The Plough – (Halasana)
Yoga is a life of self-discipline. Yoga is a way of life. Yoga is a system.
We can see our life as a triangle. From the moment we are born to the age of around 18 we are in the zone of growth where the anabolic process takes place (rate of cells rejuvenation exceeds rate of cell decay). Then we enter the youth and equilibrium zone where the anabolic and catabolic process is in perfect balance. This zone will last to the age of around 35 and then we find ourselves in an aging zone, called the old age zone where the catabolic process (rate of cell decaying exceeds rate of cell rejuvenating) starts, resulting in suffering, pain and disease.
To retard the catabolic process the system of yoga was developed giving people the opportunity to live healthier and happier life.
The system of yoga involves five main principles: exercise (asana), breathing (pranayama), relaxation (shavasana), diet and meditation. To slow down the aging process one principle cannot exist without another. This is the holistic approach towards life.
The Plough is a very dynamic and extreme forward bending posture promoting strength and flexibility in the back and the neck. When practiced it gives the resemblance of a plough cutting through the soil, hence the name. Whether you are flexible or not the gravity aids The Plough so be careful that your body weight does not pull you too far into the asana, out of your safe zone.
The Plough is a preparatory pose to the Sitting Forward Bend. If you can improve Halasana (Plough) the resulting mobility of your back will enable you to perform Paschimottanasana (Sitting Forward Bend) well.
As a counter pose practice the Fish (Matsyasana) or the Camel (Ushtrasana). If possible practice the Plough after Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana).
The Plough strengthens and massages the abdominal muscles relieving constipation and indigestion. It releases tension from the shoulders and upper back. It tones the spinal nerves and increases blood circulation to the whole area. It helps to develop inner balance and mental relaxation. It also calms the brain.
Three important reasons (out of many) not to do Plough:
1) A person with hernia should avoid this asana.
2) Anyone with slipped disc, sciatica or serious back pain should never attempt to practice this asana.
3) If you have neck injury, please do not do this posture.
Issued in the interest of people practicing Hatha Yoga by Subodh Gupta, Yoga Expert based in London.
Mr. Subodh Gupta, a Corporate Yoga Trainer has conducted more than 500 workshops on Yoga and Stress Management. He has been interviewed by various TV channels in India and London.
For reaching to Subodh Gupta Yoga website http://www.subodhgupta.com/ and for Subodh Gupta Corporate yoga webpage http://www.subodhgupta.com/corporateyoga.html