Definition - What does Koundinyasana mean?

Koundinyasana is an advanced twisted arm balance. It is named after the sage, Koundinya.

To enter this pose, begin on a yoga mat in a squat with the knees together. Twist the upper body to the left and place the hands on the floor to the outside of the left thigh. The elbows bend so that the upper arms are parallel to the ground. The left thigh rests on the right upper arm and the right thigh stacks over it. The heels lift off the ground as in parsva bakasana (side crow/crane pose). Slowly straighten both legs into a split, extending the left leg forward and the right leg back. Hold for two to three breaths then come down and repeat on the opposite side.

This pose is also known as eka pada Koundinyasana A. The second version is called eka pada Koundinyasana B.

Yogapedia explains Koundinyasana

In order to practice this asana, one needs to find the proper balance between ease and effort. Core strength, flexibility in the hips, hamstrings and spine are a necessity.

Since this is a challenging pose, it is recommended to practice arm strengthening and spinal twists beforehand. The following asanas are good warmups: supta padangusthasana (reclining hand-to-big-toe pose), chaturanga dandasana (staff pose), eka pada bakasana (one-legged crow pose), kapotasana (pigeon pose) and ardha pincha mayurasana (dolphin pose).

Koundinyasasna is a great pose for opening the mind to new challenges and overcoming old fears. Additional benefits of this pose include:

  • Strengthens the arms, shoulders and spine
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Improves balance
  • Tones core muscles
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