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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Ardha matsyendrasana (ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-ah-nah) is an approachable twist that opens the shoulders and chest. A good antidote for too much sitting and symptoms that come with overusing technology, half lord of the fishes pose has the ability to increase energy in the body while also stoking the digestive fire in your belly.

Philosophy + Origin

Matsyendra is often recognized as one of the original founders of hatha yoga in yogic mythology. He was said to be a baby who was thrown into the ocean after his parents rejected him. The story of Matsyendra reminds us that it’s often the parts of our personal stories we don’t like or don’t want to accept that can be the most beneficial, especially on the path to becoming a yogi or yogini. Rather than conceptualizing the twist to be a purge of what is unwanted or unnecessary, think of the detoxification as a purification, an opportunity to take what was once viewed or understood as “bad” and transform it into something that is helpful on your personal journey.

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