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Astavakrasana or Eight-Angle Pose is one of the advanced arm balance poses in yoga. The meaning of asta in Sanskrit is eight and vakra is curved or bent. It is an excellent way to develop your stability and equilibrium, while strengthening the wrists and arms.
- Begin seated in Dandasana (Stick Pose), with both legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee in to your chest, then bring your right arm to the inside of your bent right leg. Take a hold of your right foot or ankle with both hands and begin to snuggle the underside of your right knee behind your right shoulder, as if you’re pulling on the strap of a backpack. Hook your right leg as firmly behind the right shoulder as you can.
- Keeping the calf of the right leg hugging firmly behind the right shoulder, place your palms down on either side of your hips. Spread the fingers wide, keep the chest lifted and the collarbone as broad as you can.
- Maintaining the hug of the right leg around the shoulder and the palms planted on the ground, pick up the left leg and lightly cross your left ankle over your right.
- Begin to bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle and extend the heart forward as if you are moving into Chaturanga (elbows over wrists). Keep the legs squeezing firmly and extend them as straight as you can.
- Note the tendency for the left shoulder to collapse here, and keep both shoulder heads lifted and level with one another. Stay here for 3-5 full breaths, then gently lift the torso, straighten the arms, and set your bottom back down on the ground to come out of the pose. Whenever you feel ready, repeat on the other side.
- It makes the arms and wrists strong.
- It tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles, thereby improving digestion.
- It helps build concentration and balance.
- It relieves your body of stress and anxiety.
- Menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms are appeased.
- The challenge of the pose helps the body and mind to build a great connect
- This pose must be avoided if you have injuries in your shoulders, wrists, or elbows.
Initial practice notes
As a beginner, you might find it hard to balance in this pose. In such cases, you can use a bolster to rest the bottom of your hip and your outer legs.