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Eka Pada Sirsasana
Ekapadasirsasana is an Asana. It is translated as One Leg Behind the Head Pose from Sanskrit.
The name of this pose comes from "eka" meaning "one", "pada" meaning "leg" or "foot", "sirsa" meaning "head", and "asana" meaning "posture" or "seat".
- Sit upright with both legs extended straight in front of you.
- Bend the right knee, bringing the sole of the right foot to the ground in line with the left knee.
- Then lower the right knee down to ground to the right, opening the hip (it should look like Janu Sirsasana prep or a seated Tree Pose). This external rotation of the hip is key for setting up the alignment of the final pose.
- Next, grab the ankle of the right foot and hug the right shin in towards the chest. The knee and ankle should be in line with one another.
- With the left hand grasping the right ankle, start to draw the right knee slightly out to the right-side to provide room for the right shoulder to eventually fit underneath.
- Ensure that both sit bones are firmly planted and the hips are even before beginning to work the right arm to the inside of the right leg. The right shoulder then moves forward and the right leg moves farther back on top of the shoulder.
- Finally, tuck the foot behind the head. Use the left hand (still gripping the ankle) to work the right calf down the upper back (to relieve pressure on the neck).
- Find softness in the hips and release the grip bringing the hands to touch at heart center.
- Hold for 5 breaths. Then either fold forward for a further stretch, or tuck the chin and use the same hand grip placement to release out of the pose.
Technique in pictures/animation
- This pose makes hips and legs supple and also makes the spine more flexible.
- It also helps to enrich the hemoglobin content in their body.
- This pose is especially beneficial for people who have anemia and nervous trembling problems.
- It helps to eliminate all the toxins of your body.
- This pose improves the breathing which has numerous other benefits.
- This pose also has positive effects on the digestion of the body.
- It makes the body more flexible and elastic to a great extent.
A pose as advanced as this one should be practiced with diligence and care. Eka Pada Sirsasana is an extreme hip opener, and compromising the proper alignment of the pose could potentially cause problematic strain. Proceed with caution if you suffer from knee, hip, neck or back problems.
Initial practice notes
For the beginners the main focus should be on the breath and make it slow and steady. Initially it might be a bit challenging to do the pose as it requires a lot of flexibility, but once you have practiced and are able to bring your leg behind your head, the focus should shift on breathing. Try as much as possible to relax in Eka Pada Sirsasana, Eka Pada Greevasana, One-Leg-Behind-Head Pose, or One-Foot-Behind-Head Pose while straightening your spine.