Astavakrasana or Eight angle pose is a hand balancing pose, It is believed the Asana is named after sage Astavakra who was the Spiritual Guru of the King Janaka, father of Sita from Ramayana (one of the epics from ancient India).
History of the Sage Astravakra
The Sanskrit work Astavakrasana can be divided as Asta – Eight Vakra – Curves/bends or in other words eight crooks, the sage Astavakra was born with 8 deformities due to a curse of his father Kagola.
Astavakra when he was in the womb of his mother laughed at his father while he was reciting Vedas wrong, enraged by this laugh of his son, Kagola cursed him to be born a Astavakra (i.e with 8 crooks in his body)
Kagola was defeated by a court scholar named Vandi, later Vandi was defeated by the Young Astavakra in the same court later becoming the guru of Kinga Janaka, impressed by this act of his son Kagola blessed him and made the deformities vanish.
Isn’t the story interesting?
What is the Significance of Eight Angle Pose in Yoga?
Eight Angle Pose needs a good flexibility in spine, hip and strength in arms and core as you will be lifting whole body off the mat, Hence it is recommended to have an ample amount of warm up rounds to prepare for eight angle pose.
Check the Preparatory poses section before jumping into the steps of eight angle pose, the better the warm-up the easier it gets to reach the final pose.
Work on the warm-up focusing different regions especially the ones that opens up hip, core and arms and a few rounds for the wrists and fingers
What is Level of Pose?
What are Preparatory poses?
Below beginner poses are as below
- Chaturanga dandasana/ Low Plank Pose/ Four limbed staff pose
- Uttanasana /Forward bending pose
- Utthita Parsavakonasana /Extended side angle pose
- Plank pose/Khumbakasana
- Naukasana/Boat Pose
- Eka hasta bhujasana/ Elephant Trunk Pose
What are the steps for Eight Angle pose?
- Start with being seated in Dandasana/ Staff pose and bend your right leg bringing the knee close to chest and place the foot on the ground, Let the left foot be flexed.
- Elongate your spine , Tiptoe your right foot and lift it up then slowly thread your right hand underneath your right knee , adjust your leg and arm so the crease of right knee sits properly on the shoulder
- Place your hands beside the hip(right and left sides) on the ground having the fingers spread and finding the grip from the ground, both the hands should be slightly away from the hip and on the equal plane
- Keep the right knee bent and right foot pointed, now Press your hands and engage your core applying uddiyana bandha and lift your hips and left leg off the ground pointing the feet This is Eka pada bujasana.
- Now slowly move your upper body forward like in chaturanga and move out your left & right legs and lock them with each other while the hands are pressed firmly on the mat
- Keep your gaze at either ground or move your head up and look straight or look towards your toes (right side)
- Hold here in this pose for 5 to 15 breaths(Apply ujjai) and repeat the steps on the left side
- To exit the pose straighten your hands and lower your butt and sit on the ground loosening your legs down.
What are the Benefits?
- Strengthens Arm
- Control the nervous system
- Opens hip
- Strengthens Wrists and elbow joints
- Tones up the core muscles
People with shoulder or wrist injuries, any heart diseases , cerebral thrombosis, carpel tunnel syndrome, sciatica pain and slip disc should avoid doing this pose.
The below chakras are stimulated during the practice or Kakasana on the front of Kundalini.
- Solar Plexus (or) Manipura or Navel Chakra
- Third eye (or) Ajna Chakra
- Crown (or) Sahasrara Chakra
- Throat (or) Vishuddhi Chakra
- Root (or) Muladhara Chakra