Definition - What does Koundinyasana A mean?
Koundinyasana A is the first of two asanas named after the ancient Hindu sage, Koundinya. It is a twisting posture that sees the yogi balance their body in the air with the support of their arms on the ground.
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.
Koundinyasana A should be entered from a bending position by putting the left knee on the floor and then turning the left foot toward the right. The right foot then goes over the left leg and is placed on the ground next to the left knee. Both knees are then straightened at the same time. With the right knee pointing upward, the torso is twisted to the right and the upper left arm goes across the right thigh, making solid contact to allow the position to be maintained.
Also known as eka pada Koundinyasana A, Koundinyasana A is known in English as the pose dedicated to Sage Koundinya A.
Yogapedia explains Koundinyasana A
Eka pada Koundinyasana A is a fairly advanced asana that requires a mixture of strength, balance and inner confidence to perform correctly. It is an ideal asana for someone who wants to open their mind to new physical and spiritual experiences while performing yoga. The difficulty in getting into this position and then maintaining it challenges the practitioner to overcome their fears and perceived weaknesses.
Some sources state that Koundinya was created by the goddess, Parvati, to provide wine for the gods. Other texts suggest that he was a disciple of Buddha. It is also said that in order to be able to practice this asana, one needs to have the faith of Koundinya in him/herself and to find the proper balance between ease and effort.