half shoulder stand

ardha sarvangasana

Pronunciation: (ARE-dah -sar-vahn-GAHS-anna)

Level: Beginner


1. Lying on your back with the arms along side the body with the palms down, bend the knees and kick and rock the legs up and back, bringing the bent knees to the forehead and placing the hands under the hips.

2. Cupping the hips like you are holding a big bowl of fruit, begin to lift the legs up, straightening them over your head. Support the weight of the body with the arms and the shoulders, having very little or no weight in the head and neck.

3. Find a position where you can balance the legs over the head and relax the leg muscles, using as little effort as possible to be still.

4. Breathe and hold 4-10 breaths.

5. To release: bend the knees back to the head, and carefully and slowly roll the spine back onto the floor.Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Half Shoulder Stand improves the circulation of blood and lymph, stimulates the thyroid and activates the immune system.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic shoulder, neck or back injury or inflammation, unmedicated high blood pressure, menstruation, pregnancy (after 1st trimester).

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: Use a folded blanket under the shoulders.

Variations: This pose is a variation of full Shoulder Stand pose.


Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Bridge, Belly Twist.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Wind Relieving pose, Joyful Baby, Plow.

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