Plow Pose is often done as part of a Shoulderstand sequence, but it can also be quite beneficial on its own. You can get into the pose by lowering the feet from Shoulderstand or go straight into Plow, which is what I’ll describe here.
Start by laying down on your back. You can put some blankets underneath so that the shoulders line up with the edges of the blankets and the head rests on the floor. This helps to relieve some of the neck flexion in the pose and will allow most people to find a more upright final position. With the arms down by your side, bend the knees slightly, lift the feet overhead and curl the back up off the floor. Some people prefer to keep their legs straight here. Either way is just fine though bent knees can make it a bit easier. As you come up, keep the abdominals engaged to prevent the back from rounding too much. You want the spine to stay as straight as possible. Keep the throat soft and be sure the neck doesn’t become compressed as you come into the pose.
To begin, you can bring your hands to your back as you lift the hips. Once your hips are up over the waist, you can leave your hands here or clasp them behind the back, roll the shoulder blades underneath and press the arms firmly down toward the floor. While being cautious of the neck, roll onto the tops of the shoulders and lift the sitbones up toward the ceiling. Straighten the legs by lifting the backs of the thighs and keep the thighs engaged so the kneecaps are drawn toward the hips.
If your hip flexibility limits your ability to get the feet to the floor, you can prop up the feet by placing a bolster, blanket, block, or chair underneath the feet for support. Don’t force the feet to reach the floor as this can place excessive stress on the spine.
Hold here for as long as you like. To come out, exhale and roll the spine back down on the floor, one vertebra at a time. Just as in Shoulderstand, spend a few rounds of breath in Fish as a counter pose.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!