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PLOUGH (HALASANA)

King of asanas, the Headstand or Sirshasana is one of the most powerfully beneficial postures for both, mind and body. By reversing the normal effects of gravity, it rests the heart, aids the circulation, and relieves pressure on the lower back. Practiced regularly, it helps in preventing back problems and improve memory, concentration, and the sensory faculties. Inverting the body also makes you breathe deeply, bringing a fresh supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain - any slight breathing difficulty you experience at first will quickly pass. Mastering the Headstand requires no great strength. It is largely a matter of conquering your fears and believing you can do it. The key to balance is the tripod formed by elbows and hands - make sure your elbows don't shift out of position.

Caution: People with high blood pressure glaucoma or a detached retina should refrain from attempting the headstand.

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1. Lying down on your back, with your legs together and your hands palms down by your sides, inhale and raise your legs up. Exhale, then inhale and bring your hips up off the floor. 2. Support your back with your hands, keeping your elbows as close to one another as possible. Then, without bending your knees, exhale and bring your legs down behind your head. If you cannot yet touch the floor with your feet, remain breathing deeply in this position. 3. If your feet comfortably reach the floor, walk them as far behind your head as you can and, with your toes curled under, push your torso up and your heels back. Stretch your arms out behind your back with the hands flat on the floor. Breathe slowly and deeply.
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