Yoga Poses: Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana

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Eka pada adho mukha svanasana is the one-legged variation of downward dog (adho mukha svanasana), also known as parvatasana or mountain pose. Some poses have different names in the northern and southern dialects, while others remain the same. I am more familiar with the dialect not popularized by Yoga Journal and other mainstream yogic references, so it’s interesting for me to discover the various names for the same poses.

Parvatasana itself gives a great stretch to the legs and shoulders: raising one leg in the variation, however, greatly increases the stretch throughout the back of the grounded leg while opening the hip muscles surrounding the raised leg and giving a deeper stretch to the shoulders.

Method:

From parvatasana, exhale completely and deeply and use your inhale to raise your one leg as high as you can.

Continue to use your breath to keep your abdominals engaged; use each inhale to raise the leg a bit higher, and each exhale to relax the shoulders more open and the heel of the grounded foot towards the ground.

When you’re ready, lower your leg with your exhale and give a good stretch in parvatasana by pushing your chest towards your thighs and letting the head hang loosely.

Benefits:

This pose stretches and lengthens the spine, strengthens the abdominals, stimulates the digestive system, and calms the mind.

Contraindications:

As this is an inverted posture, it is not advised for people suffering from heart conditions, high blood pressure, or serious back conditions, particularly slipped disc.

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