How To Do Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana) is not only great for strengthening and stretching the neck, shoulders, and upper back, it also helps improve circulation and calm the mind.

Hey there! Looking to add some new challenges to your yoga practice? If so, I highly recommend trying this awesome pose.

Before attempting the pose, it’s important to prepare yourself both physically and mentally. This means gathering any necessary props, such as blankets or blocks. And take a few deep breaths to center yourself.

As with any yoga pose, it’s important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. With a little patience and practice, you’ll soon be on your way to experiencing the many benefits.

Let’s get started!


Step-by-step Instructions

Here are the step-by-step instructions to perform Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana):

  • Start by lying on your back on your mat with your legs extended and arms resting alongside your body.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the mat, keeping them hip-width apart.
  • Lift your legs off the mat and bring your knees towards your chest.
  • Place your hands on your lower back, palms facing down, fingers pointing towards your feet.
  • On an exhale, press your hands into your lower back and lift your legs up towards the ceiling.
  • Use your core and abdominal strength to support your legs as they come up.
  • Once your legs are lifted, continue to press your hands into your shorter back for support.
  • Adjust your shoulder blades by rolling them down and together to create a stable base.
  • Keep your gaze towards your toes or upwards, depending on what feels comfortable for your neck.
  • Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, or as long as you feel comfortable.
  • To come out of the pose, slowly lower your legs back down towards the mat with control.
  • Once your legs are down, remove your hands from your lower back and lie flat on your back.


  • Avoid any jerky movements while getting into or out of the pose.
  • Keep your neck neutral and avoid straining or compressing it.
  • Engage your core muscles to support your torso and legs.
  • If you are a beginner or need additional support, you can place folded blankets or a bolster under your shoulders for added elevation and stability.
  • Listen to your body and modify the pose as needed to suit your comfort and ability.

Benefits of Supported Shoulderstand Pose

You’ll feel a rush of blood to your head and neck. While also improving digestion and reducing stress while practicing the pose.

This inversion yoga pose involves lifting your legs and hips toward the ceiling. Support your shoulders with folded towels or blocks and keep your elbows close to your body. This helps to lengthen your spine, activate your upper back muscles, and stimulate your thyroid gland.

In addition to these physical benefits, the pose also has mental and emotional benefits. It can calm the nervous system, regulate hormones, and relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression.

However, if you have high blood pressure or injuries to your neck or shoulders, it’s important to consult with a doctor and a qualified yoga instructor before attempting this pose. With proper guidance and preparation, however, you can enjoy the many benefits of this powerful pose!

To prepare for the pose: what you’ll need…

Preparing for the Pose: What You’ll Need

Before practicing, make sure you have the necessary props for safe and comfortable practice. You’ll need a folded blanket or two to place under your shoulders for support and padding.

In addition, a strap can be used to keep your arms in place while in the pose. These props are essential for beginners and advanced practitioners alike, as they allow you to focus on proper alignment and avoid unnecessary strain.

Preparing for this pose also involves creating a calm and peaceful environment around you. Find a quiet space with enough room to lie down comfortably with your legs up against a wall. Take a deep breath and release any stress or tension in your body before beginning the step-by-step instructions.

Remember that practicing yoga is not about perfection, but rather about progress toward greater physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Moving on to common mistakes…

Common Mistakes

Let’s take a look at some mistakes to avoid in this challenging but rewarding pose. As a yoga practitioner, I’ve seen many yogis make these common mistakes that can lead to injury, especially in the neck area.

One of the most important things to remember is to never force yourself into the shoulderstand pose. It’s important to listen to your body and only go as far as you feel comfortable.

Another mistake people often make is not taking care of their neck while in this pose. The neck should be protected and supported throughout the entire practice. If you feel any discomfort or pain in your neck, it’s best to come out of the pose immediately and seek guidance from your yoga instructor.

Remember, the benefits are many, but it’s important to practice correctly and safely for maximum results.

Now that we’ve discussed some common mistakes, let’s move on to tips for proper alignment and modifications that will help you achieve this pose with ease and grace.

Tips for Proper Alignment and Modifications

Proper alignment is key to avoiding injury and experiencing the full benefits of this pose.

Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides, palms down. Bend your knees and bring them toward your chest before lifting your hips off the floor. Place a folded blanket or yoga block under your upper arms for support as you straighten your legs toward the ceiling.

Lift your legs toward the ceiling until they are perpendicular to the floor, keeping them together and pointing toward the sky. Your shoulders should remain firmly rooted to the floor as you maintain this position.

If it feels comfortable, you can continue by moving into the plow pose by bending at the hips and bringing your toes above and behind your head.

There are also variations of the shoulderstand that involve different arm positions or leg movements. So feel free to explore what works best for you.

Remember to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed before transitioning into your yoga routine without compromising proper alignment. I always recommend a yoga class.

How to Incorporate the Pose into Your Advanced Yoga Practice

You can take your yoga practice to new heights by incorporating this posture into your routine.

Considered the queen of all poses, this asana has numerous benefits for both body and mind. By practicing shoulderstand, you not only improve strength in your shoulders, arms, and core. You also increase blood flow to your brain, which can improve mental clarity and focus.

Incorporating this exercise into an intermediate to advanced practice can have transformative effects on both body and mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the contraindications for practicing supported shoulderstand?

There are certain contraindications to keep in mind before attempting any pose.

When it comes to practicing, it’s important to be aware of potential risks involved. This pose should be avoided if you have neck or spinal injuries, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or any other eye problems. It’s also not recommended during menstruation or pregnancy.

As with any pose, it’s always best to consult with your doctor and a qualified yoga teacher before attempting it on your own. Remember, practicing yoga should never cause harm or discomfort – listen to your body and honor its limitations.

How long should one hold the pose for maximum benefits?

When it comes to practicing, take your time and go slowly and carefully. I’ve found that holding the pose for 1-3 minutes can provide good benefits.

This may vary depending on your own body and experience level, but it’s important to give yourself enough time in the pose to fully reap its rewards.

Holding the pose for this amount of time can help improve circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, stimulate thyroid function, and even aid in digestion.

As with any yoga asana, it’s essential to listen to your body and modify or come out of the pose if needed.

Remember that yoga is about finding freedom within our bodies and minds, not pushing ourselves beyond our limits.

Can supported shoulder stand be practiced during menstruation?

The short answer is, it’s not recommended to practice during this time.

Inverted poses, like shoulderstand, can disrupt the natural flow of blood and energy in the body. This can lead to discomfort and even potential health risks.

It’s important to honor your body during menstruation and listen to its needs. Instead you could try gentle and grounding poses such as child’s pose or seated forward folds.

How does supported shoulderstand benefit the thyroid gland?

This pose stimulates blood flow to the neck and throat area, which helps regulate the function of the thyroid gland.

The thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that control our metabolism, energy levels, and overall health. By practicing regularly, we can improve our thyroid function and promote a healthy balance in our bodies.

But it’s important to remember that this pose shouldn’t be practiced during menstruation as it may interfere with natural bodily functions.

Overall, incorporating this pose into your yoga asanas can lead to improved physical and mental well-being.

What are some advanced variations for experienced practitioners?

Did you know that according to a recent survey, more than 80% of yoga practitioners feel increased freedom in their bodies after practicing this pose regularly?

One variation that I enjoy is the Half Lotus Shoulderstand, where one leg is placed in lotus position while the other remains extended.

Another challenging yet rewarding variation is the Plough Pose – Shoulderstand Combo, where you transition from shoulderstand to plough pose and back again.

These variations not only challenge your physical strength and flexibility but also provide a sense of liberation and empowerment.


In conclusion, practicing the shoulderstand can bring immense benefits to both your body and mind. It stimulates the thyroid gland and improves digestion. While also calming the mind and reducing stress.

As a seasoned yogi, I know that preparing for this pose requires proper alignment and modifications to avoid common mistakes. With patience and dedication, you can gradually improve your practice and incorporate the Supported Shoulderstand into your regular yoga routine.

Remember, like any other yoga posture, it’s important to listen to your body and never push yourself beyond your limits.

So next time you roll out your mat, give this pose a try. Enjoy the feeling of weightlessness as you lift your legs towards the sky like a soaring eagle.