Plow Pose (Halasana): How to Perform, Benefits and Precautions

plow pose

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Sanskrit Pronunciationsau-PAS-raya-ASA-nuh, Sopasrayasana, (सोपासरायसना)
Meaningsopasraya - support
Asana - Pose
Pose TypeSeated posture
Pose LevelIntermediate, practice for 4 to 5 minutes
Beneficial InStretches hips and Hamstrings, activates root chakra
Known asSupported Pose

Plow Pose or Halasana is a Yoga Asana that prepares the body and mind for sowing a great and soothing change. A plow is basically a farming tool, commonly used by farmers across India to prepare the soil for planting crops.

In this article, you will see detailed information about this asana. So, let’s begin.

Halasana: Plow Pose

Plow Pose is an intermediate level gentle inversion & a stretching exercise. It mainly stretches the spine and provides flexibility to the whole body. Also, it miraculously removes laziness from the body.

According to BKS Iyenger, Halasana is the continuation of Sarvangasana, which is a shoulder stand, so, it is performed after Sarvangasana. It increases the blood flow to your head and improves your brain power, memory, and intellectuals. It is an excellent pose to open up the mind and body.

When you perform Plow Pose/Halasana, your body looks very similar to a typical Plow/Hal, used by Indian farmers. Hence, this asana got its name, Halasana or Plow Pose.

This asana focuses on the following muscles.

  • Neck
  • Back and Core (abs)
  • Hips and hamstrings

Now let’s see how you can perform this asana

How to Perform Plow Pose

plow pose instructions

Image Source: Shutterstock

Performing the Plow Pose is not too hard. It only needs the flexibility of the spine and willpower. You just need to follow the following steps to achieve this asana easily.

Preparing the asana

  • Firstly, lay down flat on your back, on your yoga mat. Place your hands on the sides of your hips, palm facing downwards.
  • Keep your legs and feet close and straight.
  • Now, inhale and using your abdominal muscles, lift your feet off the floor. Keep them straight at a 90-degrees angle to the floor.

Here the rest of the body remains flat on the floor. Only the legs will move off the floor.

  • Then, slowly raise your hips off the floor, taking the support of your hands and balance your body on your shoulders, & neck with support of triceps.

Here you will form Sarvangasana. Your legs, hips, & back will be raising, and your head, neck, & shoulders will be on the yoga mat.

Getting into the Asana

  • Using your core muscles, move your feet forwards and bring them over the head. Then, place your toes on the floor.

Note- Move the legs slowly and gently. Keep them straight and stretched.

  • Keep your spine straight and perpendicular to the floor.
  • Now, straighten your arms and interlace fingers behind your back. Then, bring them down flat on the mat. 
  • Close your eyes or gaze straight at the tip of your nose.

Do not hold the breath. Take normal breaths and hold this position for 30-60 seconds according to your comfort. With practice, increase the holding time gradually.

Releasing the Asana

  • When you are done, release your hands and bring them to your back, to support the back.
  • Then, inhale and lift your leg one by one, bringing them at a 90-degree angle.
  • Exhale, bend your knees and bring yourself down slowly.
  • Now extend the legs & arms and relax.

You are highly recommended to perform this asana under the guidance of a yoga teacher, to prevent injuries.

Plow Pose for High Blood Pressure Patients

If you are a high blood pressure patient, this asana is very beneficial for you. While performing this asana, placing your toes on the floor might make you uncomfortable, and your breathing might become heavy. So, you need to make some modifications in such conditions.

  • Place a chair behind the head and rest your toes on it.
  • Extend your hands over the head, bend the elbows and keep them flat on the floor.
  • Breathe normally and stay in this position for 15-20 seconds, according to your comfort.
  • Whenever you feel uncomfortable or difficulty in breathing, release the asana and rest in Savasana.

Beginner’s Tips

In the beginning, you can put a chair behind your head and place your toes on it, instead of placing them on the floor. Then with some practice, try to place your toes on the floor.

You can put a folded blanket under your neck, head, and shoulder for additional support and comfort. Also, feel free to ask a friend or instructor for help to get into this asana.

Precautions and Contraindications

  • Don’t rush into the posture. Perform it slowly and gently.
  • While performing Halasana, do not turn your head or look around, as it can cause harm to your neck.
  • Do not force your body for stretching. Understand the stretching limits of your body and stretch it accordingly.
  • Perform this asana on an empty stomach or at least after 4-6 hours of having a meal.
  • Do not perform Halasana if you are suffering from slipped discs, sciatica, or diarrhoea.
  • If you have any deep or recent injury on your neck, spine or legs, do not perform this asana at all.
  • Women in pregnancy or menstrual cycles should avoid Plow Pose.
  • People with weak or injured cervical muscles should not perform this asana.

Preparatory Poses

Follow-Up Poses

Variations

  • Karnapidasana (Ear Pressure Pose)
  • Parsva Halasana (Side Plow Pose)

Benefits of Plow Pose

Plow pose comes with a lot of benefits to the body. It improves body posture and tones the muscles of the entire body. Also, it removes the stiffness of the whole back. Here are some benefits of Halasana.

  • As this asana stretches the muscles of the entire back, it delivers a good flow of blood to the spine and muscles around the spine. Thus, it tones the spinal nerves, vertebral bones, and other back muscles. Therefore, this asana improves the spinal alignment, brings elasticity in the vertebral columns, and makes the entire back healthy and mobile.
  • Halasana puts the muscles of the neck into work and stretches them. Hence it nourishes the neck muscles making them more flexible and strengthened.
  • This asana puts the right amount of pressure on the abdominal region. This pressure tones the abdominal organs and digestive system. Thus, it helps to improve digestion and reduces digestion related issues like constipation, gas, etc.
  • Plow Pose improves the metabolism of the body and helps to reduce fat from the abdominal area.
  • The practice of this asana balances the blood sugar levels of the body. Thus, it helps in treating diabetes.
  • It energizes the body and removes fatigue, stress, and lethargy.
  • Halasana soothes the central channel nerves and sympathetic nerves running along the spine. This action helps in a relaxed and peaceful state of the brain. Thus, this asana calms the mind and removes negative emotions like anger, depression, etc.
  • This asana works on the hip muscles and pelvis. It removes the stress from the hips and nourishes the reproductive organs.
  • It stretches the leg muscles and improves the flexibility of thighs, knees, calves, and feet.

Plow Pose FAQs

  1. Does Plow Pose improve the functions of endocrine glands?

    Yes, Plow Pose improves the functions of endocrine glands. Along with endocrine glands, this asana soothes the adrenal glands, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and parathyroid gland.

  2. Is Plow Pose dangerous?

    If you do Halasana/Plow Pose properly, it is very beneficial to the body. But if you perform this asana incorrectly or in a hurry, it can be harmful to you.
    This asana puts pressure on the cervical spine, which is not used to undergo any kind of heavy stress or strain. So, performing Plow Pose incorrectly can put your cervical spine in danger.

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