Monday, November 15, 2010

Salamba Sarvangasana

Salamba Sarvangasana
(Sa = with, Alamba = support, Sarva = all, Anga = limb)

English Name: Supported Shoulderstand

How To Perform This Asana?

1. Obtain two blankets, one stacked on top of the other and make sure each blanket is folded into a rectangle measuring about 1 foot by 2 feet. Lay on the blankets, using them as a support for your shoulders and place your head on the floor. Keep your shoulders parallel to the longer side of the blanket and lay your arms on the floor alongside your torso.

2. Bend your knees and bring your feet, which should be on the floor, towards your body with your heels close to your sitting bones.

3. Press your arms against the floor and bring your thighs inward toward your chest.

4. Curl your pelvis to lift your back torso away from the floor until your knees come toward your face. Position your arms so that they are parallel to the sides of the blanket. Turn your arms outward slightly so that your fingers press against the floor.

5. Bend your elbows and draw them toward each other. Lay the back of your upper arms on the blanket and spread your palms on the back of your torso.

6. Raise your pelvis so that your torso is just about perpendicular to the floor. Your knees should still be bent. Adjust your shoulders so that they come under your body and walk your hands up your back. Try to keep your elbows no more than shoulder-width apart.

7. Take your legs up straight and straighten your knees. Press your tailbone toward your pubis. Turn the upper part of your thighs inward slightly and align your thighs with your torso.

8. Press your heels up toward the ceiling and spread the soles of your feet so they add height to your inner legs.

9. Soften your throat and tongue. Do not create pressure or hardness in your throat. Bring your chest toward your chin, rather than bringing your chin toward your chest. Your chin should be perpendicular to the floor.

10. Keep working your hands up your back. Try to keep your upper spine away from the floor.

11. YAY! Now you are in Salamba Sarvangasana! :)

12. To come down from the posture, bend your knees and lower them into your chest. Place your hands down on the blanket to support you as you roll your back torso carefully onto the ground.

Physical & Therapeutic Benefits

There are many benefits to Salamba Sarvangasana because this posture involves many parts of your body. Some of those benefits include...

- Improves digestion
- Strengthens & stretches the neck and shoulders
- Prevents the gradual gathering of fat around the abdomen, waist, and hips
- Counteracts nervous fatigue and exhaustion
- Helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Therapeutic for asthma and sinusitis
- Stimulates the thyroid and prostate glands
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause


When I do Salamba Sarvangasana, I feel like my back, shoulders, and arms are getting a really good stretch. My arms feel especially strong when I try bring my elbows closer to each other and work my hands up my back. As I straighten my legs up toward the ceiling, I feel very concentrated because if I let my mind wander, I know my body will just come falling down. This posture helps me create steadiness and patience because I wasn't able to get into the posture right away on the first try. However, once I'm able to get myself into shoulderstand, I feel very peaceful.


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