Table pose is a kneeling pose that’s found in yoga. It’s one of the foundation poses in a flow that helps to link one pose to another. It’s an easy pose to do and is found in most vinyasa classes because of how easy it is to incorporate into a flow. Some people find the pose sore on the wrists and the knees, but it’s an easily modifiable pose as well.
The name table pose was used for it because the shape of the pose resembles that of a tabletop. The pose has also been referred to as four point pose or all fours pose. This is because the pose requires a person to be on all hands and knees, which is four points.
The basics of tabletop pose
Tabletop pose is known as Bharmanasana in Sanskrit. The pose can be done by anyone, even those who may struggle with sore knees or wrists. There are a few modifications of the pose that can be made for those that find it slightly uncomfortable. This makes it a beginner pose but is found in all levels of yoga flows.
The pose can be put into gentle flows or used in power flows to target the core muscles. Tabletop pose by itself targets the wrists, spine, hips, knees, and some of the core. The pose doesn’t need a lot of core strength to hold but some core engagement helps to keep the alignment of the pose correct. It’s often used as a warmup pose, in the first part of a yoga sequence.
The benefits of practicing tabletop pose
One of the main benefits of practicing tabletop pose is that it sets up the foundation for other poses. It teaches a person alignment and how to set up a pose step by step. It gives a person the awareness of where everything is and where to put certain body parts. It helps them to understand their body better.
The pose requires some core engagement, which warms up the core and conveys how the core can help with alignment. Tabletop also requires a straight spine, keeping this neutral spine can help with backpain and improve posture. Table pose conveys an element of balancing, which helps when a person does more difficult balancing poses and can then understand how to balance properly.
How to do tabletop pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Begin in a kneeling position with your glutes seated onto your heels. Straighten the spine and attempt to keep the spine lengthened throughout the process of getting into the pose.
- Bring the hands out in front of you and spread the fingers wide. Plug the shoulders back into the spine and don’t let the upper back round. Slowly start to bring your hands to the mat.
- Once the hands are on the mat, keep the fingertips spread wide and ensure the index finger is pointing to the front of the mat. Bring the hands directly under the shoulders and push out of them to make sure you’re not dumping any weight into your shoulders.
- Look back towards the knees and check to see that the hips are stacked directly over the knees. Move the feet so that they’re in line with the knees. The toes can remain flat on the mat or be tucked under.
- Move the neck so that it’s in one long line with the spine. The gaze should be directly in between the hands. Don’t crunch in the neck, let it relax slightly. Engage the core to keep the spine lengthened and straight.
- From this pose you can move into other variations of the pose, doing some cat cow stretches or moving backward and forwards in the tabletop to stretch the wrists out. You can also move in circles to warm up the hips. Whichever stretch or warm up is being done, remember to keep the core engaged to maintain a lengthened spine.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
The biggest mistake made when doing the tabletop pose is dumping their weight into their shoulders. This then causes rounding in the spine and can be painful for the shoulders. You must push into your hands to lift out of the shoulders. The spine shouldn’t be arched but it also shouldn’t be rounded.
That’s another mistake that people make in this pose, they round their back. Engaging the core slightly will help to keep the spine straight. A slight core engagement will maintain the alignment of the whole pose.
For those who are trying out the tabletop pose for the first time, it’s recommended to use a blanket as a prop. This can be placed underneath the knees for support. When people first start practicing yoga, the pressure and amount of weight put on the knees is foreign to them. The blanket will help to ease into putting weight onto the knees.
Another helpful tip for beginners is to break the pose down step by step. Don’t rush into the pose. When breaking the pose down one step at a time, it makes it easier to get into and more enjoyable to be in because it’s being done correctly.
If someone has an injury in their knees, wrists, or spine then they shouldn’t be doing the tabletop pose. If someone is experiencing pain in these areas, then they can try using props first and if the pain persists then they should slowly back off from the pose. Never push past the point of pain and listen to your body. Consult a doctor or physician before doing any physical exercise or trying out any yoga pose.
The most common variation of tabletop pose is cat cow. This is a sequence whereby the spine rounds and arches to stretch and warm up the spine. This sequence is done mainly in tabletop pose. A more challenging variation of tabletop is with the knees raised. Everything stays the same, the alignment is still held but the knees are about an inch or two off of the ground. Keeping the spine lengthened requires a lot of core engagement in this pose and some arm strength.