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Plough Your way to Persistence by Kim White

Kim White Samadhi Yoga Centre Gold CoastThis Sanskrit word "hala" translates as plough, the shape that this asana resembles.
This is one of the best asanas for health and wellbeing and should be practiced daily. To progress through this asana with the best structural alignment and maximum benefit:

  • Start on your back with your knees on your chest
  • Breath out and project your knees towards your head at the same time bringing your hands up to support your lower back with your elbows resting on the floor
  • Keeping your back upright, breath out and straighten your legs over your head
  • Extend your head so you can feel the small of your neck sinking into the mat
  • Keeping your back vertical, project the tailbone upwards
  • The legs remain straight and together, dropping the toes toward the floor
  • For students that would like to advance, project the toes towards your head, pushing the heels to the floor, interlock your fingers behind the back and push your hands to the floor


Throughout this process the tongue remains pressed to the roof of the mouth, the breath is steady and constant through the nostrils.

The halasana helps to eliminate toxins, increase blood flow and rejuvenate the internal organs. This asana alleviates tension through the back, neck, shoulders and elongates the spine. It is also beneficial for those suffering high blood pressure.

Hunched over a desk... Hunched over a desk

In our modern era, the average person spends many hours hunched over a desk, computer or watching television in a stagnant sitting posture. The halasana is a great counter for the stress and tension caused by these activities and the reason why daily practice is so beneficial.

The true purpose of asana practise is to bring the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems under complete the control of the mind. The foremost mental quality for achieving this is Persistence / patient endurance, combined with the other four Indriya (Buddhist five faculties) of conviction (saddha), mindfulness (sati), concentration (samadhi) and discernment (panna) it is possible through continued effort to achieve the goal of asana.

Through my years of teaching halasana to students, I learned the mental faculty of Viriya (persistence) is fundamental for the progression of all asanas in general and this asana in particular. When executing halasana as a beginner, there is a strong desire to come out of the posture quickly, as the mind can react quite strongly to the physical discomfort of the stretch. It is at this moment that we concentrate on building our mental faculties and discover that persistence is essential in this asana to reap the health benefits that it produces. Working on viriya in this asana and all others, is a platform to build the faculty of persistence in day to day activities whether secular or spiritual.

Maintaining a persistent attitude towards learning by striving to progress forward on your path as opposed to becoming stagnant in a place that feels safe and familiar is fundamental to your development. Stagnating in your asana training is an outward manifestation of sloth and torpor. Many people believe that asana training is "not about gaining flexibility" although this is true, the purpose of asana training is, as stated above "to bring the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems under complete the control of the mind". Training the body to master the asanas correctly is achieved through the minds control over the muscular, r skeletal and nervous systems, therefore mastering an asana through correct technique, will and persistence /patient endurance is training in accordance with the true purpose of asana training. The common attitude of being content and just enjoying an inflexible and half correct asana maybe a nice "getaway" from daily life but it is not true yoga.

I urge those sincere aspirants on the spiritual path to not neglect the true purpose of asana training, to bring the body under the control of the mind.

Ahjan Kim White

This page is provided by Kim White