Uta’s Insights: Yoga Pose of the Week—14. Plow Pose

September 11, 2014 By Uta Pippig
© Tim DeFrisco

Plow Pose—Halasana

Halasana is wonderfully rejuvenating for the entire nervous system. It increases blood flow and circulation, and has a toning and stimulating effect on the abdominal organs.

I enjoy practicing the Plow as one of the asanas towards the end of my yoga program because I appreciate its calming effect and ability to reduce fatigue. I move from the shoulder stand to halasana and back to the shoulder stand which I find to be a nice combination.

This asana is an excellent stretch for your spine, opening space between the vertebrae. It also releases tension in the neck and shoulders, and relaxes the muscles of the thighs.

How to practice the Plow pose:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Inhale, then with your next exhalation slowly raise your knees towards your chest. Continue to raise your legs and hips―rolling up over your head as far as you can or until the tops of your toes touch the floor behind your head. Tuck your toes under.
  2. Roll the shoulders back―away from your ears―and bring your shoulder blades closer together. This move protects and keeps pressure off the spine. Place your hands on the middle of your back to stabilize it, then return your hands to the mat. If your feet don’t reach the floor, keep your hands on your back for support.
  3. If you do not need your hands for support you can bring them together, interlock the fingers, and roll further onto the top of your shoulders. Take your time! A lot of weight is placed on your shoulders in this position so please be careful, and initially only exercise the plow in the presence of a yoga teacher! Press the arms and little finger side of the hands against the floor, and untuck your toes. Breathe equally and slowly, and rest in this position for at least ten breaths.
  4. To get out of this pose, release the clasped hands to your sides, palms down. With the next exhalation and while keeping the legs straight, slowly and carefully lower the buttocks towards the floor using your abdominal muscles to control—be careful with this move. As you lower your legs, keep them close to your face while you unroll, and keep your head on the mat.
  5. Another way of carefully moving out of the plow is by going into the shoulder stand. Place your hands on your lower back and with the next exhalation lift your back and legs into the shoulder stand. From there you roll with another exhalation slowly back down to the mat.
  6. Remain for several breaths in this prone position and feel the deep relaxation in your body.

Our journey into the world of yoga asanas is coming to an end. As I have described, you can move from the plow pose into the shoulder stand, and from there I will show you how to transition into the wonderfully relaxing Corpse pose. This is the final asana I would like to explore with you next week.

Until then I wish you much joy while practicing your yoga program.



Reading Suggestions:

  1. Yoga for Performancesm: Introduction
  2. Yoga for Performancesm: Runners’ Sequence, Part 1
  3. Yoga for Performancesm: Runners’ Sequence, Part 2

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