The basic form can be practised for up to five minutes. Beginners should start with about thirty seconds in the final pose and increase by a few seconds every day.
Any of the variations can be practised for similar durations for specific purposes. If all the variations are performed one after the other, then we suggest ten deep and slow breaths in each pose.
We suggest the following sequence:
- Lower the feet into halasana
- Some or all of the variations
- Return to lying position on the floor
Any backward bending asanas can be used as a counterpose. The best ones are matsyasana, ushtrasana, supta vajrasana and chakrasana, because these release the compression of the throat by stretching the neck in the opposite direction.
Time of practice
The best time to practise is early in the morning before breakfast and late in the afternoon before the evening meal. Halasana should not be practised after meals or after vigorous exercises.
People who suffer from hernia, slipped disc, sciatica, high blood pressure or any serious back ailments should not do halasana. If you are not sure then seek expert guidance.
Halasana gives many of the same benefits as sarvangasana. However, the direct influence on the brain is much less, with more emphasis on the back, abdomen and pelvis. It combines the benefits of inverted asanas with forward bending asanas. Halasana is almost an upside down form of paschimottanasana, though there is a distinctive difference between the benefits that they give. Paschimottanasana acts mainly on the lower back and stretches the back; halasana, on the other hand, acts mainly on the upper back and neck region. These two asanas supplement each other.
Halasana makes the entire spine supple, stretches the muscles, loosens the vertebrae and tones the nerves both inside and outside the spinal column. This leads to better efficiency of all the organs in the body.
The thyroid and parathyroid glands are rendered more efficient. The abdominal muscles are strengthened. The abdominal organs are massaged. This helps to alleviate constipation, dyspepsia, diabetes and various other abdominal ailments. It generally decongests and revitalizes the liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands and so on. It helps to remove backache, neck ache and headache.
Besides these physical benefits, halasana done with attention can induce states of pratyahara (sense withdrawal) as a preparation for meditational techniques.