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  • Writer's picturekarynstein

Sarvangasana or Shoulderstand, the Mother of Yoga Poses

Nurturing like Mother Earth...

In Sanskrit, “sarva” means “all, whole, entire or complete” and “anga” means “limb or body”, so shoulderstand means “entire body or all limbs”. In other words, the whole body benefits from the asana. Salamba, meaning with support, is often with Sarvangasana, elaborating on the definition to mean “supporting the whole body and all systems.”

After doing shoulderstand in my personal practice for seven consecutive days, I noticed that I always felt refreshed. This may be because it activates my thyroid. I know that I can be prone to subclinical hypothyroidism, so I try to do Sarvangasana every day in my yoga practice to get the full benefits. I definitely noticed that it helped with any fatigue I was feeling. It gets blood to the brain and also drains the adrenals and lymph nodes. I noticed that the pose definitely stretched my neck and shoulders where I tend to be tight and hold tension. It felt like it opened my chest and the back of my neck. I noticed as I practiced Sarvangasana over the week, that my back felt stronger but also softer – with more fluidity and flexibility. I like to do Sarvangasana if my legs feel tired or I’ve been traveling to help with my circulation and promote blood flow to my abdominal organs, improving digestion. It also counteracts varicose veins. I found it very restorative, like a nap, I felt refreshed and less tired than before practicing it. I found Sarvangasana soothing and calming while also energising and refreshing.

The Sanskrit definition of Saravangasana Salamba accurately represents what the symbolism or essence of this asana means to me, like a mother nurturing her baby, Sarvangasana nurtures the whole body and all of the functions/systems of the body. 

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