Hurdler’s Pose (Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2)

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Hurdler’s Pose, Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2, (EY-kuh Pah-duh kown-din-YAHS-ah-nuh 2)

eka (one) + pada (legged) + Koundinya (sage) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II, Hurdler Pose, Flying Splits Pose, Twisted One Legged Arm Balance Pose, Sage Balance II

Pose Type: Balancing, Strengthening, Stretching

Difficulty: Advanced

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2

Take a huge leap in your practice in this fun yet challenging arm balance.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 Fundamentals

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 is an interesting arm balance pose which is also known as the Flying Splits Pose, as it involves you stretching the legs in opposite directions.

Although even more difficult arm balances exist, this shouldn’t be the first arm balance you learn – it would be best if you already have some experience with balancing. It also requires you to have developed flexibility in the lower body.

However, for intermediate students who already nailed some other arm balances such as Crow Pose, this can be a great stepping stone in their practice.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 can help you develop even more strength and concentration skills to advance in your practice.

The asana is named after Koundinya, a sage who was a direct student of Gautama Buddha and a master of Vedic knowledge.

He forecasted the Buddha’s destiny as soon as he was born, and we can try to emulate this same faith in our ourselves as he did in his prediction while practicing this asana.

Mastering challenging asanas may also help us build our awareness, as we need to overcome our thoughts in order to hold them. In this way Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 can become both a physical and mental exercise.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 Benefits

  • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, wrists and core.
  • Stretches and relieves tension in the hips, hamstrings, and thighs. Also increases spine mobility.
  • Can help tone abs and get rid of stomach fat when practiced consistently.
  • Stimulates the Solar Plexus Chakra and also gives you a sense of achievement when you succeed to enter the pose – both of these boost your self-confidence.
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the abdomen, boosting digestion and metabolism. 
  • Helps you improve body awareness, balance skills, and concentration. 
  • Preps the body and the mind for even more challenging arm balances.

How To Do Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

  1. Step into a lunge with your right foot, and place your arms next to the inner side of the right leg.
  2. Engage your back leg and lift it up and sink the front hip down and forward. Open your chest and push it forward.
  3. Now place the right shoulder underneath the right leg, as you would for Lizard Pose. You can help yourself do that by doing it in mall steps, lifting and lowering the heel, and walking it slightly inward.
  4. Once you succeeded to place your arm under the leg, plant both hands on the floor in the Chaturanga position.
  5. Now walk the right foot forward and slightly towards the right. Lift the heel and see if you can walk the foot a bit more. Then try to lift the toes off the floor.
  6. Now shift your weight forward, coming up onto the left toes. At this point, see if you can lift the back leg. Shift your weight back and forward to find a sweet spot – where you can balance both legs off the floor.
  7. When you’re ready to release, return the leg to the floor and move back to Downward Dog. Repeat the same steps on the other side.
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2

Tips And Tricks:

  • Keep the shoulder blades close together and the elbows parallel – this will prevent you from collapsing in the upper back.
  • Place a cushion underneath your face to protect you from fall and injury.
  • Exit the pose with the same amount of focus and attention as you enter it – don’t just fall to the ground.
  • It can happen you’ll be able to only keep one leg up for quite some time – embrace that. Enjoy the process of practice and don’t give up – that alone will be beneficial for you, even if you never enter the full expression of the pose.
  • Some people walk the front leg a bit out and some a bit in to make it easier to slide the shoulder underneath. Try both options and see what works for you.
  • It’s completely normal that one leg is different from the other. It can take months to be able to perform this pose on both sides.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 Variations:

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1

Your upper body will be in the same position for both the Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 and 2 – Chaturanga arms, however, the leg positioning is different. In the first version, your top leg goes back, and in the second, the bottom leg lifts back. 

The process of entering these two poses is also different. While we went to lunge to enter Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2, you will start from side Crow for Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 then extend the top leg back and the bottom to the side.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 Variation: With Blocks

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 with blocks

Blocks can help you tremendously while you’re learning this pose. They allow you to break down the pose and the learning process into multiple parts, which will demystify it and allow you to build your strength and alignment.

Firstly, you can try to place a block underneath the chest. This will remove some weight off your arms. That allows you to focus more on the action in the legs.

Secondly, you can place a block underneath the back foot. This will give you more lift and prevent your upper body from collapsing down. 

Finally, you can place your hands on blocks and lift the back foot onto a wall behind you when you enter the pose. This way you’ll be able to balance both legs off the floor but will be supported by the blocks and the wall.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Collapsing in the upper body. Keep the shoulder blades together and lift through the sternum to avoid collapsing in the upper body. This is where you’ll get a lot of your strength and stability.

Opening the upper arms. Your upper arms should be touching your torso at all times, don’t allow them to move away from your body when you enter the pose. 

Injuries and Conditions

Avoid this pose if you have an injury in the wrists, arms, or shoulders. Also avoid it if you have low back pain, arthritis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure, or if you’re pregnant. 

Related Poses

Eka Pada Koundinyasana I

Monkey Pose

Standing Splits

Preparatory Poses:

Lizard Pose

Three-Legged Dog

Bird of Paradise Pose

Counter Poses:

Locust Pose

Upward Facing Dog

Figure Four Stretch

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.

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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.

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