Sankatasana, also known as Balancing Pose or the Pose of Unease, is a seated yoga pose that requires balance and concentration. It strengthens the abdominal and back muscles and improves overall core stability while stretching the hips, thighs, and ankles and improving flexibility in these areas.
In this pose, the practitioner sits with one leg wrapped around the other, with the hands in Namaste position in front of the chest. Sankatasana is a challenging pose that requires strength, flexibility, and focus, making it a beneficial posture for improving physical and mental well-being.
Expert believe that regular practicing of this yoga pose can improve the balance, strength, and flexibility in your hips, thighs, and ankles. The pose also promotes mental focus, concentration, and mindfulness, making it an excellent posture for reducing stress and anxiety. The Sankatasana is suitable for intermediate to advanced practitioners and can be modified to accommodate different body types and abilities.
|Sankatasana, Balancing Pose, The Pose of Unease
|30 seconds to 3 minutes
|Forward (on a fixed point in front of you)
|Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra), Svadhisthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra)
|Nerves, leg joints, back-pain, stones, hernia diseases, arthritis, digestive organs, digestion, constipation, stress, anxiety
|Sukhasana (Easy Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Child’s Pose (Balasana)
|Sukhasana (Easy Pose), Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), Malasana (Garland Pose), Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
|Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Marichyasana III (Marichi’s Pose III), Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)
|Knee or ankle problems, Varicose veins, Pregnancy, Wrist, or shoulder injuries
The word ‘Sankatasana’ is derived from two Sanskrit words — Sankata + Asana:
- “Sankata” = “difficulty” or “problem” or “trouble” or “danger”
- “Asana” = “pose” or “posture”
Thus, the name Sankatasana can be translated as “the pose that helps to overcome difficulties.”
The pose’s name reflects the physical and mental challenge it presents to the practitioner, who must maintain balance and concentration while sitting in this posture.
Benefits of Balancing Pose
- Physical Benefits:
- Strengthen the abdominal and back muscles
- Improve overall core stability
- Improve balance and stability in the body
- Stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles
- Improve flexibility in the hips, thighs, and ankles
- Stimulate the digestive organs
- Improve digestion
- Alleviate constipation
- Increase circulation in the legs and feet and reduce swelling
- Mental Benefits:
- Improve mental clarity and concentration
- Calm the mind
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Help to increase self-awareness and mindfulness
- Increases sense of calm and relaxation
- Promotes a sense of inner balance and harmony
Step-by-step instruction of Sankatasana
- Start in a Dandasana (Staff Pose) with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Bend your left knee and place your left foot on the floor, bringing your left heel towards your left sitting bone.
- Take your right leg and cross it over your left leg, so that your right knee is stacked directly on top of your left knee.
- Bring your right foot towards the left side of your body and place it on the floor beside your left thigh.
- Use your hands to adjust your legs so that both sitting bones are grounded on the floor.
- Bring your palms together in front of your heart, in Namaste position.
- Focus your drishti (gaze) on a fixed point in front of you to help maintain your balance.
- You can stay in this position or, to deepen the stretch, hinge forward at your hips while keeping your spine straight.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
- Then slowly release the pose and repeat the process on the other side.
Variations and modifications
Choose a variation or modification that suits your body’s needs and abilities, and it’s always advising to practitioner that practice the posse mindfully and with awareness of your body’s limitations. If you experience any discomfort or pain while practicing Sankatasana (Balancing Pose), release the pose immediately and consult a qualified yoga teacher or healthcare provider.
However, here are some modifications and variations of this yoga posture you can follow:
- Knee or ankle problems: If you have knee or ankle problems, you can keep the foot on the floor instead of wrapping it around the other leg. This will help to reduce the pressure on the knee or ankle joint.
- Varicose veins: If you have varicose veins, you can keep the legs in a comfortable position instead of crossing them. This will help to reduce the pressure on the veins in the legs.
- Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, you can modify this pose by keeping the feet on the floor and not crossing the legs. This will help to avoid pressure on the abdomen and maintain proper circulation to the fetus.
- Eagle Pose (Garudasana): This pose is a more challenging variation of Sankatasana and involves wrapping both legs around each other and bringing the arms in front of the chest, with one arm wrapping around the other.
- Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana): This pose involves twisting the spine while sitting with one leg bent and the other leg crossed over the bent leg. This pose can help to stretch the spine and improve digestion.
- Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana): This pose involves folding forward while sitting with the legs extended in front of the body. This pose can help to stretch the hamstrings, back, and shoulders, and promote relaxation.
- Easy Pose (Sukhasana): This pose involves sitting cross-legged with the hands in Namaste position. This pose can help to improve posture, reduce stress, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
Precautions and contraindications
The precautions and contraindications to consider when practicing Sankatasana (Balancing Pose) in a sitting position with hands in Namaste position, including:
- Knee or ankle problems: One with knee or ankle problems should be careful when practicing Sankatasana in a sitting position, as it may put pressure on the knee or ankle joint. Avoid this pose or take a modified version by keeping the foot on the floor instead of wrapping it around the other leg.
- Varicose veins: This pose can put pressure on the veins in the legs, which can exacerbate varicose veins. If you have varicose veins, avoid this pose or take a modified version with the legs in a comfortable position.
- Pregnancy: This yoga pose is not advisable during pregnancy, as it may put pressure on the abdomen and interfere with the proper circulation of blood and nutrients to the fetus.
- Wrist or shoulder injuries: Individual with wrist or shoulder injuries, be cautious when practicing Sankatasana in a sitting position with hands in Namaste position. You may need to modify the pose or avoid it altogether to avoid further injury.
Overall, practicing yoga should be a safe and beneficial experience for one’s body and mind. It is essential to practice this pose mindfully and with awareness of your body’s limitations. If you experience any discomfort or pain while practicing, release the pose immediately and consult a qualified yoga teacher or healthcare provider.