Sarvanga (Sarva=all, whole, entire, complete; anga=limb or body) means the entire body or all the limbs. In this pose the whole body benefits from the exercise, hence the name. (Light on Yoga, p 206)
The Sarvangasana is beneficial for your entire body, which is why it’s called the Mother of all Asanas. Just like the mother nourishes you at many levels, so the Sarvangasana nourishes you at many levels. In fact, there is also the chinlock, the Jalandhar Bandha that forms.
It helps to:
- Expand the chest enabling deeper breathing.
- Eradicate common cold and other nasal disturbances.
- Stimulate the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
- Get rid of even chronic headaches.
- Relieve insomnia and hypertension.
- Detoxify the system.
Ladies who are menstruating should not do the sarvangasana. People suffering from diarrhea or headaches should also not practice this asana.
Busting the Myths
In many old yoga books you will find this posture also called the Candlestick posture because the body is supposed to resemble a straight candle on a candle holder. Read on for some practice pointers…
- In the final position only the back of the head, the neck, shoulders and upper arms should be on the floor. You must take care NOT to bring the chin in to the chest, but to bring the chest forward to the chin. When you do this the entire spine stretches.
- If you find that your body isn’t perpendicular work on tightening the buttocks and lifting up vertically.
- Don’t allow the elbows to widen outwards. This will make it more difficult to straighten the trunk.
- Also ensure that your neck doesn’t move sideways, as that will cause injury to the neck.
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