Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Understanding the Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose!

Kashtha Takshanasa got its name from Sanskrit where “Kashtha” means “Wood”, “Takshan” means “Chopping” and “Asana” means “Pose” or “Posture.”

In the final position while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa the body appears as if it is sitting and chopping the wood and hence the name.

The English name of Kashtha Takshanasa is The Chopping Wood Pose.

Children tend to do Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose easier than most of the adults as they have open and flexible hip joint. While adults with a sedentary lifestyle have tight inner joints and hips and have lost the flexibility due to prolonged sitting. With the regular practice of Butterfly Pose flexibility can be regained and the hip joint can be opened.

Like other asanas, it is considered best when Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood 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 yoga pose 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 Kashtha Takshanasa in the evening, you should have your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

How To Do Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose?

You must get into Tadasana or The Mountain Pose before getting into Kashtha Takshanasa:

Steps to do Tadasana or The Mountain 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.
  • You can practice Tadasana for 8-10 rounds.

Steps to do Kashtha Takshanasa or the Chopping Wood Pose:

  • To practice Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, sit in the squatting position with the feet flat on the floor or on Yoga Mat.
  • Make sure that your feet are one and a half feet apart from each other while getting into the pose.
  • The knees should be fully bent and separated while getting into Kashtha Takshanasa.
  • Clasp the fingers of both hands together and place them on the floor between the feet to get into The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • Straighten the arms and keep them straight throughout practicing this pose.
  • The elbows should be inside the knees while practicing this pose.
  • The eyes should remain open all the time while practicing this yoga pose.
  • Imagine the action of chopping wood while you are practicing The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • While practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, raise the arms as high as possible above and behind the head while stretching the spine upward.
  • Look up towards the hands during the practice.
  • Make a downward stroke with the arms, as if chopping wood while practicing this yoga pose.
  • Exhale deeply while making a deep sound from the throat while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose. This sound is made to remove all the air from the lungs.
  • The hands should return to the floor in between the feet and the head is facing forward while practicing The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • This completes one round of c.
  • You should practice at least 5 to 10 rounds of this yoga 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 Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose

  • Inhale and exhale deeply while in Tadasana or The Mountain Pose initially.
  • Inhale while separating the legs from each other while getting into Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • Maintain a normal breath in this pose.
  • Inhale while raising the arm when practicing Kashtha Takshanasa.
  • Exhale while bringing the arm downwards.
  • Exhale deeply after releasing the pose and coming back to Shavasana.

Preaparatory And Follow Up Poses To Be Practiced With Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose

Preparatory Poses: The various preparatory poses to be practiced before Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose are Dandasana or The Staff Pose, Matsyasana (with the legs stretched out) or The Fish Pose, Ushtrasana or The Camel pose and Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose.

Follow Up Poses: The various follow up poses or Pranayamas to be practiced after Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose are Anulom Vilom or The Alternate Nostril Breathing, Kapalbhati Pranayama, Vajrasana or The Diamond pose, Uttanasana or The Standing Forward Bend Pose, Nauka Sanchalanasana or Rowing the Boat Pose.

Awareness While Practicing Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose

Physical Awareness - The Physical Awareness while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose should be on the breath, movement and stretch of the shoulder and upper back muscles.

Spiritual Awareness - The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose should be on The Muladhara or The Root Chakra. The root chakra is where we ground ourselves into the earth and anchor our energy into the manifest world.

Benefits Of Practicing Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose

  • One of the benefits of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose is that it helps in overcoming the drowsiness and stiffness felt on waking in the morning.
  • It gives a good massage to your vertebrae and you will feel an invigorating sensation in your vertebrae while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa.
  • This yoga pose is beneficial in making your spine flexible and also helps in improving your posture. It also helps in reducing symptoms of old age from your body.
  • The Chopping Wood Pose also helps in treating insomnia and allows you to sleep soundly.
  • Kashtha Takshanasa helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, allows more awareness of the unconscious realms and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • It also is beneficial in alleviating stress and curing mild depression.
  • The Chopping Wood Pose helps in strengthening all the core muscles of the body.
  • It also helps in increasing the strength and stamina of the body.
  • Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose also helps in increasing the body’s resistance to back, hip and leg injuries.
  • It also helps in relieving joint pain from the entire body.
  • Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose also helps in getting rid of extra fat from the belly when practiced regularly.

Precautions And Contraindications While Practicing Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose

  • Get out of the pose or release the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs.
  • Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose should not be practiced by pregnant females in the second and third trimester of their pregnancy.
  • The Chopping Wood Pose should also not performed by people who have had any recent abdominal or hip surgeries in the recent past. However, you can practice this yoga pose if you have completely been healed from the surgery.
  • It should not be performed by people who have chronic spinal issues or spinal conditions like Slip Disc etc.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not over exert yourself while practicing this asana. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
  • People with a very weak sacroiliac joint are also not supposed to practice the pose.
  • Kashtha Takshanasa should not be practiced by people suffering from The Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease.
  • Get out of the pose or release the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs or abdomen.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not over exert yourself while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.

Tips While Practicing Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose

  • Always try to keep your feet as far as possible from each other when you start practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose. Gradually with consistent practice, you can also start doing the Roll Downs with your feet and knees together. The advanced practitioners can do it since it is a little difficult to practice in the beginning.
  • Feel free to keep your feet flat against the wall while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa.
  • You can also experiment by keeping your arms at different levels around your legs while practicing this yoga pose.
  • Always remain aware of the breathing pattern while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose to reap maximum benefits from the practice.
  • Do not force the twist if your body cannot take it while practicing this yoga pose as you may end up damaging any other muscle while exerting excessive stress on the body.
  • By adjusting the distance of the feet from the hips while practicing Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, you can work on each vertebra and the corresponding muscles.
  • If you are not able to rest your knees on the ground easily, place your knees and feet on a large pillow.

Kashtha Takshanasa Or The Chopping Wood Pose Variations

Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose Variation 1:

If you are unable to sit and practice Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, you can very well practice it while standing. The arms will be used while practicing this variation. It can be done easily however; the benefits will be comparatively lesser than the regular Kashtha Takshanasa.

Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose Variation 2:

  • To practice this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, sit on the floor with the legs straight and together on the floor or on the yoga mat.
  • Make sure you keep your eyes open while practicing this variation.
  • While practicing this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa, Imagine that there is a rope hanging in front of the body. Breathe in deeply while reaching up with the right hand as though to grasp the rope at a higher point.
  • Make sure you keep the elbow straight while practicing this variation of this pose and keep looking upward.
  • While breathing out, slowly pull the right arm down while practicing this variation.
  • Also, make sure that you put power into it as though pulling the rope downward while practicing this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa.
  • While practicing this variation of The Chopping Wood Pose, let the eyes follow the downward movement of the hand.
  • Repeat with the left hand and arm to complete the first round while practicing this variation.
  • Both arms do not move at the same time while practicing this variation of The Chopping Wood Pose.

Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose Variation 3:

  • To practice this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, stand erect with both the feet together and facing forward.
  • Place the palms together in front of the chest while getting into this variation of The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • While inhaling, raise and straighten the arms above the head to get into this variation.
  • While breathing out, slowly lower the body to get into this variation of The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • Keep the feet and knees together throughout the practice.
  • While practicing this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose, you should squeeze your lower abdomen inwards in such a way that it should feel like you are touching your spine from inside while taking the lower abdomen inwards.
  • Move your shoulder bones and open your chest.
  • Take a deep breath and raise your arms over your head.
  • While practicing this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa, you can keep your arms either parallel to each other or keep your palms joined when your arms are over your head.
  • Keep your arms in front of your ears or at the same level or before your ears.
  • Gently and carefully bend your knees and push down your pelvis, such that it seems like you are seated in an imaginary chair while practicing this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • Be aware as you hold the pose, and keep your spine lengthened. Now, lower the body down about a few inches. Straighten the legs and return to the upright position while practicing this variation of Kashtha Takshanasa or The Chopping Wood Pose.
  • Finally, lower the body until the buttocks rest on the floor.
  • You can increase the strength of your thighs while practicing this variation of The Chopping Wood Pose by keeping a thick blanket or block between your thighs while being in the final position.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 26, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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