This intermediate-to-advanced inversion may help to relieve stress and tension, improve circulation, and boost the immune system. Here’s how to do Plow Pose…
Plow Pose (Halasana) looks intimidating, but in fact, it is often considered an intermediate pose, rather than advanced. If you have tightness in your back, shoulders, or neck, this pose may be a bit difficult to achieve. I have included some modifications below, for those of us who have difficulty getting into the full pose. Feel free to modify as needed, until you are able to make it all the way into full Plow.
Plow Pose is commonly done in sequences following Shoulderstand Pose, and it is thought to improve circulation and stimulate the thyroid and immune system, while strengthening the back, shoulders, and core, and releasing tension in the shoulders, neck, and back.
If you have had a recent injury to your back, neck, or shoulders, if you are beyond the first trimester of pregnancy, or if you have high blood pressure, you should avoid this pose.
Here are instructions for entering Plow Pose, from YogaBasics.com:
1. Lying on the floor with the arms along side the body with the palms down, bend the knees and kick and rock the legs up and back, bringing the bent knees to the forehead and placing the hands under the hips.
2. Slowly straighten the legs, reaching the toes to the floor over the head.
3. When the toes touch the floor, you can release the arms into one of three positions: a) along the floor, palms down behind your back; b) interlace the fingers behind your back and gently squeeze the shoulder blades together; c) slide the arms over your head and hold onto the toes.
4. Breathe and hold for 4-10 breaths.
5. To release: bend the knees back to the head, and carefully and slowly roll the spine back onto the floor.
This handy graphic shares a few tips to keep in mind while performing Plow pose:
(Image Source: YogaByCandace.com)
To modify this pose, you can place a folded blanket under your shoulders for extra cushioning, keep your knees bent, or hold your legs parallel over your head without going all the way to the floor. You may find it helpful to rest your toes on a block or the seat of a chair if you find it hard to get your feet to the floor. With practice, you will eventually be able to get all the way over into full Plow pose.