Plow Pose Nourishes Your Brain with Increased Blood Supply
Halasana, or the Plow Pose, is a stretching-cum-bending posture that enables you to exercise your entire body. There is no huffing or puffing, you do not lift weights nor do you sprint across distances. You just have to lie down face up, your arms are by your side. Breathe easy, and relax.
How to Do the Halasana
Take a deep breath and exhale. Put your feet together and lift them from the floor by bending at your hip. Bring your legs at right angles to your torso and pause. Your legs are now pointing upwards and your soles are facing the ceiling. Learners could feel that they are about to lose their balance, so take your time to get acclimatized while holding your legs at this position.
Your arms are still by your side (by your torso) in their original position when you lay on the floor. Once you gain confidence you may move your legs further ahead and down towards your head. Your legs will be reaching beyond your head when your feet (toes) touch the floor behind.
Your arms are still at their original position and they help you to maintain your balance. Keep your palms flat and place them firmly on the floor. Stiffen the muscles of your arms. This will help you to steady yourself as you lift your legs.
At this juncture, you should pause for some time. Ask your friend to help you to stabilize your feet so that you do not lose co-ordination and fall to one side. A fall at this posture can be nasty and can sprain your neck or back very badly. So do not do any jerky movements. Take your time to gradually gain confidence to maintain your balance.
After you are comfortable at this position, gradually move your feet apart as far as you can. While doing this, your toes should touch the floor. You should drag your toes along the floor to help you to maintain your balance. Again pause and be comfortable to hold steady at this position. The last step in this asana is to finally move your hands from their original position.
Move your arms in a rotating movement along the floor and try to touch your fingers to your toes. While you move your arms it is necessary that you drag them along the floor, as this gives you a psychological comfort that your arms are still firmly on the ground. If you lift your arms while you are still learning this exercise, your balance might become unsteady.
Now pause at this position and keep breathing normally. You may feel a tingling sensation in your head as more blood rushes to your head as it is below the heart. Your heart has been lifted along with your torso when you raised and then upturned your legs.
How to Come Out of Halasana
While coming out of this posture, follow the same gradual movement you did to get into the posture. Bring your legs together behind you, raise them slowly, and pause when they are again at right angles to your torso. Drag your arms along the floor to their original position. Now bring your legs down until your feet again touch the floor in the front. Now you have returned to your original position.
Repeat this cycle for as long as you are comfortable.
Benefits of Halasana
As intricate as this exercise is, it stretches your entire body from your head to your toes. So there is better blood circulation all over your body. Your heart is at the top and most of your body is below the heart, hence blood flows with a rush to all parts of your body. Your head being on the floor, it gets relatively more flow of blood. This nourishes your brain cells and has other benefits like improving your eyesight and reducing hair loss.
To derive comprehensive benefits from the different yoga exercises, do this asana along with the Normal Naukasana to make your back supple and to stimulate insulin secretion, the Reverse Naukasana to reduce abdominal fat, and the Handstand for building strong arms.
A Word of Caution
This is an intricate exercise. You need to have a friend to be with you to help you out when you learn it. Also have your yoga therapist to guide you through the steps when you learn this exercise. And do not do this exercise if you have any neck, back or hip ailment. In any case, do consult your doctor before you start doing this exercise.