Salamba Sarvangasana I
Salamba Sarvangasana literally translates as Supported Whole Body Pose. Figuratively, this meaning holds true as the whole body benefits from this pose.
1. Start in Supta Tadasana, palms down, with 3 four-fold blankets on top of an two-fold blanket on your sticky mat.
2. Bend your knees into your chest and with palms down swing the hips towards the head. Support the hips with the hands and raise the trunk. The body from the shoulders to the knees is now perpendicular to the ground.
3. The top of the sternum touches the chin. Keep the palms on the back near the kidneys with the fingers pointing towards the buttocks.
4. Draw the knees up towards the ceiling.
5. Contract the buttocks so that the lumbar region and the coccyx remain tucked in and straighten the legs towards the ceiling.
6. Stay in this position for 2 - 5 minutes for beginning students.
7. To come out, bend the knees and lower them as you entered the pose, remove the hands from the back and slowly lower down to the floor.
Salamba Sarvangasana is known as the Mother of asanas as it balances most of the systems of the body including the endocrine, the cardiovascular and the nervous systems.
Salamba Sarvangasana develops the feminine qualities of patience and emotional stability. In this pose, oxygenated blood is circulated in the chest - relieving breathlessness, asthma, bronchitis, throat ailments and palpitations.
The thyroid and parathyroid receive fresh blood improving their efficacy. The nerves are soothed, the brain is calmed.
Salamba Sarvangasana is an excellent aid in digestion and elimination. It corrects urinary disorders, uterine displacement and menstrual disorders.
Practice this pose with the guidance of a reputable teacher first.
Practice this pose with a chair or a wall.
To Practice at the wall, place your 3 four-fold blanket and mat set up at the wall with the folded edges of the blankets away from the wall.
Sit on the blanket stack with one hip towards the wall and extend your legs up the wall. You will be very close to the wall and your shoulders will line up about an inch behind the folded blanket edge.
Place the soles of your feet on the wall and lift the hips up.
Place the palms of your hands on your back with your fingertips towards your hips. Move your hands as far up your back as possible. Press into your palms to help lift your chest.
Press your hips so they come in line with your shoulders. The chin presses into the chest as above.
Keeping the hips over the shoulders, practice extending one foot up towards the ceiling at a time and then both legs. Use the wall to help you maintain your position.
To come out, place both soles of your feet on the wall and slowly lower the hips down. Your legs will be up the wall. Bend your legs, roll to the side, pause for a few breaths before coming upright into a seated position.
If the chest is not properly lifted, there may be difficulty breathing.
Do not turn the neck sideways while attempting this pose.
For a heavy abdomen or breasts lift the shoulders higher on the blankets.
For heavy legs or buttocks, use the support of a chair or a wall for the legs.