– Reverse Table Top Pose also known as Crab Pose, is a tremendous pose for gaining agility and upper body strength. It strengthens the shoulders, arms, core, gluteus maximus, wrists and legs. Reverse Table Top opens the front of the body so it’s an excellent counter pose to Table Top Pose, Forward Fold, Plank and Chaturanga. Since the pose is beneficial in both building up and stretching the muscles that hold us in good posture, it is a good asana for preventing Text Neck.
This month in my fitness classes, I have been doing a Reverse Table Top challenge. Working backwards challenges the mind and body and it’s great cross-training. Break some old patterns by moving in new ways. Try things that are opposite of what you know. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.
Playing Upside Down
Crab Pose is a wonderful exercise that utilizes your own body weight. If you want even more out of this exercise, there are ways you can add variations. Adding: leg extensions, arm extensions, figure 4 stretch, knee lifts, foot on knee or the crab walk will amplify the intensity and difficulty of the exercise. First, let’s start with a simple Reverse Table.
Reverse Table Top Pose Instructions
- Begin in Staff Pose or from a seated position; bend the knees bringing the feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Toes and knees are pointing straight ahead.
- Lean back into the arms with your fingers pointed towards the buttocks, inhale and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, level with the knees and shoulders. Press into the feet.
- Look up at the ceiling or carefully drop the head back. Knees are over the ankles and shoulders are over the wrists.
- Squeeze the glutes, engaging Mula Bandha to lift the hips high. Press into the hands and draw the shoulder blades towards each other and lift up through the sternum, keeping the spine straight.
- Hold for 3 to 10 breaths. I tell my students, “Imagine you are balancing a cup of hot tea on your stomach.”
- To release the pose, slowly drop your hips to the floor as you exhale.
Tip – As you add on extensions to your pose, work extra hard to keep your hips from dropping by squeezing your glutei and lifting through your hips.
Benefits Of Doing Ardha Purvottanasana (Sanskrit name):
- Improves posture
- Strengthens: shoulders, arms, back, legs, neck, glutes and core
- Enhances the digestive system
- Good for playing with your kids or grand kids
- Stretches: chest, abdominals, shoulders and legs
- Stimulates the respiratory and endocrine systems
- Improves the circulatory system
- Increases agility and stamina
Fly Like the Dragonfly
“When a dragonfly flutters by, you may not realize, but it’s the greatest flier in nature, it can hover, fly backwards and even upside down.” – Louie Schwartzberg
Keep training so when things in your life go upside down, you will be ready for the turn, not just in your body, but also in your mind and spirit. Rediscover your strengths and weaknesses. Look deeply into your rooted values and reboot.
Cautions and Modifications
Half Upward Plank Pose is another English name for Reverse Table Pose. If you are a beginner, Upward Plank Pose may be a little easier for you and it shares many of the same benefits. Do not practice Reverse Table if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, or injury to your shoulders, neck, or wrist. Always work within your own abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
Have fun with your self-discovery!
Best in health, Linda
“The truth of the matter is that the whole world has already been turned upside down by the work of Jesus Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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