Hala means a plough, the shape of which this posture resembles, hence the name. (Light on Yoga, p 216)
There are asanas we encounter so many times that we don’t realize there is a lot more to them than meets the eye. The halasana is one such posture…
It helps to:
- Relieve backache.
- Bring flexibility in the shoulders and elbows.
- Relax the mind and body.
- Promote better sleep.
- Improve digestion and appetite.
Don’t practice if you have diarrhea, or are menstruating. If you have a neck or back injury then wait until you are completely healed.
Busting the Myths
The final posture is usually depicted with the toes touching the floor. However, if you don’t have the requisite flexibility, forcing your toes to touch the floor can do more harm than good. Read on for some practice pointers…
- In an attempt to touch the floor with the toes, many practitioners end up pushing themselves beyond their capacity and injure themselves. A simple trick is to rest your feet on a chair or a small table instead of on the floor.
- There is a strong link between the halasana and the paschimottanasana. When your back gains mobility in one, then the other improves too.
- Tighten your thighs and roll them in to activate your legs and engage your core. You are trying to keep the spine extended.
Over the years I’ve studied the nuances of the halasana and that has certainly improved my practice. I found an older picture of me doing this asana here.
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