Halasana (Plough Pose)
When this pose is practised, it gives the exact appearance of a plough. Hala means a plough in Sanskrit.
Spread a blanket on the ground. Lie flat on your back. Keep the hands at the sides on the ground with the palm facing the ground. Join both your legs. Lift them up very slowly. Do not bend the legs. Do not raise the hands. Do not bend the trunk. Make an obtuse angle. Then slowly lower the legs. Fold them over the body until the toes touch the ground. Keep the knees quite straight and close together. The legs and thighs must be in one straight line. Press the chin against the chest. Breathe slowly through the nose only and not through the mouth.
There is another variety of doing this Asana. After the above posture is done, slowly bring the hands and catch hold of the toes. This is also a better method. There should be no jerk in any way. When the Asana is finished, very, very slowly raise the legs and bring them to the original posture of lying flat on the ground.
This Asana tones the spinal nerves, the muscles of the back, the vertebral bones and the sympathetic nervous system that runs along the vertebral column on both sides. This Asana fulfils and amplifies Sarvangasana. A large quantity of blood is poured into the spinal roots of nerves, spinal cord, sympathetic ganglia, sympathetic nerves and muscles of the back. Hence, they are all well nourished. The vertebral column is rendered very, very soft and elastic. This Asana prevents the early ossification of the vertebral bones. Ossification is quick degeneration of bones. Old age manifests quickly on account of early ossification. The bones become hard and brittle in the degenerative process. He who practises Halasana is very nimble, agile, full of energy. The muscles of the back are alternatively contracted, relaxed and then pulled and stretched. Hence they draw a good supply of blood by these various movements and are well nourished. Various sorts of myalgia (muscular rheumatism), lumbago, sprain and neuralgia are cured by this Asana.
The vertebral column becomes soft and elastic. It is twisted and rolled as it were like a piece of canvas sheet. A man who practises Halasana can never become lazy. The vertebral column is a very important structure. It supports the whole body. It contains the spinal cord, spinal nerve and sympathetic system. In Hatha Yoga the spine is termed as Meru Danda. Therefore you must keep it healthy, strong and elastic by the practice of Halasana. The muscles of the abdomen, the rectal muscles and the muscels of the thigh are also toned and nourished. Obesity or corpulence and habitual or chronic constipation, gulma, congestion and enlargement of the liver and spleen are cured by this Asana.