Plough Pose, Halasana: Yoga Pose Inversions

By Yoga Lily 8 years ago
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Plough Pose - Malasana - man on mountain

How to do Plough Pose, Halasana – Yoga Poses for inversion*

Yoga classes in Milton Keynes

Halasana – the Plough Pose folded-over inversion is wonderfully rejuvenating to the entire nervous system. The abdominal organs are contracted and toned. The neck and shoulders are released from any habitual tension and the spine is stretched to its maximum.


plough-pose-with-blankets1. Lie face up on a cushioned surface such as a soft carpet, folded blanket or a yoga mat. Beginners may prefer to use two or three tri-folded blankets. With blankets under your back, shoulders and elbows forming an upper level, have your head on a lower level. Lying flat relax the shoulders away from the ears. Draw the chin in toward the chest, lengthening the back of the neck.

plough-pose-step-2 plough-pose-step-3 plough-pose-step-4

2. Bend your knees in toward the chest. Press the palms of the hands firmly into the floor as you extend the feet over your head, straightening the legs. If your toes don’t reach the floor, then keep your palms on your lower back. Take care not to overdo it here, because this position is a very strong forward bend that also places a lots of weight on your shoulders and neck. Keep your head in line with the rest of the vertebral column.

"If your toes don't reach the floor, then keep your palms on your lower back"

“If your toes don’t reach the floor, then keep your palms on your lower back”

3. Rest the toes on the floor behind the head, toes tucked under. To deepen the pose raise, the sitting bones upward as you press through the back of the legs, lengthening the hamstrings. Lift the upper chest toward the chin, bringing the spine more to a vertical position. Bring the palms of the hands together and interlock the fingers, rolling farther onto the top of the shoulders. Press the little finger side of the hands against the floor. If possible, untuck the toes so the tops of the feet up on the floor.


4. To come down, lower your buttocks to the floor ,then use your abdominal muscles to help you slowly lower legs, keeping the back of your head on the floor. Practice some counter poses (for example: Fish Pose) afterward to release the neck.


Gaze: tip of nose

Build-up Poses:

Counter Poses:


  • Bend the knees
  • Support your back with the palms of your hands

 Effect: Calming, restorative


Plough Pose, Halasana Counter Poses

In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.


Counter Pose: Fish Pose, Matsyasana

Fish Pose, Matsyasana



Revolved Abdomen Pose, Jathara Parivartanasana


Janu Sirsasana, Head Beyond the Knee Pose

Janu Sirsasana, Head Beyond the Knee Pose




Inverted postures improve lymph and venus circulation. They work the heart and boost the immune system. Increased blood supply to the endocrine glands at the throat is the reason why inversions are considered to be hormonal balancers. As holding a position with a whole new relationship to gravity demands a certain steadiness of the body and mind, inversions are calming poses. Inversions let us see things from a new angle. They lesson tiredness and develop concentration. As inversions quiet the mind and settle the system down, they are generally practised towards the end of an asana session, after your body has been well warmed up.


Inversions should not be practised by anyone who is suffering from high blood pressure or has eye problems, such as detached retina or glaucoma. They should be avoided by women during menstruation. In the case of previous neck injuries, heart problems or pregnancy, the advice of an experience teacher should be sought. Most inversions are not beginners poses and it is strongly recommended that the postures are learned from an experienced teacher.


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 Yoga Lily

  (114 articles)

Lili has been studying and practising yoga in China & UK for 20 years, and teaching since 2007. She draws inspiration from her training within established, classical yoga systems that focus on alignment, hatha vinyasa in its gentler form, yin, yin/yang, and restorative yoga styles, pranayama and meditation; blending the roots of Chinese healing traditions into a more holistic practice. For her, practice covers not just the physical aspects of yoga but also aligning and unblocking the bodies meridian energy pathways to release Qi energy (prana) which flows through the bodies energy highway, bringing the mind, body and spirit back into balance. “I am continually humbled by my students and teachers, my aim is always to teach from the heart and from the idea that yoga is the art of living, listening and learning, to embody this deeply spiritual tradition” – Lili Chen.