Halasana (pronounced hah-LAH-sah-nah) looks like a plough, and hala means "plough." The plough pose stimulates the spine; strengthens the nervous system; improves the circulation; releases neck tension; relieves constipation; decreases insomnia; promotes mental relaxation; activates the Mercury chakra (in the throat); improves communication; and stimulates the stomach, spleen, small intestine, heart, liver, gall bladder, and kidneys.
The plough pose.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands at your waist.
2. Inhale and raise your legs, hips, and buttocks off the ground, as you did for the shoulderstand. But this time, instead of bringing your feet up, curl backward, keeping your legs straight.
3. Exhale, and lower your feet to the floor behind your head. Touch your legs to the ground only when they are straight and you feel no strain in your neck.
4. Clasp your hands under your body, facing away from your feet.
5. Getting Started: In the plough pose, be sure to keep your knees straight. Don't twist your head or neck. It helps to learn from a teacher or experienced yogi before you try it. Don't force your toes to the ground; let gravity do this slowly. If your toes seem like they aren't even close, try the plough pose with a cushion or pillow behind you, so your feet can rest on something a little higher.
6. Yoga Adventure: For an even greater challenge in the plough pose, try the hands-to-feet variation. This variation is identical to the first plough, except that you stretch your arms along the ground until they touch your feet. This pose further opens and stretches the shoulders. Notice that this looks like an upside-down forward bend? In fact, you can begin to notice that many "different" poses are really the same, just gravitationally different. (Meditate on that for a while!)
The hands to feet pose is a variation of the plough pose.
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