Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

Photo of author
Written by
Last Updated:

Elephant Trunk Pose, Eka Hasta Bujasana, (Eh-kah Ha-stah Boo-JAS-ah-nah)

Eka (one) + hasta (hand) + bhuja (shoulder, elephant’s trunk) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: One Legged Insect Pose, Leg Over Shoulder Pose

Pose Type: Balancing, Strengthening, Seated

Difficulty: Advanced

a man doing elephant trunk pose in black yoga pants

Build strength, flexibility, and balance in this challenging asana.

Elephant Trunk Pose Fundamentals

Build strength and boost your energy in this intense arm-balancing pose. 

This pose will improve your strength – but you will already need to have foundational strength to lift off the ground.

Still, what makes it more accessible than many other arm balance poses is the fact that it doesn’t involve an inversion, so it doesn’t have the “fear factor” that may prevent you from attempting those other poses.

Even if only attempting the pose, and not reaching the full lift-off, you will still enjoy the benefits for your core, arm, wrist, and shoulder strength. The pose also energizes the body and builds a sense of inner confidence and power.

In Sanskrit, the pose is named Eka Hasta Bhujasana. Bhuja translates to shoulder, but also a trunk of an elephant, and this translation is more commonly used to name the asana. 

Like with many yoga asanas which carry a name of an animal, this pose too may help you to connect with the nature of its namesake. In this case, it is the stable, calm, gentle yet incredibly powerful and strong spirit of an elephant. 

The elephant is also a highly esteemed animal in India, as it is connected to the elephant-like god Ganesha, who is known as the “remover of obstacles”.

This refers to both internal obstacles and blockages, as well as those external. While practicing the pose, you may try to connect to this deity, asking them to aid you in overcoming any roadblocks that stun your physical, spiritual, or social progress.

Elephant Trunk Pose & Energetics

 In a deeper sense, the pose stimulates the energy in the lower three Chakras – the Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus.

In this manner, it may help you build a sense of inner safety, grounding, emotional stability, creativity, and willpower.

In his book “Asana Pranayama Bandha Mudra”, the renowned yoga guru Swami Satyananda Saraswati furthers this idea by stating the pose may also aid with preserving sexual energy to transform it for spiritual purposes. 

Elephant Trunk Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens the forearms, shoulders, wrists, hips, core, and chest.
  • Lengthens the hips, wrist joints, and legs. 
  • Encourages the connection of breath, gaze (drishti), and energetic locks (Mula Bandha in this case) to create a sense of unison in the body and allow you to turn your attention inwards.
  • Builds balance skills and concentration. 
  • Boosts energy and promotes a sense of inner power.
  • Improves the circulation of prana, or essential energy, within the body.
  • Will prepare your body for more challenging arm balances.
an annotated image of a man in elephant's trunk pose

How To Do Elephant Trunk Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. Begin seated with your legs extended in front of you, in Staff Pose. 

2. Now grab hold of the right foot with the left hand, and bring the knee as far as behind the right shoulder as you can. The knee should be bent. Alternatively, you can also enter this shape by keeping the bent leg on the floor, and sliding the shoulder underneath the knee, then lifting it off the ground. 

3. Regardless of the steps you took to enter the pose, keep the right hand on the floor and keep it slightly bent. The higher your thigh is on the upper arm and the more you push it against the arm, the easier the pose will be. 

4. Place the left hand on the ground, close to the hip. The fingers of both hands should be facing forward, and the arms should be extended but not locked. 

5. Keeping your left leg extended in front of you, now press both hands into the floor and engage your core to lift your hips and legs off the ground.

6. Try to keep the left leg parallel to the floor, and keep pushing the right leg against the arm.

7. Hold for as long as you are able – aim for five breaths.

8. Lower down with an exhalation, and rest in Staff Pose for a couple of breaths before proceeding to the other side. 

Tips And Tricks:

  • Keep your wrists close to the hips and directly below the shoulders to avoid wrist injury.
  • Keep your legs and core engaged to help you with the lift-off.
  • Avoid placing the thigh directly on the elbow, as that may lead to an elbow injury. 
  • Maintain the gaze at the tip of the nose and engage the mula bandha to aid you with holding the pose and finding balance. 
  • You can slightly round the back and broaden the collarbones to help you with the lift-off and to take some weight off your wrists.  

Elephant Trunk Pose Variation:

Elephant Trunk Pose Variation: Performing Only First Steps

a man preparing to do elephant trunk pose

The easiest way to modify this pose is not going all the way. Simply remain on the first four steps.

If you are a beginner, entering the correct position before the lift-off may be enough of a challenge for you.

Doing these steps will help open your body, so you have enough hip and shoulder flexibility to eventually lift off.

Additionally, only attempting to raise your hips and legs off the ground, even if they don’t lift off, will still help you build core strength for the pose – as you will naturally engage your abs to do so.

Then you can start by only lifting the hips off the mat and leaving the extended leg on the ground. 

Elephant Trunk Pose Variation: With Blocks

Some students have the strength to enter the pose, however, they feel their hands are too short to lift off. That’s entirely possible – our anatomies are different. 

The best way to overcome that is to place the blocks below the hands to extend your reach, then lift from there.

If you are still building core strength, you can also place a block under the extended foot, so you can focus only on lifting the hips off the ground. 

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Forcing to do the same on both sides. We all have differences in flexibility and strength on the left and right sides of the body – it is completely normal if you are able to perform the pose only on one side. Don’t force the same shape on both sides, rather give your best, and with time, your body will naturally come to balance. 

Too much pressure on the wrists. Make sure your wrists are close to your hips and that you are pressing evenly throughout your entire palms to avoid injury. 

Injuries and Back Issues

Refrain from the pose if you have an injury in the arms, wrists, shoulders, or hips. Also, refrain from the pose if you have any chronic issues in the back. Finally, if you feel a sharp pain in any part of your body when practicing the pose, release it immediately. 

Related Poses

Eight Angle Pose

Hurdler Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Rock The Baby Pose

Pigeon Pose

Four Limbed Staff Pose

Counter Poses:

Reclining Hero Pose

Bound Angle Pose

Seated Forward Fold

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.