Hatha Yoga Pose for Brain Fitness – Shoulder Stand Asana

Shoulder Stand Yoga Posture for Brain Health

Hatha Yoga Asana for Brain Fitness

This yoga asana (posture) is our first inverted pose and it is about as inverted as you should go according to kundalini yoga.  In hatha yoga, the inversion is taken one step further, in head stand (Sirsh Asana), but kundalini yoga stops at shoulder stand (Sarvanga Asana).  So this pose is another one which has been adopted by these 2 great schools of yoga, and thus, it is a part of both the Free Online Kundalini Yoga Poses as well as the Free Hatha Yoga Poses Photo Galleries

Hatha Yoga Pose

Shoulder stand has a long list of benefits, not the least of which is the additional flow of nutrient rich blood to the brain region, to enhance brain fitness and health.  Needless to say, this pose should be approached with caution and the posture should not be forced in any way.

Below you will find an illustration of shoulder stand.  The variation to this pose is not having the legs vertical, but instead they are leaning more towards the floor (not over your head though).

Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose for Brain Health

Picture of Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose

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Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose Practice Details:

a. Step-by-Step Instructions for Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose:

  • Lie flat on your back.
  • Curl up your legs and lift yourself up onto your shoulders, with your hands supporting your lower torso as shown.
  • Extend your legs up straight into the air and point your toes.
  • Work your self into as much of a vertical position as possible, keeping the torso and legs aligned.
  • In the final position, have your chin pressed into your chest as you reach up with your body and legs.
  • Begin long deep breathing, to help oxygenate and enrich the blood.
  • Once in position, close your eyes and let the asana do it’s magic.

b. Duration for Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose:

  • 15 Seconds – 5 minutes.
  • Start slowly and build up your time steadily from there.

c. Benefits of Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose:

  • Excellent yoga pose for nourishing the brain with oxygen rich blood to help it remain healthy and fresh.
  • The asana also reverses the affect which gravity has on the organs and helps the inner systems realign themselves.
  • Helps drain and remove stagnant blood from the extremities.
  • The pressure in the neck region massages all the nerves and subtle channels, again promoting improved brain fitness by ensuring better flow to this important region.  In addition the thyroid and parathyroid glands are massaged and toned, improving the functioning of the endocrine system.
  • Helps counteract varicose veins.
  • Pacifies the mind and induces peacefulness.
  • Helps boost the immune system, as well as overall health and wellbeing.

d. Practice Tips for Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose:

  • Careful with your neck.  Very important to not over strain this delicate region.  So only straighten as much as you are comfortable doing.  Don’t fall over.
  • If you can’t get all the way vertical, that is fine.  Just straighten as far as you can and slowly improve the posture over time.
  • Strong abdominal muscles will help you master this pose.
  • Don’t do this asana excessively.  One time per day is more than enough and I don’t recommend it for more than 5 minutes max.

Online Kundalini Yoga Kriyas Using Shoulder Stand Pose:

(Coming Soon).

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  1. Exercise Perth
    Exercise Perth says:

    Great little post. Nice to know about all the benefits of this pose especially conteracting varicose veins. Great picture and great posture whilst performing the pose.

  2. Mark
    Mark says:

    This is great site. I am really enjoying learning about all the different positions. How much experience until being able to perform the shoulder stand typically for a beginner?

  3. Fat Burning Tips
    Fat Burning Tips says:

    I am always amazed at the incredible strength and abilities of people that become good at Yoga. I was shocked when I saw a photo of my 82 year old grandmother doing the Hatha Yoga Shoulder Stand Pose! She makes me feel old and I am in my 30’s! I should really try getting back into Yoga as I have lots of back pain and I think it could help. Thanks for the helpful post!

  4. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Alejandro,

    You are right there is no head stand in Kundalini Yoga, also there is debate if it’s healthy for the brain to have too much blood flow for too long. Shoulder stand I therefore feel is a good compromise.

    It is not harmful to mix the two styles as long as your sets remain balanced (read 6 Guidelines for Creating Yoga Sets).

    You can develop your time further, but I would advise to do so slowly. There are other poses with similar configuration and energy flow as shoulder stand, but they are not quite similar enough to be substitutes.


  5. Alejandro Sánchez
    Alejandro Sánchez says:

    Hello Anmol,
    I would like to ask you about another inverted pose: Sirshasana. I practice it everyday as a part of my Hatha Yoga session in an effort to develop my brain’s capacity. Now, inspired by the benefits I’ve read, I’m thinking of switching to Kundalini Yoga. This school doesn’t include Sirshasana. Should I drop the pose from my practice? Would it be harmful that ‘mixture’ of the two styles? And finally, is there any alternative in this school that has similar effects, as Sarvangasana as you recommend it seems very little standing time to get high impact on the brain? Thanks in advance, and thank you for this wonderful site and your generosity.

  6. Rhei, writer Surefirewealth.com
    Rhei, writer Surefirewealth.com says:


    How I wish that I can also do the same thing but I guess I’m not that physically fit to make that pose. Maybe, what I needed to do first is to have a clear mind (to see things positively) and I guess everything will surely follow.
    I admire people like you Anmol and Victoria – I know that you are stress free because of yoga, one way to relieve stress. Wish that I also knew how to do yoga.

  7. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Victoria,

    It can’t hurt you, just watch the pressure it might put on the neck, specially if the chin is firmly against the chest that’s all. There are variations with the legs over the head, but that starts to approach Plough Pose more that’s all.

    No worries if you find leaning over the head a better variation though.


  8. Victoria Pagan
    Victoria Pagan says:

    The variation to this pose is not having the legs vertical, but instead they are leaning more towards the floor (not over your head though). My yoga teacher instructs us to have legs over the head. How can this hurt me?


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Yoga News | Yoga Mat says:

    […] Hatha Yoga Pose for Brain Fitness – Shoulder Stand Asana […]

  2. […] One important dimension of yoga exercises is inversions and of the inversions, one of the best poses is shoulder stand.  This exercise is great for the brain as it brings oxygen rich blood to this region helping it rejuvenate and heal.  The pose has other benefits as well, such as realigning the organs displaced by gravity and promoting peace and calm. You can read all the details about this pose in the article, Yoga Exercise for Brain Fitness. […]

  3. […] Shoulder Stand Pose for Brain Health & Fitness […]

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  5. Love Mind Body Spirit » Learn Yoga | Yoga Asana Challenge of the Month says:

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  6. Comment on Hatha Yoga Pose for Brain Fitness - Shoulder Stand Asana by Comment on Free Online Yoga Breathing Exercises (Yoga Pranayama) E-Book by Anmol Mehta | Yogacenteronline.net-Articles Digest | Yogacenteronline.net-Articles Digest says:

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  7. Comment on Free Online Yoga Breathing Exercises (Yoga Pranayama) E-Book by Anmol Mehta | Yogacenteronline.net-Articles Digest says:

    […] https://anmolmehta.com/2008/01/25/yoga-exercise-brain-fitness/ […]

  8. […] Anmol Mehta presents Hatha Yoga Pose for Brain Fitness – Shoulder Stand Asana posted at Mastery of Meditation, Enlightenment & Kundalini Yoga, saying, “Excellent yoga pose to nourish and rejuvenate the brain.” […]

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