Bharmanasana or Table Top Pose: A yoga asana to stretch and strengthen your body

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Written By Robby Macaay

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Your body needs to be strong to carry out daily activities. Try Bharmanasana, which is an effective yoga pose for strength.

Bharmanasana or the Table Top pose is a great yoga asana for strength. It helps to strengthen the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and more. All you have to do is make body look like a table, supported by four legs, which are your knees and palms in the case of the asana. It can also be used as a starting position for kneeling yoga asanas such as the Cat pose and Downward-Facing Dog pose. Read on to know how to do Bharmanasana for strength.

What is Bharmanasana?

Bharmanasana, also known as the Table Top pose, is a simple and beginner-friendly yoga asana. It helps to align the hands and legs in the right measurements. It can help bring balance to the body while the entire muscles in the body get equally stretched, says yoga expert Dr Hansaji Yogendra.

Bharmanasana involves supporting your body weight on forearms and palms. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How does Bharmanasana help to strengthen the body?

It strengthens the muscles of the arms, shoulders, core, and upper back. The muscles along the spine, such as the erector spinae are engaged to support the spine. It also activates the quadriceps and hamstrings to maintain alignment and stability in the lower body, says the expert.

  • The Table Top pose involves bearing weight on your shoulders, which helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.
  • Supporting your body weight on your forearms and palms strengthens the muscles in your arms and core, including the triceps, biceps, and abdominals.
  • Maintaining the posture requires engagement of the leg muscles to keep the body lifted and aligned.
  • Bharmanasana helps improve spinal alignment and strengthen the muscles along the spine.

What are the health benefits of Bharmanasana?

Apart from strengthening the body, here are other benefits of Bharmanasana:

  • Bharmanasana promotes spinal alignment and flexibility, which can alleviate back pain and improve posture over time.
  • This pose requires stability in the shoulders and arms, which can help prevent shoulder injuries and improve overall upper body strength.
  • The yoga pose involves a gentle extension of the spine and an opening of the chest, which can counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and hunching forward.
  • Holding the Table Top position requires balance and coordination, which can help improve the overall body awareness.
  • Bharmanasana serves as a foundational pose that helps prepare the body for more advanced yoga poses by building strength, flexibility, and body awareness.

How to do Bharmanasana?

Follow these steps to do the Table Top pose correctly.

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A woman stretching before doing Bharmanasana
You need to engage core muscles too while doing Bharmanasana. Image courtesy: Freepik
  • Begin on your hands and knees, aligning your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Your fingers should be spread wide apart for stability.
  • Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine. This will help stabilise your body throughout the pose, says Dr Hansaji.
  • As you inhale, extend your right leg straight back behind you, keeping your toes pointed towards the floor. Ensure that your leg remains parallel to the ground and your hips stay level.
  • To deepen the stretch, flex your right foot by pressing through your heel. This will engage your calf muscles and provide a greater stretch to the back of your leg.
  • Simultaneously, extend your left arm straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Keep your fingers active and pointing forward, and your palm facing inward.
  • Find a point on the floor to focus your gaze, which will help with balance and stability. Keep your neck in line with your spine, avoiding any strain.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths while maintaining steady breathing throughout. Aim to keep your body in a straight line from your fingertips to your heels.
  • Exhale as you gently lower your arm and leg back to the starting position.

The yoga asana is beneficial to most people, but those with an injury or who had a knee, wrist, shoulder, elbow, hips, ankle or spine surgery should avoid it. The pressure in these areas will make the pain as well as the swelling worse.

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