Balancing Table Pose pairs movement with stretching to help warm and strengthen the abdomen and lower back while working on your sense of balance. It also brings flexibility to the spine, shoulders, and hips, while gently stretching the torso. The challenge to your balance also helps to improve focus, coordination, and overall physical equilibrium. And coordinating the movements with your breath helps relieve stress, fatigue, and tension.
Important Considerations for Balancing Table Pose
Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to the knees, back, arms, wrists, or shoulders. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before attempting any yoga poses.
Start in Table Top Position
- Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips (this is called Table Pose). Un-tuck your toes so the tops of your feet are pressing against the floor. The fold of your wrists should be parallel to the top edge of your mat.
- Gaze at a point between both of your palms or just in front of your hands, which ever feels more comfortable on your neck. Do your best to elongate your neck.
Balancing Table Pose
- Draw your belly button toward your spine and avoid arching your back. Then, extend your right 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, extend your left 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. Do not lift your leg higher than shoulder-level.
- Hold and breathe for a count of three.
- Exhale and release back to Table Pose, on both hands and knees.
- Repeat on the other side, extending your left leg and right arm. Hold for the same amount of time, then release back to Table Pose. This is one round.
- Complete 5-10 rounds, then rest in Child’s Pose.
Modifications & Variations
Balancing Table Pose is a great core-strengthening yoga pose. There should be very little discomfort and no pain when practiced. To find a variation of the pose that may better work for you, try one of these modifications or variations:
- If your knee caps hurt, fold your mat or place a yoga blanket under your knees.
- For a greater balance challenge — reach your extended arm and leg out to the side instead of forward and back.
Practicing Balancing Table Pose can help to warm your body and prepare it for a deeper yoga practice. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this sequence:
- Keep your spine in a neutral position throughout the repetitions: Do not let your belly drop, as this can over-arch your lower back and cause back strain or injury.
- Keep your gaze at a spot between your palms: Looking forward can crunch your neck, causing tension, pain, and possible injury.
- Your shoulder blades should be broad: Your shoulders should be drawn away from your 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.
- Be aware of your breath and its coordination with your movements: Breathe smoothly and evenly throughout the practice.
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