Plough Pose - Halasana

Halasana
(Plough Pose)

(hah-LAHS-anna)
hala = plough
asana = pose

Though this yoga pose does not have any direct refference in any classical sense, it carries similarities to other yoga positions practiced in traditional yoga classes. Plough Yoga Pose brings relaxation to the muscles of the back and thighs, gently stretching the ligaments and sinews of the spine and back.

 


 

Benefits


Calms the brain

Stretches the shoulders and spine

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Reduces stress and fatigue

Therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia, sinusitis

The Plough invigorates the entire body.

It also stimulates the internal abdominal organs (helping aid digestion), thyroid, and prostate glands.

This pose tones the thighs, buttocks, and hips while stretching the shoulders and neck.

Plough alleviates insomnia, fatigue, and negative symptoms of menopause.

This pose may prove helpful against sinus problems (including asthma), headache, and infertility

Contraindications/Cautions


Diarrhea

Menstruation

Neck injury

Asthma & high blood pressure: Practice Halasana with the legs supported on props.

Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don't take up the practice of Halasana after you become pregnant.

Performing the Asana


From Salamba Sarvangasana, exhale and bend from the hip joints to slowly lower your toes to the floor above and beyond your head. As much as possible, keep your torso perpendicular to the floor and your legs fully extended.

With your toes on the floor, lift your top thighs and tailbone toward the ceiling and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis. Imagine that your torso is hanging from the height of your groins. Continue to draw your chin away from your sternum and soften your throat.

You can continue to press your hands against the back torso, pushing the back up toward the ceiling as you press the backs of the upper arms down, onto your support. Or you can release your hands away from your back and stretch the arms out behind you on the floor, opposite the legs. Clasp the hands and press the arms actively down on the support as you lift the thighs toward the ceiling.

Halasana is usually performed after Sarvangasana for anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. To exit the pose bring your hands onto your back again, lift back into Sarvangasana with an exhalation, then roll down onto your back, or simply roll out of the pose on an exhalation.

Anatomical Focus


Spine / Back

Internal Organs

Hips / Thighs

Therapeutic Applications


Digestion

Sinus

Insomnia

Fatigue

Menopause Symptoms

Modify Your Practice


For beginners, keep the knees straight and the toes off of the ground with the back supported until you are comfortable enough to extend the pose to the ground.
More advanced students may enter this pose from the Shoulderstand and finish by extending the palms to the floor in the opposite direction of the toes, pressing the shoulder blades inwards and down the back while lengthening the spine.

Most beginning students can't comfortably rest their feet on the floor (nor is it advisable for the neck). But you can still practice this pose with an appropriate prop. Brace the back of a metal folding chair against a wall (if you like, cover the seat with a folded sticky mat), and set one long edge of your support a foot or so away from the front edge of the seat. The exact distance between the chair and support will depend on your height (taller students will be farther away, shorter students closer). Lie down on the support with your head on the floor between the blanket support and the chair. Roll up with an exhalation, rest your feet on the seat (and check to see that you are neither too close nor too far from the chair), then lift into Salamba Sarvangasana first before moving into Halasana.

Complimentary Yoga Poses


Salamba Sarvangasana - Headstand (Supported)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Bridge Asana