How To Do Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)

Shoulderstand or Sarvangasana in Sanskrit. This pose is a great way to improve circulation, reduce stress and fatigue, and strengthen your upper body. As someone who has been practicing yoga for years, I can tell you that mastering this pose requires patience and practice. But trust me when I say that the benefits are worth it.

So let’s dive into the details of how to do the pose properly and safely. So that you can experience its transformative effects on your mind and body.


Step-by-step Instructions

Here are the steps to do Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana):

  1. Begin by lying on your back on your mat with your legs extended and your arms resting at your sides.
  2. Inhale and lift your legs off the ground, coming into Plow Pose (Halasana).
  3. Bring your legs as close to your head as possible, keeping your toes on the ground.
  4. Place your hands on your lower back for support, fingers pointing towards your hips.
  5. Inhale and lift your hips off the ground, coming into posture.
  6. Walk your hands up your back towards your shoulder blades, bringing your elbows closer together.
  7. Keep your legs straight and engaged, pointing your toes towards the ceiling.
  8. Keep your neck long and your gaze towards your toes, avoiding any twisting or bending in your neck.
  9. Hold the pose for several breaths, then slowly release and come back down to the ground, rolling through Plow Pose to come back to a neutral position.

7 Sarvangasana Benefits

This is a yoga pose that is often referred to as the “queen of all asanas”. Here are some of the potential benefits of practicing this pose:

  1. Improves Blood Circulation: Being an inverted pose, it helps to improve blood circulation to the upper body and brain, which can enhance cognitive function and keep the mind sharp.
  2. Stimulates Thyroid Gland: The pose puts pressure on the throat region, which is beneficial for the functioning of the thyroid gland. This can help to regulate metabolism and maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Strengthens the Upper Body: It strengthens the shoulders, arms, and upper back, helping to improve posture and alleviate tension in these areas.
  4. Aids Digestion: The inversion can stimulate the digestive system, helping to alleviate problems like constipation and indigestion.
  5. Calms the Nervous System: It can have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and promote better sleep.
  6. Beneficial for Respiratory System: It can also be beneficial for the respiratory system, helping to alleviate problems like asthma.
  7. Stimulates the Reproductive System: It can stimulate the reproductive organs, which can help to alleviate menstrual and menopausal symptoms in women and promote prostate health in men.

Please note that while these are potential benefits. Everyone’s body is different and may respond differently to certain poses. It’s also important to practice yoga under the guidance of a trained professional.

Especially for poses like the¬†Shoulderstand that can be more challenging and carry a risk of injury if not done correctly. If you have any health conditions or concerns. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen.

Sarvangasana yoga pose / Canva

Shoulder Stand Pose Beginner Tips

You’ll want to make sure you keep your shoulders relaxed. Use your hands to support your lower back as you lift your legs up into the air for the pose.

Sarvangasana, or shoulder stand yoga, is a challenging pose that requires a bit of practice and patience.

To start, lay down on your yoga mat with your arms by your sides and palms facing down.

Slowly bring both knees towards your chest as you inhale.

As you exhale, use the strength in your core to lift both hips off the ground. While supporting them with the palms of your hands.

Keep lifting until only your shoulders and upper back remain on the ground while extending both legs straight up towards the ceiling.

This is entering the pose of shoulderstand in hatha yoga practice.

Remember to breathe deeply throughout the pose. Holding it as long as feels comfortable before releasing back down onto the mat to prepare for other poses.

Before attempting sarvangasana, it’s important to prepare your body properly through regular yoga practice.

Stretching out tight muscles in areas such as hamstrings and hips can greatly benefit this pose and prevent injury.

Additionally, practicing other inversions such as downward dog or headstands can help build strength in key areas needed for successful execution.

Preparing Your Body for Shoulderstand

Before attempting this pose, it’s important to properly warm up and stretch your neck, shoulders, and upper back to prevent injury and ensure a successful practice.

I recommend starting with some gentle yoga postures such as bridge pose, fish pose, and plow pose to prepare the body for salamba sarvangasana. These poses help lengthen the spine, open the chest, and strengthen the shoulders and upper back.

Once you feel adequately warmed up, come into the asana pose. By lying on your back with your arms alongside your body. Lift your legs up towards the ceiling as you press down through your hands to lift your hips off the ground. Keep pressing down through your hands. As you bring one leg at a time towards your face until you are in an inversion position.

Remember that it’s an inversion pose so take care not to compress or strain the neck in any way during this posture.

Now that we’ve prepared our bodies for this posture let’s move onto common errors when practicing sarvangasana.

Common Errors

Mistakes can lead to injury and frustration, so it’s crucial to be aware of common errors when starting.

One of the most common errors is not lifting the legs high enough. To get into it, lie on your back with your arms at your sides and palms facing down. Lift your legs up and over until they are perpendicular to the floor. This will help you achieve a stable base for the pose.

Another error is placing too much weight on the upper arms or shoulders. Instead of engaging your core muscles. Keep your core engaged throughout the entire pose to avoid straining these areas. Also, make sure you have enough support by using blankets under your shoulders and neck.

These modifications will help you find more ease in this challenging pose without compromising safety or stability.

Now let’s explore some modifications and variations,¬†that can make it even more accessible and beneficial for different bodies and levels of experience.

yoga pose shoulderstand / Canva

Modifications and Variations for Sarvangasana Yoga Pose

There are several ways to modify and vary to suit different bodies and levels of experience.

One common modification is using blankets or blocks under the hips for support. It’s creating a sturdy foundation like the base of a building. This allows for a supported version of the full pose. Allowing practitioners to still experience the benefits of this powerful inversion while maintaining proper alignment and avoiding strain on the neck.

Another variation is practicing the pose with legs in different positions. Such as bending one knee towards the chest or extending both legs straight up towards the ceiling. These modifications can help alleviate any discomfort or pain in the lower back or hips that may be experienced when attempting the traditional full pose.

It’s important to listen to your body and only practice variations that feel safe and comfortable for you.

When practicing, it’s important to take safety precautions and adhere to contraindications based on individual needs.

Safety Precautions and Contraindications for Salamba Sarvangasana

To avoid potential harm. It’s crucial to be aware of safety precautions and contraindications when practicing Sarvangasana. This powerful inversion requires a significant amount of strength and balance. Making it essential to take necessary precautions before attempting this pose.

Here are five safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Always use a support under your shoulders to prevent any unnecessary strain on your neck.
  2. Be mindful of your body weight distribution by keeping your elbows close together and supporting the hips with your hands.
  3. Avoid this pose if you have any neck injuries or problems with blood circulation.
  4. If you have issues with thyroid and parathyroid glands, consult an experienced yoga teacher before attempting this pose.
  5. It’s always recommended to learn this pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher in a structured yoga class.

By following these safety precautions, you can minimize the risk of injury and enjoy all the benefits that come without any worry. Remember to respect your body limitations while challenging yourself during the practice.

Shoulderstand yoga pose / Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of shoulderstand?

I’s an invigorating yoga pose that can benefit the body in many ways. It improves blood circulation, strengthens the shoulders and neck, calms the mind, and stimulates the thyroid gland. Give it a try!

How long should you hold shoulderstand for?

Try to hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. Gradually increasing to 3-5 minutes. Focus on breathing and engage core muscles to support the posture. Release slowly, with control, and rest in corpse pose afterwards.

Can you do shoulderstand during menstruation?

Yes, you can do the asana during menstruation. Use a folded blanket under the shoulders and avoid any discomfort. This pose can help relieve cramps and calm the mind. Always listen to your body and modify as needed for your own comfort.

What should you do if you experience neck pain during shoulderstand?

If neck pain occurs during, I immediately release the pose and take a moment to assess my alignment. Adjusting the shoulders away from the ears. Ensuring a straight line from head to heels can alleviate discomfort.

Is it safe to do shoulderstand if you have a pre-existing neck or shoulder injury?

If you have a pre-existing neck or shoulder injury. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before exercising. Your safety is like a precious bird that needs protection.


In conclusion, practicing Sarvangasana is an excellent way to improve your overall health and wellness. This pose can help transform your body by strengthening the shoulders, neck, and core muscles. Just like any other yoga pose, it’s important to approach the pose mindfully and with proper preparation.

Key Takeaways

  • ¬†Sarvangasana improves circulation, reduces stress and fatigue, and strengthens the upper body.
  • Preparation for the pose involves warming up and stretching the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Practicing other inversions to build strength, and using blankets or blocks for support.
  • When executing the pose, it’s important to use core strength to lift both hips off the ground. Extend both legs straight up towards the ceiling. Avoid common errors such as not lifting the legs high enough or placing too much weight on the upper arms or shoulders.
  • Safety precautions include using support under the shoulders, being mindful of body weight distribution. Avoiding the pose with neck injuries or problems with blood circulation. Start learning the pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher in structured yoga class.

Remember to listen to your body and make modifications as needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from a qualified instructor if you’re unsure about the alignment or technique. With consistent practice and patience, you’ll soon feel confident in this powerful pose. It can bring balance and harmony to both body and mind.

So, roll out your mat today and give shoulderstand a try!

How To Do Shoulderstand Pose / Canva