Half Shoulderstand (Ardha Sarvangasana)

A Pitta-Pacifying Yoga Pose
Half Shoulder Stand

It is a good idea to practice this pose with at least one folded blanket. Place the blanket so the folded edge will rest at the base of your neck. Begin by lying on your back with your legs extended and your arms alongside your body, palms facing down. Resting your upper back on the blanket, your neck should have space between it and the floor. This protects the cervical spine and allows the neck to be long and the throat open. Press your arms into the floor and on an inhale, lift the hips off the floor as you place your hands on either side of your sacrum (the sacrum is the wide flat bone at the base of your spine). Extend the legs upward. Drawing the elbows close into the body, roll your shoulders underneath you. Hold for as many breaths as is comfortable. To release the pose, bring the arms back alongside your body and engage the abdomen as you gently roll each vertebrae to the floor until the hips rest on the ground. Slowly lower the legs as you keep the abdomen engaged. If you feel any compression on the neck, do not practice this pose.

Pitta Focus:

Breathe fully and be gentle. Broaden the opening of the solar plexus by bringing the elbows into the body and rolling the shoulder blades closer together.

Benefits:

Tones the abdominal organs, soothes headaches, stimulates the thyroid, activates the parasympathetic nervous system, creates space in the chest, and uplifts the spirit.