ASTRO YOGA – Posture of the Month of May: HALASANA – Plough Pose
In Sanskrit hala means “plough”, hence the name as the body forms the shape of a plough. This pose is excellent for people with thyroid disorders as it alleviates throat ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, colds and congestion.
This asana (posture) is an effective pose which completely relates to the qualities of TAURUS as it improves the functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands and stretches the neck. Halasana reduces fatigue, anxiety & insomnia.
You can place one or two folded blanket(s) under your back, (not behind your head) if you wish.
How to do it:
Lie on your back. Press your arms/palms against the floor and lift your legs up in the air and with momentum letting them swing over behind you. If your feet don’t touch the ground hold your hands on your back for balance support.
IF your feet do touch the ground, try to interlock your fingers and stretch your arms as much as possible. Straighten your legs by pressing your knees towards the sky and your heels away from you. (or use a wall to place your feet on behind you)
What to focus on:
Breathe evenly! Close your eyes. There is a lot of pressure on the throat area: the 5th chakra: the communication/creativity centre, so relax it!
The pose activates what we in Sanskrit call Jalandhara bandha: chin lock, which soothes the nerves and relaxes the brain.
Keep your abdomen soft, relax your face and your throat, try to stay there for 3 minutes.
Another pose / variation following Halasana is a posture named Karna Pidasana (ear pressure pose) Bend your legs bringing the knees towards the ground, squeezing your ears with your knees, pressing your arms against the ground, palms flat.
How to come out of it:
Very slowly, with control, begin to roll down, using your arms as “breaks”. Lift your head off and try to feel each vertebrae, one at a time, coming down onto the ground, creating a fantastic feeling of space and freedom. Think of this as a massage of the spine and the entire back. Keep breathing!
Finally rest completely in Savasana (relaxation pose) Enjoy the many sensations, do not move for a while, just breathe and relax.
Other benefits of Halsana:
It boosts energy levels, controls hypertension, rejuvenates the abdominal organs, improves digestion, lengthens the spine and improves the alignment. It helps to treat hernia and haemorrhoids if practised with legs separated. It relaxes your brain and eyes.
Cautions – How to modify it:
Do not practise Halasana if you are prone to migraine or have cervical issues. Avoid the pose during menstruation, if you have high blood pressure and if you are very overweight.