I love this pose, but as always there’s plenty I can improve on. I remember doing this as a kid and driving my mum mad as she thought I was going to break my neck. If you’re in the position properly you aren’t going to hurt your neck as you’re supporting yourself through your core and through your shoulders. Like reclined hero pose you can place a thick blanket behind your shoulders for more support.
This pose is known as the queen of yoga poses as it has so many benefits to your body:
“1. It bathes the lymph nodes in fresh lymph by increasing the circulation around the lymphatic system. This nourishes the whole body.
2. Inverting the body from the neck up means that gravity increases the venous blood flow to the heart, brain and eyes. This relaxes the heart and decreases the heart rate, and it brings clarity to the mind and sight.
3. It lengthens the spinal nerves, which relieves tension in the head, neck and shoulders.
4. According to the authoritative text, Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iygenar states, “persons suffering from breathlessness, palpitation, asthma, bronchitis and throat ailments get relief from this posture.”
5. It is excellent for those suffering from thyroid disorders. Shoulder stand brings balance and regulates the hormone secretion of both the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck. This indirectly is very good for flexibility.
6. It soothes the nervous system. This is an excellent posture for those who suffer from stress, tension, anxiety (high blood pressure, only if it is taught by an expert yoga teacher) and shortness of temper.
7. It is excellent for sleep. Shoulder stand helps those who are suffering from insomnia.
8. It increases energy when practiced in the mornings. It lifts and sustains one’s energy levels dramatically when practiced every day. Therefore, it is especially good for those suffering from a fatigued body and mind.
9. It is excellent for fat loss. It increases the metabolism. It strengthens digestion by returning “agni” (fire) to the abdominal organs—liver, spleen, pancreas and stomach.
10. When done correctly shoulder stand tones the muscles of the gluteus, back, thighs and abdominals. This will benefit your balance and stability.
There are many other benefits of shoulder stand. These are just a few of the main ones.
Women should not practice shoulder stand during menstruation. There are also contraindications for shoulder stands if you have neck pain or injury, so shoulder stand should only be practiced under the guidance of a good yoga teacher.”