Post By:Vishwanath IyerPublished on: December 16, 2016Reading time: 3 minutes
Halasana – Plough pose
School of Yoga explains halasana (Plough Pose)
School of Yoga explains –halasana technique : (Should be learned under supervision)
Sthithi (starting) position: Lie on the back, hands to the side. Breathe in.
Breathing out, using back and leg muscles as support, lift legs off the floor, over the face to the rear of the head.
Slowly, taking care not to jerk the neck, begin to stretch legs as far as possible. Ensure that there is equality in the stretch of the legs, legs are straight and that there is no distortion in the balance between the legs when stretching.
Initially legs will bend and not stretch out straight. Over time and with practice, final posture will be reached.
At this point, the shoulder will support the back and will lock with the neck.
Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating intermediate step – Halasana in 1920’s
The degree to which the legs are straightened and stretched away from the face indicates expertise in this asana.
Maintain shallow breathing if unable to sustain a “breathing out” state.
Hold 3 to 10 counts.
Slowly, release the pressure on the back and bring the feet closer to the face
Breathing in, lift the legs and bring them back to the ground. Straighten the body
Breathe deeply. Repeat 3 to 6 times.
The drishti (gaze) recommended is focus on the neck-lock in the vishuddi–chakra.
Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating final Halasana – 1920’s
School of Yoga explains –halasana benefits :
This exercise is excellent for toning up nerves and muscles of the entire spine – neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, lower thigh muscles and hamstrings.
This pose energises the cardio vascular system to a lesser extent.
In the final pose, where there is a chin lock, the carotid artery is squeezed, thereby diverting blood to the thyroid. This improves the functioning of this critical component of the endocrine system.
Sundaramadhavan demonstrating Halasana variant
School of Yoga explains – halasana contraindications
If you have any form of back ache, do not attempt this asana without adequate supervision and support.
People with cardiac problems, lower back problems and circulatory disorders should not attempt the final position.
Do not perform this asana if you have cervical spondylosis, hernia or arthritis.
Thisasanashould not be practiced during menstruation or pregnancy.
Sarada Krishnan demonstrating Halasana (final stage) in 1950’s
While this exercise is very good for energizing the endocrine system, those with cervical or lumbar spondylosis should avoid this exercise completely.
Some would be tempted to use the hand to support the back when lifting and returning the legs to its original position. Whilst this is acceptable when one is learning the exercise, over time one should try to lift the legs and take it over the face to the rear without support as this strengthens the muscles of the lower back.
The use of the back to lift legs also results in increased sense of balance between left as well as right halves of the torso but one should be careful and not jerk or move too rapidly.