What is Halasana (Plough/Plow Pose)
- Halasana is the Basic inverted supine forward bend Yoga pose
- Practicing Halasana regularly helps to increase your self-confidence and energy.
- This asana helps to restore calm and clarity of mind after a long illness.
- This pose alleviates the effects of stress and strain by resting and relaxing your eyes and brain.
Why the name Halasana?
The body takes the shape of a plough or plow in the ones while practicing the asana, hence the name Halasana.
What is meant by Halasana in Sanskrit?
In Sanskrit, the word “Hala” means “plough” and asana means “Yoga Pose”
Benefits of Halasana
- Relieves fatigue and boosts energy levels
- Controls hypertension
- Rejuvenates all the abdominal organs
- Most helpful in easy digestion
- Prevents constipation and dyspepsia
- Improves the appetite
- Lengthens the spine, and improves its alignment
- Helps treat hernia and hemorrhoids, if practiced with legs separated
- Relieves pain or cramps in the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders, if practiced with arms and interlocked fingers extended toward the legs
- Reduces insomnia
- Relieves stress related headaches, migraines
- Relieves palpitations and breathlessness
- Improves the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands
- This asana is especially beneficial for the good function of the female reproductive organs thereby reducing the menstrual problems
- Increases the metabolic rate
- Alleviates throat ailments, asthma, bronchitis, colds, and throat congestion
- This yoga pose strengthens the wrists, shoulders and the elbows and makes them more flexible and healthy
- Strengthens and tones the muscles of the calf and the thigh
- Strengthens the spinal nerves
- Improves the function of adrenal glands and the spleen
- This yoga asana is most helpful to get rid of Anxiety
- Improves the blood circulation of the spine
- Revitalizes the immune system
- Regulates the menopause
- This Yoga Pose prevents diabetes as it keeps a check on the insulin levels
- Relieves backaches and lumbago
- Helpful to Cure arthritis of the back and spine
- The best yoga asana for healthy function of the kidneys and pancreas
- Helpful in Better management of stress
- Get rids of the spasms of the muscles of the back
- Helps in weight loss, especially reduces the excess fat around the waist and the abdomen
- This pose is the best yoga for healthy internal organs as it improves the overall function of all the internal organs
- Strengthens all the muscles of the abdomen
Contraindications and Cautions
- Cervical spondylosis
- Avoid this pose during menstruation
- Breathing difficulties
- Beginners must start with sufficient support and make sure to decrease the height as the flexibility increases
- High blood pressure
- Do NOT do this Yoga Pose if you are experiencing shoulder or neck problems
- Physical and mental fatigue
- If you are prone to headaches, migraines, asthma, breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, physical and mental fatigue, or are overweight, practice Halasana with props and with your eyes closed.
- Avoid Halasana during menstrual cycles
Step by step instructions on how to do Halasana (Plow pose)
A CHAIR, A BLANKET, TWO BOLSTERS, AND A STOOL.
- The chair helps you to go into and out of the pose with confidence, and allows the spine to be stretched comfortably.
- The blanket draped over the chair’s edge cushions your back.
- The bolster placed beneath the shoulders prevents strain to the neck and head.
- The second bolster, placed on the stool, supports the thighs. The stool bears the weight of the body and supports the legs
- Perform Salamba Sarvangasana
- Place a folded blanket on the seat of the chair, ensuring that it overlaps the chair’s front edge.
- Place a bolster on the floor, its long sides touching the front legs of the chair.
- Place a stool about 2 ft (60 cm) away from the bolster, and position the second bolster on top of the stool, in line with the first.
- Now follow Steps 1, 2, and 3 of Salamba Sarvangasana
- Then, hold the back edge of the chair seat and bring both legs toward the stool.
- Keep your buttocks against the chair seat.
- Exhale, lift your buttocks off the floor, and bring your knees to your chest.
- Keep your arms straight and press your fingers firmly down on the floor.
- Push your shoulders back and broaden your chest.
- Raise your hips and buttocks toward the ceiling in a smooth, rolling action.
- Bring your knees close to your chin and raise your lower legs, until your shins are perpendicular to the floor.
- Tips for BEGINNERS Once you have raised your buttocks off the floor, ask a helper to hold your ankles and push your legs toward your head.
- Bend your elbows.
- Place your hands on the small of your back (see inset).
- Raise your hips and buttocks even farther, until your torso is perpendicular to the floor and your thighs are positioned above your face.
- Bring your bent knees over your forehead, before you lower your legs to the floor.
- Breathe evenly
- Swing your hips and buttocks over your head, until they are perpendicular to the floor and in line with your shoulders.
- Slowly straighten your legs, and lower them until your toes rest on the floor.
- Raise your chest, bringing your sternum to touch your chin.
- Stretch your arms out behind your back on the blankets.
- Then interlock your fingers firmly at the knuckles, rotating your wrists until your hands point toward the ceiling.
- Stay in the pose for 1-5 minutes.
- Breathe evenly.
- For BEGINNERS Initially, stretch your arms out toward your feet. Once you are comfortable in this pose, stretch your arms out behind your back.
The Sequence of Steps
- Exhaling, raise both the legs upwards and continue taking them back beyond the head, in a semicircular arc, to touch the floor. The above movement should be smooth and non-jerky; the body supported by the hands; palms are facing down–pressing on the floor.
- Complete the above step in 3 seconds, while exhaling.
- Maintain this position for 6 seconds, with the breath suspended (final position).
- Return to starting position: Inhaling, in 3 seconds, lift the legs up and then carefully lower the back. Gently bring the legs back to starting position.
Coming out of the Pose
- After you have held the final pose for the recommended duration, open your eyes slowly.
- Stretch your arms out on either side of your head.
- Then follow Steps 1, 2, and 3 carefully. Make sure that your movements are not jerky, as this might strain your neck or back.
- Pause for a few seconds between each step.
Advanced Work in the Pose
- As you hold this pose, make sure that your brain is not tense.
- Consciously relax the skin and muscles of your face.
- Keep your gaze on your chest—do not look up.
- Drop your eyes down in their sockets, since this helps relax the facial muscles.
- Your neck should be completely soft, since this rests the brain.
- Remember that your throat is the site of the Vishuddhi chakra
- If it tightens, your brain will become tense.
- Lift your sternum and chest to relax your throat and ensure smooth and effortless breathing.
- Increase the space between your navel and diaphragm.
What Latest Research says about the benefits of Halasana
A study conducted in rural residential school children proved that Halasana improved physical fitness status in children and enhanced the micronutrient absorption (even when no external micronutrient supplements were provided to these children).
Variations of Halasana
- There are many variations of this pose, some of which have a reputation for being more risky than others.
- For example, consider the variation of extending the arms overhead and clasping the toes.
- As in karnapidasana and nirlamba sarvangasana, this upwardly rotates the scapulae and makes the adduction of the scapulae difficult to maintain—the rhomboids and trapezius then lengthen, and weight falls into the upper spine.
- This variation can overstretch the thoracic and cervical spine, as there is potentially damaging pressure from the pushing action of the feet and, if the hamstrings and gluteals are tight, from the limited hip flexion forcing greater spinal flexion.
- Because this pose can produce very intense flexion for the spine, especially the cervical region, it’s more important to maintain the integrity of the scapulae and cervical and thoracic spine than to get the legs to the floor—support the legs, if necessary, to protect the neck.