The Plough or Halasana completes the movement of Shoulderstand, bringing the feet and hands down to the floor to mould the body into the shape of a primitive plough.
The name comes from the Sanskrit words hala (हला) meaning “plow” and asana (आसन) meaning “posture” or “seat”.
The practitioner lies on the floor, lifts the legs, and then places them behind the head.
Caution : This pose can put significant strain on the cervical spine, which does not normally undergo this type of stress, and can cause injury if not performed properly.
As alternatives, simply lying on the back and raising the legs into a hamstring stretch, or doing a seated forward bend may be appropriate.
The pose shares many of the Shoulderstand’s beneficiery effects: it gives flexibility to the spine and neck, nourishes the spinal nerves, and strengthen the back, shoulder, and arm muscles while releasing tension.
By compressing to the abdomen, it also massages the internal organs.
When you perform the Plough, be sure to keep your spine stretched up and your knees straight.
Your feet may not reach the floor to begin with, but as your spine becomes more supple, the weight of your legs will gradually pull them down.
Advanced students can go straight into the pose from the Shoulderstand, but beginners should relax in between. Use the Shoulderstand roll-out to come out of the Plough.
Steps to pratice Halasana :
- Lying down on your back, with your legs together and your hands palms down by your sides, inhale and raise your legs up. Exhale, then inhale and bring your hips up off the floor.
- Support your back with your hands, keeping your elbows as close to one another as possible. Then, without bending your knees, exhale and bring your legs down behind your head. If you cannot yet touch the floor with your feet, remain breathing deeply in this position.
- If your feet comfortably reach the floor, walk them as far behind your head as you can and, with your toes curled under, push your torso up and your heels back. Stretch your arms out behind your back with the hands flat on the floor. Breathe slowly and deeply.
Halasana, along with Surya Namaskaras (Sun Salutations) are proven to be useful in treating thyroid related problems and result in better health of the thyroid gland.