For as long as I can remember, plow pose has been one of my most favorite yoga poses. In Sanskrit, plow pose is known as halasana, and it’s one of those postures that I believe we all need to do more of, if we want to age gracefully.
It’s the perfect pose to stretch out a weary back that may have had a less than ideal night of sleep. It’s also a preventative pose. Far too many of us have back issues as we age. What if we all did plow pose on a daily basis? Would we ever need invasive back surgeries? My speculation is—no! (Learn more in 10 Ways to Ease Back Pain Through Alignment, Asana and Ayurveda.)
In this article, we’re going to explore 5 benefits of halasana. After doing so, it’s my hope that we’ll all be more inspired to dedicate at least a few minutes each day to this all-natural whole-body yoga elixir!
1. Plow Pose Relieves Stress
Plow pose is no exception. Whenever I’m feeling overly stressed out, and my body tells me it’s time for a healthy dose of relief, I take to my yoga mat and ease myself slowly into halasana. After a few minutes in the pose, I can feel a substantial release of tension, not only in my body, but also my mind.
There’s nothing better than experimenting for yourself. The next time you feel stress coming on, allow yourself five minutes to experience the deep calm that plow pose provides. Breathe consciously into the pose to further enhance the stress-relieving effects of this beautiful asana.
2. Plow Pose for Back Pain Prevention
Got back aches and pains? Plow pose is your answer! This pose stretches the muscles in your back, while also increasing spinal flexibility and suppleness. (Learn more in Bend Without Breaking: 10 Yoga Poses to Increase Flexibility in Body, Mind, and Spirit.)
As we age, we lose the integrity of our vertebrae, and end up with all sorts of back problems, lower back pain being one of the most common. But, with a little plow pose each day, your trips to the doctor for back pain meds may just be a thing of the past. In my view, halasana is one of the top five poses in the entire yoga pantheon for maintaining a healthy back and spine as we grow older. Why? Because this particular asana works to strengthen and tone both the spinal cord and back muscles.
3. Plow Pose Helps You Sleep Better
I’ve experienced many times in my life where truly deep, restorative sleep was illusive. This is where plow pose comes into play. It’s a posture that supports healthy zzzz’s by preparing your body to relax completely before drifting off to sleep.
When you put pressure on the back of your neck as you do in halasana, you’re naturally enhancing the parasympathetic nervous system’s functionality. This benefits the body and mind on a number of levels, and is something that has become absolutely essential in these modern-day stressed out times. What’s more, your neck and shoulders also open and receive a good stretch during plow, a perfect antidote to the many hours of whatever sleep position you end up taking.
If your sleep issues have to do with a restless mind, this pose is perfect as it’s known to calm the brain to relieve you from your mental hamster wheel. If you have sleep issues, and even more serious insomnia, why not take some time to do plow pose as a part of your nightly bedtime ritual. Try it out for a week, then check in to see how it’s working for you. (Learn more in Stress vs Self-Care: How to Elicit the Relaxation Response.)
4. Plow Pose Enhances Endocrine Function
This asana is great for your thyroid. In fact, it’s beneficial for all glands of the endocrine system. How can this be? Well, when you put pressure on the region of your body where all those endocrine glands reside, you’re doing them a world of good.
You can think of plow pose as a therapeutic massage for your endocrine glands. They all get a much needed boost—the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, and parathyroid glands. These glands are the masters of your endocrine system, and they run the show, impacting all other endocrine glands in the process. So, it’s the entire endocrine system that benefits from halasana. For your endocrine system to receive this dose of goodness, you don’t need to stay in the posture very long. Just a few minutes each day is all it takes.
5. Plow Pose Supports Healthy Digestion
Does your digestive system need a boost? If so, you’re not alone. Digestive issues have become far too common lately, and because digestion is the cornerstone of good health and disease prevention, we need to support it whenever possible. Luckily, plow pose is an effective asana for aiding digestion and enhancing its function. Notice how your abdominal organs are put to work during halasana. This is how the pose works on digestion.
There’s no need to take digestive enzymes or any other pill. Just eat whole foods and do plow pose regularly. (Learn more in Why We Twist in Yoga: The Benefits of This Simple Action.)
So, there you have it—5 benefits of halasana. I hope this inspires you to spend more time in this life-giving pose. Your entire body and mind will thank you for it!