Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 – The Pose of Sage Koundinya I
Pictured above is B.K.S. Iyengar doing eka pada koundinyasana I. Eka Pada 1 is a really fun, challenging, and twisty hand balancing pose. I find this pose interesting in that it’s eka pada 1 and in my body it’s more challenging than eka pada 2… Essentially, You’re balancing your opposite hip to arm with the supporting leg extended to the side and the floating leg extended back behind you. This pose is versatile because you can transition to it in many ways. The most common I think would be coming from parivrtta bakasana – side crow, this is the most common because you are practically already in the pose and just need to straighten both legs, one to the side and one behind. Another fun way to come to this pose is from a lunging twist, if you can get so deep in your lunging twist that you can comfortable extend both arms (one toward the side and one touching the ground) then you can bring your lifted arm down to touch the ground, keep your legs exactly as they are and just shift the weight from your feet, to your hands. If you’re really great with inversions, you can even come to this pose from handstand! What makes this pose even more versatile is that since one arm has zero weight on it, you can actually practice this pose with the free arm in the traditional position, completely straight, with the forearm on the ground, or even with just your elbow on the ground and resting your chin on your hand. Actually, practicing with your free arm forearm down rather than just your hand is a really stable way to practice, since you have a wider base for balance. The transitions you can do from the pose are fun too, such as fallen angel where bringing your ear to ground and legs to the air, turning the balance into a nice inversion. The twist is deep and so it’s a good detoxifying pose as well. The interesting part of this pose is that since your legs are spread in opposite directions, it actually distributes your weight better, making it much easier than some compacted hand balances, such as crow, in my opinion. In any case, It’s definitely a challenge, but a really fun one, if it’s nerve wracking for you, practice with a pillow under your face. The versatility and the fun that practicing this pose brings makes it one of my FAVOURITE yoga asanas!