Here’s my latest article for the Stanly News and Press:
Plow pose, or Halasana, is a deep Yoga pose that should only be done when the body is very warm in the middle or end of your practice. It can follow Shoulder Stand as a nice way to release the spine and come down gradually and slowly or you can simply roll right back into a full Plow from lying on your back.
Plow mimics a seated forward fold and all forward folds calm the brain help reduce stress. It also stretches the neck and shoulders while opening up the spaces between each vertebrae. If you have any neck problems, you should not practice Halasana. If you are experienced in this pose and you become pregnant, you can continue to do it, but this is not a pose to begin practicing while pregnant.
You will need to engage your abdominal muscles to get into and hold this pose. From lying on your back, slowly swing your legs over your head and place both hands under your low back with your elbows on the floor. Keeping your legs straight, let your legs float over your head as far as you can as you reach your toes toward the floor. Do not push at all in this pose.
Feel that you are allowing some time and gravity to help your toes slowly reach closer to the floor. If your toes do not touch the floor, keep your hands on your low back and just stay there as comfortably as you can. If you are near a wall, place the feet on the wall so that you feel more supported. You can place a chair behind you and rest your legs on the seat of the chair as a modification. You can also place a blanket underneath your shoulders to cushion and support you.
If your toes do connect with the floor, you can take your hands from your back and place your arms on the floor underneath you. If you would like to stretch the shoulders a little more, bind your hands together behind your back.
Stay in this pose for five to seven slow breaths in and out through your nose. Be very mindful as you come out of the pose. You can either bend and drop your knees by your ears in Deaf Man’s Pose before you roll onto your back, or you can bend your knees toward your eyebrows in a tuck and use your abdominals to slowly roll you down to your back. Be especially careful coming into and out of this pose.