Are you feeling a tightness or tension in your neck when go into Sarvangasana, Shoulder Stand Pose.

It is such a beautiful and beneficial pose, that you might be preventing it for fear of pain which can be remedied very quickly.

The idea of shoulderstand is sometimes the problem, we have the idea that I must push so high onto my neck so that the pelvis can come into a straight line with the shoulders. Yes, that is the alignment, eventually, but let’s start where we are. The pelvis will be able to straighten up above the shoulders when the shoulders and upper back have released enough to allow the pelvis to shift to that alignment. The length of the spine will increase when the core muscles (tummy, lower back and thighs) have gained the ability to lift the weight off the torso more.

Start with relaxing the back and feeling the roll onto the shoulder blades. The shoulder blades act as a base for the shoulderstand and not the cervical neck vertebrae. When we are standing the arch in the back is easily detected, but when you are on your back and trying to get the legs up higher, you might not notice that you are pushing the front of the chest forward instead of relaxing it down. This causes tension in the upper back instead of giving the healing to the upper back and neck that this pose promises.

When getting onto the shoulders, initially, most of us, the elbows go wide, this is due to tight upper back and neck. Eventually we get to bring the elbows closer together. Try to get this alignment not by forcing the shoulder blades together underneath you, but rather by lengthening the arms out. This opens the rotator cuff muscles instead of shortening them.

Vipareeta Karani is a great alternative to practice to get the alignment of the relaxed chest and arms.

Another alternative initially is to have your shoulders on a higher surface like a blanket and the head lower, providing more space for the upper back and neck. When going into Halasana, the plough one can also have a bench or bolster behind you so that the legs can rest on a higher surface until the flexibility arises for deeper stretching.

We often just don’t understand this concept, relax the back. Wherever you are right now, take a deep breath, and exhale with the intention of relaxing and observe the chest positioning. We often don’t do that in fear of dropping the shoulders forwards. Let the shoulders drop forward and thereafter start opening the chest without distending the ribcage. For that we need to strengthen the rhomboids.

Benefits: Relaxes the heart, Balances the thyroid gland, allows gravity to give relief to the organs.

Happy, easy inversions.

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