Balancing Table/Spinal Balance Pose
Sanskrit: Santaluna SandhAra-asana
(Sanskrit from SpokenSanskrit.de)
1st Photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Connor O’Hara
2nd Photo of Maggie Anderson taken by Maggie Anderson
Balancing Table Pose helps warm, stretch and strengthen the body. This pose builds abdominal and lower back strength. It warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine, shoulders, and hips, while gently stretching the torso. This pose heats up your internal fire. Because of the balancing challenge, this pose also helps to improve focus, coordination, and overall physical equilibrium. When you coordinate your movement with your breath, the pose also helps to relieve stress, fatigue and tension. Repeat on both sides to help balance each side of your body.
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Begin on hands and knees in Table Pose with your wrists/hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Untuck your toes so the tops of your feet are pressing against the floor. Gaze (drishti) down at a point between your hands. Draw your belly button toward your spine without arching your back. Then, extend your left leg behind you. Tuck your toes and keep them resting on the mat. Press back through the ball of your foot to lengthen your leg. Keep your spine neutral. With your abdominal muscles engaged, navel in towards the spine, extend your right arm forward to shoulder-height, and reach through your fingertips. At the same time, lift your leg off the floor, a few inches or all the way to hip-level. Only lift leg to shoulder height. You may choose to push more energy through your lifted leg by flexing your foot and still pushing that energy through ball of the foot with toes open. Hold for a 3-5 full breaths. Keep should blades broad. Shoulders drawn away from ears. Keep your collar bones broad, as well. This helps to protect your neck, while also increasing flexibility and strength in your shoulders and chest. Best gaze is down, but if you choose to look forward it may cause a bit more tension in the neck, so always listen to your body. Exhale and release back to Table Pose, on both hands and knees. Repeat on the other side, extending your right leg and left arm. Hold for the same amount of time, then release back to Table Pose. This is one round. You may choose to hold each side for a certain amount of breaths. Or take a movement flow, inhale life from Table to Balancing Table, Exhale to Table, Inhale extend, exhale lower, etc. Complete 5-10 rounds, then round your spine and flow back into Child’s Pose.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
It’s best to modify or not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to the knees, back, arms, wrists, or shoulders. If you have knee issues you may choose to fold up your mat or grab a blanket to place under your knees. For wrist issues you may modify by coming down onto your forearms parallel distance apart from each other, elbows under shoulders and choose only to raise the legs for the balance portion of this pose. Of course, if you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
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