Come into it from a standing position. First bend your knees as if to squat, then take your left knee to the floor. Turn your left foot so it points to the right and sit on the heel. Cross your right foot over your left thigh and place it, sole down, beside your left knee. Your right knee should point toward the ceiling.
To twist, bring your left waist, side ribs, and shoulder around to the right. Place your left upper arm across your right thigh and slide your left outer armpit down the outside of the thigh. Use movements similar to those you used in Parsva Bakasana to maximize your twist and make good contact between your left upper arm and right outer thigh. Maintaining this contact high on the arm and far to the outside of the thigh is the secret to the pose.
To place your hands on the floor, first straighten your left elbow and put your left palm down (you may need to lean to the right to bring your hand all the way down). To place your right hand, carefully lift both hips without losing the left-arm-to-right-thigh placement, lean even more to the right, and put your right hand on the floor. Your hands should be shoulder width apart, with your middle fingers parallel to each other. Most of your weight will still be on your knees and feet.
Without losing contact between your left arm and your right outer thigh, lift your hips so you can flip your left foot and stand on the ball of the foot, heel up. Next, lift your left knee off the floor so most of your weight is on your feet. Lift your hips a little higher and start shifting your weight to bring your whole torso above and between your hands with its midline parallel to your middle fingers. Leaning your weight slightly forward, bend your left elbow a little, then tilt your head and shoulders a bit toward the floor. This should leverage your right foot up in the air. When your right foot is up, lean your weight farther forward until your left foot becomes light, then lifts up with an exhale.
To finish the pose, straighten both knees simultaneously with an inhale. Lift the left leg until it’s parallel to the floor. Bending your left elbow more, lift your right foot higher, and reach out through the balls of both feet. Adjust the height of your right shoulder so it’s the same as the left. Lift your chest to bring your torso parallel to the floor. Breathing smoothly, hold the pose for 20 seconds or longer, then release both feet to the floor with an exhale. Repeat on the other side for the same length of time.
Eka Pada Koundinyanasana I
Contraindications and Cautions
Any wrist or lower back injury
You can secure your balance if you support the side leg on a bolster and/or the back leg on a chair seat.
- Strengthens the arms and wrists
- Tones the belly and spine