Halasana / plough pose

LIFT:
*Fold three blankets neatly and stack them one on top of the other.
(Alternatively, make a lift by placing four blocks together to make a rectangle, one-block depth.)

* Place a blanket over the top with the blanket flush to one of the long ends and hanging over the other. Score a crease in the blanket with your hand so that the end it hangs over is defined. Fold the mat over to cover one block’s width, then fold back excess, keeping edges neat. Place another block’s narrow end on the side with the blanket flush/folded mat. This forms a top-heavy T shape).
* Place a stool/table that comes to mid thigh height when standing.

THE POSE:
* Lay on back on lift, head coming on to ground. Lift contacts the neck only as far as the first bone on the neck (C7).
(On five-block lift, bottom is on the fifth block).
* Ensure the body is central on the lift.
* Legs bent, extend arms towards feet, palms down.
* Turn palms up, inflate chest with inhalation, maintain the shape of chest on exhale.
* Keep neck soft, jaw relaxed.
* Without turning head left or right, turn palms to the floor.
* Swing hips over head, pressing into hands; swing the back up, and legs over to lower your toes to the table/ bench/ low stool
* Toes tucked under, extend legs
* Hold the back with hands; fingers pointing in, thumbs around the sides of rib cage.
* Lift back from the floor and push the hands into the back and back into the hands.
* Keep neck soft, let breath release until mind becomes adjusted and calm. Maintaining contact with breath, feed side ribs up through hands until most of upper back raised, drawing shoulders underneath to rest on top of shoulders and triceps.

DURATION: 20 to 50 breaths, then descend by bending knees, curling spine down to floor supporting with the hands

Contraindications:
• Do not practice during menstruation, or on third trimester of pregnancy. (If pregnant, seek advice).
• Do not practice with high blood pressure (without seeking advice).
• Do not practice if suffering from diarrhoea.

If one is smothered by the chest raise the height of the lift.

If tension persists descend and seek advice.

Quotes

On resistance in practice…
‘In asana practice we may find an obvious resistance such as a strong stretch in a muscle. We can choose to ignore the sensation, usually resulting in totally the opposite result and an almost compulsive fixation with the sensation. Or we can chose to move ourselves into the sensation and work with it which ironically allows us to release from the sensation and let it go.’

— Khadine Morcom