tola = literally "poising one's self"; usually rendered as "balance" or "scale"
Step by Step
Perform Padmasana (Lotus Pose). Place the palms on the floor beside the hips.
Exhale, push the hands against the floor, contract the abdominal muscles, and lift the legs and buttocks away from the floor.
Hold suspended for 10 to 15 seconds. Then lower your legs and buttocks on an exhalation, change the cross of the legs, and repeat for the same length of time.
Strengthens the wrists, arms, and abdomen
Contraindications and Cautions
- Avoid this pose with any shoulder or wrist injuries.
- Tolasana also has many contraindications in common with Padmasana:
- Ankle injury
- Knee injury
- Tight hips or thighs
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.
Tolasana isn't recommended for students who aren't able to perform Padmasana comfortably. Instead try a similar pose, Lolasana. Kneel on the floor and cross the front of your right ankle over the back of the left, as if you were in Simhasana (Lion Pose). Then sit back on the right heel and nestle it into your perineum. Place the hands on the floor (or on blocks) as if for Tolasana, and carry out the instructions given above. In Tolasana, the lifted torso is kept fairly upright; but in Lolasana, the back torso is completely rounded and the shoulders widened (which domes the back toward the ceiling). Release with an exhale, change the cross of the ankles, and repeat for the same length of time.
Modifications and Props
With the hands on the floor, it's often difficult to lift the legs away from the floor. Use a block under each hand to increase the length of the arms and assist the lift of the legs.
Tolasana is usually performed as part of a Padmasana sequence. One common follow-up asana is called Kukkutasana (kukkuta = cock). Here the arms are slipped into the creases between the thighs and calves and, as in Tolasana, the torso and legs are then lifted away from the floor.
Deepen The Pose
To assist with the lift of the torso and legs, draw your inner groins up into the core of your torso, along the front of the spine.