For the month of December 2009, I have choose Plow Pose or Halasana as my pose for the month. The Plow pose exerts gentle traction on the spinal column which enlarges the vertebral foramina (openings through which spinal nerves pass) and so eases pressure on these nerves. It also enhances circulation in the spinal cord and improves the functioning of internal organs supplied by these nerves.
The plow pose is a natural cure for insomnia and restless sleep. It is also a great pose to naturally relieve indigestion and constipation and with regular practice, your stomach problems will disappear.
How to do the pose
1.Lie on your back with your legs stretched out in front and your arms at your sides, palms turned down. Relax your jaw and breathe regularly.
2.Bring one knee then the other to your chest.
3.Straighten and raise one leg at a time and point your feet upwards.
4.Exhale and kick backwards with both feet at once to bring your hips off the mat. Keep your legs straight and together if you can.
5.Push your feet towards the mat behind your head. Do not let your hips move past your shoulders as this may strain your neck.
6.If your feet touch the floor, interlace your fingers behind the back and straighten the arms, bring your hands on the mat.
7.If your feet cannot touch the floor behind you, place your hands on your back to help support you in the pose.
8.When you have reached your comfortable limit, hold the pose for five seconds to begin with, increasingly longer as you become more practiced in the technique.
9.To exit from the pose, unlace your hands and place them on the floor, slowly, smoothly and carefully roll your spine back onto the mat, from top to bottom. Bend your knees and stretch out your legs one at a time. Rest for 5 breaths.
Points to note
The primary concern in this pose is to keep the weight of the body off the cervical vertebrae (the back of the neck) by distributing the weight between the shoulders and the back of the head.
Keep the chin away from the chest to maintain the curve of the cervical spine, pressing the head and shoulders into the mat. Work the shoulder blades closer together by subtly shifting the weight of the body from one shoulder to the other.
If the feet touch the mat behind the head, they may be flexed so that the heels are descending towards the mat, lengthening the back of the legs. The toes can also be pointed, increasing the stretch through the back and stretching the front of the ankles as well.
If your feet cannot touch the mat behind you, pile up some cushions behind you, on which to rest your toes. As you become more flexible, you can start removing the cushions until eventually you can dispose with them entirely.
The plow pose should not be performed if you suffer from neck pain, have a spinal disc problem, hernia or uterine prolapse or if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
It is not advisable to practice the plow pose during the first three days of your menstrual period.
See video below on How To Do The Plow Pose from Shoulder Stand
Sivananda Yoga Halasana (Plow) Pose -- powered by eHow.com