Photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Morayo Sayles
Plow pose is sometimes followed by the Shoulderstand pose. This is a wonderful calming pose that also stimulates the thyroid gland & abs. Your shoulders and spine are getting an excellent stretch. And if you’re a woman it’s wonderful for relieving symptoms of menopause. Other wonderful benefits are a reduction in stress and fatigue, as well as therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Set yourself up with a blanket thick enough to allow for your neck to have no pressure so your head and neck are aligned and the top of your shoulders are at the very edge of the blanket. Fold a firm blanket into rectangles measuring about 1 foot by 2 feet, and stack them. You may need more than one. If you do not have a blanket, use your mat and even place a mat over the blanket. This will help your elbows from slipping while in the pose. From here, lay down on the blanket so that shoulders are parallel to each other on the blanket and/or mat with your head on the floor.
Bend your knees and begin to raise your legs up in the air. As you do this you will begin to curl your body, pelvis first and raise them legs up in the air. All while fully supporting your body with your hands on your lower back. The weight is in the shoulders and arms, not the neck or head. If you notice the weight in the neck or head, come out of the pose and readjust yourself. As you raise up, straighten your legs and allow them to come over your upper body and head. See how far you can gently guide your legs further above your head and possibly reaching the floor above your head about a foot or so away. The feet flexed may eventually touch the floor. This is considered a more intermediate variation of the pose. So it is helpful to have instructor guidance. If your feet do not touch the floor do not remove your hands from the lower back. Maintain good posture and never move your head in an uncomfortable unsafe manner. If your feet do touch the ground, you have the option to remove your hands from your lower back and straighten the arms out, even clasping the hands together. Hold for 1-5 minutes. Then slowly roll out.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
When not practice this pose is if you have Diarrhea, a Headache, High blood pressure, Menstruation (a controversial idea, so use your intuition and listen to your body during menstruation), Neck injury, Pregnancy (If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, it’s not recommended you start this for the first time after you become pregnant. Your body is not ready or prepared.)
Check out my calendar for group yoga classes dates and time.