Yoga instructor Hiro Landazuri has devoted years to creating a mode of yoga that enhances the expertise by means of a nuanced understanding of anatomy. We requested him to share his approachable method to instructing poses, which builds as much as a problem by incorporating prep workouts that will help you really feel varied elements of the pose earlier than you try to put all of it collectively in a single pose. Right here’s his empowering tackle Eka Pada Koundinyasana, which makes it—or a variation of it—doable wherever you’re in your observe.
If you observe yoga, the precise pose you’re trying, akin to an arm steadiness like Eka Pada Koundinyasana, doesn’t matter. It’s observe for all times. Difficult poses will let you strive one thing that’s outdoors of what’s comfy. They provide help to study to step into concern. They allow you to observe the right way to be extra assured. The concern of attempting one thing is at all times going to be there till you really try that factor.
The asymmetrical facet of Eka Pada Koundinyasana is attention-grabbing as a result of it brings a component of coordination to the arm steadiness. In yoga, lots of people misjudge whether or not they can do one thing, or not, based mostly on their perceived energy and suppleness. It’s really about their coordination. I wish to strategy the pose by breaking it into particular person areas of the physique, which reinforces an understanding of which muscle groups you must have interaction and the way.
7 ideas for working towards Eka Pada Koundinyasana
As an alternative of attempting to create a 90-degree angle in your arms, you wish to emphasize pushing the bottom away as a lot as attainable. This engages the pectoralis muscle groups, anterior deltoids, and the serratus anterior, which is your “punching muscle.” These muscle groups are integral to offering stability and energy so you possibly can maintain your self up within the posture. Additionally they help you in getting out and in of the posture safely.
Chest and Shoulders
Take into consideration pushing or lifting the backbone increased than your shoulder blades or attempting to raise your chest farther away from the bottom. That is shoulder protraction, or what I name scapular or shoulder pushes. It’s important in most arm balances.
Eka Pada Koundinyasana requires a component of hip flexion and in addition hip abduction. Doing workouts that emphasize attempting to faucet your knee to your elbow is crucial because it mimics what occurs within the pose. You’ll really feel how a lot hip flexion you want and in addition really feel how a lot is critical to open your leg out to the aspect. If touching your knee to your elbow is difficult, observe different hip-extension stretches, akin to Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose), to construct extra hip mobility.
A standard misalignment on this pose is coming right into a slight backbend. Tight hips are often the supply of this downside, which suggests as a substitute of lifting and absolutely extending your again leg, you arch your again. To counter this, push the bottom away from you in shoulder protraction.
Legs and Glutes
One other frequent factor that occurs is you change into so involved with the knee that’s balancing in your arm, you neglect about your again leg. You could squeeze the lateral (outer) glutes of your again leg in order that leg stays straight behind you and doesn’t swing out to the aspect.
Draw your navel increased, towards the ceiling. That’s most of your stability proper there, together with pushing the bottom away and lifting your backbone increased than your shoulder blades. This often falls into place if every little thing else is engaged.
The final piece is discovering your steadiness level when you’re within the pose. You possibly can’t actually intellectualize that. It’s one thing that comes with expertise. I discover that it’s dictated by attempting to squeeze the glutes of your again leg and utilizing your fingertips as brakes. Digging in along with your fingertips helps you retain your head up and away from the bottom. It’s a seesaw steadiness.
About our contributor
Hiro Landazuri is the founding father of Physique Good Yoga. He empowers others with the mandatory instruments to develop into their excellent selves. He usually teaches in-person and on-line workshops and shares instructing movies on Instagram at @actionhiro.
The Prep Workouts
I discover that it actually helps to point out frequent misalignments in poses so college students can acknowledge and proper them.
Begin on palms and knees in Tabletop with shoulders over wrists. Carry your proper knee to the aspect and keep right here for a number of breaths. Repeat on the opposite aspect.
For extra sensation in Hearth Hydrant, carry your knee to the same-side triceps, maintain it there, and work on scapular pushes (lifting your backbone above your shoulder blades).
Modified Half Frog
From Tabletop, decrease to your stomach and prolong your legs behind you. Deliver your elbows barely in entrance of your shoulders and are available onto your forearms, just like Sphinx Pose. Bend your proper knee and slide it out to the aspect any quantity. Press your knee into the bottom. Repeat on the opposite aspect. This mimics the engagement you’ll really feel in your knee in Eka Pada Koundinyasana.
Wrist Flexor Curls
From kneeling or sitting, carry your arms in entrance of you along with your elbows bent and your forearms dealing with one another. Clench your fists and curl your palms down towards your internal wrists, then launch and produce your palms upright. Repeat a number of instances. This trains your mind to have interaction solely the wrist flexors, that are underused in on a regular basis life. It additionally mimics the motion in arm balances.
From kneeling, carry your proper foot ahead right into a Low Lunge, taking a barely shortened stance. Actually squeeze the glutes of your again leg. To accentuate the stretch, inch your again knee farther away and bend extra deeply into the entrance knee. Repeat on the opposite aspect. This makes it simpler to increase your again leg straight behind you.
Standing Hip to Knee
From standing, carry your arms in entrance of you and bend your elbows. Flip your palms to face away from you, flex at your wrists, and draw your elbows towards your sides, as in case you have been in Chaturanga. Carry one knee out to the aspect and attempt to contact the same-side elbow and maintain. Repeat on the opposite aspect. This mimics the feeling of Eka Pada Koundinyasana however with out the load in your shoulders.
Keep away from bending your aspect to carry your elbow to your knee, a standard misalignment attributable to tight hip flexors. As an alternative, preserve your physique straight as you raise your knee till you are feeling a stretch in your hip.
For extra stability in Standing Hip to Knee, stand along with your palms towards a wall for steadiness. Attempt to contact your knee to your elbow.
Come to Plank Pose, decrease your knees, and bend your elbows to come back into Half Chaturanga. Preserve your elbows over your wrists and drawn in towards your sides. Attempt to raise your backbone above your shoulder blades in a scapular push. This replicates the raise you must really feel in your chest and again whenever you steadiness in Eka Pada Koundinyasana.
Half Chaturanga Leg Extension
From Half Chaturanga, prolong one leg straight behind you, partaking the glutes. This is identical motion you’ll take along with your again leg throughout Eka Pada Koundinyasana. Work on scapular pushing when you raise your again knee and put it down. Attempt to preserve your again leg straight. Repeat a number of instances, then swap to the opposite aspect. This train practices the coordination of upper-body energy and back-leg hip extension.
The best way to come into Eka Pada Koundinyasana (Hurdler’s Pose)
Begin in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Going through Canine Pose). Inhale as you raise one leg and bend your knee out to the aspect. Exhale and shift your shoulders ahead over your wrists, as in Plank Pose, and produce your bent knee to the same-side triceps. Push your knee or internal thigh into your higher arm. Preserve your again foot on the bottom for assist and actually have interaction and straighten that leg. Begin to bend your elbows and draw them in towards your sides. Press by means of your again toes and begin to have interaction the glutes of your again leg.
In the event you’re a newbie, preserve your again foot or knee down and work on partaking your core and holding your knee to the triceps.
Slowly shift your weight ahead and press down by means of your fingertips as you raise your again foot off the bottom. As you lean ahead, proceed to have interaction the glutes of your again leg and push by means of your fingertips. Discover your steadiness. If it’s accessible to you, straighten your bent knee. Breathe right here.
To simply exit the pose, merely decrease your again foot or again knee to the bottom.
For extra of a problem, begin in Chaturanga Dandasana and slowly lean ahead as you carry your bent knee to the same-side triceps. This makes use of much less momentum and requires extra energy.
Widespread misalignments in Eka Pada Koundinyasana
A pair issues that I typically see in Eka Pada Koundinyasana:
Your chest and face drop too near the bottom. To counteract this, actually exaggerate pushing the bottom away along with your palms to create some raise in your chest. It helps to observe scapular pushes so that you’re acquainted with lifting the backbone just a little increased than the shoulders. In the event you really feel your self backbending, have interaction your stomach muscle groups.
Your reverse shoulder drops too low to the bottom. In Eka Pada Koundinyasana (and any uneven arm steadiness), the shoulder reverse the ahead leg will typically drop down too low. Attempt trying straight down as a substitute of over towards your entrance leg, as a result of in case you’re trying off to the aspect, your chest (and reverse shoulder) will comply with.
You’ll fall out of the pose. And this isn’t a foul factor. It means you’re attempting.
Failure is critical for achievement. It is likely to be a superb—or obligatory—factor to face-plant each occasionally…gracefully!
Hiro Landazuri is the founding father of Physique Good Yoga. He empowers others with the mandatory instruments to develop into their excellent selves. He usually teaches in-person and on-line workshops and shares instructing movies on Instagram.