Leave the Yoga Plow Pose in the Field
Many claims have been made to the supposed benefits of the plow pose.
The supposed benefits of the plow pose are listed below.
• Calms the brain
The brain is not "calmer" from practicing plow pose and in fact, the flexion of the neck into a right angle might actually restrict blood flow through the vertebral artery to the brain leading to a stress response.
• Stimulates the abdominal organs and the thyroid gland
It is more likely that the thyroid gland is lacking in blood flow caused by the neck flexion. It is much safer to use laughter and breathing to stimulate blood flow to the abdominal organs.
• Stretches the shoulders and spine
Plow engages the spine in a C shape removing the natural lumbar and cervical curve and loosening ligaments needed to keep the neck and lumbar joints stable.
• Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
Plow pose for menopause symptoms is nothing more than a fantasy.
• Reduces stress and fatigue
Some may actually have more stress from the strain of practicing plow pose.
• Therapeutic for backache, headache, infertility, insomnia, sinusitis
Creating a C shape in the spine with pressure loads from the plow body position will more likely give you a backache.
There is no evidence that plow pose can cure headaches. Blood flow may be constricted because of neck flexion position compressing arteries supplying the brain with blood.
Pregnancy is not one of the benefits.
Again there is no scientific evidence that you will sleep better by practicing plow.
Sinusitis: Face massage, diet changes, salt-water swimming and/or seeing a physician might be safer.
There is no reliable research that proves these benefits and much of these claims are belief systems and hearsay seriously lacking in any scientific proof.
The "Plow Pose" creates extreme flexion of the neck taking away the natural protection of each interlocking vertebra and putting pressure loads on bone and connective tissue that can cause compression fractures and/or herniation of the discs along the neck as well as along the entire spine.
The vertebral structures in the cervical region are much smaller than the lumbar region; not designed to support the weight of the lower body. Repeated practice of the plow can cause the natural cervical curve to reverse and become flat; transferring heavy loads to the anterior surfaces of the vertebrae. Bone spurs may occur from the excess pressure and the disc may rupture or tear or pressing on spinal cervical nerves.
Nerve tissue should not be stretched more than about 10 % and plow pose pulls the nerves at the root.
If you are doing yoga to get the buffed out yoga butt, forget the plow pose. Plow can create a flat neck, which makes a flat butt.
These spinal curves in the neck and lower back are part of the body's natural suspension system to protect our joint structures and contribute to smooth fluid movements. Plow forces the spine to a C shape; the bane of aging.
Leave the yoga plow in the field.
by Michaelle Edwards, LMT, ERYT
creator of YogAlign and FitAlign