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Halasana (Plow Pose)

Halasana (Plow Pose)

Written by
Will Allen
Co-Founder MyYogaTeacher

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What is Halasana (Plow Pose)?

 Halasana (Plow Pose)

As the name suggests, Halasana (Plow Pose) leads the body and mind towards deep rejuvenation, identical to how a plow is used to dig the soil and make it fertile again. It's a full-body stretch that turns your body upside down and places your feet over your head, giving you new perspectives.

By extending the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical regions of the spine, Halasana improves blood circulation and flexibility around the spinal column. Back pain can be relieved by this posture, stretching the shoulders and lengthening the spine. When done correctly, Halasana can help relieve stress around the throat and back of the neck.

Overview

Halasana is derived from the Sanskrit words Hala, which means "plow," and Asana, which means "posture,” or "seat." The 19th-century Sritattvanidhi describes and illustrates Lāṇgalāsana, which also means plow position in Sanskrit.


Sanskrit Name: हलासन                Pronunciation: Hah-lahs-ah-nah

Pose Type: Inversion                    Also known as: plow Pose

Strengthens: Spine, Neck, and Shoulders     Stretches: Spine, Shoulder

Health Benefits of Halasana 

  • Aids in weight loss.

  • Aids in stress reduction.

  • Provides back pain relief.

  • Aids in diabetes management.

  • Thyroid glands are stimulated well.

  • Enhances digestive organs' functions.

  • Works as a natural treatment for leg cramps.

  • Promotes blood circulation in the roots of all glands.

  • Improves hair growth and reduces chronic hair fall. 

  • Females can feel relive of stress from trigger areas during Menopause.


When to Avoid Performing Halasana

  • Avoid if you had a recent injury or surgery.

  • Avoid during menstruation and pregnancy.

  • Avoid if experiencing enlarged thyroids, spleens, or liver-related issues. 

  • Avoid during weak digestion, migraines, high blood pressure, and breathing issues. 

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How to do Halasana (Plow Pose)

A plow pose is typically performed toward the end of a yoga lesson. So, to get started with your Halasana practice, there are four parts to this whole process.

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Halasana 

The neck and shoulders muscles experience more strain in this exquisite yoga pose, so they must be strong. As the pose name implies, Halasana, or plow posture, requires strength, the same as plowing the field. 

So let's focus on those yoga poses that assist the opening of the back, shoulders, and neck while also emphasizing the importance of breathing.


1. Setubandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) - The body forms an incline bridge in Bridge Pose, enhancing and inducing flexibility into the spine. The body weight on the shoulders and neck provides the strength required to prepare these muscles for Halasana. Breathing plays an important role here as well, as it aids in sustaining the stance for an extended period.

Setubandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)


2. Pavan Muktasana (Wind Release Pose) - This asana is regarded as the preparation pose before starting Halasana, because it prepares the body to move smoothly into Halasana by releasing any unwanted gas, air, or wind in the low belly. Raise the head and place it near the knees while pushing both bent knees close to your chest, exerting tension on the lower core muscles. 


Pavan Muktasana (Wind Release Pose)


The tension in the lower belly also helps open the muscles in the low back, allowing for easier backflow in Halasana. The elevated head opens one's cervical spine and shoulder muscles, preparing the upper body for this inverted posture. To achieve Halasana, one's body must move willingly and efficiently into this wind release pose position.


3. Half Halasana Variation (Half Plow Pose) - This Half Halasana Pose is the final preparation pose. The pressure on one's legs, lower back, and entire core muscles must be concentrated, with legs raised straight up and the whole spine's support on the floor. The stronger your shoulders and abdominal muscles become, the longer you can hold this pose with controlled breathing.


Half Halasana Variation (Half Plow Pose)

Image Credits: 101yogastudio.com


Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Halasana 


Step 1- Begin by lying down on the floor with your feet together and your arms relaxed and close to your body. Remain here for a few moments, taking deep breaths to relax the body.


Step 2- Straighten your legs toward the ceiling after bringing your knees to your chest.


Step 3- Lift your hips off the floor and roll up until your shoulders support you, using your core strength and the support of both hands at your low or mid-back. Place your hips higher than your shoulders.


Step 4- Slowly drop your legs above your head until your toes are level with the ground behind you. Keep the feet flexed and rest your toes on the ground.


Step 5- Place your arms on the floor, palms down, or clasp your hands behind the back. To create greater lift along the spine, press down with your outside upper arms and shoulders. Hold the pose here for at least 5 deep breaths.


Step 6- To release this pose, unclasp your hands, press your arms and hands into the mat, and roll down one vertebra at a time.


Step 7- Allow the back to return to its natural contours and curves for a few moments by simply lying in the corpse pose. 

Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Halasana 


Breath Awareness:

In Halasana, the chest is obstructed, as is the windpipe, which might cause distress during the practice. A smooth flow of energy is crucial, and one must learn this from a qualified yoga instructor or by following breathing cues as described below: 


1. Bring your knees together and your arms close to the torso, and feel the air traveling through your body while breathing. Inhale deeply and raise your legs at a 90 degrees angle.


2. Inhale and exhale deeply by gathering up the legs and supporting the low back with the wrists; take both your legs behind your head and touch your toes on the floor. Exhale completely and relax your body.


3. Regulate your breathing while placing both your toes firmly onto the floor at the back of your head. 


4. After a few breaths, slowly inhale and lift your toes and legs, supporting the low back, then exhale while bending your knees.


5. Bring your low back, chest, and abdominal area to the floor with one more deep inhale, and relax your back by placing it on the ground with your feet on the floor. Keep your knees bent and return to a normal breathing pattern.


6. Bring your chest, low back, and core area to the floor with one more deep inhale, and relax your back by placing it on the ground with your feet placed on the floor and knees bent. Regain your normal breathing here.


7. If your breathing is fast and lacking depth, take a couple of deep breaths, hold the breath, and then slowly exhale. Repeat this until the entire body is feeling relaxed and breathing is normal.



Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold the pose for 20-60 seconds. 


Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold the pose for 2 to 5 minutes.



Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

Be aware of the following safety cues if you are just starting your Halasana practice. 

  • Plow Pose may not be suitable for beginners - You should be familiar with the fundamentals of inversions and how to execute them with appropriate body alignment. You'll also need a certain amount of flexibility to accomplish it securely. You're not ready for a plow pose if you find performing preparatory poses difficult. 

  • Consider using a prop if your neck feels uncomfortable - If you put too much weight on the top of your spinal column, Plow Pose might put your neck in a vulnerable position (your cervical spine). Using a blanket as a prop can assist in protecting your neck by distributing weight to your shoulders rather than your neck.

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Halasana 

When muscles are not allowed to contract before moving on to the next pose or repeating the same stance, more harm occurs. During any yoga pose, awareness of the body is crucial, as it aids in getting the body to rest more quickly and intelligently.

After practicing Halasana, the shoulders and neck muscles need to relax and loosen. To ensure proper spine relaxation, a few poses must be practiced shortly after Halasana:

1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): Bring the feet to the floor and place them in Namaste formation as you release the body from Halasana. Namaste's feet will provide the necessary comfort for the lower back and shoulders. Breathe easily and relax the entire spine with arms stretched out beside you and feet at Namaste. 


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

As you exhale, try to slide your knees closer to the floor, ensuring that your lower back is entirely flat on the floor. This calming position is necessary immediately post-Halasana practice because the blood flow in the feet, which was previously in the opposite direction, is now directed back to normal. 


2. Savasana (Corpse Pose): Relax the entire body with steady breathing in Savasana (Corpse Pose), and make sure the limbs, head, and torso are relaxed and close to the mat. Relax your entire body by regulating your breathing. Hold this position for a total of 10-12 breaths.

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Halasana Modifications and Props

Let's talk about some modifications and props that can be helpful for beginners during plow pose practice:: 


  • Use a blanket. To begin, blankets might be placed beneath the shoulders and neck to help ease the neck into the posture and provide adequate support for the cervical spine without causing any nerve damage or pinching.

Halasana Modifications and Props


  • Use a yoga block. If the toes can't be placed on the floor, use blocks or blankets beneath the feet to provide the body with the ease it needs to get the most out of this yoga pose.


Halasana Modifications and Props

Image Credits:hamyyoga.com


  • Use the wall. If you're having problems staying in Halasana, you can lean against the wall for assistance. Raise both legs and place them behind you, keeping your toes near to the wall for support, by placing your head on the floor approximately arm's distance away from the wall. With your toes near to the wall, you'll have a better grip and be able to hold the posture for longer while breathing comfortably.


Halasana Modifications and Props

Or, one other way of using the wall... 

With feet lifted on the wall at 90 degrees and the body facing the wall, utilize the wall's support to bring the legs overhead, then touch your feet to the ground. 

  • Find a spotter. By giving a modest push and support to the lower back, a yoga teacher can assist the student in lifting the lower body and progressing into this plow position.

Halasana Variations to Consider

Different students have different skills; thus, one may find a yoga pose simple while another finds it challenging. 

As a result, for beginners who are having trouble performing the main pose, then these gentle form of plow pose are for you:

1. Easy Plow Pose: Instead of flexing and pointing your legs out in the inverted plow pose, try bending your knees and placing them just above the forehead. This pose will help you find a more comfortable position around your back and shoulders if facing any muscle pain or soreness due to pressure. 


Easy Plow Pose


2. Plow Pose Hands-On Back: This variation is 90% similar to the final plow position; the only variation added here is the support from your hands on your back. If you feel uncomfortable while stretching your back in Halasana, consider placing your hands on your back for a more even, stable, and comforting back support. 


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Level-Up Poses After Halasana for Super Advanced Yogis

The body seems magnificent and elegant in Halasana posture, revitalizing both the mind and the soul. 

Although the plow pose is considered one of the final poses to be practiced in a yoga flow, one can still try a few more level-up yoga poses after the Halasana practice. Take a look at such advanced poses below:


Level-Up Pose 1: Karnapidasana (Ear Pressure Pose)

Level-Up Pose 2: Parsva Halasana (Side Plow Pose) 

Level-Up Pose 3: Halasana (Plow Pose with Bent Legs)

Level-Up Pose 4: Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)


Karnapidasana (Ear Pressure Pose)

Image Credits: stylecraze.com 

Karnapidasana




Parsva Halasana (Side Plow Pose) 

Image Credits:ihanuman.com

Parsva Halasana 


Halasana Legs Variation

Halasana Legs Variation


Salamba Sarvangasana

Salamba Sarvangasana


Similar Inversion Poses like Halasana

Here is a list of some inversion yoga poses that are similar to Halasana practice. Take a look below: 


  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

  2. Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

  3. Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand Pose)

  4. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)

  5. Supta Konasana (Reclining Angle Pose)

Frequently Asked Questions about Halasana (Plow Pose)

What are the benefits of Halasana?

When should Halasana pose be avoided?

How do you perform Ardha Halasana?

Does the Halasana yoga pose reduce belly fat?

What are the different Halasana variations?

Is Plow pose for beginners?

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Drop your email in the field below, and we'll let you know as soon as we've added a !

Articles about Halasana (Plow Pose)
Ratings & Reviews
Desiree
Desiree
Great!

Tue, Nov 15

Lidia
Lidia
Excellent

Tue, Nov 15

Sujatha
Sujatha
Excellent class

Tue, Nov 15

Carolyn
Carolyn
He's very good at reviewing each exercise and is v...Read more

Tue, Nov 15

Ula
Ula
Another great session with Annelise. Thank you!!

Wed, Nov 16

Melissa
Melissa
Excellent class as usual

Tue, Nov 15

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