Eka Pada Sirsasana

Definition - What does Eka Pada Sirsasana mean?

Eka pada sirsasana is a challenging seated hip opener that requires a considerable amount of flexibility in the lower body, hips and hamstrings. It also requires some strength in the neck and back to hold the posture without strain. The name comes from the Sanskrit, eka, meaning “one,” pada, meaning “foot,” sirsa, meaning “head,” and asana, meaning “pose."

In this asana, one leg extends straight forward while the other leg is lifted and externally rotated with the knee bent. Then the shin is lifted onto the upper back so that the foot rests behind the head. The hands are brought together into prayer position in front of the chest. The posture is then repeated on the opposite side.

Eka pada sirsasana may be commonly referred to in English as seated foot-behind-the-head pose.

Yogapedia explains Eka Pada Sirsasana

In addition to its stretching benefits, eka pada sirsasana can be used to teach yogis to play to their edges, finding the balance between effort and surrender in this powerful opening posture. Since for most yogis this is a challenging posture, it is also good for building discipline by practicing regularly and with non-attachment.

Traditionally, eka pada sirsasana is associated with the anahata (heart) chakra. Working with this chakra is said to help increase feelings of love and compassion. It can also help the yogi to feel more open and connected to others.

Eka pada sirsasana is part of the intermediate series or nadi shodhana of Ashtanga yoga. It is generally built into sequences of yoga postures which encourage hip opening and forward folding in order to ready the body for this intense stretch.

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