Scale Pose or Tolasana is an arm balancing pose that requires and creates strong abdominal muscles. Practiced during the Ashtanga seated sequence, it is also a popular part of Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga classes. Its name comes from the Sanskrit words “tola” (meaning “scale”) and “asana” (meaning “pose”). Once your body is lifted off the floor, you can swing back and forth, just like a scale.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. Do not practice this pose if you have current or recent shoulder or wrist injuries. If you have ankle, knee, or hip injuries.
How To Do The Tolasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Begin in Lotus Pose (Padmasana). Your legs should be crossed with the top of each foot resting on the opposite thigh.
- Place your hands on the floor on either side of your hips.
- Exhale as you press your palms firmly into the floor. Draw your abdominal muscles in and up, and lift your legs and buttocks off of the floor.
- Hold yourself suspended for five breaths, then release by lowering yourself back to the mat.
- Change the cross of your legs and repeat for the same length of time. More advanced practitioners can hold the pose for up to 100 breaths.
- Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
Since Lotus Pose is the foundation for Scale Pose, it’s important to get the alignment correct first in Lotus Pose.
- Begin by only lifting your sit bones off the floor, keeping your legs on the ground (or feet, if you are in Sukhasana). As you gain strength, you will be able to lift your entire body.
- It takes a lot of abdominal strength and practice to hold the pose for more than a few breaths.
- Be patient. With practice, you’ll be able to hold your body for longer periods of time.
- To help with the lift, draw your pelvic bone up and in toward the core of your torso. This will not only help build abdominal strength, but it will also help you to learn to engage the mula bandha.
If you’re not yet able to accomplish full Padmasana, it’s possible to get a feel for Tolasana using Ardha Padmasana (Half-Lotus Pose). In Half-Lotus, perform the pose as described in Steps 2 and 3 above. With this leg position, the buttocks will lift off the floor, but the outer calf and foot of the bottom leg won’t.
Modifications & Variations
- First, take a kneeling posture and place your right ankle over the left.
- Let your body rest on the heel of your right leg.
- Placing your palms on the floor or on any block, now elevate your upper body. Unlike in Tolasana where your back is in an upright position, here your back takes a curved position and your shoulders are spread out.
- Now, exhale and release, and placing your left ankle over the right, perform the posture for about the same time period.
Benefits Of The Tolasana
- The Scale Pose makes your arms and wrists strong.
- It involves tightening of the abdominal muscles and hence, results in a taut stomach.
- While strengthening your abdomen, it also gives an internal stimulation to the underlying organs.
- Tolasana results in strong shoulders and an increased sense of balance.
- It helps release tension from your muscles and calms your mind.
- The muscles of your abdomen are pulled up tight and hence, your lungs get a better supply of oxygen as you breathe deeply.
- In Tolasana, you need to use your eyes for focused attention. This removes any common defects of your eyes.
- In totality, Tolasana improves the sense of balance of your body and has a calming effect on your whole mind and system.
Tolasana is a strong, yet calm pose that requires practice and patience to attain. Remember to keep your mind and your breath quiet and serene as you work toward dangling like a scale. As you gain the power to lift yourself, you will also gain balance between your body, mind, and spirit.