Shoulderstand is a great pose – some yogis say it’s the most important one of all. But it’s clear that not everyone should do it. Read on for a quick drive down both sides of the road.
Here are the benefits available to those who practice shoulderstand skillfully.
- The deepest calm and energy of any asana (but only when performed appropriately, using the variations and props that befitting ones strengths)
- Relief from swelling of legs, for example, during pregnancy (because the legs are raised)
- Increased circulation to the thyroid gland (as blood tends to flow to the neck where they are located, just below the Adam’s apple)
- Reduced symptoms of breathlessness, palpitation, asthma, bronchitis, and throat ailments (as a result of increased blood circulation to the neck and head)
- Reduced symptoms of headache, colds, and other nasal disturbances (because of the position of the head and the calming effect)
- Reduced symptoms of hypertension, irritation, shortness of temper, and insomnia (because it of the calming effect)
- Benefits difficulties in organs of the abdomen and pelvis (due to change in body gravity)
Shoulderstand should not be practiced whenever any of the following conditions is present:
- Glaucoma or detached retina (because it may increase pressure in the eyes)
- Unmedicated high blood pressure (because of the pose’s effect on blood pressure in the upper body)
- Neck problems or injuries (because doing shoulderstand requires both strength and flexibility in the neck)
- During menses (although this is a topic of debate among senior female teachers)
“As a mother strives for harmony and happiness in the home, so shoulderstand strives for the harmony and happiness of the human system.” – BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga