Halasana Yoga With Steps, Benefits and Variations
Yoga Asana: Halasana or The Plow Pose
Translation: The word Hala is in Sanskrit language which means plow, as in a traditional plow which is drawn by an oxen or horse. When performing this yoga asana your body makes a shape which resembles a plow.
Difficulty: Level 5
- Firstly you have to lie flat on your back in the shavasana (the corpse pose).
- after that inhale through your nostrils and then place the palms face-down on the yoga mat. Keeping the hips on the yoga mat, bend the knees and while exhaling bring them up toward the stomach but not so fast.
- Inhale after that, then you have to raise the legs straight up perpendicular to the yoga mat while exhaling. While doing this you can support your hips with your hands or you can leave the arms flat on the yoga mat. Choose the most comfortable yoga asana for yourself.
- Then with exhaling you should continue to raise the legs over the head, bending at the waist, lifting the back and buttocks until the toes touch the yoga mat directly in back of the head. Keep the feet together till the end. If the lower back is supported by the hands try returning the arms flat to the yoga mat with the palms facing down but this is also not compulsory. If you are unable to comfortably place the arms on the yoga mat continue to support the lower back with the hands.
- After that keep your knees straight. Breath slowly through your nostrils and hold the yoga asana for several minutes. If you cannot touch the yoga mat with your toes hold them as close to the yoga mat as possible and continue to exert effort to lower them.
- After that reverse the steps to return to the shavasana.
Benefits of Halasana:
The benefits of this yoga asana, like the sarvangasana, are numerous.
- Strengthens the thighs and legs muscles.
- It helps in purifing blood.
- Improves digestion and appetite.
- It helps to make spinal cord strong and flexible.
- It Strengthens the abdominal muscles and is also beneficial for diabetic people.
- It also cures the symptoms of menopause and helps to reduce stress.
- It normalizes blood-glucose level and stimulates the internal organs and also stimulates the reproductive organs.
- The halasana is an excellent morning yoga asana although some might find it more difficult then other yoga postures.
All of the ligaments and muscles of the thighs and calves are stretched resulting in greater flexibility of the legs. People suffering from cramps in their legs will find asure relief from the halasana.
Since the abdominal area is contracted during this asana and blood compressed out of this area releases toxins and many harmful matter and when the contraction is released the area is flooded with oxygen rich blood.
The contraction also helps to relieve gas and stimulates the digestive system to perform better function. Similar effects take place as the neck and chest area is compressed effecting the throat, thyroid, hyperthyroid and lungs.
During sleep the spine can become somewhat compressed resulting in the experience of tightness or stiffness in the back. A few repetitions of the halasana will quickly restore flexibility to the spine as well as promote alertness.Upper and lower back pain or discomfort is relieved due to the forward stretching of the spine.
Duration and Repetitions of Halasana:
You should hold the Halasana for as long as you are comfortable. as for the time 20-30 seconds is fine for early attempts, increase the time gradually as you become more comfortable with this posture.
Variations of Halasana:
There are many variations of the basic halasana each of which require more flexibility in the legs and spine. Once you are comfortable at performing this asana these variations may be tried. The first one is swinging the arms around and either touching or holding the toes with your hands (1). The yoga asana is then held in this position.
The next variation demands for putting the knees to the ground and placing them close the ears and after that keeping the arms extended on the yoga mat (2). And finally from this variation the arms are swung around and placed over the legs behind the knees and the hands are clasped and pressed down on the knees to hold them firmly on the yoga mat (3). All three variations are held while breathing gently gently through the nostrils.
The halasana should not be performed by woman who are menstruating, as is the case with all inverted yoga asanas (where the legs are raise over the head). No other restrictions apply.