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Sarvangasana Exercise your brain and keep it healthy edit button Edit

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A.D Pradeep Kumar | calendar 19 April 2024 | 45

The Financial Express on Sunday,August 27, 2000

ACCORDING to Yogic philosophy, the brain is one of the most important organs in the human body, and should receive special attention. This is required not only for good health, but also for mental well-being.

The brain needs nearly 70 per cent of the' blood circulating in the body. Since there is no physical movement that can directly exercise the brain, the desired interactions have to be brought about through favourable changes in vasomotoricity. The all-body-reverse pose. known as the Sarvangasana, is an excellent means to this end.

The Sarvangasana provides adequate exercise to both the neck and the head, and helps to accelerate blood supply to the head, thus affecting the brain.

Posture

  • Lie flat on your back and keep your arms alongside your body in a relaxed manner, palms facing down.
  • While exhaling for three seconds, lift both your legs together, keeping the knees straight.
  • Now lift your hips so that the weight of your body rests on your shoulders, the legs remaining perpendicular to the ground.
  • Place your hands on either side of your waist with the thumbs towards the abdomen and fingers towards the back.
  • Fix your chin at the jugular notch.
  • Maintain the pose with normal breathing for 1-2 minutes.
  • While inhaling for three seconds, return gently to the starting position.
  • Ensure that your head remains on the ground, and lower your legs.
  • Your breathing should be slow, rhythmic and natural. After returning to the starting position. always take a few deep breaths to compensate for the physical reactions to the head-low-hips-high posture.

While practicing this posture, care should be taken to avoid strain, and the period of exercise should be fixed at the minimum. It is also advisable to attempt this posture first in parts: the complete pose should be attempted only after a few weeks of initial training.

A word of caution: Never attempt the Sarvangasana after any form of rigorous exercise. The abnormal rush of blood to the brain at this stage can be harmful.

Benefits

The arrangement in Sarvangasana is such that the whole weight of the body falls on the shoulders, resulting in a massage of the neck. The asana helps to improve the functioning of the thyroid and para-thyroid glands.

The Sarvangasana has a triple function: providing a liberal supply of blood from the heart to the thyroid, and from the thyroid to the heart: making nutrition available for the gland to make its secretions: washing off its waste products.

The favourable changes in vasomotor city due to the Sarvangasana increases the interchange of blood in the upper part of the body, especially the thorax, the neck and the head.

This posture is favourable to accelerating drainage of the blood vessels, particularly those connected with the abdominal and pelvic organs. It also has a wholesome effect on the various organs of the body above the waist, including the endocrine glands.

Therapeutic benefits

Blood circulation in the lower extremities improves. The valves of the lower extremities and blood vessels relax. The Sarvangasana helps to prevent varicose veins, regulate the secretions of the thyroid gland and keep the body fit. It is helpful in the development of the sex glands and promotes healthy secretions from the sex organs.

The Sarvangasana helps in digestion and prevents constipation. It tones the abdominal muscles and prevents sagging of the abdominal wall.

It helps alleviate dyspepsia, hepatosis, headaches, giddiness, neurasthenia, functional disorders of the eye. ear. nose and throat, and general and sexual debility.

It increases the body's resistance power and immunity. In anaemics, it can promote the formation of haemoglobin in the blood. Forgetfulness, fatigue of the body and unsteadiness of the mind can be overcome by practising this posture regularly.

Limitations

Persons suffering from cervical disorders tonsilitis and pharyngitis should not perform this pose. Those suffering from diseases of the heart or the respiratory organs should practise the Sarvangasana with utmost caution. Until perfect balance is secured. You may take the aid of an external object, such as pillows or a friend, while practicing the pose.

Obese persons should avoid strain and try at least initially, an improvisation of the pose wherein they rest against a wall while in the head-low position.

Cardiac problems, excessive obesity

Bhava

Since this is a posture in which the head is kept low. you are symbolically lowering yourself. Therefore, the Bhava inculcated here is Vairagya.

(Note: This article is based on the principles advocated by The Yoga Institute, Santacruz)