HEALTH BENEFITS OF HALASANA – THE PLOUGH POSE
The Plough Pose, Halasana (pronounced ha-laa-suh-nuh) is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘hala’ which means ‘plough’. It is named so because the final pose resembles the plough, an agricultural equipment. Ranging between the difficulty levels of intermediate and advanced, this folded inversion posture is usually best practiced towards the culmination of your Yoga Session. If practiced astutely, this pose elevates your body’s state to pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), and you can thus end with a round of pranayama or shavasana.
Steps to perform Halasana – THE PLOUGH POSE:
- Lying on the floor in a supine position, with the arms alongside the body and palms facing down, bend the knees and kick and rock the legs up and back, bringing the bent knees to the forehead and placing the hands under the hips.
- Slowly, as you exhale, straighten your knees to attain the proper posture. Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor and your legs fully extended.
- Inhale, draw your chin away from your sternum and soften your throat opening up the shoulders and pressing into the ground with the upper arms to create lift.
- To feel the complete benefits of the pose, move the legs as further from the head as possible. At this stage one achieves a chin lock. At this point pressure is put on the thyroid glands.
- Interlace the fingers of your hands behind your back and gently squeeze the shoulder blades together. You may also slide the arms over your head and grab your toes.
- Maintain the position and your breathing for 4-10 counts depending on your level of comfort.
- Finally, exhale as you slowly and easily retrieve your legs from behind your back and place them perpendicular to the mat.
- Return to supine position once again.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
Health Benefits of Halasana – THE PLOUGH POSE:
- Improves the tone and strength of back muscles and spinal cord as the back is folded, as well as the leg and abdominal muscles.
- Improves the working of the spinal nerves by creating pressure on the nerves in the neck region which are normally sympathetic, thus enhancing the operation of sympathetic nervous system.
- Improves the function of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. All of the other endocrine glands are regulated by these main glands and so the overall function of the endocrine system is improved.
- Increases blood circulation
- Good for dyspepsia
- Activates, warms up, and lightens the psycho – physiological system
- Useful for asthma, bronchitis.
- Muscles ligaments of thighs and calves gets relaxed and stretched
- Increases flexibility and provides a feeling of relaxation during leg cramps
- Makes spinal cord strong and flexible
- Improves the digestive system, which makes this pose useful who are suffering from constipation and gastric problems
- Beneficial for diabetic people as it normalizes the blood-glucose level
- Stimulates the reproductive organs
- Helps women during menopause
- Strengthens the immune system
- Therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia, sinusitis
Modifications Halasana – THE PLOUGH POSE: Place a folded blanket under the shoulders.
Variations Halasana – THE PLOUGH POSE: Various arm positions are possible for this pose: A) along the floor, palms down behind your back; B) interlaced fingers behind your back lightly squeezed shoulder blades; C) arms slid over your head and holding onto the toes
Contraindications Halasana – THE PLOUGH POSE: Diarrhoea, Menstruation, Neck injury, Asthma & high blood pressure (Practice Halasana with the legs supported on props, such as chair), Pregnancy.