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[Yoga Home][Postures][Breathing][HolisticOnline Home][Meditation][Prayer]

The Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)

Next to the headstand, this posture is considered one of the best asanas. It is often seen being practiced in many gymnasiums, beauty salons, and health clubs. But without the deep breathing with this exercise, it does not have much therapeutic value and will not be considered a yoga posture.

This asana is sometimes called a "candle" because the body is kept straight as a candle in this posture.

Shoulder Stand

This asana is equally important for both men and women. It can be tried by persons of all age levels.


  1. Lie flat on your back. Inhale deeply while raising your legs and spine until the toes point to the ceiling.
  2. The body rests on the shoulders and the back of the neck. The body is supported by the hands, which are placed on the center of the spine between the waist and the shoulder blades. Keep your spine and legs straight.
  3. Breathe slowly and deeply with the abdomen and concentrate on the thyroid gland. On a male, the thyroid gland is located behind the adams apple. For women, it is located in the same area which is a few inches above the sternal notch (hollow of the neck where the neck joins the rest of the body.) or approximately half way up the neck from the sternal notch. Stay in this position for about two minutes.
  4. To come out of this posture, just bend your knees, curve your back and slowly return to lying on the floor while exhaling. First bend your knees, put the palms on the floor, then curving the spine, gradually unfold it the way one unrolls a carpet. When your entire back touches the floor, straighten the knees, take a deep breath and slowly lower your legs to the ground while breathing out.
  5. If you wish, you may go straight into the next posture (the 'reverse posture') instead of lying down.


  1. The main benefit of the shoulder stand is to get the thyroid gland working at peak efficiency. It's the thyroid gland which is mainly responsible for your correct weight and youthful appearance.
  2. The shoulder stand also regulates the sex glands.
  3. It vitalizes the nerves, purifies the blood and promote good circulation, strengthens the lower organs and helps them to stay in place.
  4. It gives a healthy stretch to the neck muscles.
  5. It is beneficial for people suffering from poor circulation, constipation, indigestion, asthma and reduced virility.
  6. This pose is especially recommended for women after childbirth and for those suffering from painful menstruation, other female disorders, and seminal weakness.

The Sanskrit name for this posture sarvangasana means 'all the body'.


Retain this position for fifteen seconds to six minutes, adding fifteen seconds per week.


Do not try this exercise if you are suffering from organic disorders of the thyroid gland. Be very cautious if you are suffering from chronic nasal catarrh.

[Go To:The Reverse Posture (Viparitakarani Mudra)]

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