The Hands and Knees balance pose (Dandayamana Bharmanasana), also known as the bird dog pose or balancing table pose, is a restorative asana that brings a sense of stability and strengthens the hips, spine, lower back and core muscles.
During this yoga pose, the back resembles a tabletop while you balance your body with one hand and a leg. It's a beginner-level asana that can be done by everyone and can also be modified into a backbend pose or by doing some crunches when you are perfectly balanced.
The hands and knees balance is a foundation pose for several balancing yoga flows and floor poses, such as tiger pose (Vyaghrasana), awkward airplane balance pose, etc.
How to do Hands and Knees Balance pose in yoga?
- Take a position on all your fours, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Sowly extend your right foot backwards, and flex your foot.
- Raise your right leg to your hip, and make sure to keep your hips squared to the ground and your foot properly flexed.
- Raise your left arm to your shoulder level, and straighten it. Keep your thumb facing up towards the ceiling, and try to balance yourself on your left knee and right hand. Keep your spine neutral and neck straight. Keep your gaze down on the floor.
- Hold the position for a few breaths, and lower your lifted knee and hand.
- Pause for a few seconds on all your fours, and repeat the movement on the other side.
Watch this video for reference:
Tips for Beginners
If you are doing this yoga asana for the first time, try considering the following tips:
- It is absolutely fine if you are unable to balance yourself at first. Just try maintaining your limbs off the ground. To make the position even more comfortable, you can put a folded blanket under your knees for cushioning.
- Once you are in a balanced position, perform some crunches by rounding your spine, just like you do in the cat-cow pose. Bring your elbow and knee to meet near your stomach, and extend them again.
- Do this movement five to eight times on each side, and coordinate with your breath. Extend your foot and hand away from each other on inhalations, and on exhalations, bring your elbow and knee together.
Benefits of Hands and Knees Balance Pose
The Hands and Knees Balance pose is an easy yet challenging pose. This yoga posture is easy, as it is done on all fours (hands and knees) as a foundation pose. However, it is challenging, as it requires great balancing techniques while ensuring coordination and alignment are correct.
The balancing involved in this pose helps calm the mind and body and also brings in positivity. It is good for your core strength and spinal health and helps balance the root chakra and the sacral chakra too.
The Dandayamana Bharmanasana also benefits several muscles in your body, including your arms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, hamstrings, hips, glutes, knees, quads and psoas. It strengthens your spine, helps correct postural defects and can even relieve tension and stress. The Hands and Knees Balance pose can be done to cure certain sleep disorders, such as insomnia, too.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Avoid these mistakes to make the most out of the Hands and Knees Balance pose and avoid strains and injuries:
Wrong shoulder position
When doing this asana, do not let your shoulders come near your ears. Always keep your shoulders down and your chest wide. Do not sink into your shoulder joint; rather lift it up, and keep it tight.
Do not let your spine collapse or bend into a cow cat pose while you are still balancing. Always engage your core muscles and glutes to keep your spine straight. If your abdominal muscles drop, that can lead to strain in your lower back.
The Hands and Knees balance pose should be avoided if you have any type of injury to your back, shoulder, hip or knee. While it is a safe pose for pregnant women, it should be avoided in and after the third trimester.
Also, people with weak ankles and wrists should not attempt this asana. People with sensitive knees should place a towel or folded blanket under their knees to avoid strain and pain. If you experience any discomfort or pain, immediately end the pose, and relax.