Halasana (Plow Pose) | iHanuman

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Halasana

English Name: 
Plow Pose
Practice Type: 
Practice Level: 
Asana Image: 
Model: Sara Agelasto Credit: Peter Agelasto
Asana Description: 

Geometry: In this inverted pose, the weight of the body is on the upper arms, shoulders and back of the head (as in Salamba Sarvangasana). The hands are on the back and the legs are stretched straight overhead.

a. From the floor
b. From Salamba Sarvangasana

If you cannot swing the legs up or cannot lift the buttocks up from the floor keep a bolster or a block under the buttocks to elevate them.

From Supta Tadasana:

1. Start in Supta Tadasana, palms down, with your shoulders 2 inches from the edge of 3 four-fold blankets on your sticky mat and your head on the floor.

2. Draw the knees into the chest and take the knees over the head.

3. Extend the legs onto the floor or onto a chair, block or bolster support. 

4. Place the palms of your hands on either side of your spine with the fingers pointing up towards your tailbone. Press the hands into your back to lift the back ribs in. Maintain that as you move the shoulderblades in and up the back and lift the sides of the waist of up. Press into the toes and lift the inner thighs up towards the ceiling. 

5. Extend the arms overhead. Exhale and come down.

From Salamba Sarvangasana:

1. Press the palms into the back and with the legs straight, lower the legs until the toes reach the ground. Take your chest and hips slightly back to do this.
2. If it is too difficult to control the legs, lower your legs one at a time.
3. Extend the legs onto the floor or onto a chair, block or bolster support and open the backs of the knees as you lift the tops of the thighs towards the ceiling.
4. Place the palms of your hands on either side of your spine with the fingers pointing up towards your tailbone.
5. Extend the arms overhead. Exhale and come down.

Additional Actions:

Externally rotate the arms to take the shoulders more underneath you and lift the chest.

Press the palms on the back to lift the back, the sides of the waist and the chest and keep the spine perpendicular to the floor.

Lift the shins and thighs to lengthen the backs of the legs and lift the hips up.

Extend the inner upper thigh towards the inner heels and up towards the ceiling.

Press the toes to lengthen the legs and lift the hips up.

Arm Positions: Externally rotate the arms to draw the outer shoulders down :

a. Turn the palms down

b. Take the thumbs towards one another with the palms down.

c. Interlace the fingers behind the back.

d. Interlace the fingers behind the back with the palms away from the back.

Common Issues: 

The chest is collapsed.

The back is rounded.

The hips are not lifted.

The legs are not stretched straight.

The inner ankles are collapsed.

Karl Straub via Picasa, 11/22 1:09pm

 

An Innovative way to enter the pose with Senior Iyengar Teacher, Lois Steinberg

Sanskrit Pronunciation: 
Classification: 
Energetic: 
Benefits: 

The effects of this pose are similar to Salamba Sarvangasana.  This pose benefits the endocrine, cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory, digestive, eliminative and reproductive systems of the body. 

Beginners Tips: 

Learn to maintain the lift of the spine when the toes touch the floor.

Extend the hips towards the ceiling. 

Lift the backs of the knees.

Press the Toes to Lift the Thighs, the Buttocks and the Trunk.

Modifications and Props : 

Those who cannot swing the legs overhead, can start with the pelvis on a bolster.

Practice Ardha Halasana at the Wall

1. Set your blankets up as for Salamba Sarvangasana with 3 four-fold blankets on your sticky mat. 

2. Sit in Dandasana with your back against the wall. 

3. Where your heels are is where the edge of the smooth folded blankets and ultimately where your shoulders and hips will be.  

Contraindications: 

If there is difficulty breathing, spread the feet hip distance or wider apart so the diaphragm is not compressed.

If there is too much weight in the abdomen or thighs, halasana should be practiced with the thighs on a chair.

If the breasts are heavy, the arms should point towards the feet.

If you have High Blood Pressure, practice the standing poses under the guidance of an experienced teacher before practicing Inversions.