The shoulder stand yoga pose is a restorative pose that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the upper body, elongates the spine, invigorates the abdominal organs, and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing the relaxation response.

This inversion pose may appear difficult, but it’s not impossible. Try the step-by-step pose, or its modifications, to get the benefits of shoulder stand.

How to Do Shoulder Stand

  • Lie down on your mat. For extra cushion, place a blanket under your shoulders. The tops of your shoulder should be right at the edge of the blankets.
  • Inhale and go into Plough pose, taking your hips and legs overhead. Adjust your body so your upper arms are firmly underneath you, with your weight in your upper arms and shoulders. To avoid injury, be careful not to put your weight on your neck.
  • Bend your elbows and support your back by placing your palms flat onto the skin of your lower back. Avoid placing your palms on your clothing as it can be slippery.
  • Inhale and lift your right leg slowly up to the sky. Once you have your balance, lift the left leg.
  • Hold the pose for 10 breaths. After you master the pose, feel free to hold the pose longer.
  • To come out of shoulder stand, lower one leg at a time back into Plough pose.
  • Remove your hands from your back and press them into the edges of your mat.
  • Exhale and bend your knees, roll down, vertebrae by vertebrae, slowly until your lower body is laying on the mat.
  • Rest on your mat for few moments before rolling over to one side to sit up.

Modifications/Alternatives to Shoulder Stand

If shoulder stand is too challenging at this time, try Bridge pose or Legs Up the Wall.

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