heart and can help relax the mind. It is also believed by some to improve digestion and offer relief from fatigue or respiratory/sinus issues.

This pose is often part of the end poses practiced 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.

Using the hands and arms to support the torso, supported shoulder stand pose may sometimes also require props, such as folded yoga blankets, to provide cushion and support to the shoulders and neck while in the pose. It is considered an intermediate to advanced asana and should be practiced by beginners with the assistance of a yoga teacher. Individuals who have neck problems, headaches, diarrhea or high blood pressure should avoid this pose.

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