Elephant’s Trunk Pose Yoga: Eka Hasta Bhujasana

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Eka hasta bhujasana (Eh-kah Ha-stah Boo-JAS-ah-nah) is a unique arm balance that stabilizes the pelvic girdle while opening your hips, improving balance and coordination.

SANSKRIT:

  • Eka: one
  • Hasta: hand
  • Bhjua: shoulder
  • Asana: pose

PHILOSOPHY AND ORIGIN:

In general, yoga asanas help us bring together distracted or wayward energies, forging them together into an integrated, coherent state. Arm balance poses like elephant’s trunk pose help to connect our lower and upper extremities, awakening a direct and naturally centered energy in the pelvis and navel area. This energy can then be drawn into the higher centers of our bodies, such as the heart, throat, and mind.

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens your arms and shoulders
  • Opens your hips
  • Stabilizes your pelvic girdle

PREPARATORY POSES:

  • Staff pose | Dandasana
  • High to mid plank | Chaturanga dandasana
  • Boat pose | Navasana

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

  • Eight angle pose | Astavakrasana
  • Compass pose | Parivrtta surya yantrasana
  • Heron pose | Krounchasana

COUNTER POSES:

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Try lifting up with the lower leg tucked in rather than extended out in front.
  • Place a block under your extended heel to help lift the leg.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin seated with your legs out in front of you (dandasana). Bend your right knee toward your chest and place your foot on the ground.
  2. Tiptoe your right foot out to your right. Thread your right arm underneath your right knee and place your hand on the ground with the fingers pointing forward. Place your left hand on the ground outside your left hip on an equal plane with your right.
  3. Walk your right leg up your right arm until the crease of your knee comes to rest on your right triceps. Hug your leg into your arm and your arm into your leg. Keep the right knee bent and the right foot pointed.
  4. Press into your hands to lift your hips and left leg off the ground. Point both feet.
  5. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then gently release. Repeat on the other side.

 

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Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

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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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