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Benefits of Halasana (Plough Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

By Dr. Himani Bisht +2 more

Introduction 

In this modern sedentary lifestyle, our health has been at the receiving end of our hectic schedules! As a result, we always find ourselves experiencing physical and mental pressure. Unfortunately, this has also affected our personal habits leading to various diseases.  

halasana

Fortunately, Patanjali, the ‘father of yoga,’ left us his classic work including yoga to combat all kinds of lifestyle stress. His work teaches us discipline to live a healthy life. Yoga brings a sense of freedom to life. With different types of Yogasanas; each gives you indispensable health benefits. One such Asana is Halasana! If you are living a ‘9 to 5’ office life and are looking for something to undo all the damage done with your demanding daily hustle, then you have come to the right place. 

Keep reading to know everything you might need to start practising Halasana.  

What is Halasana? 

Halasana or Plough pose is a kind of Yogasana.1 

Halasana is the Sanskrit name in which Hala means plough, whereas Asana means pose or posture. Thus, it is referred to as the Plough Pose because the final position of the body appears in the shape of an Indian Plough (farming tool) while performing this Asana. Halasana may help to keep up your spine healthy and youthful.1,2 

The plough tool helps to loosen soil and resurface fresh nutrients for sowing. In the same way, performing Halasana stretches the back of the body and aids in loosening the tight hamstrings, helping strengthen and re-energise the entire spine. It is said that people who perform Halasana regularly are highly active, quick, light-footed and full of spiritual energy.2 

Halasana has two variations: 

  • Ardhahalasana- This Asana is also called the Half Plough posture. It involves maintaining the position of the legs at a 90° angle and the body appears half the shape of an Indian plough.3 
  • Halasana- It is also referred to as Full Plough Posture. It involves bending forward while lying on the back with stretching feet and hands on the floor.1,2 

Also Read: Benefits of Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

How to do it? 

Based on my experience, I’ve observed that practising Halasana (Plough Pose) might help reduce constipation by increasing the movement of the intestines. The compression created during this pose stimulates the muscles and promotes better bowel motility, which can alleviate constipation and ensure a smooth digestion.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

There are two versions to do this Asana. One is Halasana, the full plough posture, and the second is Ardhahalasana, the half-plough pose.1 The following steps will guide you to do both full and half plough pose: 

  • Start with lying on the floor in the supine position (facing upward). Then, keep your hands by the sides of your thighs and rest your palms on the ground. 
  • Now, lift your legs in the air without bending your knees and maintain a 30° angle for a few seconds. 
  • Slowly lift your legs, bring them to a 60° angle, and maintain the pose. 
  • Raise your legs to a 90° angle; this makes the final position called the Ardhahalasana. 
  • Gently press palms on the ground; lift the buttocks and the back away from the floor with the support of your hands. 
  • Slowly bring your legs towards the head and try to touch the floor with the toes behind your head. Try to maintain the body (from hip to shoulder) in a straight position. 
  • Now stretch your hands straight, keeping them on the floor behind your back and maintain the pose for some time. This final position is called Halasana. 
  • First, lower the waist and legs from the floor to return to the initial position. Second, rest your waist on the floor, bring the legs at a 90° angle, and then, without lifting the head, bring down the legs to the ground.1 

Do You Know? 

I have observed that practising the Plough Pose (Halasana) can provide a complete stretch to the spine and increase compression in the front of the neck and abdomen. This stretching and compression help improve the flexibility and strength of the spine, while also stimulating the abdominal organs and promoting better digestion.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Here is an interesting fact about the Halasana pose that might amuse you: 

  • A 12 year-old boy, Inder Kumar from Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, made a World Record for the longest performance of Halasana yoga.’ On 16 March 2018, he performed Halasana (plough pose) for four hours and five minutes.4 

Also Read: Benefits of Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Benefits of Halasana:  

The maximum benefits of Halasana may be achieved when you practise Bhujangasana immediately after Halasana. In Bhujangasana, you lie on your stomach and your upper body is raised upwards. The body posture looks like a snakehood.2,3 

Some of the potential benefits of Halasana are:  

1. Benefits of Halasana for Hamstrings: 

If you are experiencing tightness in your hamstring muscles and experiencing lower back pain, then you must try the Halasana pose. The regular practising of Halasana steps allows stretching of the entire back, including the spine and hamstring. A stretching exercise like the plough pose might help loosen your tight hamstrings, providing flexibility and mobility. It also relaxes the ligaments and muscles in the calves and thighs region.2,5   

2. Benefits of Halasana for Spine: 

Halasana  may enhance spine flexibility. By practising Halasana, your back gets completely stretched, which energises,strengthen, and tone your spinal cord when the back is folded. It may ease up the muscle tension and keep your spine young and healthy. It might also enhance the spinal nerve functions by creating pressure on the nerve and neck region, boosting nervous system operations.2,5 

3. Benefits of Halasana for Stomach ailments: 

The benefits of Halasana may be associated with helping in better digestive system functioning. It may relieve problems like bloating and dyspepsia, an upper abdominal discomfort caused due to stomach ulcers or acid reflux (backward flow of stomach acid into the food pipe). It may help to reduce the burning sensation, heartburn, bitter taste, etc. It may solve the problems of constipation and digestion.1,5 

4. Other benefits of Halasana: 

  • The practice of Halasana may be useful to regulate high blood sugar levels, like in cases of diabetes.1 
  • It may increase blood circulation in the body, helping to stay energetic all day.5 
  • It may benefit people with hypertension (high blood pressure). However, try to practise it under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher to avoid any complications.3 
  • It may also benefit in cases of piles.1 
  • It may also help relieve throat-related disorders.1 
  • It may enhance your sleep cycle, helping you to stay fresh and focused every day.5 
  • It might help strengthen the body and heal the mind when done consistently.5 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicines. Therefore, you must not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Instead, consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your condition correctly and advise accordingly. Furthermore, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained professional to avoid injuries. 

Also Read: Benefits of Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Risks of Exercise  

Some contraindications and precautions related to Halasana are as follows: 

  • People with abdominal injuries or hernias must avoid doing Halasana until the doctor advises.3 
  • People suffering from cervical spondylitis (neck injury) should not perform this asana.1 
  • People with high blood pressure issues should consult a professional Yoga practitioner.1 
  • Those with lumbosacral or lower back pain should not perform Halasana with both legs; they may try with just one leg.3 
  • Pregnant women should not perform the plough pose as it might cause complications.5 
  • Women should not practise Halasana during menstruation days; it might cause cramping.5 

With the guidance of a trained yoga expert, we can assess and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions. 

Also Read: Yoga Asanas for Hair Growth: A Comprehensive Research-Based Guide

Conclusion 

Halasana or plough pose is a complete Yogasana that helps one to attain spine flexibility and keep the spine youthful. Performing Halasana/Ardhahalasana might have several health benefits for the spine, hamstrings and muscle tension. It may also help with constipation, hypertension, diabetes, etc. One must practice plough pose regularly with appropriate precautions and under a trained Yoga master to avoid any physical injuries.  

Also Read: Benefits of Sirsasana (Headstand) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Frequently Asked Questions  

Why is Halasana called ‘plough pose’? 

Halasana is a Sanskrit term where ‘Hala’ means plough and ‘Asana’ mean pose/posture; hence, referred to as Halasana. While performing Halasana yoga pose, our body resembles a plough shape in the final position.1,2 

What is Ardhahalasana? 

Ardhahalasana is a simpler version of Halasana. It is also called the half-plough pose. While performing Halasana, if you hold your legs at a 90° angle, that  position is called the Ardhahalasana.1 

Can I practice Halasana if I have lower back pain? 

If you have lower back pain (Lumbosacral condition), it is advised to practice Halasana with either leg and not with both legs together.3 However, you may consult a professional Yoga trainer if you want to try the Asana.  

What are the benefits of Halasana for spine? 

Halasana is a Yogasana for back strengthening. It completely stretches the back of the body, helping the spine flexibility and rejuvenating spine health. However, performing Halasana while having a back pain problem is not recommended.2 

What are the precautionary measures for doing plough position? 

Those with abdominal injuries, cervical spondylitis, hernia, or spine stiffness, hypertension, etc., must avoid this pose.1,3 

References: 

1. Yoga Postures | International Day of Yoga | MEA [Internet]. Ardh Halasanaa & Halasana. [cited 2022 Aug 21]. Available from: https://mea.gov.in/yoga-postures-16.htm 

2. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center NYC [Internet]. Plough. [cited 2022 Aug 21]. Available from: https://sivanandanyc.org/plough/ 

3. Basavaradd I., editor. 21 June INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA Common Yoga Protocol, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy  (AYUSH). 4 Revised. Ministry of AYUSH | Government of India; 2019. 1–54 p. Available from: http://mea.gov.in/images/attach/Booklet_English_2017.pdf 

4. Longest Performance of Halasana Yoga – Golden Book Of World Records [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://goldenbookofworldrecords.com/archives/8542 

5. Govardhan EcoVillage [Internet]. Halasana – The Plow pose: A Quick Guide. [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://ecovillage.org.in/halasana-the-plow-pose-a-quick-guide/ 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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