Ten Reasons to do a Shoulderstand Every Day. ~ Marcus Julian Felicetti

Via on Aug 17, 2012
Photo credit: Neeta Lind

Sarvāngāsana (shoulder stand) is known as the Mother of yoga postures.

The Mother creates happiness and health in the home—likewise, this posture creates happiness and health in the body.

This is why it is called Sarvāngāsanasarvā means everything and angā means limbs. Therefore, it transliterates as the posture that is good for every aspect and every limb of the human being.

Here are 10 specific benefits of practicing this particular pose every day:

1. It bathes the lymph nodes in fresh lymph by increasing the circulation around the lymphatic system. This nourishes the whole body.

2. Inverting the body from the neck up means that gravity increases the venous blood flow to the heart, brain and eyes. This relaxes the heart and decreases the heart rate, and it brings clarity to the mind and sight.

3. It lengthens the spinal nerves, which relieves tension in the head, neck and shoulders.

4. According to the authoritative text, Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iygenar states, “persons suffering from breathlessness, palpitation, asthma, bronchitis and throat ailments get relief from this posture.”

5. It is excellent for those suffering from thyroid disorders. Shoulder stand brings balance and regulates the hormone secretion of both the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck. This indirectly is very good for flexibility.

6. It soothes the nervous system. This is an excellent posture for those who suffer from stress, tension, anxiety (high blood pressure, only if it is taught by an expert yoga teacher) and shortness of temper.

7. It is excellent for sleep. Shoulder stand helps those who are suffering from insomnia.

8. It increases energy when practiced in the mornings. It lifts and sustains one’s energy levels dramatically when practiced every day. Therefore, it is especially good for those suffering from a fatigued body and mind.

9. It is excellent for fat loss. It increases the metabolism. It strengthens digestion by returning “agni” (fire) to the abdominal organs—liver, spleen, pancreas and stomach.

10. When done correctly shoulder stand tones the muscles of the gluteus, back, thighs and abdominals. This will benefit your balance and stability.

There are many other benefits of shoulder stand. These are just a few of the main ones.

Women should not practice shoulder stand during menstruation. There are also contraindications for shoulder stands if you have neck pain or injury, so shoulder stand should only be practiced under the guidance of a good yoga teacher.

Marcus Julian Felicetti became a yoga teacher soon after discovering yoga at university. His classes are fun and passionate and often intense. They offer students the chance to go deep within and connect with their breath and release their emotions. Marcus communicates his love of yoga through guiding each student with insight and compassion, weaving ancient wisdom with simplicity and an emphasis on the student’s experience. His primary objective is to teach a system of yoga that fully integrates the body, mind and spirit, and channels that energy to its highest potential and purpose. Marcus continues to grow his own yoga practice every day while passionate about helping others connect to theirs. He teaches private one-on-one yoga in Sydney and his business, Bodhi Yoga, teaches quality corporate yoga classes in Sydney.

Editor: Jamie Morgan

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23 Responses to “Ten Reasons to do a Shoulderstand Every Day. ~ Marcus Julian Felicetti”

  1. mithras says:

    Excellent reminder of the many benefits of Sarvangasana.

    Not so good: the position of the blankets under the neck of person closest to the camera (in the photograph).

    The top of the shoulders should be in line with the top of the folded blanket.

    The person next to the person closest to the camera has it right — the neck is free.

    The person closest to the camera, no.

  2. Hi Marcus, thanks for the article. I have a question, and I mean this in the most respectful way, but could you possibly cite any peer-reviewed, published, scientific research to substantiate these claims? I have come across these (and similar) claims many times over the years, but I find it difficult to identify tradition, lore, and science, respectively. I feel that it's a very important distinction to make. Of course I believe there is tremendous value in Ayurveda, but are we clear with our students when we are claiming medical health benefits based on [our understanding of] ancient wisdom? Might they assume/trust that we have some degree of knowledge/training about the therapeutic effects of yoga? We all learned these things in teacher trainings, certain well-known books, lectures…. but does that make them true? I'm not claiming to know, I'm really asking this sincerely because it matters to me as a student and as a teacher.

  3. […] Ten Reasons to do a Shoulderstand Every Day. ~ Marcus Julian Felicetti […]

  4. david says:

    as Mr. Iyengar says , in the Tree of Yoga, after the words of the teachers and the books the student must make the words his/her own knowledge. Experience will answer.

  5. […] Ten reasons to do a shoulder stand everyday […]

  6. […] first poses in the womb were Warrior 1 and Shoulder Stand. Needless to say, it was not too comfortable for his mother. A year after his birth, Lincoln […]

  7. Rob says:

    With some cervical disc arthritis I always use 4 folded blankets to ensure a soft neck.

  8. Shoulderstand puts the neck into a maximally flexed position that is never used in real life function. Imagine walking around with your chin on your chest all of the time to get an image. The nuchal ligament which connects from the occiput of lower skull to your cervical vertebrae is designed to keep your neck from flexing too far. When practiced overtime, shoulderstand loosens the necessary ligament tension and leads to a flat neck even after you come up to standing from the pose. What happens when you have a flat neck spine? You loose the shock absorbing forces and also a flat neck transfers force to the front of the vertebrae stimulating weight bearing surfaces to grow extra bone or spurs which can lead to pain, numbness and headaches. Also discs can become compressed by losing your neck spine curve. Shoulder stand does not bring more blood flow to your brain or your glands either so the claims of better gland function is a myth. There is a blood brain barrier of special cells designed to keep excess blood flow out of your brain which could damage your arteries. Another danger is that the contraction of your neck muscles by trying to stay in that unnatural position can actually press on your vertebral artery to your brain and restrict blood flow. Shoulder stand benefits are myths and there is no science to support these claims. Try YogAlign instead.

  9. Glenn A. Kirby says:

    Life is about beliefs and you are fashioned after what you believe.Yoga requires a significantly high level of belief of individuals who practise the poses to gain health benefits- the human mind is inextricably involved in these efforts.One has to agree and confirm within oneself that the shoulderstand does accomplish what is written regarding its therapeutic values.

  10. I haven't done shoulder stands in years. I used to do them for hours in middle school. No idea how I even came up with the idea, but I loved how it felt. When friends came over, I made them do them too, so we would have these great conversations while our feet were up in their air. I'm sure my friends thought I was nuts. I do Sun Salutations first thing every morning, but rarely do other yoga. Suddenly today, it occurred to me that shoulder stands would be a good idea. Thanks for a great post!

  11. suzi says:

    This article is very excellent. I didn't know about Sarvāngāsana benefits. After read this article i know about benefits. Sarvāngāsana has very good benefits . I keep up these benefits. Thank so much for share the information.

  12. Abby says:

    "Women should not practice shoulder stand during menstruation." No. this is not substantiated by anything other than superstition." and is often just said in class without any explaination. Women need to know that it is FINE to do a headstand/handstand/shoulderstand when menstruating.. And be wary of male teachers that say you can't!

  13. Kristine Crook says:

    I used to do these as a kid, long before I ever knew what yoga was. I’m pregnant and wondering if this (my favorite yoga pose) is safe while pregnant? I never see it in any article of poses recommended while pregnant. Also, does Elephant have any good articles for pregnancy in general?

  14. Nan AFCP says:

    Shoulder stand has done all of these things for me. I'm excited that I'm strong enough again to resume that part of my practice!

  15. jaswant singh says:

    I had read somewhere that sarvangasana should be performed before the all asana. Can you please tell me as I am also performing pranayam .

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