Pose of the Month: Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (One footed Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya 1)

Author: myaizzolena / Date: 22-05-2015 / Tag: eka pada koundinyasana 1, one footed pose dedicated to the sage, Full Circle Yoga, pose of the month, asana, vinyassa, Yoga /

In yoga, challenging poses often challenge our minds just as much of our physical bodies. In the Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali defines yoga as “chitta vritti nirodah”, meaning yoga resolves and stills the fluctuations of the mind.  Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 gives us the chance to practice quieting the ego and allowing the mind to break free of barriers so we can catch some air and fly into the present moment.  Physically, this pose strengthens the shoulders, arms, core, and  intentional gaze. It also incorporates a delightful twist to encourage more mobility and strength in the spine. Mentally, it challenges the practice of being present and engaging in self-compassion.

This pose, as well as other arm balances, are so much fun and can be symbolic of feeling a lightness of heart and spirit. Eka Pada Koundinyasana reminds us of the care free inner child that resides within. This inner child plays whole heartedly with life and all it has to offer without judgment or fear of failure. Allow all to just be within and without as we dedicate this pose to ourselves.           

  • Begin in childs pose (balasana), bring big toes together knees out wide and stretch the arms out in front allowing the forehead to rest on the ground. Deepen the breath as you arrive in the present and quiet the fluctuations of the mind. Here is the opportunity to tell the ego to take a hike. While preparing for flight we can first find solitude in building a grounding foundation.
  • Next, come to your knees, raise your hands at heart center, Anjali mudra. Smile at your bravery and set the intention of non-judgment and lightness of heart. Begin to roll your wrists to gently warm them up for the pose to come.
  • Come to the balls of your feet, stretching the heels towards the sky. Feet are active in this posture so this will help stimulate your toes and feet. Find a few breaths here.
  • Raise both hands to the sky and then twist your torso to the right. Lodge your right elbow and bicep to the outside of your left hip, while the left elbow and bicep hooks to the outside of your left knee. Keep your spine long as your sternum and hands face to the side of your body and the knees point forward inviting the beginning of the twist. Breathe here and find the integrity of the twist, by pulling in the navel to kiss the spine while continuously lengthening the crown away from the tail bone.
  • Then, place your hands on the ground, actively spreading the fingers wide and mindfully recognize that you can disperse the weight through all of your fingers to help stabilization within the pose.
  • Soften the third eye area of your forehead as you gaze about 6 inches forward encouraging your heart to follow your gaze.
  • On an exhale engage uddiyana bandha or abdominal lock by pulling the navel up towards your spine, keep the gaze and heart consistently moving forward as you lift up your hips towards the sky.
  • The elbows are bent 90 degrees and stay pinned to the midline of your body while stacked over wrists.
  • Next, find stabilization in strong shoulders by pushing hands into the Earth reaching the thoracic spine (upper back) towards the sky.
  •  Here you can begin to straighten both legs simultaneously for balance. Reaching the left leg and active left foot to the side wall, while extending the right leg and right foot back pressing the femur and heel towards the back wall. Flexing both feet will help lengthen and strengthen throughout the body.
  • Notice without judgment that as you straighten your legs your heart will automatically melt forward as well as your gaze. Allow the shift to happen and preserve the strength in your pose. Go with the flow and use your breath as a catalyst to quiet the mind and ego.
  • MODIFICATIONS: By placing bolsters or a low chair underneath the lifted legs can help find the shape and balance of the pose.

Give yourself unwavering self-love and enjoy this pose with lightness of heart. The strength for this pose is sure to follow. Full Circle Yoga is a perfect place for playtime, come join us!