Sage Koundinya’s Pose, Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1, (EY-kuh Pah-duh kown-din-YAHS-ah-nuh)
eka (one) + pada (foot) + koudinya (a sage) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: One Foot Sage Pose
Balance, twist and play on the mat with this interesting arm balance pose.
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 Fundamentals
If you love expanding your boundaries with arm balances, try adding Eka Pada Koundiyasana 1 to the mix. This is an advanced arm balance and twist, which requires a good amount of arm strength.
In Sanskrit “eka” translates to one, “pada” to foot, and “konudinya” to sage in general, but also a specific scholar named Koundinya who was the disciple of Buddha and a master of the Vedas. For this reason, the asana is also known as Sage Koundinya’s Pose.
There are no written records of Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 in medieval yogic texts. But we can assume the pose was transferred verbally from teachers to students until Krishnamacharya’s students Iyengar and Jois mentioned it in their books.
As we mentioned before, this asana is advanced, and you should do it later in your practice when your body is fully warmed up.It is also a good idea to already have a good foundation in balancing, which means nailing other poses such as Side Crow and Eight Angle Pose.
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 Benefits
- Strengthens the entire upper body, including the shoulders, arms, wrists, core, and the muscles around the spine.
- Releases tension in the lower back, which can help with lower back pain.
- It releases endorphins and alleviates stress, which can help with lack of sleep and with chronic headaches.
- Improves your sense of balance.
- Strengthening the upper body can help you build better posture.
- It activates the Navel chakra, bringing a feeling of confidence and boosting energy.
- The twist stimulates the organs in the abdomen, which boosts detoxification and digestion.
How To Do Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Begin in a low squat and lean forward to place your palms in front of you.
- Come up on the balls of your feet and press your knees together.
- Move your feet, so the knees are facing toward the left side of your mat.
- Lean forward and bend your arms at the elbows, so they form a 90-degree angle with the upper arms, and move them towards each other, keeping them parallel (just as you would for Chaturanga).
- Lift your hips and place the right knee on the upper left arm. Enter Side Crow Pose – read this guide if you’re not sure how.
- Then, shift your weight forward, so your feet feel lighter.
- With an exhalation, begin to extend the top leg back and the bottom leg straight in front of you. Flex the feet.
- Gaze to the front. When you’re ready, slowly release back to a low squat, then repeat the pose on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Don’t rush this pose – it is not meant for beginners. Do other arm balances, such as Crow and Side Crow, first, and only when you’re able to do them should you begin working towards Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1.
- Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle, as you would for Chaturanga. Also, push them towards each other, so they don’t splay outwards. This will give you most of your stability in this asana.
- Warm up your wrists before the pose and stretch them after to keep them safe.
- Engage your bandhas – energy locks – to feel stronger and more stable in this pose (this is true for any arm balance).
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 Variations:
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 Variation: Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 is a similar pose to Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1, and you can learn the two at the same time.
In this, second, variation of the asana, the legs are extended away from each other.
To enter the pose, begin in Chaturanga, then place one leg over the same-sided shoulder, similarly, as you would for Lizard Pose.
Begin to straighten the leg, lifting the toes off the floor. When you’re ready, shift your weight forward and engage the abs to try to lift the back leg off the floor as well.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Upper body collapsing – Push your elbows into your upper body to give you more stability, and align the shoulders with the elbows to avoid collapsing in the chest.
Rushing out of the pose. Exit the pose consciously. Sudden and jerking movements could cause injury to the wrists and shoulders.
Injuries and Conditions
Don’t practice this pose if you have injuries in the wrists, elbows, or shoulders. Also, avoid it if you’re pregnant, have undergone surgery in the stomach or the back, and if you have high blood pressure.
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