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Sunday, June 27, 2010

SARVANGA ASANA

Sarvanga Asana literally means pose for all the parts of the body. It is one of the many inverted poses of yoga, all of which are extremely beneficial. These inverted Asanas work by reversing the effects of gravity on various parts of the body. In Sarvanga Asana almost all parts of the body are positively affected.

TECHNIQUE

Lie down flat on the floor, on your back, with your hands alongside your body and palms by your side.

While still on the floor exhale and slowly raise your legs. Bring both legs and hips up in the air. Lift up by contracting your abdominal and buttocks muscles. Do not just swing your legs up. Although a little bit of a swing can help you get up there, let your muscles do most of the work.

Remember to exhale while lifting your body up, but once your body is up, you can breathe normally. There is no need to hold your breath.

Gently roll your weight onto your upper back as you elevate your hips, supporting them with both of your hands. Keep your upper arms and elbows on the floor. The back of your head and neck remain flat on the floor.

Support your lower back with your hands so your upper arms are resting on the floor behind you, your elbows are bent, and your hands rest on your back with your fingers facing inward, toward your spine.

Stay in this position, breathing normally, for a few seconds. Then gradually, exhale again, and straighten your legs up to 90 degrees, lifting your buttocks as well. Support the back of your trunk with your palms, keeping elbows on the floor. Gradually, walk your hands towards your shoulder blades, as you lift your body higher.
Find a point of comfortable balance into which you can relax. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply in this position. You will notice that breathing feels different upside down.

Bring your shoulders away from your ears, and push your feet toward the ceiling, almost as if you were hanging by your feet.

Hold this position for as long as possible.

Time yourself, so you can see how long you can remain in this position. The next time, try and balance your body for a little longer.

If you can not get up into a shoulder stand pose in the beginning then don’t force it. First practice the shoulder stand pose by bringing your legs back then holding there for a while to accustom your body to the inversion.

Typical problems during a shoulder stand pose are the tendency to crunch the neck, hold the breath, and twist the neck.

Think of your neck lengthening as you hold the pose. Put a folded towel or blanket under your neck, right at the tip of your shoulders. Don’t allow your elbows to slide outward, and keep your neck lengthened and your feet together.

Your elbows may tend to move outwards. Bring them in, so they are straight in line with your shoulders.

You will notice that your hips tend to jut out backwards, while your feet tend to come forward over the head. This is not the right way to do it. Work at it so your body is in a straight line. Your hips, feet and shoulders should be aligned, so push your feet back and bring your hips and tailbone forward.

Remember, this exercise is not as much about effort as it is about balance.

Women should not do any inverted poses during menstruation as it reverses blood flow.

People suffering from blood pressure, glaucoma, hernias, cardiovascular disease, cervical spondylitis, thrombosis, arteriosclerosis, and kidney problems should not practice head stand pose.

Those suffering from neck injuries should perform this exercise very carefully.

BENEFITS

Sarvanga Asana is a great inversion pose that stimulates the thyroid gland and the Mercury Chakra which is located in the throat. It reverses the pull of gravity on your internal organs and reduces the strain on your heart, because your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump to the extremities when inverted.

The shoulder stand pose helps with varicose veins; purifies the blood; nourishes the brain, lungs, and heart; strengthens the eyesight; and is a great headache remedy.

It helps promote good circulation, as it directs the flow of the entire lower body towards the heart.

This Asana also helps prevent and reduce varicose veins by reducing the pressure on the legs and directing blood clogged in the veins upwards to the heart.

When we breathe, thanks to gravity our lower lungs get most of the oxygen, while our upper lungs don't get it. Only when we take a deep breath do our upper lungs get some oxygen. Inverted yoga Asanas like this one also direct oxygen to the upper lung, ensuring healthier lung tissue.

Usually the heart has to work hard to ensure blood gets pushed upward to the brain. During Sarvanga Asana the heart gets relief as the blood is directly relayed to the brain.

Thyroid gland is located in the neck. Over a period of time due to lack of proper circulation the gland starts to deteriorate. Sarvanga Asana pushes healthy, oxygenated blood directly into the neck, strengthening the thyroid gland.

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