Use Shoulder Stand Pose to Strengthen Your Core

Shoulder stand pose, which is also known as Sarvangasana, is another yoga pose that Joseph Pilates borrowed for his exercise series. (He calls his version “Jack knife.”) It’s a great way to build core strength by challenging the abdominals, adductors, and glutes. Here’s how to safely practice this challenging inversion.

Shoulder Stand Pose

Frequently, when people practice Shoulder stand pose, they like to have a folded blanket on the ground in line with the top of their shoulders. This provides support for their neck throughout the pose.

  1. Shoulder stand poseUse ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin on your back with your knees bent, heels in line with your SITs bones. Reach your arms by your sides, and broaden your collarbones.
  3. Allow your low back to reach toward the mat as you lift both legs toward the ceiling.
  4. Feel your abdominals reach toward your spine as you hollow out your belly.
  5. Inhale and, as you exhale, roll your legs over your head like you’re getting ready to practice Plow pose.
  6. Lift your hips away from your ribs.
  7. Broaden your collarbones, and reach through your fingertips. Bend your elbows and reach your hands for your hips. This way, you’ll be able to feel if you start losing abdominal support.
  8. Start using your glutes to reach your legs straight toward the ceiling. Okay, this may not actually happen. Your hips might hike out a little, but what’s important is that you keep your core muscles working. Keep reaching your hips away from your ribs and reach your legs for the ceiling.
  9. Hold here for several breaths. Inversions can be tricky, so if you feel like you need to come out, you should. Otherwise, work on holding this pose for 5-8 breaths.
  10. You can do this pose one or two times, but I wouldn’t practice it more than that in one yoga practice.

Shoulder Stand Pose Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

Which do you like best–practicing Plow pose or Shoulder stand pose? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.