Exhausted? Kids, work, health keeping you up way past your bedtime? As usual, there’s an asana for that. (There always is!)
Whether you are trying to get to sleep, or simply trying to get through the day on a lack of it, you can spend a few minutes in shoulder stand to help. Shoulder stand, sometimes referred to as the Queen of Asana or Sarvangasana, cools down the body and calms the nervous system. It gives the heart a break from working so hard and helps to oxygenate the lungs. Due to the neck lock and inverted position, it also brings blood to the thyroid and parathyroid, helping them properly secrete hormones.
Symptoms of tiredness such as breathlessness, headaches and palpitations settle down. If you are irritated or tense, it puts the brakes on your out of control nervous system (literally turning it upside down), and allows your body to reset on a more even and smooth rhythm.
So when you need to get to sleep (or don’t have time to), turn your frown upside down by turning yourself upside down into a soothing shoulder stand!
(Editor’s note: You shouldn’t practice shoulder stand if you are on your moon time, if you have high blood pressure, slipped disc, hernia or some other medical conditions. If you have neck injury, see a qualified yoga teacher before practicing a shoulder stand. To learn how to do this and many other postures correctly, Guru Prem Singh Khalsa’s book Divine Alignment is an incredible resource.)