Halasana is one of the poses in the closing sequence of the Ashtanga practice. This pose, along with the headstand and other poses that put a strain on your neck, back and head have become quite controversial in the yoga community because of the injuries it can inflict if not done right.
So I’d advise you to be very careful when getting into Halasana. The complete Halasana pose looks a lot like the traditional plows in Tibetan and Indian culture - which is also how it got its name. The pose is symbolic of the plow uncovering buried treasure, which applies to the growth of the mind.
Sanskrit Name: Halasana
How to do:
The plow pose is usually performed towards the end of a yoga sequence when you are properly warmed up. Your hips will need to be lifted during this pose, rather than grounding your back. Halasana requires flexibility, control and a proper alignment of the pelvis.
You start this pose from a lying down position, keeping your pelvis straight. Use your hands on the ground to give you stability while you lift your hips up. It’s important you don’t push yourself beyond your natural limitations, especially if you’re new to this pose.
If you can’t touch your toes to the ground, use your hands to modify the pose. Place your hands on your lower back while keeping your legs in the air and parallel to your head. If you’re attempting to reach your toes to the floor and feel that you’re slouching, you’re doing it wrong and could cause injury. Make sure you extend the neck and keep your chin up and not crunched up towards your chest.
If you would like to use a prop to modify this pose, place a chair at the correct distance from your head to enable you to rest your feet on it. The distance of the seat will depend on your height, so you’ll need to adjust it accordingly. It may also be helpful to have a partner on hand to help you.
Halasana is an advanced pose, so if you’re a beginner or intermediate, it may take some time to get used to it. Practice will make perfect, and you should find it becomes easier over time.
Due to the stretching and strengthening of the back, this pose is particularly therapeutic for people who suffer from backaches. It also helps relieve headache pain and insomnia.
If you’re a beginner, you should only attempt to place your feet on the floor in the presence of an expert or if you’ve had sufficient experience in the past. Due to the focus on the neck, if you’re suffering from an injury or have on-going neck problems, this pose shouldn’t be attempted.