Eight Angle Pose - Astavakrasana

How to Do Eight Angle Pose - Astavakrasana
How to Do Eight Angle Pose - Astavakrasana. Ann Pizer

Type of Pose: Arm Balance

Benefits: Strengthens the arms and abdominal muscles, improves core strength and balance, stretches the legs.

You may be looking at astavakrasana and thinking, "there is no way I will be doing this pose." When you look just at the final pose, it's hard to tell how to get there. And while it is an advanced posture requiring core strength, flexibility, and balance, when you break it down step by step it starts to enter the realm of the possible.

If you can do side crow and elephant's trunk pose (eka hasta bhujasana), you've got the building blocks. If not, keep working on your arm balances and abdominal strength. This pose will still be here when you are ready.

Instructions:

1. Begin in a comfortable seated position.

2. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of your right foot to the floor close to your right buttock.

3. Lift the your right foot off the floor, bringing your shin roughly parallel to the floor.

4. Thread your right arm under your right knee.

5. Try to get your right knee as high as possible on the right arm, maybe even bringing the knee over the right shoulder. It may take several adjustments to get the knee to its highest position.

6. Plant both palms on the floor on higher side of your hips and straighten your left leg.

7. Press into your palms to lift your body, including your left leg and foot, off the floor. This is eka hasta bhujasana.

Your left leg needs to be engaged with the foot flexed for this to be possible. You right leg needs to be actively hugging your right arm.

8. Once you have the left leg lifted, bend that leg and bring the foot toward your body to hook your left ankle around your right ankle.

9. Bend your arms to 90 degrees to shift the weight of your torso forward, towards parallel to the floor.

At the same time, move both legs over to the right, parallel to the front of your mat.. 

10. Straighten both legs as much as possible, squeezing your right arm. Lift your head but don't crank your neck.

11. Straighten your arms and shift your weight back to lower to your butt with control. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Beginners' Tips:

1. Work up to step 7. You must be able to lift your whole body up before continuing.

Advanced Tips:

2. Try moving back to chaturanga without letting the feet touch down until the end.

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