Shoulder Stand, Supported
SĀLAMBA SARVĀNGĀSANA (सालम्ब सर्वाङासन)
(sah-LOM-bah sahr-vaahng-AAH-sah-nah)

 


‘Sālamba’= supported or with support, ‘Sarva’= entire or all, ‘ānga’= body part or limb,
‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana)
Kandrasana
Mother of All Yoga Poses

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Supine / Inversion / Stretch / Balance

1. Start in Corpse Pose (Savasana), except with your arms by your sides and your palms face down on the mat (Supine position).
2. Make sure your back and shoulder blades are flat, bringing your shoulders down to the mat.
3. Take a deep breath, and then exhale, as you use your lower abdomen to raise your legs up in the air, bending at the hips. Keep your legs together.
4. Continue to raise your legs forward, using your back and abdomen to lift your hips up and off the mat.
5. Draw your back up, engage your core to draw your navel into your spine, and extend your legs.
6. Bring your torso and legs straight up into the air, with your hands supporting your lower back. Spread your hands wide (around your hips) to ensure that your spine is fully supported.
7. Align your ankles, legs, hips, and shoulders and point your toes.
8. Make sure that your weight is distributed in your upper back, shoulders, and arms as your shoulders and arms are rooted to the mat. Tighten your glutes, tuck your tailbone, and lengthen your back for balance.
9. Be conscious of your breath; keep your chest open, with your chin slightly tucked in, and your shoulder blades broad across your back. Be sure not to crunch your neck.
10. Relax your back, jaw, and neck and hold the pose for several breaths, breathing smoothly. To build strength, hold for at least 20 seconds.
11. When ready, slowly release back into Corpse Pose (Savasana).

Common Adjustments
• Neck or shoulders strained / Neck crunched
• Back arched / Not supporting the spine properly / spine not straight
• Unbalanced / abdomen not engaged / elbows flared out
• Legs not straight up in the air / Legs falling forward / Knees bent / Feet not together and touching
• Shoulders, chest, hips and legs not in alignment
• Looking around – Students should gaze toward the feet

Modifications
• For beginners, students with tightness in the back, shoulders, or hamstrings, or students who have difficulty holding their legs straight up, they can either: a) practice against a wall, placing the soles of their feet or their heels on the wall, b) bring their feet to rest on a chair (next to a wall), c) place bolsters under their shoulders, c) practice Half Shoulder Stand Pose (Ardha Sarvangasana), or d) practice Half Plow (Ardha Halasana) with blocks or bolsters under the hips to build their strength and confidence.
• Students who experience shoulder or upper back discomfort, or have difficulty lifting their torso, can place a bolster or folded blanket / mat under their shoulders and neck for support. Their head should be resting on the floor.
• Students with Asthma or High Blood Pressure should practice with their legs supported on props like a wall, a chair next to a wall, or with assistance from a partner (teacher or fellow student).
• Students whose elbows drift can either place a folded mat under their elbows or use a strap to keep them closer together an in place.
• To build strength and help with alignment, students can practice with a chair in front and behind them.
• For advanced students, they can practice by lowering one leg horizontally and then raising it again, repeating that motion. They can also do this with both legs at the same time. Alternatively, they can practice Shoulder Stand, Side Twist (Parsva Sarvangasana), Embryo Pose in Shoulder Stand Pose (Pindasana), or Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana).

Counter Poses
• Corpse (Savasana)
• Wind Relieving (Pavanamuktasana)
• Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
• Fish (Matsyasana)

Anatomy
• Neck (Rhomboids)• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Biceps and Triceps
• Forearm and Wrists• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques
• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic), and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine• Hips (Iliopsoas)
• Gluteus Maximus• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles• Ankles

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretches the neck, shoulders, chest, back, spine, abdomen, hips, glutes, biceps, triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings. Great for runners.
• Calms the mind, body, and nervous system, which helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, stress, insomnia, mild depression, and tension. Tension is especially relieved in the shoulders, neck, head, spine, chest, and back when the head and torso are supported.
• Improves digestion by massaging internal organs, and the abdominal muscles. Also stimulates the thyroid, parathyroid, and prostate glands, improves the metabolic rate and endocrine system, and relieves colitis.
• Stimulates the cardiovascular system increases blood supply to the cervical and thoracic region, assisting the parathyroid, pituitary and pineal glands and stretches the heart, as well as increases circulation in the throat and stimulates the thyroid gland. This helps sooth menstrual and menopausal discomfort and aids with headache / migraine pain, digestion, and constipation.
• Improves the reproductive system. Relieves hemorrhoids and hypertension.
• Improves the Respiratory System by opening the chest and breathing through the diaphragm, which is therapeutic for students with asthma, bronchitis, congestion, throat ailments, sinusitis, and relieves sinus pressure. Also relieves palpitations and breathlessness.

Contraindications
1. Students with severe shoulder, neck, back, or spinal injury / inflammation, severe spondylitis, slipped disc, have a severe heart condition, headache, high blood pressure, diarrhea, are pregnant or in their menstrual cycle, have an enlarged thyroid, liver, or spleen, or have a throat or ear infection should modify, seek guidance from a qualified teacher, or avoid this pose.
2. Students with mild spondylitis or have minor heart concerns should seek guidance to practice this pose.
3. Students who experience shoulder or neck pain should immediately come out of this pose.

Chakras
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra FiveThroat, Visuddha, Vissudha, Vishuddhi, or Vishuddha (purification) Chakra. This is the communications and sympathetic vibrations chakra. Its goals are clear communication, creativity, and resonance. Its location is the throat.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 10 – Inverted Postures as “Salamba Sarvangasana – Supported Shoulderstand”.
    • Watch the Chapter 10 video “Salamba Sarvangasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthew, this posture can be found in Chapter 11 – SUPINE POSES as “SALAMBA SARVANGASANA – Supported Shoulder Stand”.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthew, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 11 – SUPINE POSES as “NIRALAMBA SARVANGASANA – Unsupported (No-Arm) Shoulder Stand”. This variation is typically more ideal for intermediate to advanced practitioners.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthew, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 11 – SUPINE POSES as “VIPARITA KARANI – Inverted Pose”.

Pin It on Pinterest