Shoulder Stand for Restoration - Australian School of Meditation & Yoga | ASMY

Shoulder Stand for Restoration

What is a great pose this month for Mums?
Gosh every pose is wonderful! Mums need to be strong and flexible and relaxed. Everything that the whole gamut of yoga poses offer in a great class. But some mums are run off their feet managing a family and a house and a job. So what pose incorporates everything mums need in a nutshell? That’s a hard one! But I must say my all time favourite is Shoulderstand. It strengthens the back, the core support muscles and breathing muscles, it relaxes the mind and heart, gives a good shake up to the internal organs and helps to relieve tired and sore legs and feet.

When we add in other variations like Plough and Bridge we get a leg stretch and a back arch. The only thing missing is a twist! A supine twist can be a great pose to relax into after finishing shoulder stand.

Shoulder Stand
Salamba Sarvangasana


  • Always use a couple of folded blankets under the shoulders to prevent over stretching and pressure in the neck.
  • Come out of the pose if you feel pressure in your throat or eyes.
  • Never move your head when in the pose.
  • Do not attempt the pose if you have a tendency towards high blood pressure, serious eye problems, advanced diabetes, vertigo, neck problems, migraine or if you carry too much excess weight.
  • If you are menstruating you may find the pose uncomfortable
  • If you don’t have the strength or flexibility to enter the full pose try one of the easier versions listed below.

Let’s try it:

  1. Fold 2 or more blankets in such a way that they are wide enough to reach from your shoulders to your hips.
  2. Lie on the blankets with the topmost edge just below your skull. Have your head on the floor with your chin drawing towards your chest and your arms beside you
  3. Draw the knees up into the chest, roll up onto your shoulders, bend your elbows and support your back with your hands.
  4. Walk your hands up your back so you can straighten your back and come up onto your shoulders. Straighten your legs up to the ceiling.
  5. Reach into your feet, activate your inner thighs and pelvic floor and lift your sternum towards your chin.
  6. Stay here and breathe down to the bottom of your lungs. As you get stronger in the pose you can stay for 2 – 3 minutes to get the full benefit from it.
  7. To come down, bend your knees into your chest, lift your head and roll your back down onto the blankets and rest.

Easier Variations: none of these variations require blankets under the shoulders.

  • Half Shoulder Stand.

    For this pose we basket the hips into the hands and the legs swing at about a 90 degree angle over the torso and head. (some people may find this a little strong on the wrists in which case either choose the next variation or work on the activations of point 5 above) 
  • Shoulder Stand on Blocks.

    This is a wonderfully easy variation where we get most of the benefits of Shoulder Stand but we have the choice to be a bit more relaxed in the pose. To reach this pose place one or two yoga blocks under the back of the pelvis and raise the legs straight up to the ceiling. Keep the activations of point 5 above.
  • Legs up the Wall This might be the best choice for people who cannot or should not get into the pose. Simply lie on the floor with your legs up the wall or even on a chair and have a rest. Find out more details here.

By Vrndavan Dasi
Director at Veda Yoga Training