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How to Do the Shoulder Stand Pose

It's no surprise that this pose derives its Sanskrit name from Sarva, which means "all parts"—all yours will be challenged.


  • TIP: Warm up your neck and shoulders by doing other yoga poses first, like the Cat Cow, the Cobra, and the Bridge poses.
  • Step 1: Lie on back & bring knees to chest Lie down on your back and bring your knees to your chest, leaving your hands on the floor beside your hips with your elbows tucked close at your sides.
  • TIP: For extra neck protection, place a folded blanket or two on your mat. Lie down with your shoulders on this elevated platform so your head rests on the floor two to four inches lower than your shoulders.
  • Step 2: Press hands down Press your hands into the ground to help you lift your hips up off the floor with your knees still bent at your chest.
  • Step 3: Move hands to lower back Move your hands to your lower back near your hips so your bent elbows are as close together as possible and your upper arms are on the mat.
  • Step 4: Walk hands down back Walk your hands down your back slowly so your torso rises higher and more upright until you are resting on your shoulders. The base of your neck should be lifted and the back of your head resting on the ground, so there is no stress on the neck.
  • Step 5: Align knees Lift your knees up so they're aligned over your hips, with your feet hanging down toward your butt.
  • Step 6: Straighten knees Straighten your knees, creating a straight line from your heels down through your shoulders.
  • TIP: To make the pose more energizing, lower one leg parallel to the floor at a time.
  • Step 7: Hold pose Hold the pose, breathing smoothly and evenly for several breaths.
  • Step 8: Release pose Release the pose by placing your hands flat on the floor behind your back, and roll your spine down slowly, one vertebrae at a time. Congratulations, to all your parts.
  • FACT: The Shoulder Stand Pose reportedly aids the thyroid, which regulates the metabolism of all the body's cells.

You Will Need

  • Comfortable clothing suitable for stretching and moving
  • A calm place where you won't be distracted or disturbed
  • A yoga mat or folded blanket
  • Some towels or blankets

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