Scale Pose — Tolasana (toh-LAHS-uh-nuh) — is an arm balancing pose that requires and creates strong abdominal muscles. Practiced during the Ashtanga 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!
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.
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.
- 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. More advanced practitioners can hold the pose for up to 100 breaths.
Modifications & Variations
If you'd like to deepen or 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 (Ardha Padmasana) and perform the pose as described above.
- Advanced practitioners can jump back directly from Tolasana into Chaturanga.
Practicing Tolasana will build strength and power throughout your arms and core muscles. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Since Lotus Pose is the foundation for Scale Pose, it's important to get the alignment correct first in Lotus Pose. Thoroughly review the information in the iSport guide, How to Do Lotus Pose in Yoga, before trying this variation!
- Begin by only lifting your sit bones off the floor, keeping your legs on the ground (or feet, if you are in Sukhasana). As you gain strength, you will be able to lift your entire body.
- 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.
- To help with the lift, draw your pelvic bone up and in toward the core of your torso. This will not only help build abdominal strength, but it will also help you to learn to engage the mula bandha.
- 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.