Sarvangasana is a very powerful, even a mysterious asana that provides wonderful benefits. Since Sarva means all and Anga means limbs or members of our body, this posture can be termed as all members’ posture. When you perform this asana, all your body parts are engaged.
Procedure of Sarvangasana
- You should spread a thick blanket on the ground and practice Sarvangasana over the blanket. You should lie down flat on your back. Your legs should be close together.
- You should slowly lift your legs. The legs, hips and trunk should rise slowly until they are vertical to the floor. You should support your back with your two hands, one for each side, with the forearms and the elbows resting on the floor.
- You should press your chin against your chest, forming a firm chin-lock or Jalandara Bandha. The head, the neck, the shoulder portion and the top of the back should be touching the ground. You should concentrate on your thyroid gland lying on the front lower part of your neck.
- The legs should be kept straight and you should not allow the body to move to and fro or shake. The shoulders will be bearing the whole weight of your body as if you are standing on your shoulders with the support and help of your elbows.
- After holding the position as long as possible, you should slowly come back to the original lying down position. The forward and reverse movements of the legs should be smooth and elegant without any jerks. You can remain for 2 minutes in this asana position in the beginning, but you can later extend it to even half an hour.
- It is always advisable to do Matsyasana or fish posture immediately after performing Sarvangasana. You can do Sarvangasana twice a day, in the mornings and in the evenings.
Benefits of Sarvangasana
Sarvangasana nourishes the thyroid gland properly, which has got a major role in our body metabolism, structure, nutrition and growth. When the thyroid gland is healthy, the circulatory, alimentary, respiratory, nervous, and genitor-urinary systems also function in a healthy manner. The thyroid gland operates in conjunction with the other ductless glands, like pineal gland in the brain, pituitary gland, suprarenal gland above your kidneys, testes, liver, and spleen. All these glands will suffer if the thyroid gland becomes diseased.
Sarvangasana supplies a larger quantity of blood to the roots of spinal nerves. It centralizes the blood in your spinal column and nourishes it beautifully. It keeps the spine fully elastic, making you look youthful. It prevents ossification or hardening of the bones. Sarvangasana is also helpful in maintaining Brahmacharya. It is the cheapest readily available tonic for blood, nerves and digestive system, saving your doctor’s bills. It also helps in venereal diseases like gonorrhoea and diseases of ovaries and bladder. It removes diseases of wombs and sterility. Sarvangasana also removes chronic constipation, dyspepsia and other gastro-intestinal disorders. It invigorates, energizes, rejuvenates and vivifies you and your entire body and mind.
Precautions and Contraindications
People suffering from diarrhoea, high blood pressure, headache, menstruation and neck injury should not practice Sarvangasana. This asana is an advanced asana and pregnant women should not practice it. It is better to do this asana under the guidance of an expert yoga master until you become perfect.
Variations of Sarvangasana
Sarvangasana is also known as Salamba Sarvangasana or supported all-members’ posture, since you use your hands as support while performing this. It is also possible to do it without the support of the hands and it is known as Nirlamba Sarvangasana. However, you should not attempt that until you have become perfect in Salamba Sarvangasana.
One more variation of Sarvangasana is Eka Pada Sarvangasana or one leg all-members’ posture. In this variation, after getting into the perfect Sarvangasana position, you can lower your right leg perpendicular to your body slowly until it touches the floor. You can remain in that position for up to 30 seconds and then bring the right leg back. You can then do the same with the left leg.
You can also do Padmasana while remaining in Sarvangasana position. You can deepen that posture by bending your legs towards your groin, while remaining in Sarvangasana and Padmasana positions.
Preparatory and Follow-Up Postures for Sarvangasana
You can perform Virasana and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana before doing Sarvangasana. Proceeding to Halasana from Sarvangasana is quite easy. You should compulsorily do Matsyasana after completing Sarvangasana.