To derive the maximum theraupetical and physical benefits from Shalabhasana, one should practice Shalabhasana only after completing the Ardha Shalabhasana cycles. Shalabhasana is complementary to Bhujangasana. Hence, both the Shalabahasanas should be practised immediately after Bhujangasana.
The Nomenclature & Finer Points
Shalabhasana is also known as the Lotus posture. Shalabhasana is the opposite pose of Paschimotanasana and Halasana. It is important that Shalabhasana is followed by Dhanurasana. Notably, Dhanurasana is a combination of Bhujangasana and Shalabhasana
- Don’t practice Shalabhasana if you are pregnant, and also if you are suffering from cardiac ailments, asthma, hernia, and blood pressure.
- Shalabhasana is a rather strenuous asana and requires dedication and strenuous practice.
- Shalabhasana also requires controlled breathing.
- Shalabhasana should always be practised on an empty stomach.
- Before proceeding with Shalabhasana, you must gain mastery over Ardha Shalabhasana
- Besides, proceed with Shalabhasana only when your body relaxes in Savasana (after the Ardha Shalabhasana cycles).
- Both before and after beginning Shalabhasana, ensure that your breathing has resumed its normal rhythm.
- So, don’t commence Shalabhasana immediately after Ardha Shalabhasana.
- Beginners besides corpulent and aged persons may find Shalabhasana difficult as it entails sudden lifting of both the legs.
- Such persons should slowly proceed with the asana and with caution.
- They should also not strain themselves trying to lift the legs too high.
- Pause for some time when you find you can go no farther.
- The beginners can, of course, tuck their fists under their thighs. This will help them in easily lifting their legs higher.
- The novices can also keep their palms and hands on the floor and under their thighs while keeping their fingers pointing towards their feet.
Methodology of Shalabhasana yoga
- To commence Ardha Shalabhasana, you will have to first lie flat on the ground with your abdomen, chest and chin touching the ground while your arms lie flat on the ground.
- As you place your fingers on the floor, clench them into fists and keep them upward facing.
- Slowly inhale deeply. Complete the inhalation in about 10 seconds.
- Don’t inhale fully. Fully filled lungs can interfere in your attempts to lift the legs.
- Start breathing out. You will have to complete the asana as you hold on to the breath. The exhalation should be concluding only after your legs reach the ground slowly and in a controlled manner.
- Use the hands, and palms (for the beginners) or the fists ( for the experienced yoga practitioner) to balance and also to leverage your body.
- Slowly lift both your legs to the highest level.
- The upper portion of your trunk above the navel should closely touch the floor. It should also not move.
- The trunk must be kept straight.
- To lift the legs, raise only the portion that is below the navel.
- Your abdomen, chest, hands, elbows and chin should firmly rest on the ground throughout the asana.
- It is important that you lift your legs exactly above the place from where they were originally placed.
- Both while raising the legs and even when you bring them back to the resting position, do not bend the knees.
- Your chin should be pressed to the ground as you attempt to lift the legs.
- Don’t pop up your head during the entire course of the asana.
- Keep the heels together.
- The toes should be pointed backwards.
- The legs and the knees must be straight and stiff.
- The legs are to be lifted up from the hips and not at all from the knees.
- As you gain expertise, slowly reduce the dependence on the hands to raise the legs.
- Actually, the legs have to be lifted up with the aid of the back and hip muscles.
- Lifting the legs accurately and maintaining the position as recommended is more important than the distance to which the legs are raised.
- Don’t lift the legs too high. Approximately, 45 degrees from the ground is the most ideal and the required height.
- The pressure of the raised legs should be felt on the chest, chin, fists, and wrists.
- But don’t strain the lungs and the chest. So, don’t unduly prolong the posture.
- The maximum weight of the legs must be on the abdomen.
- So, the beginners must not despair if they can lift the legs only a few inches from the ground in the initial stages.
- Only the experienced yoga practitioners should attempt to stiffen their back muscles while lifting the legs and while maintaining the legs in that raised position.
- Return to the starting position slowly.
- Avoid abrupt movements or jerks.
- The movements must be controlled and in a continuous flow or rhythm.
- Bring them down as you complete the exhalation uniformly and slowly. Don’t force out the air from the lungs!
Advantages of Shalabhasana yoga
Shalabhasana has many therapeutical and physical advantages. Shalabhasana has special benefits for women. Here are the lists of the advantages:
- Disorders of the uterus or the ovaries are corrected.
- Diabetes is kept under control.
- Oedema of the feet and the ankles alleviated.
- Dyspepsia and constipation are cured.
- Shalabhasana improves digestion.
- This asana cures varicose veins, fistula and piles.
- Liver sluggishness is relieved.
- Flatulence is healed.
- Stomach ailments and gastric troubles are alleviated.
- Shalabhasana is an ideal exercise to cure minor types of myalgia of the spinal lumbar and sacral regions.
- It also offers relief in cases of sciatica, slipped disc and lumbargo.
- You will also get relief from rheumatic pain of the knees and the hips.
- Shalabhasana promotes peristaltic action.
- Intestinal functions are also improved.
- Excess fat is reduced especially from the hips, waist, posterior, thighs, and the abdomen.
- Protruding belly gets reduced.
- Waist becomes supple and resilient.
- The solar plexus is also stimulated.
- The heart gets massaged and becomes stronger.
- Various organs and glands like the reproductive organs as well as the adrenal and prostrate glands are also activated.
- Faulty spinal curvature is corrected.
- Blood circulation is improved.
- Intra-abdominal pressure is increased. As a result, the kidneys, pancreas, spleen becomes stronger.
- The chest broadens; the lungs get expanded.