Sarvangasana Yoga Pose: The Steps & The Benefits

Shoulderstand. This pose brings about inner peace and tranquility.

Medical Uses:

This pose strengthens the spine: Problems such as arthritis of the lower back, dorsal region and shoulder joints, general backache and displaced spinal discs, can all be dealt with if this pose is practiced regularly and correctly.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of this pose is that it can help relieve the problems that beset many of us each winter such as, bronchitis, chest, chill, cold, cough and nasal catarrh. Learn this pose and stay away from antibiotics as much as possible. Asthma, tonsillitis, and (after medical treatment and rest) pleurisy and pneumonia, can also be brought under control with a practice that includes this pose.

Shoulderstand calms the brain like no other pose. For instance, this pose can be a wonderful tool for women going through menopause. Practice it along with Sirsasana to deal with memory loss, nervous debility and anxiety. It also helps to bring heart palpitations under control.

Other conditions that can be addressed by a balanced practice that contains
Shoulderstand: Acidity, anemia, appendicitis, low blood pressure, breathlessness, colic, colitis, constipation, diabetes, displacement of uterus, epilepsy, giddiness, (umbilical) hernia, (inguinal) hernia, impotency, indigestion, insomnia, kidney problems, swollen knees, lumbago, menstrual disorders, hemorrhoids, prostate problems, sciatica, duodenal ulcer and varicose veins.

  1. Stack three blankets neatly, one on top of the other. Lay back over the blankets with your head on the floor and your shoulders two or three inches in from the (folded) edge. Bend your knees. Press your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
  2. Roll your knees up over your chest.
  3. Raise your hips. Support your back with your hands and place the tips of your toes on the floor above your head.
  4. Clasp your hands behind your back and stretch your arms away from you. Come onto the tops of your shoulders.
  5. Lift your spine. Hold for a few minutes at first

Practice Note:

Beginners should begin with the feet supported on a chair. When the pelvis can be held in line with the shoulders, and the back becomes strong, the feet can be lowered.


  • Jeanne-Marie Derrick

    Great drawings, Bobby. And good info too. Peace, Jeanne-Marie

  • I remember taking the yoga class with you and Lindsey a few years back on the Menla
    retreat. It was the best yoga class of my life and I tell you I really had to overcome my
    doubt about being able to take a yoga class so early in the morning without my usual cappuccino wake- up. :).
    But in all seriousness the class was truly brilliant. It was clear, safe and simple. Your
    voices and lovely accents are music for the soul.
    Thank you for posting this Bobby.
    Sending you all my best.

  • Bobby Clennell

    Dear Elaine, thanks so much for your very kind words. It means a lot to me to know that you value that experience at Menla — it is such a lovely place. Good luck with your practice,

  • Bobby Clennell

    Hi Jean-Marie,
    So nice that you are back in New York — teaching again at the Iyengar Yoga Institute.