Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana: One-Legged Bow Pose

Eka-pada-urdhva-dhanurasana-TaylorHarkness

Eka pada urdhva dhanurasana (EH-kah PAH-dah OORD-vah don-your-AHS-anna) is the one-legged variation of upward-facing bow pose.

Philosophy + Origin

The power of the bow pose is present in this one-legged variation. In a world that glorifies multi-tasking, use eka pada urdhva dhanurasana as a reminder to go one step, or one foot, at a time. Think about the coordination required in your body and mind to make this pose happen. Can you use the same coordination to steadily go from one task to the next with grace and poise?

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Start with taking one knee toward the chest before extending the leg up.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin lying on your back with knees bent, set up for bridge pose.
  2. Place your hands on either side of your head, fingers facing your shoulders and elbows pointed upward.
  3. Lift your hips (bridge pose), then press to the crown of your head. If you feel stable here, press into your hands to lift into upward-facing bow pose.
  4. Shift your weight into your left foot and draw your right knee up, then extend your toes up to the ceiling.
  5. Hold for 2-3 breaths, then release back to upward-facing bow. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Tuck your chin and slowly release all the way down to the mat.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

  • Dancer pose | Natarajasana
  • Half splits | Ardha hanumanasana

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Eka = one
  • Pada = foot
  • Urdhva = upward
  • Dhanu = bow
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens legs and back.
  • Stretches pelvis and quadriceps.
  • Improves balance and coordination.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Boosts energy.
  • Promotes confidence.
  • Improves mental focus.
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Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna) is a great way to strengthen the upper back and is often practiced as part of a transition back to downward-facing dog in vinyasa yoga. Practicing cobra pose regularly can improve your lung capacity, reduce stress, and stimulate many of the internal organs in your body.

Philosophy + Origin

Although often perceived as evil or dangerous, snakes also have a rich history of power and worship. In some yoga traditions, the energy of kundalini is represented by a serpent resting coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake, we enliven our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment. This connection with enlightenment is also seen in many portrayals of the Buddha where he is shown with a cobra over his head.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Option to swap cobra pose for sphinx pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
  • Lengthen the back of the neck to avoid straining the neck and upper back.
  • If you experience discomfort in the lower back, bend the elbows more.
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