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Ploughing through stiffness

PHUKET: Welcome to part two of our anatomical focus on the neck and shoulders.

By Kim White

Thursday 19 July 2012, 05:29PM

After practising the shoulder stand all last month, you should be more than ready to practise the plough (halasana).

Out of all the asanas that yoga offers, halasana is one of the best and also one of my favourites, and in my opinion should be taught to everyone from a young age.

It is like a mini detox for the body every time you practise it. The position of the body in the posture allows the blood to flow to the pituitary gland and thyroid, which helps to give the body a good flush out and assists in speeding up the metabolism.

The sanskrit word hala translates as plough, the shape that this asana resembles.

This is one of the best asanas for health and wellbeing and should be practiced daily. To progress through this asana with the best structural alignment and maximum benefit:

  • Start on your back with your knees on your chest.

  • Breathe out and project your knees towards your head, at the same time bringing your hands up to support your lower back with your elbows resting on the floor.

  • Keeping your back upright, breathe out and straighten your legs over your head.

  • Extend your head so you can feel the small of your neck sinking into the mat.

  • Keeping your back vertical, project the tailbone upwards.

  • The legs remain straight and together, dropping the toes toward the floor.

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  • For students that require more assistance and find the folding of the body difficult, use a wall to rest the feet on as seen in photo one.

  • For students that would like to advance, project the toes towards your head, pushing the heels to the floor, interlock your fingers behind the back and push your hands to the floor as seen in photo three.

The halasana helps to eliminate toxins, increase blood flow and rejuvenate the internal organs. This asana alleviates tension through the back, neck, shoulders and elongates the spine. It is also beneficial for those suffering high blood pressure.

I have mentioned before that, in our modern era, the average person spends many hours hunched over a desk, computer or watching television in a stagnant sitting posture. The halasana is a great counter for the stress and tension caused by these activities and the reason why daily practice is so beneficial.

Please persevere with this posture, I have heard many a beginner student tell me with absolute conviction and certainty that they were simply not designed for this posture, however being the wonderful students that they are, they took my advice and continued to work away at the plough.

Sure enough only a few months later, those same students could not possibly think of a life without halasana in it.

Plough away!



Kim White is the owner of Sala Suddhavasa, an in­ternal arts centre in Rawai offering private and group sessions in taiji, yoga and meditation: 086-276-9174,;

The opinions and advice con­tained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.

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