The plow pose, also called Halasana in Sanskrit, is basically a full-body stretch that relaxes and strengthens your body. It is an inverted yoga pose in which your body needs to be positioned upside down with both your feet over your head. This yoga pose stretches the lumbar, cervical, and thoracic regions of your spine and increases blood circulation.
If done correctly, a plow pose can reduce the tension in your throat and neck; however, you should practice it with care as it can lead to injury or neck strain.
How to do a Plow pose or Halasana?
To perform this yoga pose, follow the instructions given below.
- Start by lying down on your back on a flat surface. Your arms should be beside you and your palms should face downwards.
- Inhale and use your abdomen to lift both your feet off the ground. Raise both your legs at a 90-degree angle.
- Roll your pelvis off the ground as you exhale, and move your legs back towards your head.
- Now lower your legs slowly over your head and take them towards the floor. For better support, keep your hands on your lower back.
- Make sure your fingers are pointing upwards and the pinky fingers of both your hands are on either side of your back. Use your hands to elevate your spine more.
- Draw your elbows as well as shoulder blades in as close as possible.
- As your toes reach the floor, release your arms with your palms down and fingers interlaced alongside your body.
- Hold the position for up to 1 minute or more.
- As you release your legs, take your hands and palms down alongside your body.
- Exhale and roll back your spine down to the ground.
- Pause for a few seconds with your legs extended.
- Engage your abdominal muscles and lower your legs to the ground. You may also just bend your knees and lower your legs on the floor.
Refer to this video for your help:
Benefits of doing a plow pose:
Practicing Halasana regularly helps to provide relief in back pain, stretches your shoulders, and also lengthens and strengthens your spine. It reduces mucus and phlegm in the respiratory system and regulates healthy breath. This yoga pose boosts blood circulation throughout the body, lowers blood glucose levels and reduces the risk of heart disease caused due to blood pressure.
Additionally, this yoga pose offers a few more benefits, including:
- Reduces fatigue and stress, both physically and mentally
- Enhances leg flexibility
- Strengthens the shoulders, back muscles, abs and neck
- Provides relief during menopause
- Regulates better functioning of the nervous system
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves joint and muscle mobility
Some basic tips to follow when performing plow pose:
- When doing Halasana, make sure you keep your spine and neck in line when looking upwards.
- Always perform it gently and slowly to ensure you do not put excess strain on your neck or spine.
- While your feet are over your head, do not move your neck to look in any side direction. Always keep it straight.
- Properly support your back and slightly lift your shoulders towards your ears.
- When bringing your legs down, do not jerk your body.
- Rest your entire body weight on your upper shoulders and not on your head or neck.
- For better comfort and support, you may bend slightly bend your knees.
- Make sure you tuck your chin into your chest by giving a little pressure.
- If your toes are unable to reach the ground, place your hands on your spine for support and stretch your body.
A plow pose is a strengthening and relaxing yoga pose that offers a deep stretch to your back muscles. While performing it may be quite difficult if you have flexibility issues, you can make small adjustments depending on what works for you. You can perform Halasana as part of your daily yoga session or as a mini-sequence.
If you find a plow pose to be challenging, but you still want to gain the advantage of an inversion pose, then try other inversion yoga poses, such as a shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) or legs-up-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani).
Do not perform Halasana if you have neck or back pain, high blood pressure, or are suffering from digestive problems. Women should avoid practicing this pose if they are pregnant or are in the initial days of their menstrual cycle. It’s always best to consult a doctor before practicing any new yoga pose if you have ongoing health concerns or if you take any medications.