While not truly a “pose” in a traditional yoga practice, tabletop is a staple for transitioning to many other poses like cat, cow, child’s pose, and downward dog.
Mastering tabletop can help make more difficult poses more accessible for beginner yogis.
On it’s own, tabletop position is hardly a rest pose. To hold tabletop, you must stay engaged in your shoulders and core.
Bare Bones Pose:
- Come onto hands and knees.
- Stack your joints, so your hands are directly under the shoulders. Hands shoulder-width apart. Knees should be stacked under hips, hip-width apart.
- If your knees hurt here, place blanket under the knees or roll up your mat to make a cushion for the knees.
- Tone your tummy by keeping your core lifted and engaged. Your tailbone neutral.
- Spread your fingers and press into the first knuckle to take pressure off the wrists.
- Many times, a yoga practice will begin a cat / cow series from here.
Twisty Table: Drop your right elbow to the floor underneath the shoulder. Twist through your upper back looking over the left shoulder. Hold 5 breaths or 15 seconds. Switch sides.
Look overs: Make a C-curve with your right side body. Look over the right shoulder. Hold 5 breaths or 15 seconds.Switch sides.
Shoulder Reengagements: Perfect for practicing shoulder engagement necessary in downward dog, plank, side plank, and many other hand balancing poses. Exhale, allow your shoulders to relax and roll up by your ears in tabletop. Inhale, press away the floor and reengage the shoulder. Try 5 more breaths repeating this pattern.
Balancing Table: Core. control. Extend the right leg behind you, once you find your balance, extend the left hand to counterbalance. Look down in front of you. Take it to level 2 by bending the right leg and reaching back for the top of the foot with the left hand. Allow the shoulder to roll back and lift the toes to the sky for a backend and shoulder opener. Hold 5 breaths or 15 seconds. Switch sides.
Flipped Table (aka Modified Wild Thing): Begin with the right leg extended and tilt the pelvis so the right hip stacks on top of the left. Drop your right foot behind your back with the leg long and engaged. Allow your right hand to lift off the floor and reach behind you as your chest opens to the sky. Great beginner backbend.
**Bonus Hip Engagement Series**
Half-moon pose on the horizon? When your peak pose requires hips to activate in order to keep your squat strong or your legs balance, it’s a good idea to activate the muscles around the hips. The hip series in tabletop will strengthen your hips, so you’ll find poses like half-moon or side plank much easier. Try these separately or put all 3 together for a killer hip toner.
Table knee circles: Start with your right leg lifted, bend your knee with the heel to the sky (booty werk!). Exhale, pull knee to nose and round the back like in cat pose. Bring the spine to neutral as you inhale to lift the knee to the right in line with your hip. Then, shoot the heel up to the ceiling again in the beginning position. Repeat 5 circles on the right, then move on to exercise 2!
Table hip kicks: Hold the right knee in line with your hip out to the right. Inhale to unbend the knee and engage the entire leg. Exhale to bend the knee back to start. Keep your hip engaged! Repeat 5 hip kicks, then move to exercise 3!
Table outer thigh lifts: Let your right leg fall out to the right in line with the hip. Use outer thigh and hip muscles to lift the foot from the floor to align with the hip hovering in the air. Repeat 5 leg lifts and take break! Then switch sides and repeat exercises 1-3 😉