Bharmanasana (Table Top Pose)

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How to do it

Bharmanasana: Starting position is a jump-off point for all other versions of this pose. Before you begin to move, you need to make sure that you have the arms, legs, lower back and neck properly positioned. The most important thing is to find the neutral lower back position and support it by gentle hugging of the waist in toward the spine from the front, sides and back (“the corset”).

Begin on your hands and knees, with your shoulders aligned over your wrists and your hips aligned over your knees. Keep your head in line with the spine and your lower back in a neutral position.

Breathing in Bharmanasana

Inhale: Lengthen along your spine without flattening it.

Exhale: Hug your waist in toward the middle without changing the position of your pelvis. Maintain a lifting sensation in your shoulders.

Pose adaptations

Side lean

Bharmanasana: Side lean stretches the outer hip and thigh. Here it is useful to pull the hip slightly away from the shoulder to get a better stretch. Try to lean the hip directly sideways to get a better stretch and be careful with the knees.

Tail wag

Bharmanasana: Tail wag is great for stretching the sides of the body and the neck as well. It only works if you pull the hip toward the shoulder, as well as the shoulder toward the hip and look in the direction of your hip.

On the toes

Bharmanasana: On the toes is one of the most effective poses for core strengthening, and it also works your hips and shoulders. It can be easy to tense your neck in this pose, so be sure to keep your head in line with your spine and think of lengthening through the back of the neck. You can also add “chin tuck” movement to release tension in your neck.

Leg raises

Bharmanasana: Leg raises is excellent for isolating the glutes. The slower you move, the more control you will have, and the more engagement you will feel. It is essential to keep the pelvis leveled with the ground to avoid irritating your sacrum.

Bent knee

Bharmanasana: Bent knee works really well for strengthening the hamstrings and stabilizing the knee. For it to be effective, you need to keep the thigh stable and parallel to the ground.

Leg pump

Bharmanasana: Leg pump is very effective for working the glutes and passively stretching the hip flexors. It’s important to make sure that the movement is coming from the hip, not the waist, and it’s a good way to train your students to differentiate between the two.

Toe touch

Bharmanasana: Leg extended, toes touch is a great way to warm up the hip and to target the hip flexors. It can also be a good introduction to this pose for new students, so that they could learn to keep the pelvis steady and core engaged as they work with Bharmanasana.

One leg extended

Bharmanasana: One leg extended is excellent for working on the relationship between your core and the legs (one leg at a time). You are engaging most of the muscles that bind your leg to the pelvis and the spine, encouraging them to coordinate and work together. It is particularly beneficial for the relationship between the the glutes and hip flexors. It is important to maintain neutral lower back position here and keep the extended leg as straight as possible.

One arm, one leg extended

Bharmanasana: One arm and one leg extended is one of the most useful poses for core strengthening. It also helps to link the body’s extremities to the center. It strengthens the hip and shoulder joints and helps to develop balance. It is essential to keep your lower back and neck in a neutral position and avoid “sagging” into the supporting shoulder. Try to keep your pelvis parallel to the ground to avoid hip/sacrum strain and keep your back leg active and straight.

With chair

Bharmanasana: With chair is useful for folks that cannot be on their knees for too long, or whenever you want to include core/hip work in your standing postures. You can do most versions of Bharmanasana in this position. The students can put their hands on the seat , the arms or the back of the chair (whatever their hamstrings can manage), as long as they keep the spine long.