A Beginner's Guide to Sarvangasana: Benefits and Precautions

A Beginner's Guide to Sarvangasana: Benefits and Precautions

Ananya Das 01 July, 2023 Updated on : 03 Jul 2023

There are so many yoga poses or asanas, as they’re traditionally called, that one can do in their yoga routine. One such highly beneficial pose is the Sarvangasana, also known as Shoulder Stand Pose. In this pose, the entire body is balanced invertedly on the shoulders. In the name Sarvangasana, "sarva" means "all", "ang" means "body", and “asana” means posture.

Sarvangasana is a powerful pose that involves supporting the entire body weight on the shoulders and upper arms. This pose is very advantageous for both the body and mind. However, the Sarvangasana is not the easiest pose to master since it requires some tricky balancing. Like any yoga asana, it is essential to practice Sarvangasana with caution and awareness to prevent injuries.

In this blog, we will explore the benefits of Sarvangasana as well as a set of precautions that you must keep in mind to practise the pose safely. 

Sarvangasana Benefits

Improved Circulation

By reversing the gravitational pull, Sarvangasana encourages blood flow towards the head and neck, thereby increasing circulation throughout the body. This increased blood supply can benefit various organs, including the brain, heart, and digestive system. 

Enhanced Strength and Flexibility

Sarvangasana engages and strengthens the muscles in the shoulders, upper back, core, and legs. It also stretches the neck, chest, and upper spine, improving flexibility in these areas. Regular practice can lead to improved overall body strength and flexibility.

Calming Effect on the Nervous System

Inverting the body in Sarvangasana has a soothing effect on the nervous system. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and alleviate stress. A small study indicated that certain head-below-heart (inversion) yoga stances improved heart rate variability (HRV), which is good for heart health.

Improved Digestion

The gentle compression on the abdomen in Sarvangasana stimulates the digestive organs, enhancing digestion and relieving common digestive issues such as constipation. It also helps in toning the abdominal muscles. Here are 10 more yoga poses that improve digestion.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Regulation

Sarvangasana is known for its positive impact on the thyroid and parathyroid glands, which are crucial for maintaining hormonal balance in the body. The pose stimulates these glands, aiding in their proper functioning.

Explore more yoga poses that have excellent health benefits, like these 5 yoga poses that control blood sugar levels.

Sarvangasana Steps

- Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and palms facing down.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet close to your buttocks.
- Place your hands on the floor, support your lower back, and lift your legs off the ground.
- Straighten your legs vertically towards the ceiling, keeping your toes pointed.
- Lift your hips and lower back off the ground, supporting your weight on your shoulders and upper arms.
- Lengthen your spine, lift your chest, and maintain a gentle chin tuck.
- Hold the pose for a few breaths.

Precautions for Practising Sarvangasana

Avoid during Menstruation and Pregnancy

Women should avoid practising Sarvangasana during menstruation due to the inverted position and the pressure it puts on the abdominal area. Pregnant women should also avoid this pose, as it can put a strain on the abdomen and potentially harm the developing foetus.

Consult Your Doctor If You Have Prior Injuries

If you have any medical conditions such as neck or shoulder injuries, high blood pressure, thyroid issues, or any other health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified yoga instructor before attempting Sarvangasana.

Always Warm-Up Before You Attempt Sarvangasana 

Always ensure that your body is adequately warmed up before attempting Sarvangasana. Engage in gentle warm-up exercises to prepare the neck, shoulders, and upper back. 

Use Props for Support

Initially, you may find it challenging to hold Sarvangasana without support. To avoid strain or injury, utilise props such as blankets, or a wall for added stability and to help align the body properly.

Learn from a Qualified Instructor

If you are new to Sarvangasana, it is highly recommended to learn the pose from a qualified yoga instructor. They can guide you in understanding the correct alignment and modifications specific to your body type. 

To find the best yoga classes near you and get certified yoga training, download the FITPASS app today. With just a FITPASS membership, you can start your yoga classes in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Jaipur and many other cities without any hassles. Practice and master the beneficial Sarvangasana and reap the wide range of physical and mental advantages it offers.

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