Are you ready for your awkward moment of the day? Eka Pada Sirsasana or Foot Behind the Head Pose should do the trick. This major hip opener is challenging for it’s configuration, the need for coiling the spine, and lifting through the root. It’s also a building block for other very challenging postures like Supta Kurmasana. (Check out plates 372 through 394 in Light On Yoga for lots of examples.) Before attempting this posture, prime the body with hip opening, hamstring opening, and coiling core work. Energetically, prepare for challenge, a little awkwardness, and igniting your agni (fire) deep down in your core. Here are a few options to deepen your hip opening and to work towards bringing the foot behind the head. Option 1 – Shin to Chest. From a seated position, hold on to the foot and the knee, drawing the shin to the chest. Work to bring the shin parallel to the floor. When available, wrap the arms around the leg, clasping the hands together. Sit up tall and activate the bottom leg, flexing the foot. Keep the hip of the hugged leg heavy and rooted to the ground. Lift through the pelvic floor. Movement or rocking can help coax the hip joint to open. Option 2 – Leg Behind Shoulder. As range of motion in the hip increases, try taking the leg behind the arm or over the shoulder. Pull the knee behind you and get the thigh above the elbow. Hands can be placed on blocks to create leverage to open the hips. Hug the knee into the midline as you broaden through the collarbone. Option 3 – Leg Behind Shoulder with Lift. To create heat and to prepare for future arm balances, press the hands into the earth. Lift through the low belly and pelvic floor as you slightly tuck the pubic bone towards the belly button. Fire up the long leg, hug the lifted leg to center and press away from the floor. It may take a few tries until everything is working together. Option 4 – Leg Behind Head. The next step is to take the foot behind the head. There is a coil in the belly, but avoid an exaggerated hunch in the back. The heart and the spine are trying to balance the pose with reaching and opening. Use the back of arm the to accentuate the hip opening of the bound leg. Find activity through the feet as you breathe. It’s okay to chuckle, this probably isn’t the most common configuration you’ll find your body in today. Even if this pose feel awkward it shouldn’t cause an undo amount of strain. If so, take a step back from the options and intensity, focus on the opening of the hips and try again when you are ready. Always work where you feel challenged, but also where you can breath, relax around the work, and create positive energy. Follow this weekly challenge @suzannewrightyoga on Instagram or at Suzanne Wright Yoga on Facebook. If you post your pictures or share about your experience be sure to tag #PowerPose and @suzannewrightyoga.
#PowerPose Week 14 – Eka Pada Sirsasana