Bharmanasana (Table Top Pose): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Bharmanasana (Table Top Pose) steps - Sharp Muscle
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Updated: February 16, 2023

Bharmanasana, also known as Table Top Pose, is a beginner yoga pose and a strengthening pose that is the starting point for many other poses.

All Fours Pose is a foundational yoga pose that is commonly used as a starting point for many other poses. It is a gentle pose that can help to improve posture and balance, stretch the spine, and engage the core muscles. It brings a sense of balance and strengthens the muscles of your core, hips, lower back and spine. Furthermore, open the chest to help the practitioner take more deep breaths, and this can be done by everyone.

Information

Known as:Bharmanasana, Table Top Pose, All Fours Pose, Table Pose
Sanskrit name:भरमानसाना
IAST:Bharmanāsana
Pronunciation:BAHR-mahn-AHS-anna
Level:Beginner
Type:Restorative, seated
Focus:Knees, arms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, lower back
Total time:20 to 60 seconds plus
Drishti:Down between your palms
Chakra:Muladhara Chakra, Svadisthana Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra
Indications:Backaches, insomnia, mild depression
Counterposes:Child’s Pose (Balasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakasana), Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Preparatory poses:Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakasana), Puppy Pose (Anahatasana), Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Wrist and hand stretches
Follow-up poses:Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Marjaryasana Bitilasana (Cat Cow Pose), Phalakasana (High Plank Pose), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Contraindications:Knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, wrist, elbows, or spine injuries

Meaning

Bharmanasana

The Bharmanasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of two words — Bharma + Asana:

  1. Bharma” = “table or a board to hold something”
  2. Asana” = “posture or pose”

The pose is named after the shape it resembles, which is a table with the arms and legs forming the four legs of the table and the torso forming the table top.

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In traditional yoga philosophy, the practice of asanas is seen as a way to prepare the body and mind for meditation and spiritual growth. Each asana is believed to have its own unique benefits, both physical and mental, and can help to balance and harmonize the body and mind.

By practicing Bharmanasana with proper alignment and mindfulness, we can cultivate a greater sense of physical and mental awareness, and prepare our bodies and minds for deeper levels of practice and growth.

Benefits of Bharmanasana (Table Top Pose)

The physical and mental benefits of this yoga pose are listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Strengthens and stretches the core, arms, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, chest, back, knees, hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings
    • Stretches and lengthens the spine
    • Improves the flexibility
    • Improves the range of motion and posture
    • Improve the balance and core awareness
    • Tones the spine
    • Enhances the breath capacity
    • Reduces the backaches and spine or stiffness
    • Aids in the alignment of limbs
  2. Mental Benefits:
    • Calms the mind
    • Improve mental clarity and focus in daily life
    • Increase self-awareness and promote a greater sense of mind-body connection
    • Help to cultivate a greater sense of present-moment awareness and mindfulness
    • Relives stress and anxiety
    • Increased confidence and self-esteem
    • Improve overall well-being and reduce feelings of fatigue or exhaustion
    • Reduces the mild depression and treat insomnia

Bharmanasana (Table Top Pose) Practice Guide

It is important that you do not put pressure on yourself to achieve perfection in less time. Although it is a beginner pose, this yoga pose can be performed by anyone, as it is a relaxing pose and extremely helpful in calming the mind and improving the circulation of prana energy to all parts of the body.

Even though you have been practicing yoga for some time, it is essential that you follow the tips and seek guidance to keep your practice safe.

Follow the instructions below to practice these Asanas safely. It will help you in the complete practice of the pose.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Begin by sitting in Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) or kneeling position.
  2. Now place both the palms on the floor in front of you, palms facing out.
  3. Then, lifting yourself up from the buttocks, support yourself on the knees and palms.
  4. Adjusting the posture, bring the palms just below your shoulders.
  5. Now move the tailbone backward and at the same time stretch your neck forward to straighten the spine.
  6. You can keep your gaze between your palms, or on the wall in front of you, or on the floor between the palms.
  7. At this time, breathe normally, or you can even hold your breath for a few seconds (only if you feel comfortable doing so).
  8. Maintain this pose for 20 to 60 seconds or as long as possible (as long as you feel comfortable).
  9. To come out of the pose slowly and finish it in the Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) or kneeling position.
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Tips

  • Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips to ensure proper alignment and stability.
  • Keep your spine long and avoid rounding or arching your back.
  • Engage your core muscles throughout the pose to support your lower back and protect your spine.
  • If you have wrist pain or discomfort, you can place a folded towel or blanket under your hands to provide extra cushioning.

Common mistakes

Watch out following common mistakes while practicing this yoga pose. By avoiding these common mistakes and maintaining proper alignment and engagement in the pose, you can enjoy the full benefits of Bharmanasana and prepare yourself for more advanced yoga poses.

Here are some common mistakes people make when practicing Bharmanasana:

  • Rounded or arched back: One of the most common mistakes people make in Table Top Pose is rounding or arching their back. This can put pressure on the spine and cause discomfort. Instead, try to maintain a neutral spine, with your head, neck, and tailbone in a straight line.
  • Collapsed shoulders: Another common mistake is letting the shoulders collapse or scrunch up towards the ears. This can cause tension and strain in the neck and shoulders. Instead, draw your shoulder blades down and back, broadening across the collarbones.
  • Poor hand and wrist alignment: Some people tend to place their hands too far forward or backward, which can put excessive pressure on the wrists. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your fingers are spread wide, with your weight evenly distributed across your palms.
  • Sagging belly: Allowing your belly to sag towards the ground can put unnecessary strain on your lower back. Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine to protect your back and support your posture.
  • Holding the breath: Many people tend to hold their breath or take shallow breaths while in Table Top Pose. Remember to breathe deeply and evenly throughout the pose, allowing your breath to help you stay present and focused.
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Modifications

There are a few modifications you can make to Bharmanasana to make the pose more accessible or to adapt it to your specific needs. Here are some common modifications for Table Top Pose:

  • Knee padding: If you have sensitive knees, you can place a folded blanket or towel underneath your knees for extra cushioning.
  • Fist instead of flat palms: If you have wrist pain or discomfort, you can make fists with your hands instead of placing them flat on the mat. This can help to reduce the amount of pressure on your wrists.
  • Raised hands: If you have shoulder issues, you can raise your hands slightly off the mat and hover them over the ground instead of placing them flat on the mat. This can help to reduce the amount of weight placed on your shoulders.
  • Use a block: If you have trouble reaching the ground or have limited range of motion, you can place a yoga block underneath your hands. This will help to bring the ground closer to you and make the pose more accessible.
  • One hand and one knee down: If you need to modify the pose for any reason, you can place one hand and one knee down on the mat instead of both hands and both knees. This can help to reduce the amount of weight you need to bear and make the pose more manageable.
Note:
Remember that modifications are a way to make the pose work for you, so don’t be afraid to make adjustments as needed. If you have any specific concerns or limitations, it may also be helpful to work with a qualified yoga teacher who can provide individualized guidance and support.

Precautions and contraindications

There are some precautions and contraindications to keep in mind while practicing Bharmanasana (Table Top Pose), which are explained below:

Injury and surgery

People who are suffering from injuries or have recently had surgery on their knees, shoulders, wrists, back or elbows should avoid practicing this yoga pose until they recover. Consult a doctor or instructor before starting the pose.

Arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis (knees, hips, and shoulders), one must be extremely cautious while performing the pose, as the pressure on your joints can cause discomfort.

Physical strength and weak body

Avoid practicing this yoga pose with weak ankles, knees, wrists, joints, and shoulders. Individuals suffering from carpal syndrome should avoid practicing Table Top Pose because of the pressure on the wrist.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women should consult a doctor or avoid doing this yoga pose altogether, as the chances of losing balance and falling are high.

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