This week, I’m highlighting the yoga asana, or pose, Salamba Sarvangasana, or supported all limb pose, which is more or less the English translation from Sanskrit. More simply referred to as supported shoulder stand, this pose keeps us on the floor and it moves us in the same direction in which we were moving the body with bridge posture. Because the pose is symmetrical, be mindful of keeping your breath in sync with the step by step movement of the posture.
To do supported shoulder stand pose, sit towards the front half or middle of your mat:
- Come to lay on your mat with both legs bent and feet flat on the floor, slightly apart and parallel.
- Place your arms along side your body, palms facing down and fingers pointing in the same direction as your toes.
- Tuck your shoulder blades under your chest by drawing them together and sliding them down your back. This will create space across you chest and help to position your shoulders comfortably.
- On an exhale, draw your knees into your chest.
- On an inhale, press your hands, arms, and shoulders down as you lift your hips and legs.
- On an exhale, bring your hands to your lower back to support your hips, walking the elbows and shoulders underneath you as close together as you can.
- On an inhale, extend your legs, pressing the balls of your feet towards the sky.
- Breath for 10 full breathes.
To come out of supported shoulder stand, reverse the steps above, moving mindfully and gently.
Be mindful of any impingement along the back, shoulders, or neck during supported shoulder stand. All the weight of the body should be supported by the arms and shoulders. There should be no weight on the neck. A folded blanket can be placed under the shoulders to help provide some cushioning for comfort if needed.
Some of this pose’s more specific benefits are that it strengthens the abdomen and hips. Supported shoulder stand pose also helps to regulate blood pressure and aids in intravenous return. Some of this pose’s contraindications are for those with any neck or shoulder pain as well as high blood pressure.
Highlighting some of bridge pose’s Ayurvedic points to consider (I hope you figured out your dosha!):
- Vata try using the wall for support and stability if you feel unease.
- Pitta try to maintain steadiness and ease, attempting to not overextend or overexert yourself.
- Kapha try to enjoy the perspective from being inverted, noticing if it shakes things up for you.
Also, from the perspective of Ayurveda, if you’re one dosha, but one day you’re feeling like another, try the modification for that dosha. The modification could be beneficial as a way to return you to balance with your own dominant dosha.
If you’re interested in learning or practicing yoga, please feel free to attend one of the yoga classes offered in the John A. Danzi Center, right on the SJC Patchogue campus (free for students, faculty and staff; $5 for alumni and guests).