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Tips & Resources

Salamba Sarvangasana Pose of the Month

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Salamba Sarvangasana or supported shoulder balance since the hands are tasked with helping to lift the spine.

Regular practice of all the preceding pose of the month features will have prepared the strength and mobility to approach sarvangasana. Being comfortable to stay in adho mukha svanasana for 2-3 minutes suggests the body is ready for sarvangasana.

Important: Avoid this pose if you have a period or tummy bug.

Seek the advice of a senior teacher before attempting sarvangasana if you suffer from high blood pressure, glaucoma, detached retina or cervical spondylitis/osteoporosis.

If you have any doubts about the suitability of this pose for you then please ask your teacher.

Stage 1 Preparing for Salamba Sarvangasana

Prepare a pad for the shoulders with 3, or more, blankets, or make a ‘sticky mat sandwich’ as we do in class, with the addition of a lift for the buttocks.

Lie on the pad with the head on the floor, check that the neck is ‘half on-half off’ the raise.

Lie with the feet close together and palms close to the body with the palms facing the floor.

Stage 2 Salamba Sarvangasana

Exhale and lift the hips and thighs to 60 degrees and support them with the palms and fingers by bending the arms at the elbows. See

Continue to slide palms down the back towards the head bringing the chest close to the chin.

Join and straighten the legs, slightly point the toes upward.

Maintain the pose and breath normally. Aim to stay for one minute to start with, building the time up to a comfortable 5 minutes.

Reverse the steps above to roll out of the pose with control.

Top Tip

It is helpful to add a belt to the upper arms to help draw the elbows in.


How to progress in Sarvangasana Method 1

To bring more weight onto the top the shoulders the spine needs to lift and form an arch with the shoulders. A good way to learn how to do this is to fold your yoga blanket into a triple pleat.

How to progress in Sarvangasana Method 2

Bend your legs at the knees. Keep knees together and part the feet as for virsasana.

Work to point the knees to the ceiling.

This requires the buttock muscles to engage (without clenching) and gives extensive length to the front body (abdomen, diaphragm, digestive organs) as in setubhanda.

From here only, re-extend the legs.

BENEFITS of Salamba Sarvangasana

After attending class for 3 months the beneficial effects of yoga will have become more apparent, even more so after 6 months. This is particularly true once inversions become a regular part of your practice.

Performed well sarvangasana is considered the mother of all asanas as it has so many wide-ranging benefits.

Sarvangasana strengthens the lungs, muscle and joints of the upper extremities. It reduces swelling of legs and feet whilst bring relief to joints and organs in the lower body.

It greatly improves the blood supply to the face, neck and brain. Improving the blood flow to all these tissues is particularly beneficial to endocrine glands (pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroids etc) in this region.

If you have any doubts about the suitability of this pose for you then please ask your teacher.


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