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Sarvangasana


Sarvangasana literally means a pose for all the parts of the body. It is one of the many inverted poses of yoga, all of which are extremely beneficial. These inverted asanas work by reversing the effects of gravity on certain parts of the body, and in Sarvangasana, most parts of the body are targeted.


Circulation

Sarvangasana helps promote good circulation, as it directs the flow of the entire lower body towards the heart. This asana also helps prevent and reduce varicose veins by reducing the pressure on the legs and directing blood clogged in the veins upwards to the heart.


Lungs

When we breathe, thanks to gravity our lower lungs get most of the oxygen, while our upper lungs don't. Only when we take a deep breath do our upper lungs get some oxygen. Inverted yoga asanas also direct oxygen to the upper lung, ensuring healthier lung tissue.


Heart

Usually the heart has to work hard to ensure blood gets pushed upward to the brain. During Sarvangasana the heart gets relief as the blood is directly relayed to the brain.


Thyroid

The thyroid gland is located in the neck. Over a period of time due to lack of proper circulation the gland starts to deteriorate. Sarvangasana pushes healthy, oxygen-rich blood directly into the neck, strengthening the thyroid glands.


Here is the correct way to do this asana.

1.   Lie down flat on the floor, on your back, palms by your side facing       down.
2.   Exhale and lift your legs up 30, then 60, then 90 and then around 130       degrees so they are extended behind your head.
3.   Stay in this position, breathing normally, for a few seconds.
4.   Now, gradually, exhale again, and straighten your legs up to 90       degrees, lifting your buttocks as well. Support the back of your trunk       with your palms, keeping elbows on the floor. Gradually, walk your       hands towards your shoulder blades, as you lift your body higher. Look       at the picture for guidance.
5.   Your elbows may tend to move outwards. Bring them in, so they are       straight in line with your shoulders.
6.   You will notice that your hips tend to jut out backwards, while your       feet tend to come forward over the head. This is not the right way to       do it. Work at it so your body is in a straight line. Your hips, feet and       shoulders should be aligned, so push your feet back and bring your       hips and tailbone forward. Remember, this exercise is not as much       about effort as it is about balance.
7.   Lift your body as high up as possible. Sarvangasana is a shoulder       stand, so your body should be resting on your shoulders and not on       your back.
8.   Hold this position for as long as possible.
9.   Remember to exhale while lifting your body up, but once your body is       up, you can breathe normally. There is no need to hold your breath.
10. Time yourself, so you can see how long you can remain in this       position. The next time, try and balance your body for a little longer.


While this is the basic pose, here's what you can do to get more out of the asana:

1. Make sure your legs are squeezed together. The feet, ankles, legs,     thighs, should all be touching.
2. Although you can extend toes towards the ceiling, the back of your legs     get a better stretch if you extend heels towards the ceiling instead.
3. Do not move your head or turn it to either side when in this pose.


Benefits

Sarvangasana literally means a pose for all the parts of the body. It is one of the many inverted poses of yoga, all of which are extremely beneficial. These inverted asanas work by reversing the effects of gravity on certain parts of the body, and in Sarvangasana, most parts of the body are targeted.


Circulation

Sarvangasana helps promote good circulation, as it directs the flow of the entire lower body towards the heart. This asana also helps prevent and reduce varicose veins by reducing the pressure on the legs and directing blood clogged in the veins upwards to the heart.


Lungs

When we breathe, thanks to gravity our lower lungs get most of the oxygen, while our upper lungs don't. Only when we take a deep breath do our upper lungs get some oxygen. Inverted yoga asanas also direct oxygen to the upper lung, ensuring healthier lung tissue.


Heart

Usually the heart has to work hard to ensure blood gets pushed upward to the brain. During Sarvangasana the heart gets relief as the blood is directly relayed to the brain.


Thyroid

The thyroid gland is located in the neck. Over a period of time due to lack of proper circulation the gland starts to deteriorate. Sarvangasana pushes healthy, oxygen-rich blood directly into the neck, strengthening the thyroid glands.


Caution

Women should not do any inverted poses during menstruation as it reverses blood flow. People suffering from blood pressure, glaucoma, hernias, cardiovascular disease, cervical spondylitis, thrombosis, arteriosclerosis, and kidney problems should not practice headstand. Those suffering from neck injuries should perform this exercise after consulting a yoga teacher, under supervision.  


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