Scale Pose (Tolasana) — is an arm balancing pose that requires and creates strong abdominal muscles. Practiced during the Ashtanga Yoga 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. The full version of the pose is performed with the legs in Lotus Pose (Padmasana), so it is sometimes referred to as “Lifted Lotus”. Tolasana can be a fun pose to work toward as you gain strength and flexibility!
It is also known as elevated Lotus Pose. This is a great pose performed in yoga that has its focus on the development of diverse parts of your body. Your spine, knees, and abdomen, along with your shoulder muscles are greatly benefitted by performing this yoga pose. To prep for Tolasana, make sure the hips are open and ready for lotus. Warm up the abs and hip flexors with Navasana and Crow. Warm up the shoulders and core in advance by taking a few vinyasas and longer-held plank poses.
Benefits of Scale Pose
Tolasana strengthens the abdominal muscles, arms, and wrists. The deep abdominal work stimulates your digestive system, as well. This pose also increases flexibility in the hips and wrists, boosts core functionality and body awareness.
Do not practice this pose if you have current or recent shoulder or wrist injuries. If you have ankle, knee, or hip injuries, do not practice the full version of the pose (in Lotus), but instead practice a modified variation that will not aggravate your injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
How to Do Scale Pose (Tolasana)
- 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.
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. More advanced practitioners can hold the pose for up to 100 breaths.
Scale Pose for Beginners
For newcomers to yoga, Tolasana is a great yoga pose which can focus on many regions requiring development like the spine, ankles, knees, shoulders, abdomen, wrists and intestines. If you’d like to lighten the pose, try these simple changes to find a variation that works best for you:
- Beginners can place each hand on a block to help lift themselves off the floor.
- If you are unable to come into Lotus Pose, sit with your legs crossed in Easy Pose (Sukhasana), instead. Draw your knees in toward your chest to help lift your body. You can also cross your top leg into Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana) and perform the pose as described above.
Scale Pose for Advanced
For advanced students or yogis, the Scale Pose is highly beneficial in enhancing the strength of the wrists and arms, which play a key role in maintaining healthy, strong shoulders and healing shoulder injuries. You may deepen the pose by increasing its duration and drawing your inner groin muscles towards your torso’s core.
- Advanced practitioners can jump back directly from Tolasana into Chaturanga.
- More advanced practitioners should engage both uddiyana bandha and mula bandha throughout the pose.
Lift & Find Balance
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.