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Shoulder Stand- Salamba Sarvagasana

Pose Summary

Shoulder Stand aka Salamba Sarvangasana although seemingly a basic posture is actually quite advanced. It is important to be mindful of the cervical spine (neck) in this posture and not to move the head.

Yogi Practicing Shoulder Stand

Step 1
Come to lay flat on your beck with the legs extended and the arms alongside your body. Palms of the hands are on the earth.

Step 2 
Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet flat on the floor 

Step 3
On an inhale, use the core muscles to lift the hips and legs off the floor. Bring  the knees towards your face and then extend the torso, hips and legs straight up towards the sky, perpendicular to the earth.

Step 4 
Bend the elbows and bring your hands to the back of the hips with the fingers pointing up. The triceps and elbows are grounded on the earth and they are shoulder distance apart. Don’t let the elbows spay out here. 

Step 5 
Reach and lift yourself higher through the balls of the feet. Work towards bringing the feet, legs, hips and shoulders in one straight line. 

Step 6 
If you are comfortable here, extend your arms on the floor in the other direction than your head. Interlace the fingers and firmly press your arms and pinky side of your hand into the earth

Step 7 
Try to create more space between your chin and your chest keep the neck long and in line with the spine. Do not move the head to either side. 

Step 8 
Soften your gaze down towards your cheeks.

Step 9 
To release Shoulder Stan, bring your hands to your low back if they are not already there. Then gently roll down one vertebra at a time. You can bend your knees here if necessary. Bring the arms alongside the body to come in Savasana.

For Beginners or for anyone with neck issues it is best to back off this pose. One modification is to keep your hands under your hips and your back at about a 30 degree angle to the ground. This will take the strain off of your neck.

Yogi Practicing Shoulder Stand Variation
Shoulder Stand Variation


  • Stimulates thyroid, prostate glands, digestive organ
  • Therapeutic for  insomnia, asthma, infertility, sinusitis, and menopause
  • Reduces phlegm phlegm and mucus
  • Calms the nervous system 


  • Glaucoma
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches, High blood pressure
  • Recently had a stroke
  • Neck injury or pain
  • Only pregnant women who had a shoulder stand practice prior to pregnancy. If not wait 8 weeks after giving birth