Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Settle Down with Sarvangasana

Here's a big Thank You to "Anarkey" who posted a comment today about shoulder stand (salamba sarvangasana). She said:

I had a yoga teacher who used to end every practice with a shoulder stand right before savasana, and I always assumed because of that it might have a relaxation benefit. I had pretty much stopped doing it recently though. So what I wondered was, in trying to do shoulder stand as a help to weight loss, would you recommend doing it in the evening just before bed or would you recommend doing it in the mornings just after waking?

Great question. And there's a simple answer. I'd do the pose whenever I'm most likely to do it. So if you're most likely to do it in the morning, do it then.

The benefit is in the doing. When you get the urge, do it. Don't put it off.

The chin lock is what will stimulate the metabolic effect, regardless of when you do it.

However, your teacher is right. Shoulder stand stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. So when you come out of the pose, if you're like me, you feel like taking a nap.

The parasympathetic nervous system slows the heart rate, and increases intestinal and gland activity, etc. (The other part of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic nervous sytem, accelerates heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure.)

If you practice shoulder stand in the evenings (not immediately before bed, though), you'll settle down and relax. I think you'll fall asleep sooner, reach deep sleep sooner, and stay in deep sleep longer--all of which increase the likelihood that you'll get a bigger release--that night--of the hormones you need to stay young, add muscle mass, and improve connective tissue resilience...and drop fat, too.

Thanks again to "Anarkey" for posing this question. It prompted me to tell you about yet another benefit of inverting: getting upside-down in shoulder stand produces a wonderful relaxing effect.

So now that you know, you can do it any time you need to settle down.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., Last night I read a fantastic article in Outside magazine about injuries, pain, and healing. Check back tomorrow. I'll talk about pain in your yoga practice. The author, Mark Jenkins, refers to pain anthropomorphically, calling her "Ms. P." Along with Ms. P comes focus, says Jenkins. Here's a quote from Jenkins' article, "They say it's the circulating blood that causes the healing, but I believe it's the flowing love." See you tomorrow.

p.s.s., Be like "Anarkey," ask me a question. I'll do my best to pass on what I've been given from the wornderful world of yoga.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved by Mo Yoga LLC.


Anonymous Anarkey said...

Thanks for your prompt and thorough answer, Kevin. I'm eager to reincorporate shoulder stands into my practice and my life.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Mark Wilson said...

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