Shoulder stand is a type of yoga pose that stretches the back of the neck while strengthening the spine and core muscles. It is suitable for intermediate to advanced yoga learners. Shoulder stand is such an essential pose with many benefits that it is popularly known to in many yoga traditions as the “Queen” or “Mother” of all yoga postures. The “King” or “Father” of all yoga positions, on the other hand, is headstand, which is often performed in combination with the shoulder stand. In this article, we will teach you how to do shoulder stand in yoga. There are proper ways to do it in order to have the best yoga experience. So read on!
Basically, shoulder stand means placing your hands on your back, holding up your torso while your legs are overhead. There are also some variations of shoulder stand without hand support. However, most yoga classes teach only the supported type, so this pose is often referred to as “shoulder stand.” Shoulder stand is often performed on the closing sequence, which is often done near the end of a yoga session. Shoulder stand enables the mind to relax the mind and prepare the body for the final relaxation yoga position.
Benefits of Supported Shoulder Stand
Proper technique on how to do shoulder stand in yoga ensures you’ll reap all the advantages. Shoulder stand allows your neck and shoulders to stretch while toning the legs, buttocks, back, and abdominal muscles at the same time. The “Queen” position provides numerous benefits to the entire body, which includes:
- Stimulation of thyroid and prostate glands
- Stimulation of abdominal organs
- Improved digestion
- Relief from excess phlegm and mucus
- Relief from insomnia, asthma, infertility, and the symptoms of menopause
- Reduced fatigue
How to Do Shoulder Stand in Yoga Step by Step Guide
- Lay flat on your back with your legs stretched and your arms palms down at your sides. Bend your knees, placing the soles of your feet level on the floor.
- Take a deep breath, then use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs and hips off the floor. Bend your torso and bring your knees in near your face. Then, lift your hips and bring your torso in an upright position.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back for support with your fingertips pointing upwards. Keep your elbows firm on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
- When you feel comfortable enough, lift your thighs so they are perpendicular to the floor. Keep your knees bent. Bring your tailbone closer to your pubic bone. Then, align your legs fully, letting your feet reach up to the ceiling. Use the balls of your feet to lift you through.
- Try to straighten your shoulders, hips, and feet into one line.
- Keep your head, neck and spine aligned and do not move your head. Draw your shoulders firmly into your upper back. Keep a distance between your chin and chest, and try to soften your throat. Look toward your chest.
- Hold the pose for approximately 10-25 breaths. If you are an advanced learner, you can hold the pose for five minutes or longer. To release the yoga pose, carefully lower your feet back to the ground, with your hands still supporting your back. Then, release your hands to your sides and slowly roll down, bending your knees if needed. Lastly, come into Fish Pose for a few minutes.
Here are some yoga accessories that can help you do your first shoulder stand:
Tips When Performing the Shoulder Stand
If done correctly, the shoulder stand will stimulate and rejuvenate your entire body. It’s essential to ensure you know how to do shoulder stand in yoga with correct alignment; otherwise, you might injure your neck easily. Be sure to take it gradually and make adjustments when needed to reduce discomfort. Also, keep in mind the following tips when practicing this pose:
- For beginners, never attempt to learn shoulder stand on your own. Always seek trained yoga instructors to help you understand the basics of the pose and your body’s alignment.
- Always lift your chest to your chin, not the other way around.
- Never move your head when performing the shoulder stand. Doing so increases the risk of a neck injury.
- It can be challenging to assess how vertical your legs are in the pose, so do ask your yoga teacher to evaluate your pose and assist.
- Constant breathing is the key to doing the pose. Doing so will help relax your mind and body even further.
- You might feel a bit awkward getting into the pose for the first time. You need not hurry and keep your mind on your alignment. Once you’ve successfully performed the pose, you sure will reap all of the benefits.
- Take your time and never swing your legs up.
- Hold your legs active and firm, keeping your knees straight. Avoid squeezing your buttocks.
- Take your time when coming out of the pose. Standing up too quickly might result in slight dizziness.
- The Fish pose or Matsyasana is the counter-pose to the shoulder stand. Proceed to Fish Pose after you have practiced the shoulder stand.
- Be patient. Time and practice are the keys to gain the strength you need to hold the pose longer.
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- How To Do A Handstand In Yoga: Sure-Fire Techniques
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Knowing how to do shoulder stand in yoga can take your workout to a whole new level. Regular practice can help you achieve more intense inversions, such as Headstand (Sirsasana) and Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana). Proper shoulder stand will energize you after a long day and can be a calming, cooling pose to end a vigorous yoga session. Let your mind and spirit achieve calmness, and all the other benefits that come with a yoga session. Find out more about yoga poses.