Halasana or Plow pose is a folded inversion, also referred to as the inverted yoga pose. Characterised as one of the forward bending yoga asanas, it acts as a counterpose for the back bending ones.
The name Halasana comes from a Sanskrit word combination, where hal means the plow or the traditional farming tool used by Indian farmers. The plow pose is practised at the end of yoga sessions and is therefore called the finishing pose. It helps the body to relax before moving on to breathing exercises and meditation.
Halasana Pose – Step by Step Instructions
- Lie flat on the floor, both arms on either side of the body, palms facing downward and legs closely joint. Breathe slowly, taking in deep breaths and relax the body.
- With the help of your strong abdominal muscles, slowly lift the legs off the floor, raising them until they are perpendicular to the floor. Keep the legs straight and together.
- Pressing your arms against the floor, raise your buttocks with the support. Continue rolling the spine till your big toes are able to touch the floor over your head. Don’t forcibly touch the feet to the floor. What matters is to keep the legs straight.
- Keep the spine as straight as you can, such that it is held perpendicular to the floor in the final position. If it’s your first time, you can take the support of your arms by placing both your hands behind the ribs to prevent your back from rolling over.
- Bring your arms closer, interlocking the fingers of both hands to increase support. If you can’t manage this, just bring the arms closer, joining the thumbs.
- In the final position, your chin should be tucked in the centre of collar bones. Yes, this is indeed difficult and you will need a lot of practice to achieve this position. But, never force yourself into it or else the strain on the neck muscles may lead to injury.
- Now stretch the legs and arms in the opposite direction and hold the pose for around 15 seconds to a minute, according to your comfort level. Take slow and deep breaths.
- To release the pose, gently lower the spine, bringing the legs in a vertical position and slowly lowering them to the ground. Lastly, let go and relax your body.
Plow Pose Tips and Benefits
- The most comfortable way to do Halasana Yoga is by placing folded blankets under your shoulders. It gives support to your upper body and neck and prevents injury.
- If you cannot lift your hips off the ground easily, you may keep a pillow underneath. This will help you rise up without anxiety.
- Use the strength of both hands for support, pressing them down till your toes have successfully touched the ground. Support is important because it prevents any jerk or imbalance that could lead to a neck injury.
- If your back is stiff due to lack of exercise, you can, try another version of Halasana, the Ardha Halasana or the half plow pose, in which you keep your legs parallel to the floor, and upon a chair.
- Breathe in slowly and hold on to your breath while you get into the pose. Breathe out and then relax your breath while in the pose. To resume your earlier position, breathe in and hold on to it again.
- Enhances the functioning of the body, keeping it fit and healthy.
- Improves digestive system, helps cure constipation and dyspepsia.
- Rejuvenates the body’s immune system.
- Revitalizes the adrenal glands, spleen, liver and kidney.
- It improves the functioning of the female reproductive system.
- Helps to regulate insulin production, preventing diabetes.
- Improves blood circulation in the spinal column, strengthening the spinal nerves.
- Increases metabolism by rejuvenating the thyroid gland.
- Helps build stronger abs and control spasms in back muscles.
- Improves the flexibility of shoulders, elbows and wrists.
Halasana Yoga For Beginners/Safety and Precautions
Every beginner should bear in mind that in Halasana yoga you may tend to overstretch your neck by pulling your shoulders way too much. You need to just slightly lift your shoulders towards your ears so that the neck and throat do not get pressured. Keeping firm your shoulder blades against the back, open the sternum slowly. It is ideal to start the plow pose immediately after the shoulder stand or Sarvangasana. Make sure your body movements are slow and gentle.
The best time to practice Halasana or Plow Pose is in the morning, on an empty stomach. If you are unable to find time for it in the morning, then you can practice it in the evening. But make sure that you are on an empty stomach or better defecate before practicing this asana. It would be better if you are done with eating 4-6 hours prior to this practice.
The practice of Halasana should be strictly avoided during menstruation or pregnancy. People with high blood pressure, enlarged thyroid or liver, cervical spondylitis, weak eye vessels and brain diseases should not opt for the plow pose yoga at all because performing this pose causes pressure on the spine, abdomen, brain and eyes.
Is the Plow Pose Dangerous or Difficult?
Halasana is not difficult if you judiciously follow the dos and don’ts and keep in mind when to avoid practising this pose.
Keep your legs straight in your knees such that your toes are vertical on the ground over your head. Your legs should be held in a straight line, keeping the back as straight and vertical as you can. Make sure your arms are held straight with palms on the ground, shoulders resting on the ground and your chin resting against the chest.
Avoid bending your knees or putting strain on them over the chin. Never hurry things. Move as slowly and gently as you can into the plow pose since this asana puts great stress on your spine.
Ardha Halasana Yoga Steps and Its Benefits
Ardha Halasana or the half plow pose is a preparatory pose before moving on to Halasana pose.
Steps to Follow
- Lie straight on the ground, your front body facing up, legs placed together, and slowly breathe in.
- As you breathe in, lift one or both legs up till you bring them up together straight and perpendicular to the body.
- Once you are in this position, you are in the Ardh Halasana pose,
- After holding on to this position for some time, let your body come to rest.
- For the Halasana pose, instead of keeping your legs perpendicular as in ardha halasana, you stretch them over your head at an angle of 180 degrees, such that the toes come in contact with the floor above your head.
- You can take support of your arms that are placed stretched by the sides.
- Ardh Halasana is best for people seeking to build six-pack abs and improve their abdominal health.
- Plow pose and Half plow pose are both good for the digestive system.
- It improves blood circulation.
- You can cut down a good deal of belly fat and have tremendous weight loss with these asanas.
- Relieves most of your stomach disorders.
- Cures chronic conditions of insomnia, infertility and sinusitis.
- This yoga asana is yet another anxiety reliever.
The Plow pose or Halasana yoga is an ideal pose to relax the fifth chakra, as a result of which the metabolism of your body slows down. This pose also balances the fourth chakra’s energy, and in turn restores the cardiovascular system, along with stimulating the sixth chakra, which makes your mind well-balanced.