Eight-Angle pose or Astavakrasana is dedicated to the sage Astavakra who, according to legend, enraged his father while still in the womb and was cursed to be born crooked in eight places. This asana is an advanced arm balance, but it has a twist. When you look at it, it might seem like the Eight-Angle Pose is quite an impossible and crooked way to place your body, and all while you balance yourselves on your arms.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. This pose must be avoided if you have injuries in your shoulders, wrists, or elbows.
How To Do The Astavakrasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Begin seated in Dandasana (Stick Pose), with both legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee in to your chest, then bring your right arm to the inside of your bent right leg. Take a hold of your right foot or ankle with both hands and begin to snuggle the underside of your right knee behind your right shoulder, as if you’re pulling on the strap of a backpack. Hook your right leg as firmly behind the right shoulder as you can.
- Keeping the calf of the right leg hugging firmly behind the right shoulder, place your palms down on either side of your hips. Spread the fingers wide, keep the chest lifted and the collarbone as broad as you can.
- Maintaining the hug of the right leg around the shoulder and the palms planted on the ground, pick up the left leg and lightly cross your left ankle over your right.
- Begin to bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle and extend the heart forward as if you are moving into Chaturanga (elbows over wrists). Keep the legs squeezing firmly and extend them as straight as you can.
- Note the tendency for the left shoulder to collapse here, and keep both shoulder heads lifted and level with one another. Stay here for 3-5 full breaths, then gently lift the torso, straighten the arms, and set your bottom back down on the ground to come out of the pose. Whenever you feel ready, repeat on the other side.
- Having a strong core is one of the key components necessary to unlock challenging arm balances. Although arm strength is important to help get you up, it’s actually your abdominal muscles that elevate your hips and keep you lifted. Working on core-strengthening poses such as Plank, Dolphin Plank, and Boat (Navasana) pose are all excellent preparation for arm balances such as Eight-Angle pose.
- Just as strength is necessary, so is flexibility! Opening up the legs and hips with preparatory poses such as Pigeon, Happy Baby and forward folds are a great way to set yourself up for success.
- Keeping the gaze focused on one fixed point (either on the ground just in front of you or toward the feet) can help with stability and mental focus.
As a beginner, you might find it hard to balance in this pose. In such cases, you can use a bolster to rest the bottom of your hip and your outer legs.
Modifications & Variations
This asana in an advanced pose, and therefore, has no further advancement.
Benefits Of The Astavakrasana
- It makes the arms and wrists strong.
- It tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles, thereby improving digestion.
- It helps build concentration and balance.
- It relieves your body of stress and anxiety.
- Menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms are appeased.
- The challenge of the pose helps the body and mind to build a great connect.
Dwi Pada Bhujasana
An arm balance with both legs extended out to the side! Eight angle pose, a name inspired by the story of the sage Astavakra requires a lot from us : upper body strength, supple hips, and heck of a lot of determination.