There’s a Shoulderstand pose (Salamba Sarvangasana) variation for yogis of all levels. These four variations progress from the easiest to the most difficult. Take your time working toward the final variation. If that means years, no problem! It is better to learn slowly rather than jam your body into a pose prematurely.

Hold your Shoulderstand variation for 10 to 20 seconds to start. As you progress, you can work your way up to holding the pose for two to three minutes.

Legs Up the Wall pose (Viparita Karani)


For the yogi who is experiencing neck pain or not ready to fully invert:

beYogi legs up the wall pose

  • Sit with the side of your body against a wall.
  • Lean back and swing your legs up the wall.
  • Shuffle around until your bottom is touching the wall or very close to it.
  • Stretch your legs up the wall, but keep your feet relaxed.
  • Open your arms to the sides with palms facing the sky.
  • Close your eyes and slowly take deep breaths.
To come out of the pose, bend your knees and roll onto your side. Mindfully push yourself up to a seated position.

Inverted pose (Vipareeta Karani Asana)


For the yoga beginner, who is new to Shoulderstand:

  • Lie on your back with arms resting alongside the body, palms facing down.
  • Inhale, bend your knees, and lift your hips—your knees will come toward your head.
  • At the same time, bend your elbows and support your hips in your hands. Your torso will be at a diagonal to the floor.
  • Reach your feet toward the sky and relax your toes.
  • Your body weight should rest on your neck, shoulders, and elbows.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
To come out of the pose, lower your legs overhead. Place your hands flat on the floor and slowly roll all the way down.

Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)


beYogi shoulderstandFor the intermediate yogi:

  • Double fold a firm yoga blanket. Place it on your mat with the folded edge a foot from the edge of your mat.
  • Lie on your back with your shoulders on the blanket. Allow your neck and head to hang off the mat.
  • Bend your knees, inhale, and lift your hips. Support your low back with both hands.
  • Reach your feet toward the sky and relax your toes.
  • Walk your hands down your back, and draw your elbows close together.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
To come out of Salamba Sarvangasana, lower your legs overhead in Plow pose (Halasana). Place your hands flat on the floor and slowly roll all the way down.

Shoulderstand Lotus pose (Padma Sarvangasana)


For the advanced yogi, who has mastered both Lotus pose and Shoulderstand:

Option 1

  • Come into Shoulderstand pose.
  • Carefully fold your legs into Lotus, while maintaining the pose.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
To come out of this variation, unfold your legs and stretch your feet toward the sky. Lower your legs overhead. Place your hands flat on the floor and slowly roll all the way down.

Option 2

  • Sit with your legs outstretched.
  • Carefully fold your legs into Lotus pose.
  • Lean back on your elbows and lower your torso to the floor.
  • Inhale and push your hands into the floor to lift your hips and legs. Support your low back with both hands.
  • Walk your hands down your back, and draw your elbows close together.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
To come out of the pose, lower your knees toward your head and place your hands flat on the floor. Slowly roll all the way down. Use your elbows to push yourself back up to a seated position and carefully unfold your legs.