If you believe, as I do, that yoga is for everybody, then the answer I suggest is a ‘no’.
For some of us, in reasonable fitness, with sound backs and necks, and no eye problems, and sufficient flexibility, it probably does no harm, and might do some good. But in my view, the benefits of raising the legs above the heart, can more safely be gained from lying with the legs resting up the wall, or over a chair seat.
In researching this blog, the totally unproven claims made for yoga never cease to amaze. For example on shoulderstand:
“There is no doubt that Sarvangasana is a cure-all for most of the common ailments we encounter, like constipation and the common cold.”
This nonsense was written by Linda Mitchell on the popular health website Mind, Body, Green.
Right at the end, the same article goes on to warn:
“As with many yoga postures, there are contraindications. People with high blood pressure, detached retina, glaucoma, hernias, cardiovascular disease, cervical spondylitis, and/or slipped discs should not practice shoulderstand. If you have or have had a neck injury, seek advice…”
That’s an awful lot of reasons not to risk it …
However, I am including the opportunity to practise shoulderstand (in Sanskrit Sarvangasana) in our class in the last two weeks of this term. But please first think about whether it is the right pose for you.
Not content with telling us that yoga has the cure for the common cold, theMind, Body Green article adds that shoulderstand “reduces wrinkles”.
Yoga Reduces Wrinkles …..! Wow that must be true …
After the light reading, I often turn to Yoga Journal for sound advice, and you can read about the pose here, and how to do it.
And if you want to delve deeper, and you are interested in the origins of poses like this, the suggestion is that Sarvangasana is a relatively modern idea, coming into being around 100 years ago, with the rise of the health and fitness movement in India linked to yoga.
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