SARVANGASANA (SHOULDER STAND)
Spread a yoga mat on the floor. Lie flat on your back with legs stretched out, heels and knees together and hands close to the sides of the body, palms facing the floor. Inhale slowly and simultaneously raise the legs without bending the knees. Slowly lift the trunk and support it at the back (in the middle of the spine) with your hands, bent at the elbows. Keep the spine vertical i.e., perpendicular to the floor. The back of the shoulders, neck and the back of the crown of the head should touch the floor, and the chin kept pressed tightly against the chest.
When you get the spine vertical and manages to establish balance in the posture, slowly stretch the legs with toes pointing up. Keep the legs, the back and the spine in a straight line, vertical, in a relaxed position with normal breathing.
Concentrate on the throat where fresh blood is flowing abundantly which promotes the secretion of the thyroid and para-thyroid glands. This is most important.
Exhale slowly, lower the legs without jerks and release the position of the hands. One should not lift the head from the ground while lowering the legs to its original position. Slowly slide down and lie flat and relax in Savasana for a few minutes. The duration for this posture may vary from one minute to three minutes for daily practice.
During the practice of this Asana, every part of the body is given exercise. Circulation of blood is directed to the thyroid and para-thyroid glands of the endocrine system. It stretches and renders pliable the muscles of the shoulders and ligaments of the cervical region. It helps the victims of varicose veins. It strengthens the muscles of the back and neck. It tones up arm muscles, and the body as a whole. It also checks elimination of toxin forming waste matter and regulates the entire blood circulation of the body.
High and low blood pressure patients and those suffering from heart troubles, pus in the ears, displaced retina and other chronic eye diseases should not do this Asana. Children below 15 years of age also must refrain from practicing this Asana.