Easy Pose
March 30, 2015
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
March 30, 2015

Eight Angle Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

, , , ,

Pose Type

,

Sanskrit

Astavakrasana
(AHSH-tak-vah-KRAHS-anah)
shata = eight
vakra = crooked, bent

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the inner thighs, triceps, and pectorals
  • Tones and stimulates the abdominals organs
  • Strengthens the spinal rotators
  • Strengthens the forearm, wrist, and hand musculature
  • Improves balance

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hip pathologies
  • Shoulder pathologies
  • Wrist injury
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Avoid straining the elbows and low spine

HOW TO

  1. Start in a seated position. Bend your left knee and ground your palms down into your mat with slightly bent elbows. Draw your right knee over your right shoulder as high as possible.
  2. Cross your left ankle over the right and press the feet together to bind.
  3. Inhale, ground your palms, and bend your elbows—making sure they don’t splay out to the side.
  4. On an exhale, begin to draw your body forward and lift your hips, feeling the weight transfer into your hands. Allow your elbows to bend deeper to bring the chest parallel to the floor.
  5. Squeeze your thighs together to hug the upper arm, and press through your heels to extend the legs.
  6. Stay in Eight-Angle pose for 5-10 slow breaths.
  7. To exit the posture, exhale and slowly draw your body back to a sitting position. Gently release your legs. Repeat on the opposite side.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

  • If tricep strength is an issue, place a block underneath the bottom hip and outer leg to give you extra lift into the arm balance.
  • Practice lifting the hips and transferring weight into the palms.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

  • Parighasana (Gate pose)
  • Eka Hasta Bhujasana (Elephant’s Trunk pose)

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep the upper and lower spine lifted through the crown and firm your abdominals.
  • Squeeze the thighs together and press through the feet to extend the legs. Keep the palms active.
  • Be careful not to overstretch the shoulder joint by letting your chest sink through the arms.
  • Be cautious of your low spine and release if you feel any strain or tension while rotating or lifting.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Wrist, spine, shoulder, or hip pain/ strain
  • Chest sinking through the arms
  • Elbows splaying to the sides