Meaning of Plow Pose
Plow pose in Sanskrit is known as Halasana. Halasana is so-called because in its final pose it resembles a plow. Halasana can be classified as ‘ hah-LAHS-anna. Hala means is plow or plough. Plow pose is both a forward bending and a semi-inverted pose. Practicing plow pose and Sarvangasana make you prepare for the more advanced yoga poses.
How to do plow pose: steps of doing halasana
- Lie flat on the floor, facing upward.
- The legs should be straight and together.
- Slowly raise the legs to the vertical position; use the abdominal muscles as much as possible and the arms as little as possible.
- Raised the legs over the head, the buttocks and hips should also be simultaneously raised.
- Slowly lower the feet toward the ground behind the head and if possible touch the toes to the ground behind the head.
- Those who are unable to touch their feet on the ground can allow feet to suspend above the floor.
- For the entire process, the legs should be straight.
- Do breathing slowly and deeply.
- This is the final pose and stay here as per your convenience.
- While coming to the original position, the arms should be placed behind the back.
Breathing pattern for plow pose
- Inhale while raising the legs at 90 degrees.
- Exhale while bringing your legs to the ground.
- While maintaining the pose, do inhaling and exhaling slowly.
- Take deep breathing and come to the original position.
Advice to beginners
- It is difficult for the beginners to touch the toes to the floor behind the head.
- For beginners, it is better to suspend the feet above the floor, keeping the legs straight.
- Beginners should place their fists under the buttocks with the knuckles facing upwards.
- Practice it regularly for some time to make the back more supple so that toes will gradually move nearer to the ground.
- The basic focus should stretch the muscles progressively, not permanently by force.
- The practice of yoga poses like paschimottanasana, yoga mudra, janu sirshasana and shashankasana will help the practitioners to be perfect in halasana.
- For a practitioner, it can be maintained up to five minutes and even more as per one’s convenience.
- Beginners should start with about ten to twenty seconds in the final pose and increase by a few seconds every day.
- If you don’t want to count seconds, do at least 10 breathing in the final stage.
It is better to follow the following sequence while practicing of halasana
- Lower the feet into halasana
- Some or all of the variations
- Return to lying position on the floor
- Counterpose: Any backward bending yoga poses can be used as a counterpose of halasana. However, the best yoga poses, which can be done as counterpose are matsyasana, ushtrasana. supta vajrasana and chakrasana
Time to perform
- The best time to practice plow pose is early in the morning before breakfast and late in the afternoon before dinner.
- The yoga pose should not be practiced after meals or after vigorous exercises.
There are few limitations of plow pose. These contraindications should be kept in mind while practising halasana.
- People who suffer from hernia, slipped disc, sciatica, high blood pressure or any serious back ailments should not do halasana.
- One shouldn’t use force or sudden jerks to touch the floor under any circumstances.
- If you are still in doubt, take the guidance of a yoga expert.
Tips to perform plow pose
- For maximum benefits of the pose, use only the abdominal muscles to raise the legs without any help of the arms.
- Before returning to the starting position, the arms should be placed behind the back to minimize strain.
- While returning to the original position, the movement should be slow and controlled, using the abdominal muscles as much as possible.
- The legs should be lowered gently to the ground without any thud.
- The back of the head should remain in contact with the floor throughout.
Benefits of plow pose
- Plow pose makes the entire spine supple.
- The practicing of it helps to stretch the muscles and loosens the vertebrae.
- Halasana tones the nerves both inside and outside the spinal column. This leads to better efficiency of all the organs in the body.
- Since the practice of plow pose exerts pressure on the neck region thus enhances the efficiency of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
- The abdominal organs are massaged and muscles are strengthened. Accordingly helpful to alleviate constipation, dyspepsia, diabetes, and other abdominal ailments.
- It helps to decongest and revitalize the liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, and adrenal glands.
- Plow pose helps to remove backache, neck ache, and headache.
- The regular practice of it induces the states of pratyahara (sense withdrawal), which is good for meditation.
- The practice of it is good for high blood pressure as they will not feel a rush of blood in the head region.
The following joints are involved while practicing of plow pose. Spine cervical flexion; thoracic flexion; lumbar flexion; sacroiliac joint nutation; hip flexion, adduction, internal rotation; knee extension; ankle dorsiflexion; toe extension; scapula adduction, downward rotation, elevation; glenohumeral joint external rotation, extension, adduction; elbow extension; forearm pronation; wrist extension; finger and hand flexion to clasp hands.