Scale Pose (Tolasana), (toh-LAH-suh-nuh)
tola (scale) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Elevated Lotus Pose
Pose Type: Strengthening, Balancing
Lift off from the earth and strengthen your hands, wrists, arms, and core in Scale Pose.
Scale Pose Fundamentals
Level up your Lotus Pose and build a strong upper body in Scale Pose.
This arm balance pose has the full Lotus Pose as its base, so it’s necessary to nail that pose first before you attempt to try it. It also requires foundational strength in the core and arms.
Scale pose is a powerful hip opener but also strengthens the shoulders, arms, and core. It’s a fantastic choice for those who want to work on their concentration skills, as perfect alignment is crucial to enter the pose in the correct way.
Since this pose requires a lot of flexibility, strength, focus, and stability, it is generally suitable only for intermediate and advanced students. Nevertheless, there are variations you can do to begin working on the pose even as a beginner. You can find some of these options in the Variations section of this article.
Once you overcome the physical challenge of the pose and are able to hold it for time, it will bring a sense of inner calm, liberation, and power.
Scale Pose & yoga History
Scale Pose is a part of the seated sequence in Ashtanga yoga, and you may also encounter it in Vinyasa and Power yoga classes.
It was not a part of traditional Hatha yoga sequences nor mentioned in texts before the 20th century when it was included in Swami Yogeshwaranda’s First Steps to Higher Yoga.
BKS Iyengar also mentioned it in his book Light On Yoga, so you may also get a chance to try it if you are practicing Iyengar yoga style.
Scale Pose & Energetics
Traditionally, the pose is done with an activated root lock (Mula Bandha) and upward abdominal lock (Uddiyana bandha), both having great benefits of their own—particularly in balancing the testosterone, estrogen, and adrenaline in the body.
Energetically, Scale Pose stimulates the Muladhara or Root Chakra, which may help you to feel more secure, stable, and present.
Scale Pose Benefits
- Builds strength in the abdominal muscles, wrists, and arms.
- The engagement of the abdominal muscles will also stimulate the internal organs and boost digestion.
- Lengthens and stretches the hips and legs, and may help improve mobility in the ankles and knees.
- Improves your balance skills and helps you work on attaining greater focus and concentration.
- Since the base of the pose is Lotus, it shares many of its benefits, including its calming and stress-reducing effects.
How To Do Scale Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin sitting cross-legged in Lotus Pose. If you are not able to perform Padmasana yet, focus on attaining that pose first.
2. Now place your hands on the floor, next to your hips.
3. Press your palms firmly into the ground, draw your ab muscles in to engage them, and use that action to lift your hips and legs off the floor.
4. Your back will naturally round slightly, but try to keep it as long as you can.
5. Once you lifted, hold the pose for five long breaths. As you progress, you might be able to hold it for even longer, so it’s best to find your own sweet spot.
6. Release, change the cross of your legs, and repeat the same steps with the other foot on top.
Tips And Tricks:
- Lotus Pose is the base for Scale, so it’s important to master this pose first.
- Begin practicing by lifting only your hips and keeping your legs on the ground. In this way, you will slowly build strength and get a feel of the pose.
- This pose requires a lot of core strength. It may help to perform core strengthening poses to activate your abdomen, so you can engage it better for Scale Pose.
- You don’t have to hold the pose for a certain amount of breaths when you’re just learning – hold it for as long as you can. Still try to keep your breaths long and steady.
- Focus on lifting your knees as high as possible, as that will help you activate your abdomen more.
Scale Pose Variation:
Scale Pose Variation: Scale Pose With Blocks
If you are able to perform Lotus Pose but struggle with lifting the legs off the ground, a little extra distance between the hands and the floor may do the trick for you.
Place a block under each hand on any level, begin with the lowest position, and then rotate the blocks if you need more height. Gripping blocks with your hands is an additional way in which this variation may make lifting off easier.
All the other steps in this variation are the same as they are for the full-Scale Pose.
Scale Pose Variation: Scale Pose in Half Lotus
If you aren’t able to perform full Lotus, you can begin working on Scale Pose in Half Lotus. With continuous practice, this variation will prepare you both for Padmasana and Scale Pose.
First, enter Half Lotus, with one foot on the ground and the other on top of the opposite calf. Then place your hands by your sides and try to lift off, following the same steps as we described for Scale Pose.
In this variation, you will lift your top leg and hips, but the bottom foot and shin will remain resting on the floor. Hold the pose for as long as comfortable. Change the cross of your legs and repeat with the other leg on top.
Scale Pose Variation: Pendant Pose (Lolasana)
Lolasana or Pendant pose is another good alternative for those who are not able to perform Lotus Pose. Although the poses are different, the action of lifting and the activation of the upper body is similar.
To perform the Pendant pose, begin sitting on your knees, with your right ankle crossed over the left. Sit on the back of the right heel and press your hands next to your knees, on the floor or the blocks. Then lean your torso forward, slightly round your back, push your hands into the ground, and use core strength to lift your legs off the floor. Your knees will be close to your chest.
Hold for as long as comfortable, and release. Take a moment to give your wrists a rest, then repeat with the left ankle on top.
Use yoga blocks to increase the distance between your legs and the earth.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Not activating the pelvic bone. Activating the pelvis and drawing it up toward your low abdomen is crucial for practicing this pose. This will help in strengthening the core and engaging your mula bandha, which is a traditional way to practice the Scale Pose.
Not mastering Lotus Pose first. Padmasana is the base for the full expression of this pose. Only practice if you are able to practice Lotus Pose with correct alignment.
Injuries and Conditions
Refrain from practicing this pose if you recently have an injury in the wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, or ankles.
Shoulder Pressing Pose
For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.
Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.