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Shoulder-Stand (sarvangasana)

Inversion that regulates your metabolism and body temperature.
 

Shoulder-Stand (or sarvangasana) strengthens your entire body, while stimulating your spine and thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland, located at the front of your neck, is responsible for regulating many of your bodily functions, such as your metabolism and body temperature. Performing this pose also provides a calm energy that nourishes your body and soul.
 
While performing Shoulder-Stand, make sure you do not turn your head to the side. You should also make sure that you keep your legs together without tensing your calves or feet.
 
If you find you are straining to hold Shoulder-Stand, you should come out of the pose and then try moving into the pose again. If this pose is still too difficult, you should perform an easier pose, such as Half Shoulder-Stand or Legs Up the Wall Pose, which can help you build the strength required for Shoulder-Stand.
 
Avoid performing Shoulder-Stand if you have eye, neck or shoulder problems, high or low blood pressure or heart problems. You should also avoid this pose if you are menstruating.
 
Steps:
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your feet together.
Place your arms alongside your body, with your palms facing down. Extend through your fingertips to lengthen your arms.
Press your palms into the floor and then raise both feet toward the ceiling to form a 90-degree angle with your body and legs.
Lift your hips and lower back off the floor.
Bend your elbows and place your hands on your lower back.
Press your elbows and your upper arms into the floor to support your body.
Move your shoulder blades together and bring your elbows as close together as possible.
Walk your hands up your back toward your shoulder blades, gently pushing your body up.
Straighten your back as much as possible.
(Your legs should be straight, but your knees should not be locked.)
Relax your neck and shoulders.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
To come out of the pose, lower your legs to a 45-degree angle over your head, place your palms on the floor and then slowly roll your spine down to the floor.
(After performing Shoulder-Stand, you should perform Fish Pose as a counter pose.)
 
What should I do if my legs lean to one side in Shoulder-Stand?
Bend your knees and bring them in toward your chest. Then align your waist with your chest before straightening your legs once again.
 
What should I do if my chest feels heavy and I find it difficult to breathe?
Your torso may be tilting forward in the pose. To remedy this problem, push your body up through your waist, hips and thighs, keeping your buttocks in line with your body.
 
Can I stretch my inner thighs and hips in this pose?
Once you feel comfortable performing Shoulder-Stand, you can perform the following modifications while holding the pose. To stretch your inner thighs, move your legs in a scissor motion from front to back. To stretch your inner thighs and hips at the same time, bring the soles of your feet together as in Bound Angle Pose.
 
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