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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Benefits of Sarvangasana | Shoulder Stand Yoga

Yoga is one of the most ancient of all physical practices across the world. This ancient Indian tradition is useful for striking a harmonious balance between the body, mind and the soul. This is achieved with the help of a series of poses and postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.

There are several different poses and postures in yoga which have specific benefits for different parts of the body. Sarvangasana is one such posture which has several benefits. This is one of the most revered shoulder stand yoga poses and is often also known as the queen of poses.

Sarvangasana literally means ‘full body asana’ in Sanskrit. This means that the pose is beneficial for all of the body. This is an inverted yoga posture which includes several poses which are beneficial for different parts of the body. Some of the variations that are included in this posture are salamba sarvangasana which is a supported shoulder stand and allows an increase in the flow of blood to the brain.

Since this is an inverted stand, the major benefit that the body gets from this pose is that of reversing the effect of gravity of the body. Some of the other sarvangasana benefits are:
  • Improvement of the overall health: Since the posture targets the entire body, almost all the muscles of the body are involved in it. This helps in toning and strengthening the entire body. The posture also helps stimulate the different organs, improves circulation of blood throughout the body, increases core strength, and improves the health of the nervous system.
  • Improvement of blood circulation: Since the effect of gravity on the body is reversed when this exercise is performed, blood circulation receives a boost. Due to the inversion of the body, the brain temporarily receives more blood and therefore more oxygen, enabling it to function better.
  • Improvement in respiratory functioning: Of all the shoulder stretching exercises, sarvangasana is one exercise that helps improve respiration. Since the blood circulation improves in the body, the aerobic capacity is also improved. This shoulder stretch improves the capacity of both the lower and the upper portion of the respiratory system. Respiratory disorders like bronchitis and asthma can also be eased by doing this pose.
  • Improvement of digestion: With the improvement in overall health, the digestive system also benefits from this pose. Since the exercise helps stimulate the thyroid gland, the metabolism also receives a boost.