Tolasana is very effective for increasing upper body and core strength. Padmasana is effective in keeping the hips open.
HOW TO PERFORM
Start by moving your legs carefully into Padmasana (Lotus pose). Do
this by taking hold of the right lower leg and allowing the knee to gently drop out to the side. Let the leg relax, exhale and bring the right foot up towards the left hip and rest the right foot onto the left groin area. Do the same with the left leg. Never force the legs and never pull them strongly into to place and if you feel any pain in the knees stop immediately.
Now flex the feet slightly, rest the hands to the floor either side of the thighs, ensuring the index finger is pointing forwards. Round the spine a little and start to engage the bandhas by pulling the navel in strongly to the spine.
Exhale and push the hands against the floor and lift the legs and buttocks away from the floor, tucking the hips under a little and lifting the knees a little higher to really engage the lower abdominals.
Let you gaze rest towards the tip of your nose. Aim to hold for 10 even breaths before lowering yourself back down to the ground on an exhalation.
Padmasana should always be avoided if you have knee or hip injuries and avoid Talasana if you have any shoulder or wrist injuries or high blood pressure. Also as we are working on increasing our upward pranic energy in Tolasana by engaging the bandhas strongly, this pose should be avoided during menstruation.
Instead of Lotus pose, simply cross the ankles and place blocks under the hands to make the lifting action easier.