When it comes to inverted postures, Sarvangasana holds a very respectable place. Given its impressive benefits, in Hatha Yoga tradition Sarvangasana is regarded as mother of all asanas. As we move into Sarvangasana we can feel our whole physiology being stimulated and worked upon and finally culminating into deep relaxation of body and mind as we move out of it.
The importance of Sarvangasana in our daily yoga practice can be understood by its name itself. Sarvanga meaning ‘all body limbs’ and asana meaning ‘posture or body position’. Thus, Sarvangasana is the posture which works on all body parts, vital organs and glands. Sarvangasana being an inverted posture highlights the importance of inversions by way of shifting neuromuscular awareness and the effects of gravity on body.
Sarvangasana is an intermediate asana and requires flexibility and strength in neck, upper back and shoulders. Once the necessary flexibility and strength is acquired this asana comes with surprising ease. Sarvangasana is performed by lying on the floor and lifting the legs and trunk to bring them in straight position so that the neck and rest of the body is at right angle.
Inversion is the key
It is tenable to say that the significance that Sarvangasana holds is by the fact of its being an inverted posture. When we bring our body in upside-down position our physiology went through the changes which it hardly experience at other times of the day. The brain receives rich supply of blood, relaxing the nervous system and gravity assisting in the flow of venous blood towards the heart without much strain.
The moment we assume the final position of Sarvangasana, abdominal breathing starts, giving massage to all visceral organs. With the chin pressed against the chest there is chin lock, stimulating the thyroid and parathyroid gland. Thyroid gland plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the body which is responsible for balanced metabolism and influence the function of liver, kindney, heart and different glands. Similarly parathyroid gland is responsible for calcium metabolism which is essential for strong and healthy bones. Sarvangasana relieves the gravitational pressure on the pelvic floor organs and rejuvenates the reproductive organs.
It improves the flexibility in the neck and tones the surrounding nerves passing to the brain. Through Sarvangasana blood circulation improves in the neck and face region which helps prevent many ailments of eyes, ears, nose and throat.
With so many benefits of Sarvangasana, now we can understand why it is rightly designated as the mother of all asana. However, we need to keep certain precautions while practicing this asana. It should not be practiced in case of high blood pressure, heart ailment, slipped disc and cervical spondylitis.