As with most poses, there are lots of ways to get into the arm balance Eka Pada Koundinyasana II. I like to approach it from Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) because the transition allows you to build strength gradually through each stage leading to the full expression of the pose. This gives you little ‘wins’ that provide the encouragement you need to stay focused along your arm balance journey.
How To Get Into Eka Pada Koundinyasana II
Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana. From Adho Mukha Svanasana, shift your weight forward as though you were coming into high plank (with your shoulders over your wrists). Simultaneously draw your right knee toward your right armpit (like in the photo). The knee may not get all the way there. That’s ok, just do the best you can. You’ll find that having the inside of the knee on the outside of the arm works best for Eka Pada Koundinyasana II.
Keep the knee where it is and bend your elbows, coming into a full Chaturanga Dandasana position. Keep the shoulders in line with the elbows, squeeze the elbows in, grip the fingertips, engage the core and look forward. If you find this challenging continue to work on the transition until your strength builds and you are able to hold it more comfortably. Your shoulders will thank you for your patience later!
Once you’re comfortable in this position begin the process of extending the right leg out and forward and lifting the left leg back and up into the arm balance. The lift of the back leg should be accompanied by an extra stretch forward of the chest. Then, reach the feet away from each other. The more you reach out in every direction the easier this arm balance will become. If you just try to bounce the back leg off the floor you will likely feel heavy and stuck.
The extension of the front leg is a challenging one. Persevere. Remember that each pose has its lesson to teach us (be that physical, mental or emotional). Our job in exploring the pose is to be patient until we learn what that lesson is.
Don’t forget to do the other side of this arm balance!