One Legged Four Limbed Staff Pose (Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana)

One Legged Four Limbed Staff Pose is an advanced variation of Chaturanga dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose). Chaturanga dandasana is the foundation pose for all arm balances and One Legged Four Limbed Staff Pose is done to strengthen the core muscles to build endurance and strength.

How To

  1. Begin with Adho Mukha Svanasana /downward facing dog. 
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg up. Point your toes towards the ceiling and keep your knees straight.
  3. Exhale and come to Kumbhakasana/ Plank pose.
  4. Inhale and balance your body on your palms and your left toes.
  5. With an exhalation, lower your torso and your hips to just a few inches above or on the floor. Make sure your body is parallel to the floor. Beginners can rest their left knee on the floor to gain more support.
  6. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees angle and keep them close to your torso.
  7. Gently lift your head up to gaze forward.
  8. Stay in this pose for 3 long breaths (follow the same with the other leg). 

Benefits 

  1. Stretches and Strengthens: The practice of Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana helps to stretch the biceps, triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, spinal muscles, psoas, abdominal and pelvic muscles. This stretching helps to further strengthen the arms, legs, hips, spine, wrists and shoulders while increasing their flexibility.
  2. Manipura Chakra and Internal Organs: This pose helps strengthen the core and the abdominal muscles and stimulates the Manipura Chakra (Root Chakra) which helps in improving the function of the digestive organs.
  3. Awareness and Focus: While practising Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana (One Legged Four Limbed Staff Pose) the need for awareness is towards the core and abdominal strength which helps to bring the torso parallel to the floor and resist with gravity. Balancing the body when close to the floor when one leg is raised can only be done with full awareness of the breath and body.
  4. Energy and Endurance: Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana is quite challenging to stay in balance, hence when done the right way keeping the alignment of the shoulders, chest, hips, and elbows, this pose helps build endurance. The deeper engaging of the core muscles and abdominal muscles improves the stamina in the body too.
  5. Improves Posture: The active use of spinal muscles strengthens the entire back along with the engaging of the shoulders, chest, and abdominal muscles and together it helps in correcting the posture of the back, spine and overall body.
  6. Toning and Lengthening: This pose with the engaging of one side of the body while in balance helps to strengthen the entire body keeping it well toned. The muscles of the abdomen, core, back, arms, legs and hips are all well toned with their engagement, thereby strengthening and lengthening the spine.
  7. Hips and Flexibility: The practice of Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana is a hip opener since the focus is on one side of the body, with the leg raised. With focus on one side of the body, there is scope for better hip stability. This pose also enhances the blood circulation to the pelvic organs and also helps relieve stress.
  8. Power and Confidence: With endurance and focus, the practice of Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana (One Legged Four Limbed Staff Pose) boosts the confidence in the body with better breath control, and hence can be practiced to prepare the body for more intense challenging poses.

Contraindications 

  1. High Blood Pressure and Heart Ailments: Since breathing can be restricted while trying to resist gravity and hold the body parallel to the floor, it is advisable for students with high blood pressure, heart ailments and vertigo to avoid this pose.
  2. Injury and Surgery: A lot of strain is felt in all the muscles and joints of the body with the practice of Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana. Hence, if students with an injury to any part of the body, or are recovering from a recent surgery, then, they should avoid practicing this pose. Injury of the shoulders, arms, wrists, neck, hips, knees, lower back, ankles, feet and pelvis, are all contraindications, hence should be avoided. Students with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome should also avoid practicing this pose.
  3. Pregnant Women: Women who are pregnant should avoid the practice of Eka Pada Chaturanga Dandasana since there is a lot of pressure felt in the abdominal area and the pelvis, causing restrictions to the breathing.
  4. Back Pain or Herniated Discs: Students with back pain related issues or those with herniated discs (any part of the spine) should avoid practicing this pose.

Pro Tip: This pose is about stability and power. Instead of pulling away from the floor, try pushing it away from you. This action will activate the triceps and take some pressure off shoulders.