The Sanskrit definition of Saravangasana Salamba, “supporting the whole body and all systems,” accurately represents what the symbolism or essence of this asana means to me, like a mother nurturing her baby, Sarvangasana nurtures the whole body and all of the functions/systems of the body.
Iyengar calls it the Mother of all Asanas.
It is said to heal most ailments. It balances all systems, including the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems. It tones the organs in the abdominal region, as well as the legs and abdominals. Shoulderstand with the legs and torso elevated causes the blood to flow down from the feet and legs into the abdominal region. As an inversion, it drains stagnant blood and increasing circulation. There are several endocrine glands in the body and they all need blood to absorb nutrients and then secrete hormones, thus good circulation helps them to function optimally. If the endocrine system or glands aren’t functioning normally, then it affects hormone levels and the whole body is thrown out of balance Jalandhara Bandha or chin lock increases the blood flow to the chest, heart and around the neck stimulating the glands and endocrine system, including the thyroid gland in the neck. Through promoting quietness, calmness and inner peace, it soothes the nervous system and boosts the immune system.
Inversions are also beneficial for dealing with anxiety, depression and for people with Alzheimer’s disease