Whether you’re a beginner or have been practicing poses for a while, learning the key elements in basic postures will benefit your practice. My goal as a yoga teacher is to prevent injury, and one of the best ways to do that is to understand foundational poses.
Foundational poses do exactly what they advertise: they provide the building blocks for other postures. For this reason, they deserve a few extra teaching moments.
Mountain Pose is the king of all foundational poses and I covered the basics in The Most Important Yoga Pose. By learning the elements of mountain pose, you carry those into all the other postures especially standing and standing balancing asanas.
The next foundational pose I want to cover is Table Pose, a seemingly innocuous posture that most participants take for granted. “Oh, table pose. . .on my hands and knees.”
Easy. Super simple. Right?
Not quite. The phrase I’m fond of throwing around is “crappy table, crappy everything else.”
The Queen of Foundational Poses
Table Pose leads to so many other poses that if you have (or start) bad habits in this pose, you’ll carry them through to other poses, and unfortunately, most people perform table pose like they’re tired, old sway-back donkeys.
To create safe alignment and prevent wrist, shoulder, and low back issues, you’ll want to make sure Table Pose is understood and executed well. If you’re interested in mastering arm balances and certain inversions then you’ll also want to give special attention to this basic, foundational pose.
In the following video, I take a few minutes to detail the elements you need to remember in Table Pose.
Key Elements of Table Pose
To recap from the video, pay attention to the following when practicing the basic yoga pose Table:
1. Knees aligned with hips
2. Wrists aligned with shoulders
3. Gaze is toward floor to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine
4. Tiny rounding of upper back to lift weight out of wrists.
My mentor described number four as “stand on your hands” a cue that includes hasta bandha and learning to engage the arm muscles the same way you would use pada bandha and your thighs in Mountain Pose.
When you learn to engage all the elements in Table Pose you’ll not only create a posture that is balanced and building strength, but you’re learning how to progress to more challenging postures like plank, updog, side plank, or crow.