Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

About Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose!

The word Dolasana is derived from Sanskrit where "Dol" means "To swing" or "To oscillate" and "Asana" means "Pose' or "Posture".

In the final position, the body swings like a pendulum while practicing this asana and hence the name Dolasana or The pendulum Pose.

Dolasana is excellent for improving flexibility of the spine as it warms and stretches the back muscles and spine. Dolasana or the pendulum Pose strengthens the core body and stimulates the nervous, lymphatic and reproductive systems. Like other asanas, it is considered best when Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose is practiced early in the morning. However, if because of some reason, you are not able to practice it in the morning, you can practice this asana in the evening as well. Mornings are preferred as the food is digested and your body has the energy to perform the asanas. But make sure that when you are practicing this asana in the evening, you should have your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose helps in stretching and strengthening of the spine, which helps reduce pressure between your vertebrae and joints.

How to Do Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose?

First of all you must come to stand in Tadasana or The Palm Tree Pose before practicing Dolasana or The Pendulum Pose.

How to Do Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose?

Steps to Practice Tadasana or the Palm Tree Pose:

  • To practice Tadasana in standing position, stand straight and keep your legs slightly apart from each other.
  • Raise your hands above your head and look straight while focusing on one point in front of you.
  • Interlock the fingers of both the hands and turn them upwards in such a way that the palms are towards the ceiling/sky.
  • Take a deep breath or while inhaling, stretch your arms, chest and shoulders upwards.
  • While practicing Tadasana, the gaze can be adjusted to look a little above while stretching.
  • Raise your heels in such a way that all the weight of your body is on the toes.
  • Remain in this position for 20-30 seconds.
  • Retain your breath while stretching.
  • While exhaling, come down to your original position.
  • This completes one round of Standing Tadasana.

Steps to Practice Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose:

  • To practice Dolasana, stand with the feet about a meter apart on the floor or on the yoga mat.
  • Raise the arms and interlock the fingers behind the neck
  • Make sure that your elbows are pointing sideways while getting into this Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose.
  • Inhale deeply in this position and turn slightly to the right.
  • After you turn to the right, exhale deeply.
  • Now, bend forward while keeping the feet firmly on the ground.
  • Make sure that while bending your feet must be firmly supported on the ground to prevent you from tripping.
  • Bring the head as close as possible to the right knee.
  • If you are a beginner do not push yourself to touch your head to the knee. This will come with constant and persistent practice while doing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose.
  • Also, make sure that your legs should remain straight throughout the practice.
  • Hold the breath in this position and swing the head and upper torso from the right knee to the left knee and then from the left knee to the right knee.
  • This is your body swinging like a pendulum while practicing this asana.
  • This completes one round of Dolasana or The Pendulum Pose.
  • Repeat this asana three times while holding the breath. You should not force yourself to hold the breath in this position. Advanced practitioners can keep holding their breath while practicing this asana while beginners who have trouble while holding the breath in the final pose, can maintain a normal breath during the practice.
  • To release the pose, return to the centre and the upright position while breathing deeply.
  • Practice at least 5 to 8 rounds of Dolasana or The Pendulum Pose.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.
  • After the practice, rest your body in Shavasana for 1-2 minutes.

Breathing Pattern to Be Followed While Practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose

  • Inhale deeply through the nose while raising the arms and while returning to the upright position.
  • Exhale deeply through the mouth on each downward swing to make sure all the stagnant air has been expelled from the lower lungs.
  • While swinging up, inhale deeply and empty the lungs totally on the down swing. You can make a "ha" sound while exhaling for proper exhalation.
  • This sound should come deep from the abdomen and not just the throat.
  • While exhaling you should feel the movement of the diaphragm.
  • Retain your breath after the deep exhalation while holding Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose. Advanced practitioners can retain the breath while practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose while beginners who are not able to retain the breath can maintain a normal and deep inhalation and exhalation while practicing this pose.
  • Exhale deeply after releasing the pose and coming back to Shavasana.

Preparatory & Follow up Poses to be Practiced with Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose

Preparatory Poses: The various preparatory poses to be practiced before Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose are Dandasana or The Staff Pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle Pose, Matsyasana (with the legs stretched out) or The Fish Pose, Ushtrasana or The Camel pose, Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose, Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, Paschimottanasana or the Forward bend.

Follow Up Poses: The various follow up poses or Pranayamas to be practiced after Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose are Anulom Vilom or Alternate Nostril Breathing, Kapalbhati Pranayama, Vajrasana or the Diamond Pose, Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose or the Standing Forward Bend Pose, Nauka Sanchalanasana or Rowing the Boat Pose, Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose or the Standing Forward Bend Pose, Bitilasana or the Cow Pose, Chakrasana or the Wheel pose.

Awareness While Practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose

Physical Awareness - The Physical Awareness while practicing Dolasana or The pendulum Pose should be on the breath, movement, stretch on the back of the neck and on the movement of the diaphragm and breath, keeping the body loose and on the rhythmic swinging movement and on the back and also on the straightness of the knees and the balance of the body on the ground.

Spiritual Awareness – The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Dolasana or The pendulum Pose should be on The Swadhisthana or The Sacral Chakra. Swadhisthana Chakra communicates how to eliminate our need to resist and regulate everything in life and submit ourselves to the divine authority.

Benefits of Practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose

  • Dolasana is beneficial in strengthening the whole body specially the arms, legs, shoulders and feet.
  • Regular practice of Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose calms the mind and relieves headache, insomnia and fatigue.
  • Regular practice of this yoga asana is beneficial in toning the muscles of the body and helps in weight loss.
  • Practicing the Pendulum Pose increases the circulation to the brain.
  • Dolasana lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest increasing lung capacity.
  • It rejuvenates and body and makes you feel energized.
  • This yoga pose helps treat lower back ailments like Sciatica
  • Dolasana or The pendulum Pose is also beneficial for lung disorders like Asthma.
  • It also helps in treating menstrual symptoms like menstrual pain and discomfort.
  • It also helps relieve mild depression and stress.
  • Regular practice of the Pendulum Pose improves digestion and also helps in getting rid of Constipation.
  • It also helps relieve symptoms of Sinusitis.
  • With regular practice you can also get rid of Flat feet.

Precautions & Contraindications While Practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose

  • You are advised not to practice Dolasana or the pendulum Pose if you are suffering from High Blood Pressure.
  • The Pendulum Pose should not be practiced if you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • This yoga pose should also not be practiced if you are suffering from eye ailments like detached eye retina and if you have weak eye capillaries.
  • You are advised not to practice Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose if you have any shoulder injuries like dislocated shoulder or shoulder pain.
  • Dolasana should not be practiced if you are suffering from Diarrhea or you have had an episode of diarrhea recently.
  • Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose is an inverted Yoga Pose and Inverted poses are extremely important because they reverse the action of gravity on the body and get the blood and lymph flowing in opposite directions and hence it increases the blood flow to all over body.
  • It stretches the whole body. All the muscles of the body are stretched while practicing Dolasana or The pendulum Pose.
  • Since the weight of whole body is borne by arms and legs, it helps in strengthening the bones and thus prevents osteoporosis from happening.
  • Because of its inverted nature, blood flow is increased to the top of the body; shoulder stand can help improve brain function and cognition and also help reduce anxiety and depression and calms the whole body.
  • Self-confidence and posture is also improved with regular practice of the Pendulum Pose.
  • Pregnant females should also not practice Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose.
  • Do not force yourself to touch the head to the knee while practicing this asana.
  • Do not over exert yourself. Make sure that you do not push yourself to get in to the proper shape of Dolasana or The Pendulum Pose. Keep practicing gradually and you will reach the final position. Go as far as your body allows.
  • Always consult a doctor if you have any doubts or any chronic disease and practice the asana under the guidance of an expert yoga teacher.

Tips While Practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose

  • Always perform Yogasanas in the range of your abilities and limitations. Go as far as your body allows. Do not overexert yourself while practicing.
  • Advanced practitioners can lean forward and keep your forearms into the thigh of the top leg to deepen the pose, once you have assumed the final pose. Hold for a few seconds. And, then come back. Repeat the asana with the other leg.
  • Beginners will find it difficult to join the hand together while practicing this pose. They can also use a strap which will help in joining the palms with each other while practicing Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose.
  • You can press the big toe of the raised leg instead of the whole foot to maintain balance while practicing The pendulum Pose if you find it difficult to intertwine the legs with each other.
  • If you are in a hurry or if you are at the office and it is difficult for you to find out time to practice yogasanas, you can practice just with the arms while sitting at the office or in front of the television to counter the neck and shoulder strain from sitting in front of a computer screen and from driving for long hours.
  • To deepen the pose, advanced practitioners can squeeze your thighs together and by keeping the inner thighs firmly pressing throughout the pose.
  • You can bring your hips lower in the pose by bending the legs if you have trouble in maintaining the balance or while intertwining the legs with each other while practicing Dolasana.
  • While practicing Dolasana or The pendulum Pose always make sure that you keep your hands, arms, and thighs in one straight line to derive maximum benefits from the pose.
  • Also, you will be able to balance your body even better while practicing this pose when you squeeze your thighs and arms as closer and tighter as possible.

Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose Variations

Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose Variation 1:

  • To practice this variation of Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose, get into Tadasana on the floor or on the yoga mat.
  • Bring your arms towards hips in make your hands rest on your hips.
  • Take deep breath or inhale deeply and expand your chest while inhaling.
  • While exhaling, fold your body starting from the hips and move forward. In this position, your upper body or torso will be perpendicular to the legs.
  • Keep bending your body further forward and make your hands touch the floor on the side of your legs .This would require flexibility in the body.
  • It will loosen your hamstring muscles over a period of time with practice. And, if you are not able to touch the floor with the hands, do not strain. Just go as far as you can without pain.
  • With constant practice, you will be able to touch the floor with your hands. Also, make sure that you do not bend your knees while practicing this variation of Dolasana or The pendulum Pose.
  • Advanced level practitioners can touch their forehead to the knees or can make their head rest between the thighs and their hands can also clasp the ankles.
  • This would be the Pendulum Pose's final position. Stay in this position for a few breaths or for as long as your body feels comfortable.
  • Stop practicing this variation of Dolasana as soon as you start feeling pain in back, hips or the groin region.
  • While inhaling, release the pose and come back to the standing position and place your hands on the hips.
  • It is also advised to practice backward bending asanas like Bhujangasana and Dhanurasana after Dolasana or the pendulum Pose as counter yogasanas.

Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose Variation 2:

  • To do this variation of Dolasana, stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
  • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
  • You can bend your knees if this feels comfortable.
  • Grab your left elbow with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand in such a way that the weight of your arms draws your shoulder blades towards your ears.

Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose Variation 3:

  • Stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
  • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
  • You can bend your knees if this feels comfortable.
  • Bring your hands in Namaskar position behind your back.

Dolasana or the Pendulum Pose Variation 4:

  • To do this variation of Dolasana, stand on the floor or on the yoga mat with a little distance between your feet.
  • Bend forward starting from the hip joint in such a way that your belly makes contact with your thighs.
  • Make your left hand reach your right foot crossing in front of your chest and simultaneously make your right hand reach for your left foot.
  • In this position, you should be looking out from underneath your left arm.
  • Hold this pose for a few breaths or for a long as you feel comfortable.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 24, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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