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Advantages & Disadvantages of the 'Plough Pose' in Yoga

by
author image Lisa M. Wolfe
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.
Advantages & Disadvantages of the 'Plough Pose' in Yoga
Instructor helping women do plough pose outside Photo Credit anatols/iStock/Getty Images

The yoga plow, or plough, pose is a challenging posture. Yoga experts recommend this pose for its mental and physical benefits, while exercise experts warn of its potential physical complications. As with any exercise, gather the knowledge surrounding it, consult with your physician and decide whether the pose is right for you. Listen to your body and use modifications when necessary.

Plow

The plow pose involves lying on your back with both legs extended straight toward the ceiling. Position your hands on your lower back with your elbows on the floor to support your elevated lower body. Lower your legs to bring your feet onto the floor above your head. Keep your head very still and look toward your legs. Once your feet touch the floor, position your arms straight along your sides.

Advantages

The pose stretches your shoulders and your back. According to "Alternative Medicine and Rehabilitation: A Guide for Practitioners," plow pose also may stimulate digestion, improve oxygen flow to your lungs and reduce blood pressure.

Disadvantages

The position that your body takes during plow pose may cause discomfort. According to Young sub Kwon, registered clinical exercise physiologist in the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of New Mexico, plow pose can sprain the ligaments in the back of your neck. This position puts pressure on your neck and spine and can damage your spinal discs. If you have a back or neck issue, your risk of injury during plow pose increases.

Modifications

If you practice plow pose to stretch your lower back, lie on your back and pull both knees in to your chest instead. If you want to perform the pose but cannot reach your feet to the floor, the American Council on Exercise recommends placing a chair behind you and resting your feet on the chair instead of the floor. Lie on top of a blanket for extra elevation if you experience discomfort. Or, leave your hands positioned on your back instead of on the floor for back support.

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