What is Halasana?
Halasana gets its name from ‘hal’ (plough, which is a farming instrument) and ‘asana’ (yoga pose). Also known as the plough pose, Halasana posture is an inverted and folded position in which the shape of your body resembles a plough as your legs go over your head and remain in that position for some breaths.
Halasana posture is an extreme stretch and being able to master it is quite a feat in itself. Due to this reason and because of the amazing benefits that it has for our mind and body, Halasana is often referred to as the ‘miracle pose’.
Who should do Halasana?
Halasana yoga posture should be done by anyone who wants to have a healthy body and an agile mind for a long time. It is especially advised for:
- People who suffer from back or shoulder problems.
- Those who have a migraine or recurrent headaches.
- People who suffer from frequent gastrointestinal problems.
- People who suffer from hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
- Menopausal women to relieve the discomforting symptoms.
- People who are obese, or the ones who have excess belly fat.
- Those who feel stressed and anxious.
- People who have sinus.
- Those who suffer from infertility.
- People who have abrupt sleep patterns or have been diagnosed with insomnia.
- Athletes who want to improve their performance.
- Fitness enthusiasts who want to get into sports.
Who should avoid Halasana?
Halasana yoga pose is a very challenging pose that must not be done without consulting your doctor if you fall in any of these categories:
- You have diarrhea.
- Pregnant women must avoid doing Halasana since it puts pressure on the stomach.
- If you have asthma.
- If you have recently suffered from a back or neck injury that is yet to heal.
- Menstruating women.
- If you suffer from heart issues.
- If you have high blood pressure.
How does Halasana help?
There are tremendous Halasana yoga benefits for our mind and body. Not just this, it also helps us in remaining healthy for a long time by preventing several diseases and disorders. Here are some of the most important plough pose benefits:
- Halasana helps in making us more flexible and agile by working on the flexibility of the spine. This in turn helps in doing the daily activities better and being mobile.
- It is a very effective pose for people suffering from recurrent headaches due to hypertension, migraine, or sinusitis.
- One of the most important advantages of Halasana is that it massages our digestive organs. This helps in relieving and preventing digestive disorders like constipation, flatulence, bloat, etc.
- Another Halasana benefits is that it revitalises the spleen and the suprarenal glands and improves the production of insulin. This helps in not only improving the functioning of the kidneys and liver but also in preventing type-2 diabetes.
- One of the most critical Halasana benefit is that it regulates the activity of the thyroid gland. This is beneficial for people who are suffering from thyroid in managing their symptoms.
- Halasana stimulates the thymus gland. This supports and improves the functioning of the immune system that helps in preventing diseases and infections.
- An important Halasana benefits is that it works on the strength of not only the back muscles but also the ligaments, tendons, and tissues in the hamstrings and abdominal muscles. This helps in improving mobility and athletic performance.
- Halasana is an excellent posture for improving blood circulation. This is essential for our organs to function properly, avoid diseases and infections, and keeping our skin and hair healthy.
- Halasana, especially when performed along with Surya Namaskar poses, improves blood circulation, helps the brain in receiving more oxygen, which supports better cognitive functioning and prevents memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
- Halasana asana by improving the blood circulation helps in detoxifying the body and preventing exhaustion, tiredness, and inability to concentrate.
- It helps in stimulating the reproductive organs. For women, this helps in preventing menstrual discomfort and painful symptoms of menopause. For men, it helps in preventing fertility issues.
- Halasana is very effective in preventing headaches that may occur due to migraine or sinusitis.
- Since Halasana works on your entire body, it is a great pose of yoga for weight loss, especially for the excess weight on the belly and the thighs.
How is Halasana done?
To gain maximum benefits, Halasana is usually done in a sequence with Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand) i.e. it is advised to perform Halasana after you do the shoulder stand.
Here is a detailed explanation of steps of Halasana along with Sarvangasana:
To perform Sarvangasana, lay on the floor on your back and slowly lift your legs and hips and stretch them towards the ceiling as you inhale. Come up high on your shoulders and support your back with your hands. Hold this pose for a few breaths and return to the starting position.
This is how you should perform Halasana:
- Lie on your back with your arms beside you and palms downwards.
- Inhale and slowly lift your feet off the floor using your abdominal muscles.
- Let your legs reach an angle of 90-degrees.
- Continue to breathe gently and support your hips and back with your hands and lift them off the floor.
- In a gentle sweep, take your legs over your head till your toes touch the floor behind your head.
- Make sure that your back is perpendicular to the floor. Though this might be a difficult pose to do at first, it generally gets better after a few attempts.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds-1 minute and feel your body relax as you feel every breath.
- Slowly come back to the starting position.
- If you are just starting with Halasana, you should do it once and then increase the reps. People who are experienced with this posture can practice this 3-5 times.
For experienced yoga practitioners, there are several variations of Halasana that can be performed. These include:
- Parsva Halasana (Sideways plough pose)
- Karnapidasana (Ear-pressing pose)
- Supta Konasana (Supine angle pose)
What are some tips for doing Halasana safely?
Halasana yoga pose may look challenging, but trust us, with regular practice, you can achieve this pose. Though it looks as if you are putting your body in an extremely uncomfortable position, it is actually one of the most relaxing yoga poses with super benefits.
Since Halasana involves putting your body in an inverted position, there are certain things that need to be kept in mind while performing it. These include:
- Halasana yoga for beginners should never be done without instructions from a certified trainer to avoid injuries. Beginners should also have proper Halasana information before they start practicing it. This can be done by attending yoga classes or through visual yoga training apps.
- Since it puts a significant strain on the spine, you should always do Halasana steps slowly and gently. Start slow and build on the repetitions.
- Never overdo Halasana’s steps to avoid injuries.
- Halasana for beginners can have some props like placing folded blankets under your shoulders for support to your neck and upper body.
- You can use a pillow under your hips to ease their lifting off the floor.
- When practicing Halasana for beginners, ensure that you don’t jerk your body.
- For Halasana’s steps and benefits to enhance, it can be followed by Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose).