Halasana or Plough pose is an inverted asana in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise. Its variations include Karnapidasana with the knees by the ears, and Supta Konasana with the feet wide apart.
Etymology and origins
The name comes from the Sanskrit: हलासन, IAST: Halāsana, in turn from Sanskrit हला hala, "plough" and आसन āsana, "posture" or "seat". The pose is described and illustrated in the 19th century Sritattvanidhi as Lāṇgalāsana, which also means plough pose in Sanskrit.
Karnapidasana is not found in the medieval hatha yoga texts. It is described independently in Swami Vishnudevananda's 1960 Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga in the Sivananda Yoga tradition, and by B. K. S. Iyengar in his 1966 Light on Yoga, implying that it may have older origins. The name comes from the Sanskrit words karṇa (कर्ण) meaning "ears", pīḍ (पीड्) meaning "to squeeze", and āsana (आसन) meaning "posture" or "seat".
The pose is entered from Sarvangasana (shoulderstand), lowering the back slightly for balance, and moving the arms and legs over the head until the outstretched toes touch the ground and the fingertips, in a preparatory variant of the pose. The arms may then be moved to support the back into a more vertical position, giving a second variant pose. Finally, the arms may be stretched out on the ground away from the feet, giving the final pose in the shape of a traditional plough.
Karnapidasana (Ear pressing pose) or Raja Halasana (Royal plough pose) has the knees bent close to the head and grasped by the arms.
Parsva Halasana (Sideways plough) with the body vertical, the trunk twisted to one side, and legs out straight with the feet touching the ground (to that side).
Twentieth century advocates of some schools of yoga, such as B. K. S. Iyengar, made claims for the effects of yoga on specific organs, without adducing any evidence. Iyengar claimed that this pose brought "the same" benefits as Sarvangasana, with the additional benefit of relief of backache, but unlike that pose was recommended for people with high blood pressure.
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