Eka Pada Koundinyasana II Yoga Pose Prep Sequence
It's Fitness Friday! These are some of my favorite posts. Coming up with new exercise routines and toning sequences are my jam (along with food, of course)! Doing body weight exercises in a high intensity type of workout leave me feeling like I really worked my body. Using the body weight idea but slowing things down a bit for an intense yoga session is also my jam! For today's Fitness Friday yoga pose post, I am trying something a little different. Today, I am listing some lead up poses to help prep the body to get into more difficult poses like arm balances. The arm balance I am focusing on is Eka Pada Koundinyasana II. This yoga pose can be difficult for many reasons.
The first is that it can be a little scary to balance when your face is so close to the ground. I've done a few face plants and they are not the most comfortable, that's for sure. The second reason arm balances can be intimidating is that it takes a fair amount of core strength. Core strength is something I have been lacking since having a baby. I had abdominal separation that did not want to heal and now that it has healed, I am slow to build the strength back. It's happening finally after two years or so but it's taken longer than I thought.
The lead up yoga poses will help to prep the body for Eka Pada Koundinyasana II and if at first you don't succeed, keep trying! Taking a few moments a day or a few times a week to practice these lead up poses will help improve strength and flexibility. Before too long, Eka Pada Koundinyasana II will come and it will be so gratifying!
The peak yoga pose for today's mini yoga lead up sequence is Eka Pada Koundinyasana II. This pose can be challenging but with the proper prep poses, it can be done. Props are always welcome especially when trying something the first few times or when there has been an injury. It's always better to use props and feel good in a pose rather than to let the ego override and end up doing more harm than good.
Here are five prep poses to practice either as a lone sequence to work up to Eka Pada Koundinyasana II or you can incorporate these into your regular yoga practice (i.e. surya namaskar and warriors, etc).
Plank and Chaturanga Dandasana: Start in plank pose, pausing to build a little heat and to practice engaging the core. On an exhale, bend the elbows and slowly lower the body down toward the earth. Hold for a few seconds to a few breaths, hovering above the earth.
*Anjaneyasana/low lunge: From downward dog, bring the right foot forward in between the hands. Bring the left knee and top of the foot down to the mat. Hands can come to the front knee or up above the head. Stay here for five or more breaths.
*Half Hanumanasana/half splits: From anjaneyasana, bring hands to the mat on either side of the front foot. Exhale, shifting the hips back, extending the front leg straight (keep a slight bend in the knee). If hands don't come all the way to the floor, use blocks (or books) under the hands to bring the floor to you. Hold here for at least five breaths.
*repeat low lunge and half splits on the second side
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana/hand to big toe pose: Come to a standing forward fold, walk the feet out to hip distance. Using the peace fingers of the right hand, grab the big toe of the right foot. Start to shift the weight into the left standing leg and put a slight or bigger bend in the left knee. When you are steady, bend the right knee and pick up the right foot. Come to standing, balancing on the left leg, keeping the right knee bent. Stay here, or work the right leg straight (or as straight as feels comfortable). Hold here for a few breaths. If you like, extend the right leg out to the side, holding here for a few breaths and taking the same sequence on the left side.
Lizard Pose: From downward dog, bring the right foot forward, placing it in between the hands. Bring the right hand inside the right leg, both hands in line with the right foot and under the shoulders. Stay here, sinking the hips down, making the left leg strong. If you want to go deeper, come to the forearms and perhaps walking the right shoulder under the right hamstring. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the second side.
Eka Pada Koundinyasana II: Here we go! From downward dog, bring the right leg forward, placing the foot in between the hands. Bring the right hand inside the right leg, both hands in line with the right foot and under the shoulders. Sink in the hips and torso. Walk the right shoulder under the right leg, stay here for a couple breaths. Glue the right leg to the right upper arm, lift the right foot off the mat and start to lean the body forward. Spread the fingers and claw the mat. Once you feel steady, really lean forward and see if you can hover the left leg, kicking the right leg out to the side. Hold for as many breaths as you like or try a few more times and switch sides.
Cheers and Happy Friday!
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.