Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) – 30 Powerful Benefits and Contraindications


What is Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)

  • Salamba Sarvangasana, also known as Supported Shoulderstand, is a popular yoga asana that involves balancing the body on the shoulders with the support of the hands and arms.
  • “Salamba” means “supported,” “sarva” means “all,” and “angasana” means “pose” in Sanskrit.
  • Practicing this asana integrates your mind with your body and soul.
  • Your brain feels bright yet calm, your body feels light and infused with radiance.
  • The inverted pose allows fresh, healthy blood to circulate around your neck and chest.
  • This alleviates bronchial disorders and stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Benefits of Salamba Sarvangasana

  1. Alleviates hypertension
  2. Salamba Sarvangasana soothes the nerves
  3. Improves the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands
  4. Alleviates asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, throat disorders and congestion
  5. Relieves breathlessness and palpitations
  6. Helps treat colds and sinus blockages/sinuisitis
  7. Improves bowel movements and relieves colitis
  8. Alleviates urinary disorders
  9. This yoga pose stretches and strengthens the shoulder and the neck
  10. Helps treat hernia
  11. Helps treat a prolapsed uterus and reduces uterine fibroids
  12. Relieves congestion and heaviness in the ovaries, and helps treat ovarian cysts
  13. Salamba Sarvangasana calms the brain
  14. Stimulates the function of the prostate glands
  15. Reduces menstrual cramps and helps regulate menstrual flow, if done regularly between two menstrual periods
  16. Relieves stress and nervous disorders
  17. eases migraines and stress related headaches
  18. Salamba Sarvangasana alleviates hypertension and insomnia
  19. This asana reduces palpitations
  20. This yoga pose helps in relieving from the symptoms of mild depression
  21. Stimulates the function of the abdominal organs
  22. Improves the digestion
  23. Relieves cervical spondylosis and shoulder pain
  24. This yoga pose relieves insomnia
  25. Prevents varicose veins
  26. Relieves the fatigue
  27. Salamba Sarvangasana helps in reducing the symptoms of menopause
  28. Strengthens and tones the legs and buttocks
  29. Alleviates ulcers, colitis, chronic constipation, and hemorrhoids
  30. Salamba Sarvangasana is the best yoga therapy for infertility

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Do not practice Salamba Sarvangasana during menstruation.
  • People with high blood pressure should only attempt this asana immediately after holding the pose of Halasana for at least 3 minutes.
  • Shoulder Stand requires a fair amount of strength and flexibility, especially in the neck and shoulders. It’s advisable to learn this pose under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor, especially if you’re a beginner.
  • Avoid this pose if you have any neck or shoulder injuries or conditions. If you have any medical concerns or conditions, consult with a healthcare provider before attempting this pose.
  • Pregnant individuals should avoid inversions like Salamba Sarvangasana unless they have significant experience with the pose and receive clearance from their healthcare provider.
  • Always listen to your body and never force yourself into a position that causes pain or discomfort.

How to do Salamba Sarvangasana – Step wise Instructions

Step 1

  • Place a mat on 3 folded blankets, one on top of the other, on the floor.
  • Lie down with your neck, shoulders, and back on the blankets.
  • Rest your head on the floor.
  • Stretch your legs and tighten your knees.
  • Push the inner sides of your legs toward your heels.
  • Press the outer sides of your shoulders down on the blankets.
  • Raise your upper spine, but push your lower spine down on the blankets.
  • Stretch your arms out close to your body, palms facing the ceiling.
  • Make sure that your wrists touch your body.
  • Raise and expand your sternum without moving your head.

Step 2

  • Roll your shoulders back and pull in your shoulder blades.
  • Turn your upper arms out slightly and stretch the inner sides of your arms toward the little fingers of each hand.
  • Exhale, and bend your knees.

Step 3

  • Without moving the upper part of your body, exhale and raise your hips and buttocks off the floor.
  • Bring your knees over your chest.
  • BEGINNERS If you find it difficult, at first, to raise your hips off the floor, ask a helper to hold your ankles and push your bent legs toward your head.

Step 4

  • Maintain your grip on the chair seat and straighten your legs, one by one.
  • Your buttocks, lower back, and waist should rest on the front edge of the chair seat.
  • Lift your dorsal spine and shoulder blades.
  • Intensify your grip on the chair seat.
  • Extend your inner legs from the groin to the heels.
  • Rotate your thighs inward.
  • Keep your neck soft.
  • Do not hold your breath.
  • Hold the pose for 5 minutes.

Coming out of the Pose

  • Exhale, and place your feet on the chair back.
  • Push the chair away, slightly.
  • Slide your buttocks and back onto the bolster.
  • Rest for a few minutes.
  • Turn on your right, slide off the bolster, and sit up.

Step 5

  • Now, slide your hands down to the middle of your back, so that your palms cover your kidneys.
  • Point your thumbs toward the front of your body and your fingers toward the spine.
  • Exhale, and raise your torso, hips, and knees, until your chest touches your chin. Breathe evenly.

Step 6

  • Raise your feet toward the ceiling.
  • Only the back of your neck, shoulders, and upper arms should rest on the blankets.
  • Make sure that your body is perpendicular to the floor, from the shoulders to the knees.

Step 7

  • Press both palms into your back and straighten and stretch your body from the armpits to the toes.
  • Your spine must be absolutely straight.
  • Keep both elbows close to your body, as this keeps your chest expanded.
  • To raise your torso further, release your palms, then press them into your back again.
  • This will push your chest up farther.
  • Lift your body from the back of your neck, and not your throat.
  • Push both shoulders back, to relax and stretch your neck.
  • Extend your inner and outer legs toward the ceiling.
  • Do not allow your legs to waver back and forth.
  • Hold the pose for 2-3 minutes.
  • Continue to breathe evenly.

It’s essential to practice Salamba Sarvangasana with caution and under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor, especially if you are new to the pose or have any underlying health conditions. They can provide proper alignment cues, modifications, and ensure your safety during the practice.


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