Practice: Utpluthih (Tolasana / Scales pose)

utpluthih

Familiar to those who practice the Ashtanga sequence; Utpluthih or Tolasana builds upper body and core strength dramatically, but it also requires this strength to be able to hold the position. Utpluthih brings about an awareness of how much strength, discipline and balance is needed for other arm balancing poses, as well as cultivating focus. As with all poses, if the full and final expression isn’t available to you (yet!) then do whatever works for your body.

If you’re not practicing padmasana or lotus pose yet, then do this pose with the legs crossed as you would sitting on the floor – this isn’t the time to be forcing yourself in to lotus pose if you’re not familiar with it!

The hands lay flat to the floor here – if you need to at first, you could place them on blocks so that the whole body can be lifted up, pulling the legs to the core.

How To:

  •  Either take the legs in to lotus pose, or have them crossed in sukhasana (easy cross-legged pose)
  •  Make sure the spine is straight – it may be tempting to round the back, but keep reaching up towards the sky here.
  • Place the hands on the floor either side of the body and take a breath to prepare.
  •  Inhale, and on a exhale press the hands in to the floor, engage the abdominal muscles and lift the body up, pulling everything to your centre.
  •  Take 5-10 breaths here, or however many you can manage!
  •  On an exhale, slowly lower down to the floor. Notice how much the muscles relax after the strength you’ve just used to lift in to the pose!

*In the pose, make sure you’re clawing the hands in to the floor – pressing down through the finger pads and finger tips – similarly to the action in downward facing dog, so the weight can be taken out of the wrists.

Practice this pose regularly and notice the immense amount of strength you can build in such a short time!

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