For many of you, yoga is the art of stretching and assuming the diverse body shapes. Well, the Eka Pada Sirasana makes this statement comes alive. The Eka Pada Sirasana (One Leg Behind Head Posture) is an advanced yoga asana demanding a certain combination of strength and flexibility along with patience and perseverance to getting the leg behind the head.
Before making an attempt to perform Eka Pada Sirasana, warm up your body, especially the posterior, hamstrings and core with well-rounded yoga practice. Perform diverse yoga poses like Sirsasana (Headstand), Supta Padhungusthasana (Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) for getting strength and suppleness. And Fire Log Pose, Happy Baby Pose for opening the hips.
And, while performing the pose, respect your body needs and do not push yourself into the pose. By overdoing, you can harm yourself, instead of reaping the health benefits of Eka Pada Sirasana.
Steps of the pose for safe and healthy practice:
1. Sit tall on a yoga mat with legs straight in front of you and palms near your hips.
2. Fold the right leg at the knee and locate the sole of the right foot on the ground. The sole should be in line with the left knee.
3. Lower the right knee on the ground to the right (Make this movement look like a preparation for seated Tree Pose or Janu Sirsasana). The external rotation of the hips in the pose is done for alignment purposes.
4. Hold the right ankle with the left hand and bring the right shin towards the chest. Now, knee and ankle should be aligned with each other.
5. With the right ankle in left hand, draw the right knee to the right side and allow the right shoulder to fit beneath.
6. Firmly plant the sitting bones on the floor. Begin to move the right shoulder further and right leg back on top the shoulder.
7. Tuck the right foot behind the head.
8. Unfold the hands and bring them in front of the heart center.
9. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
10. Gently, come out of the pose.
In the final One Leg Behind Head Pose, bring your focus on breathing, make it smooth and relaxed. Keep the spine upright in the pose.
1. Hip opening is one of the important benefits of One Leg behind Head Pose. Practicing it without attention to alignment can cause strain.
2. Perform the pose after consultation with a doctor if you have neck, hip or back problems.
3. As it is an advanced yoga asana involving intensity, it is recommended to perform ustrasana, supine spinal twist as they are restorative and counter the flexion aspect of this pose.
The Health Benefits of Eka Pada Sirasana:
1. Hip Opener: One Leg behind Head Pose is an excellent hip opener. The strong engagement of the legs along with the external rotation of the posterior results in the opening of the hips. So, advanced practitioners can take up the practice of this pose for healthy hips.
2. Increases Blood Flow: The Eka Pada Sirasana increases blood flow in the body, especially in the back region. With the enhanced supply of blood, the tissues, muscles and organs of the body get nourished resulting in health and wellness. The increase in blood flow also helps in correcting hemoglobin levels.
3. Healthy Body: When you practice Eka Pada Sirasana, the body movement increases oxygen and blood circulation within the body. The enhanced supply of these two aids in purification of the body from toxic matter, higher cell growth and optimal function of the organs. Also, the practice allows the heart to pump with full force which lowers heart rate, relaxes heart muscles and ensures balanced blood pressure.
Strong Core: The Eka Pada Sirasana tones the core
region. As you hold your torso in an upright stance and put a steady effort to
maintain it while raising your leg in the pose, you allow the posture to work
its magic. And, as a result, you get a strong and toned core naturally.
5. Stretches the Back: Owing to the natural push and pull of the leg and neck, your back experiences a stretch. The stretching effect keeps the muscles of the back strong and flexible while protecting it from pain.
6. Nourishes Nervous System: The practice of deep breathing in the posture assists in nourishing the brain nerves. Both the asana and the breathing facilitate in the decrease of stress hormones thus helping your mind to become calm.
7. Releases Stiffness: The Eka Pada Sirasana lengthens the hamstrings, glutes and psoas. The stretch experienced by them results in flexibility. As flexibility enhances, you can practice yoga with more ease.
Escalate your health and wellbeing in the advanced Eka Pada Sirasana. Happy Practicing!