Asanas: Practice – Kandharasana

The asana that we will describe in this topic is not widely practised, yet it has a number of distinctive benefits. It is called kandharasana shoulder pose).


The Sanskrit word kandha means ‘shoulder’. Hence this asana is usually translated as ‘the shoulder pose’. It is so called because in the final pose most of the weight of the body is supported on the shoulders.



Lie flat on your back.

Bend your legs at the knees and place the feet so that the heels are near or touching the buttocks.

The feet should be Hat on the floor, slightly separated.

Grasp the ankles with your hands. Relax the whole body.

Then breathe in deeply.

While holding the breath raise your buttocks and arch the back upwards.

Try to push your navel and chest as high as possible but while keeping the feet flat on the floor.

Accentuate the flexion of the back by pushing the chest in the direction of the head; this can be done by trying to further straighten the legs.

Don’t strain.

This is the final position.

The body is supported by the feet, arms, shoulders and head.

Remain in the final pose for a short comfortable length of time while holding the breath. Then slowly lower the body to the starting position on the ground. This is 1 round. Rest for a short time and then repeat the practice.

Breathing, awareness and duration

Retain the breath inside while raising the body and staying in the final pose; exhale while lowering the body to the starting position.

Awareness should be on the movement and breathing. In the final pose one should be aware of accentuating the flexion of the back.

The asana can be practised as many times as you wish. For general health purposes five rounds is reasonable. For specific treatment of ailments one can practise the alternative method to be described shortly for prolonged periods of time.


This asana can be utilized as a counterpose for forward bending asanas.


Women in advanced stages of pregnancy should not practise kandharasana. However, after childbirth practise of this asana will help the abdomen resume its normal shape.

People with peptic or duodenal ulcers or abdominal hernia should also not practise this asana.

Alternative method

If you wish you can remain in the final pose while breathing slowly and deeply. This is particularly useful for treating some of the ailments we will discuss in the next heading.


This asana is very useful for correcting spinal defects. If there is a displaced spinal disc then this asana will help to push the disc into proper alignment. It is also useful for removing backache and for eliminating round shoulders or any tendency to stoop. It tones the nerves of the entire back.

It applies a good massage to the abdominal organs and so improves digestion. It also applies a strong pressure in the region of the pelvis, especially if the legs are utilized to accentuate the flexion of the back in the final pose. This massages and tones the nerves, muscles and organs of the reproductive system. This applies mainly to women. It is an excellent asana for helping to alleviate sexual malfunctions and to prevent any tendency towards miscarriage in childbirth.

The asana makes the whole back more flexible in a backward direction. For this reason it is an excellent preparatory asana for the more difficult chakrasana.

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