Plow Pose

Yoga Poses

Plough pose /Halasana

Steps

Begin in Savasana with legs together and arms beside the body. The hands will lay flat with the palms pressing down. Raise the legs vertical and peel the back away from the ground, bringing the hips over the shoulders and the toes behind the head. Place the hands on either side waist just under the rib cage. To exit the pose, bring the hands flat to the ground and slowly lower the back vertebrae by vertebrae back to start pose – Savasana.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

In this pose, the back should remain relaxed, with the abdominal muscles fully engaged. To pull the legs and hips upward, invite your students to picture back as a rolling pin. Use phrases such as peeling the spine away from the floor vertebra by vertebra. To come out of the pose, ask them to roll the spine vertebrae by vertebrae like a rolling pin on pastry, inhaling into the space between the vertebras, exhaling as each section of the back is lowered.

Technical Comments

The shoulders, hips and ankles should be aligned in the start position to avoid tilting or toppling over. Press the palms and upper arms into the mat and peel the back away from the floor. Inhale to raise the legs and hips. Exhale to lower the toes onto the floor behind the head. Using the hands to support the back, walk the toes away from the head and lift the thighs parallel to the floor.

Benefit Comments

  • Strong stretch to the back
  • Massages abdominal muscles and internal organs
  • Stimulates digestion, spleen, suprarenal glands
  • Improves function of pancreas, liver and kidney
  • Tones abdominals, legs and spinal nerves
  • Relieves back tension and/or spasms
  • Improves spinal flexibility
  • Stimulate metabolism
  • Regulates thyroid

Watch Out For:

  • Rolling over sideways (place bolsters or blocks by sides)
  • Neck or back pain (come out of the pose)

Contraindications

  • Slipped disc
  • Hernia
  • Sciatica
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis of the neck

Modifications

  • For tight back or shoulders bring the toes onto wall, blocks or chair
  • For weak backs place blanket, bolster or block under hips
  • For tight hamstrings bend knees and place near to ears

Variations

  • Practice in a sequence, beginning with shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) and lowering legs into plough (intermediate/advanced)
  • Folded plough - bend the knees in final pose and wrap arms around back of knees
  • Chin lock variation - Walk feet away from head and perform chin lock
  • Shoulder stretch – Walk feet in towards head and hold toes
  • Dynamic plough- Practice in a flowing movement, beginning from savasana, raising legs and hips, bringing toes  over-head, then rolling back lifting to a sit-up position and finally into a forward bend.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Fish pose (Matsyasana)
  • Reclining hero pose (Supta Vajrasana)
  • Knees-to-chest (Apasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet, is teacher and journalist in Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com

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