The yoga plow, or Plow Pose, is a challenging posture in yoga teaching. Many yoga experts recommend this pose for the mental and physical benefits it provides while some exercise experts warn of the potential physical complications. Just like with any form of exercise, yoga teacher training will tell you to consult with a doctor and decide if this pose is right for you or if you have a reason to avoid it.
Face The Challenge
The Plow Pose is an advanced yoga posture and there are two different ways to begin it. One way to start is by lying flat on your back the other is starting from a Shoulder Stand. If you begin the pose lying on your back keep your arms at your side and bend your knees to your chest. Slowly, extend your legs upward and support your buttocks and lower back with your hands. Continue to extend your legs up and then back over your head until you feel your weight is on your shoulders and your feet can touch the floor beyond your head. Make sure to keep your feet together and your legs straight. If you begin the pose from a Shoulder stand lower your feet together slowly until they are resting on the ground beyond your head. Once you are fully in the Plow Pose let your arms rest on the ground with your hands stretching toward your feet. If you are unsure of this pose it is recommended to be with a yoga teacher to guide you through your alignment and to help you make any modifications.
Modified for Beginners
There are several different ways to make modifications to the Plow Pose so that it is more comfortable and more accessible. Yoga teacher training makes all kinds of modifications part of the training process so that all yoga teachers that are yoga certified can help you. If you cannot get your feet to the floor comfortable do not worry. You can put a chair behind your head before you begin and just lower your feet onto the chair. If you have trouble keeping your feet together, you can separate them just a little. Place a couple of folded blankets under your shoulders. You can position them so that your shoulders are right at the edge of the blanket and your head can drop back to rest on the floor.
Do a Healthy Squeeze
Through yoga practice we learn that yoga tradition feels that stretching or squeezing part of your body stimulates the tissues and organs in the area being restricted. The most affected areas while practicing the plow pose are the throat and abdomen. This pose tends to stimulate the thyroid gland which his located in the throat and might help people that have low levers of thyroid hormone secretions. This pose is also great for stimulating the abdominal organs and it is believed to help alleviate symptoms of menopause and promote fertility.
Plow Away Your Stress
The Plow Pose is a restorative pose and promotes rest and relaxation. When practicing restorative yoga poses they can offer stress relief and help your mind and body rejuvenate and recover from fatigue. This pose helps you achieve this benefit by increasing your blood flow to the head while you are upside down.
Just like anything physical make sure that you are healthy enough to do this pose. Yoga teacher training makes a strong effort to emphasize that a safe practice is the best yoga practice. If you have diarrhea any abdominal stimulation doing this pose can make that worse. This pose also puts a lot of pressure on your neck so avoid it if you have a neck injury. Pregnant women should only do this pose if they are already a very experienced yoga students and then you should only do it and use a chair to support the legs and feet. The Plow pose can also aggravate asthma and high blood pressure so if you suffer from either of those condition only practice the plow pose with the help of an experienced yoga teacher.