Whether you are attending yoga class for weight loss or to increase health, relaxation and wellbeing, you are likely to have come across or performed Ekapadasana. The name of the aasan itself is suggestive of the actions required for this yoga pose – ek meaning one and pada meaning foot – the yoga aasan that is performed on one foot. Rather than one single aasan, ekapadasana refers to a number of aasans that are performed while balancing on one foot. I try to include one or more of these for my yoga class duration for the many benefits we can derive from these aasans.
Benefits of Ekapadasana
The one-foot balancing pose is performed in various ways and has a number of benefits as well. It is obvious that when the body is resting its entire weight on one foot, balance becomes very important. As one becomes more proficient at performing the ekapadasana, they will also find that their body balance improves. The body’s core muscles get a workout and become stronger.
The body’s neuro-muscular coordination also is significantly enhanced. The yogi is able to control one’s body better and gain the benefit of improved balance. This is especially beneficial for seniors; whose muscular coordination may have weakened over the years. Older people will find that this aasan strengthens muscles of the back and the legs and that better balance helps to prevent falls and injuries. Over time, the improvement in physical balance manifests into mental balance as well. You will find that as your physical balance improves while doing these aasans, your mental state comes into a more equilibrium state as well. You will find yourself handling stressful situations in a calmer and more balanced manner without getting worked up or anxious. This is an example of how yoga works on both the body and the mind.
How to perform Ekapadasana and its variations
To perform ekapadasana or the one-foot pose stand up straight and consciously relax your muscles. Raise arms above your head and then bring them forward while bending forward at the hips so that you are looking towards the floor. At the same time, raise one leg up in the air so that the leg, torso and arms form a straight line parallel to the floor while the one leg resting on the floor is at right angles to the other leg as well as the torso.
Vrikshasana or the Tree Pose is perhaps the most common and simplest of the one-legged poses. Ekapadasana has some easier as well as more difficult (advanced) variations such as –
Dvi Hasta Pada Utthita Sthiti Eka Pada Bhekasana – This variation requires the yogi to stand upright on one leg while folding the other up at the knee as that the foot is as close to the buttocks as possible; while holding on to the raised foot with both hands.
Ekapada Indudalasana – This is the one-legged crescent pose, where one leg is raised off the floor sideways. The arms are raised above the head and curved sideways to create a crescent shape with the raised leg.
Ekapada Shirsha Prapadasana – This is a fairly advanced pose and only experienced yogis are advised to try this: one leg is in a squatting position while the other is positioned behind the head with the palms joined in Namaste position.
Ekapada Urdhva Dhanurasana – Also known as the one-legged upward bow pose, this aasan is best left to experienced yoga practitioners. This pose requires the body to be positioned in an arch with one foot resting on the ground and the other raised up in the air. One palm rests on the ground while the other arm is aligned with the upward arched torso.
Ekapada Ushtrasana – Another advanced ekapadasana pose, this one requires the yogi to rest one knee on the ground with the other leg raised straight up in the air. One arm is stretched down towards the foot on the ground while the other is raised to clasp the foot that is pointing up towards the sky.
So as you can see, the ekapadasana ranges from the simple to the complex and can be challenging as well. You may be in yoga class for weight loss, but you will find that performing these and other aasans will have several other benefits. You should try and use your yoga class duration to improve your skills and the complexity of the yoga aasans that you perform.