Seated Foot-Behind-the-Head Pose

Last Updated: April 2, 2018

Definition - What does Seated Foot-Behind-the-Head Pose mean?

Seated foot-behind-the-head pose is a challenging seated hip-opening posture that helps to relieve tension in the lower body, while also strengthening the upper body, particularly the neck and shoulders

From staff pose, the right leg is lifted, bent at the knee and externally rotated. The leg is then taken over the right shoulder, and the ankle and foot reach over the head so that the foot and ankle rest at the back of the head. The body remains upright and the palms are brought together at the center of the chest. The posture is then repeated with the opposite leg.

Seated foot-behind-the-head pose is also known by its Sanskrit name, eka pada sirsasana.

Seated Foot-Behind-the-Head Pose

Yogapedia explains Seated Foot-Behind-the-Head Pose

Seated foot-behind-the-head pose primarily builds lower flexibility. Additional benefits include:

  • Relieves tightness in the groin and hamstrings
  • Strengthens the back, neck and shoulders
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs, relieving digestive problems
  • Increases blood flow and circulation, especially to the back of the body

This posture should not be forced, and should only be attempted once the yogi’s body is flexible and open enough to adopt the posture without strain or injury. Alternative, more gentle hip-opening postures include pigeon pose and happy baby pose, which can help build the flexibility needed for seated foot-behind-the-head pose.

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