The plow pose is one of the few poses that activates almost every muscle in your body.
We should certainly point out the fact that this asana has about 30 variations. Precisely, this number of variations makes it an asana that is accessible to most people.
A DEEPER INSIGHT
Hala in Sanskrit means plow, and asana means pose.
The pose itself belongs to the group of moderately demanding inversion poses. However, considering the large number of variations that exist within this pose, it can also be practiced by complete beginners in yoga. It is only important that they practice the variation that corresponds to their current psychophysical condition.
By regularly practicing the plow pose, you encourage the proper work and functioning of your following chakras: Manipura, Vishuddha, Ajna, and Sahasrara.
The elements that are associated with this asana are: thoughts, fire, light, and ether.
When I practice this asana with my clients, I always do the neck poses before performing the asana itself or some of its variations.
This is very important because during this pose, the chin makes contact with the sternum (the head should not move to the left or the right), and the back of the neck is constantly stretched in that pose. Therefore, it is important that the neck muscles and vertebrae are well stretched out.
The basic poses for the neck include:
1. Drawing circles to the right and to the left
2. Turning the chin to the right and to the left towards the shoulders
3. Lowering the ears towards the shoulders
4. Stretching the neck backward and forward (the chin goes towards the sternum)
Considering that this asana has about 30 variations, it is impossible to indicate all variations within this article. In this article, in addition to the full pose, I will point out the two most common variations that are most often applied within this asana.
Also, before practicing this asana, it is important to stretch your legs, especially the hamstrings and groin.
The first variation that most people can do is the Half Plow pose. This variation has a lighter and harder variant.
An easier variation involves you lying on a yoga mat with your legs raised at 90 degrees and your feet resting on the wall.
While you are in this pose, it is important not to bend your legs at the knees; your toes should be stretched downward (toward the body). That way, you’ll stretch your calves, hamstrings, and inner core.
If you feel tightness in your legs in this pose as well while keeping your legs resting on the wall, you should not practice the other variations until you feel the tightness in your legs relaxed.
Feel free to practice just this variation by trying to stay in the pose for a minimum of three minutes.
A more challenging variation of the Half Plow pose is to keep your legs raised at 90 degrees without resting them on the wall. You can start practicing this variation when you feel that your calves, hamstrings, and hamstrings are fully stretched.
In both versions of this variation try to keep the neck in the neutral position. Sometimes, having a blanket under your shoulders helps.
The second variation involves using your hands as support to perform this asana.
Otherwise, while practicing this variation as well as the pose in its entirety, it is very important to distribute the weight of your body in a proper way. The biggest load should be on your shoulders and arms. You should not allow your neck to hyperflex.
When performing this variation, you lie on the yoga mat with your legs raised at 90 degrees. From this pose, lift your hips up, resting your palms on your lower back.
Make sure that your elbows are shoulder-width apart; they must not go to the side.
In this pose, most of your body weight is on your shoulders and arms.
From this pose, slowly lower your legs towards the floor, behind your head. If you can, lower your feet completely down and rest them on the yoga mat. The legs should be fully extended. Try to stay in the pose for at least thirty seconds. If you can, stay for a minute or longer.
The full pose means that your palms are not resting on your lower back but are on the yoga mat, facing down with your arms extended back.
Within the full pose, there are a number of variations that you can practice, all according to your current psychophysical fitness. One of the easier variations within the full pose involves interlacing your fingers and stretching your arms back in the opposite direction from the legs.
In this way, there is a fine opening and stretching of your shoulder girdle and the space between the shoulder blades.
While practicing this asana, your gaze can be directed towards the tip of your nose. As far as breathing is concerned, you can breathe completely in three layers (stomach, lungs, and tops of the lungs).
When it comes to the benefits that result from the regular practice of this asana, they are truly numerous, especially since practicing this asana activates almost all the muscles in your body.
The first great benefit that this asana has for your body is the improvement of blood circulation. This is achieved by raising the legs to ninety degrees and lowering them behind the head.
With the constant contact of the chin and sternum during the practice of this asana, you encourage the proper functioning of the thyroid gland non-stop.
By regularly practicing this asana, you can greatly reduce your back pain or get rid of it completely.
Since it is an inverted pose, you are massaging the organs of the abdominal cavity and thereby improving your digestive system.
A regular practice of this asana also leads to a fine stretching of your entire spinal column, leading to relaxation of the tension in your neck, shoulders, and arms. The mobility of your joints and the flexibility of your whole body will be greatly improved.
Precisely because of the large number of variations that exist within this asana, I believe that it should be included in the regular practice of people who are just starting their yoga journey.
I regularly incorporate the simpler variations of this pose into the practice of my clients who are just starting their yoga practice.
The many benefits that come from practicing this asana are certainly one of the main reasons why you should include the plow pose or one of its variations in your regular yoga practice.