Halasana – The Plow pose: A Quick Guide
The halasana pose is named after the basic plow shape, which is a quite popular farming tool in India and Tibet. Practicing this pose in the morning helps build energy and prepares your mental and physical for deep rejuvenation.
How to do halasana?
Here is a step by step guide on performing the halasana yoga pose:
- Once you are in the salamba Sarvangasana, you have to exhale and bend from your hips. Slowly lower your toes to the flow, while you lift your legs above the head. Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor and your legs should be fully extended.
- Once your toes reach the floor, lift the top of your thighs and tailbone towards the ceiling. Contract your inner groin muscles into the pelvis. If it helps, you can imagine that your torso is hanging from the height of the groin muscles. Once you have settled into the pose, draw your chin away from the sternum and relax the throat muscles.
- Continue pressing your hands against the upper back, pushing it towards the ceiling. While pushing your torso up, press the backs of your upper arms down as this will help with support. Also, you can release your hands and keep them away from your back; stretch the arms behind you and place them on the floor (opposite each leg). Clasp your hands and press them down for support as you lift your thighs towards the ceiling.
- Halsana is the pose after Sarvangasana, and it can last from 1 to 5 minutes. To withdraw from this pose, you have to bring your hands on your back once again. Lift into Sarvangasana, do this slowly while exhaling. Roll on your back or simply roll out of the pose as you exhale in a controlled manner.
Who shouldn’t practice the plow pose?
If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, refrain from performing halasana yoga:
- Neck injury
- High blood pressure
Note: This pose is not advised to beginners, it requires practice and is considered suitable for intermediate and advanced practitioners. It’s suggested that you practice the halasana under the supervision of an experienced yoga instructor if you are new to this pose.
How to deepen the pose?
When you start the halasana pose, you can deepen it by squeezing the shoulder blades together. This will help you lift yourself and balance on top of your shoulders. Once you are settled in this position, you can broaden the shoulder blades into the outer upper arms for resistance.
Tip for beginners:
Firstly, if you are a beginner to the plow pose ensure that you are performing it under the supervision of an experienced instructor. This is because without proper guidance you run the risk of overstretching your neck and pulling your shoulder too far, thereby injuring yourself.
Modification to the halasana pose:
Even if you can’t rest your feet on the floor, you can modify the plow pose with a prop. Place the back of a folding chair against the wall. Set one edge of your support away from the front edge of the seat. The distance depends on your height, lie down on the support with your head on the floor. Exhale and roll up, while you rest your feet on the seat, then proceed to Salamba Sarvangasana.
Suggested warm-up exercises before Halasana:
- The preliminary Hasana or Poorva Hasana is a warm-up pose before practicing the full halasana pose. It’s easy to perform.
- A shoulder stand is done before the Plow pose. In the Sarvangasana, you have to lift your lower body off the floor, and take the legs 180 degrees over your head and stretch them up. This way you will come upon your shoulders and you can support your back with your hands.
- Bridge pose is another warm-up that can be done Halasana.
Cool down poses after Halasana:
- The plow pose can be followed by the Cobra pose
- You can also cool down by using the wind relieving pose, where you gently rock your body back and forth.
- Tones and strengthen the spinal cord and your back muscles, when the back is folded.
- Enhanced the spinal nerve functions by introducing pressure on the nerve and neck region. This improved the nervous system operations
- Better functions of the thyroid, adrenal, parathyroid, and adrenal glans. All the hormonal glands in the endocrine system are affected by this pose, and their functions improve a lot.
- Increase in blood circulation
- Lightens the psycho-physiological system
- Helps with asthma and other respiratory issues
- Relaxed the ligaments and muscles in the thighs and calves
- Better digestive system functions provide relief from bloating and constipation
- Stabilizes sugar levels, quite beneficial for people suffering from diabetes
- Helps women going through menopause
- Improves the sleep cycle
- Responsible for healthy immune functions
- Fuels the reproductive organs
The halasana yoga pose helps with healing and strengthening the mind and body when done consistently. It is important to learn about the various Yoga asanas under the supervision of a qualified yoga trainer. At Govardhan Ecovillage, we enlist experienced yoga teachers who will guide you through the various postures and ensure that you live a healthy holistic lifestyle.