Sarvāṅgāsana (Headstand)
  • Lie flat on your back
  • Keep your legs together
  • Bring the arms down, palms facing down, close to the butocks
  • Raise the legs up
  • Raise the hips up
  • Support your back as your body straightens up
  • Stay for 30 secs – 1 min

Asana in Depth

Sarvāṅgāsana, also known as shoulder stand, literally translates into “full body pose”. Sarva meaning all, anga meaning part (body part) and asana meaning pose. This pose engages all parts of the body through an inversion, and is said to be the queen of postures.

Start by lying down on your mat, keeping the body straight. Make sure that you have space behind you, so that you can come into hālāsana after. Bring your arms down, close to your buttocks. You can even tuck them under slightly, to maintain proper alignment of the shoulders. Make sure that the shoulders stay down on the mat. Then inhale as your swing your legs up, gently lift your hips up and immediately support your back with your hands. Keep walking the hands down the back, lifting the torso further and further up, until it is in one straight line. The hands can then rest against the upper back, with the back of the upper arms on the floor. Ensure that the weight is on the tops of the shoulders and not on any other part. Bring the chest closer to the chin. Refrain from moving your head in this pose. Tuck the tailbone under and keep lengthening upward through the legs. Breathe deeply and allow the pose to be more meditative. You can stay here for 1-3 minutes or longer if comfortable.

If you are fully balanced in the shoulder stand you can practice some variations such as spreading the legs wide apart and forming a v-shape. Another option is to bring the legs into a lotus position, with the knees and hips in one line. This would require open hips and knee flexibility. Another variation would be to bring one leg down behind the head, while the other leg is straight up.

The benefits of this posture include the stimulation of the thyroid gland, which helps to monitor hormones. It stretches the neck muscles. Being an inversion, it rejuvenates the braincells with fresh oxygen. It removes tiredness and sluggishness from the body and keeps you energised. It helps against depression and insomnia.

The counter indications for this pose are high blood pressure, back injuries and menstruation. It is advisable to avoid doing this pose if you have any of the above.

Major Benefits
  • Stimulates thyroid gland
  • Stretches the neck
  • Rejuvenates the brain
  • Energises the body
  • Removes fatigue
Contra Indications
  • High blood pressure
  • Back injuries
  • Menstruation
Anatomy Basics
  • Strengthens triceps
  • Engages trapezius and rhomboid muscles
  • Strengthens spinal erector muscles