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Practicing Halasan (The Plough)

Guest Author - Tracy Webb

Halasan is an excellent posture for stretching and elongating the spine, making it more resilient and able to perform daily activities with ease. I’ve heard it said that the spine can stretch up to three inches more than its normal length through regular practice of this posture.

All the glands and some organs are contracted during this asan. When we return to our natural position they expand again and the blood flow is increased to all areas. This assists with many symptoms including; diabetes, gastric problems and constipation.

The lungs are also stimulated due to them being compressed; they release maximum amounts of carbon monoxide. When returned to natural position, they are filled with fresh oxygen which enhances their functional capacity, and assists with respiratory conditions.

In the final position, the blood flow is increased to the face which improves its appearance. This has an anti-aging affect, as the skin looks clearer, and more toned. The blood supply is increased through the whole body, which wakens it up and revives the circulation making you feel warmer and more energized.

The Technique

• Lie on the floor with legs and arms straight. Arms should be by your side
• Keep the toes and heels together with the palms face down on the floor.
• Keep the body fully extended.
• Try to keep the legs straight, and raise them up above and over your head.
• If this is too difficult, push yourself off the floor and slightly bend the legs then straighten them up as you bring them over the head.
• Let the toes rest on the floor behind you.
• Breathe naturally and hold the position as long as comfortable.
• Come out of the posture very carefully.
• If possible, raise the legs up without bending the knees. If not possible, bend the knees and slowly bring the spine back to the floor vertebrae by vertebrae.
• Rest in Shavasan.

This posture requires focus and concentration. The body should be stretched and moved slowly and under conscious control throughout each step. If you struggle, practice using bent knees until your back feels strong enough to raise the legs without assistance.

The aim is to build up to keeping the legs straight and the feet together through the whole process. Be careful not to strain the back when coming out of the posture. If you feel any pressure or strain on the back, bend your knees and come down slowly.

The slower you come out of the posture the more flexible the spine will become. There is also the added benefit of strengthening the abdomen, while increasing digestive functioning.

Happy practicing!
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Content copyright © 2013 by Tracy Webb. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tracy Webb. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Terri Johansen for details.

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