An Easy Guide to Sarvangasana, or Shoulder Stand  

Work your yoga practice with our easy guides to great yoga poses. Sarvangasana, or Shoulder Stand, helps strengthen your core – so it’s a great way to build your abs. This yoga pose also stretches the spinal cord, so it’s good for releasing tension and helping yogis to unwind.  

Watch a clip

Sarvangasana, or Shoulder Stand, helps strengthen your core – so it’s a great way to build your abs. This yoga pose also stretches the spinal cord, so it’s good for releasing tension and helping yogis to unwind.  

Because of the increased blood flow to the head, some yogis even say this yoga pose has benefits for health conditions such as hair loss! 

Known as the Queen of Asana, Sarvangasana is the yoga equivalent of 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away.' 

In this yoga pose, men will stimulate the prostate, and everyone will stimulate the thyroid and abdominal organs, strengthen the legs, improve circulation, sooth the nerves, improve bowel function, detox the body, and boost energy levels. 


Watch a clip for this yoga pose 


How to do Sarvangasana, or Shoulder Stand, in easy steps  

Step 1:

Begin by lying on the mat, legs extended out in front of you, arms alongside your body. 

Step 2:

Bend your knees and bring the heels close to the sitting bones. 

Step 3:

On the next exhalation, slowly curl up the hips, then the back, from the floor until your knees are level with your face. 

Step 4:

Now place your palms on your lower back and raise your hips over your shoulders. 

Step 5:

Walk your hands a little up your back, keeping the elbows a shoulder width apart. 

Step 6:

Inhale and lift your legs with knees bent so that your thighs are in line with your upper body and your heels are by your buttocks. 

Step 7:

Don't turn your head in this pose - you will hurt your neck. 

Step 8:

Now straighten the knees, extending the legs to the ceiling, stretching up through the balls of the feet. 

Step 9:

Slide the shoulder blades down the back and keep any tension out of your neck, staying in this pose for up to 5 minutes, or as long as feels comfortable. 

Step 10:

To release, exhale and bend your knees into the upper body, then roll slowly vertebrae for vertebrae onto the floor, keeping the head grounded. 


Image: Ariadne Vickers

Yoga pose category:  Lying face up

Level: 1  

Although Sarvangasana is a beginners’ yoga pose, it’s normal to struggle to maintain balance and fully focus in this pose. Try to make sure your legs straight, with your toes pointing skyward. Fix your head straight, with your eyes fixed on your toes in the air – this will help you maintain concentration and master the pose. 

Sanskrit words meaning: 

Sarva – whole 

Anga – limb 

Asana – pose

Yoga pose health benefits: 

Like all yoga poses, Sarvangasana has many health benefits. Use it to help with the following health conditions:

- Breathing issues 

- Thyroid 

- Sinusitis 


- Hernia 

- Anaemia 


- Digestive issues 


- Ulcers 


- Piles 

- Constipation


Yoga pose contraindications: 

Don’t practice Sarvangasana if you have any of the following health conditions: 

- High blood pressure 

- Menstruation 

- Neck injury 

- Pregnancy 

- Shoulder injury

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Lucy Edge 

is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.