HALASANA AND EKA PADA SARVANGASANA WITH A CHAIR
Level 2 at Yoga on Tay
The benefits of Sarvangasana are many: it strengthens the heart, lungs, muscles and joints of the upper body. It reduces swelling of legs and feet and brings relief to joints and organs in the lower body. It improves the blood supply to the face, neck and brain and therefore to endocrine glands (pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroids etc) in this region.
Please note: 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.
1) Prepare as shown and remember it is helpful to add a belt to the upper arms to help draw the elbows in.
2) Prepare the shoulders with chatushpadasana, brace the back of the arms to the ground and press into the heels to lift the buttocks up.
3) Take your toes to the chair. Once you are accustomed to this you can open the shoulders more by interlocking your fingers before extending the upper arms back and down. Then reverse the interlock and repeat before placing the hands on the back to support the lift of the spine and kidneys upwards.
4) Keeping the pelvis level, raise the right leg to vertical. Work as for tadasana, lengthen toes, lift the heel and tighten the knee. Hold for 20-30secs.
5) Check the level of the hips, ensure the outer left thigh is rolling upwards and ‘grip’ the hips in towards each other. Hold for 20-30secs.
6) Now raise the left leg for sarvangasana. Roll the inner thighs back and move the middle of the buttocks in. Hold for 20-30secs.
7) Return the right foot to the chair first, keeping the lift in the trunk as much as possible, then the left.
8) Repeat this time leading with the left leg.
9) Now remove the belt from your arms and rest the arms overhead. Allow the back to soften and round in order to roll out of the pose, keeping the head and neck region ‘quiet’.
10) Slide forward to bring the head, shoulders and lower spine to the ground, just keeping the tip of your tailbone on the edge of the blankets and cross your legs on the support. Rest there a while and change the cross of the legs before sitting up.
HOW TO PROGRESS THE POSE
Try as above but without the chair. It may be that this is too big a step for you to go to the floor and keep the spine lifted, in which case use 3 or 4 blocks or a wall.
Really engage with the tadasana actions on the lower leg by pulling the kneecap up to the groin, while lifting the heel up inline with the buttock bone on up-leg.