Image: Sivananda.org

Last week in yoga class, the teacher had us stay in shoulderstand for 4 whole minutes!  Usually we just hold the pose for 30 seconds.

I loved it, and ever since I have been setting the timer on the microwave for 4 minutes and doing shoulderstand at home.  I especially like it in the morning, to get the blood flowing to my head, or when I come home from work to unwind a bit.

Here’s why I love shoulderstand so much:

1. When I practice yoga with Dharma Mittra he always speaks so highly of shoulderstand. He calls it a “complete” pose, “good for everything.” He says that many yogis do only this one pose each day to keep the body young and healthy. He tells you to focus on the space between the eyebrows (the “third eye”) and practice your meditation while in shoulderstand.

2. Shoulderstand increases circulation and allows the veins of the legs to rest (will prevent varicose veins). The blood from the legs comes down to the brain — feels great after a few hours of sitting at a desk.

3. Shoulderstand revitalizes and tones the thyroid! Yes, the same thyroid gland that is in charge of your metabolism. Isn’t that beautiful?

4. And this pose stimulates cheerfulness, and allows mental abilities to greatly increase.

Here are instructions from Sivananda on how to do shoulderstand, or Sarvangasana pose.

And if you’d like a wonderful beginner’s yoga practice that you can do at home, I recommend Dharma Mittra’s Maha Sadhana Level 1.

I’m a huge fan of having these simple, quick and low-tech ways to unwind and de-stress at home. What’s your favorite way to unwind?