What is Halasana?
Halasana is a Yoga posture (asana) that derives its name from the Sanskrit word Hala (meaning plough or plow) and asana (meaning posture). Halasana in English is called the Plough pose since the completed pose resembles a traditional agricultural plough. It is usually performed as a finishing pose at the end of a yoga session and helps the body relax and prepare for meditation. Halasana has numerous physical and mental health benefits and is a recommended asana to rejuvenate the body.
Here’s what we’ll be covering about Halasana or Plow Pose:
- Pre – Requisite Pose of Halasana: Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
- How to perform Halasana Step by Step
- Halasana Precautions and Contraindications
- Benefits of Halasana
- Halasana for High Blood Pressure
- Halasana for Diabetes
- Halasana for Backpain
- Halasana for Thyroid
- Halasana for Weight loss
- Halasana for Beginners
- Halasana Variations
Pre – Requisite Pose of Halasana: Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
Sarvangasana, also known as Shoulder Stand is an essential inversion yoga posture which helps in improving blood circulation and calming the nervous system.
It is performed by lying on your back and lifting your legs and back so that your feet point towards the ceiling and your back is straight. The back has to be supported by your hands. The weight of the body is supported on your shoulders and upper arms. The posture can be maintained for 30-60 seconds.
To complete the asana, the knees should be lowered and the spine be brought down slowly after which the legs can be lowered to the ground. Sarvangasana serves as a pre-requisite to be able to perform Halasana.
How to perform Halasana Step by Step:
The following steps show you how Halasana can be performed. For beginners, they should perform the asana under proper guidance and supervision.
- Lie down on the floor and keep the arms by the side of the body. A yoga mat or blanket may be used for softening purposes.
- Bend the knees and exhale slowly while lifting the legs straight up. The knees should be straight and feet pointing towards the ceiling. The legs and torso should be perpendicular to each other.
- Move the legs further away from the head and create the lift by pressing the upper arms into the floor.
- The legs are moved over the head and placed behind it with the toes touching the ground. A chair can be used to place the feet, in a variation called Ardha Halasana.
- The hands can be placed behind the back in an interlocked position or can be reached out behind to reach the toes.
- Stay in this position for 5-10 seconds and gradually start retrieving the legs to a perpendicular position.
- Return the legs to the ground and rest in the supine position before the next round.
Halasana Precautions and Contraindications:
Halasana has several advantages. However, it should be performed under guidance. One needs to be aware of any existing medical conditions which might cause discomfort during the asana.
It is recommended that people with the following conditions avoid practicing Halasana:
- Those with back problems such as slip disk, sciatica, etc
- Weak or injured hamstrings and calf muscles
- Those with enlarged thyroid, spleen, and liver
- Pregnant women or menstruating women.
- Those with a history of headaches and migraines
Benefits of Halasana:
- Stimulates the functioning of internal organs and keeps them healthy
- Helps reduce chronic constipation, indigestion, acidity and improve the digestive process
- Improves spine flexibility and strengthening of core muscles
- Strengthens abdominal muscles
- Improves blood circulation and calms the nervous system.
- Strengthens the muscle ligaments of thighs and calves and reduces spasms.
- Improve blood sugar levels and is beneficial for diabetic people
- Helpful for those suffering from migraine, hypertension
- Revitalizes thyroid glands and regulates metabolism rate.
- Helps women during menopause and PCOS conditions
Halasana for High Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure or hypertension is induced by a high-stress lifestyle. The mindful performance of Halasana reduces high blood pressure by relaxing the sympathetic nervous system and slowing down the heart. In general, yoga asanas tend to soothe the nervous system and those with inversions help balance the blood pressure.
Halasana for Diabetes:
There are several asanas that will help control diabetes. Asanas like Halasana can help control the sugar levels in your body and keep a check on weight. It reduces the production of glucagon, thus reducing the glucose levels in the body. It also helps alleviate stress, which is one of the major causes of diabetes
Halasana for Backpain:
Chronic back pains are becoming increasingly common among people. Due to long sitting hours and bad posture, problems such as slip disc and sciatica are affecting younger people as well. Yoga is a natural non-medicated method of treating back pain. It improves the core strength of the back muscles and overall flexibility. Halasana is one of the asanas which helps reduce back pain. When performed correctly, it stretches and stimulates the entire back, spine, and shoulders.
Halasana for Thyroid:
The thyroid is a vital gland that regulates the metabolism of the body. When the gland is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormones, the condition is called hypothyroidism which might result in a need for thyroxin medication. Yoga asana such as Sarvangasana and Halasana has been seen as effective in dealing with thyroid disorders as they stimulate the gland and improve metabolism.
Halasana for Weight loss:
The regular practice of yoga improves overall body flexibility and helps in weight loss. Halasana is great to reduce belly fat as it stimulates and strengthens the abdominal muscles, neck, and shoulders.
Halasana for Beginners:
Halasana for beginners might seem challenging and they must perform it under supervision until they are confident. In some cases, the beginners exert undue pressure on the neck by pulling the shoulders too far away from the ears. This can lead to collapsing your weight on your vertebrate. Thus, the top of the shoulder should be lifted towards the ear to ease the strain on the neck.
Beginners can start practicing Halasana by using a prop such as a chair. This is also called Ardha Halasana. The chair can be placed with its back towards the wall. When the feet are raised and lowered down over the head, the feet will then come to rest on the seat of the chair. This can be practiced until the practitioner is confident of the asana. Beginners can also use a mat or blanket under the shoulders so that the strain reduces.
Karnipidasana, also known as Raja Halasana is an advanced variation of Halasana. It is called Ear Pressure Pose in English. It involves performing Halasana after which the knees are bent and brought to the floor on either side of the head. The knees should be used to apply light pressure to the ears for about 30 sec. This stimulates every part of the body especially the shoulders, neck and hamstrings.
Parsva Halasana is a variation of Halasana in which both the legs are stretched straight overhead towards one side followed by the other. The legs have to be straight and the knee joint tightened when holding this posture for 3-5 breathes after which the legs are moved to the other side.
Supta Konasana is an intermediate variation of the Halasana. It is also called as Supine Angle Pose in English. It involves performing Halasana after which the legs are spread straight as far apart from each other. In this asana, the ribs are pushed up and the back is raised with all the support on the shoulder blades and the neck. The hands are reached out to hold the toes of both the feet.