Halasana – The Plough Pose

 

I imbibe the resilience of the plough that tills the fields to strengthen my body and will.

 

The final posture resembles a plough. It is an asana where the spine is inverted causing a strong compression at the throat and abdomen. When the attention during the practice is steadied, the mind becomes steady and strong. This is a fairly advanced technique requiring strength of the neck and shoulders.

 

Method of Practice

Starting Position

  1. Lie on your back on a mat with both your legs together and hands at the sides.

 

Steps

    1. While inhaling, raise both your legs together forming a right angle to the body. (You may bend the knees before you raise your legs in case it is difficult for you to raise them up straight and use your hands for support.)

    2. While exhaling, lower your legs towards and beyond your head in a semi-circular arc to touch the toes to the floor.

    3. The hands remain in the starting position (however, you may use your hands, if need be, to support the hips as you raise yourself up and once the legs are in place bring your hands down to the starting position).

    4. The legs remain straight.

    5. You may clasp your hands in the final position.

 

Maintain the final posture, suspending your breath for six seconds.

 

Posture Release

    1. Inhaling, in 3 seconds left the legs up and lower your hips (with the aid of your hands if required and bending the knees) and then bring back your legs gently to the starting supine position.

 

Limitations / Contraindications

  1. Hypertension, cardiac ailments

  2. Pregnancy, peptic ulcers

  3. Respiratory disorders

  4. Cervical spondylitis

 

Benefits

Physical

  1. The spine is well-stretched.

  2. No other asana is more effective for spinal health than this asana.

  3. Your abdominal muscles get toned and abdominal organs get stimulated.

 

Therapeutic

  1. It benefits the nervous and digestive system as well as the genital organs.

  2. It improves occupational contours or other defects of carriage.

  3. There is acceleration of circulation in the spinal region.

  4. Steady improvement in the tone and activity of the internal organs is observed.

  5. The stretching of the posterior muscles supporting the spine aids their pliancy and raises their tonicity.

  6. It helps in relieving constipation, obesity, sexual debility, menstrual disorder and spinal rigidity.

  7. It improves functioning of the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands.

  8. It reduces back pain, lumbago.

 

Psychological

  1. It helps in reducing stress and fatigue.

  2. It helps in remaining peaceful.

  3. Besides having an overall good impact on the spine and other parts of body, it makes your mind alert.

 

Muscles Involved

    1. Flexors, abductors and the internal rotators of the hip

    2. Posterior aspect of the scapula and posterior lateral aspect of shoulder are stretched

    3. Protractors of the shoulder, flexors, abductors and medial rotators of the shoulder

    4. Flexors of the elbow are exercised

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