Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2

Five Drills for Greater Access

flying splits

EKA PADA KOUNDINYASANA 2: STRENGTH AND POISE

The elegant long lines of a posture like Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 require a great deal of strength and preparation. The pose also requires both ease and poise. Strength is required for more than holding the posture; it also contributes to the element of ease. There’s no doubt that this arm balance is a challenging one. If you believe that confidence is essential for a posture like this one, then you’re right! What’s appealing about working towards a posture like Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 is that you develop confidence through the preparation. How do you prepare? In today’s video, Matt demonstrates 5 drills that will help you develop the strength and poise that is expressed in the pose.  

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GROUNDWORK WITH YOGA BLOCKS

Breaking up the actions between the upper and lower body can really help to refine the execution of Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2. In the first drill, Matt demonstrates an option with yoga blocks set up underneath your chest to relieve some of the effort in your arms. Doing this helps you focus on the techniques utilized in the hips and legs, which create the height and length required for balancing the posture.  

You’ll see that the first drill sets the foundation for all of the drills in the video. 

Here are the core steps in Drill #1:

(left leg forward)

  1. With hands wide and slightly behind either side of the blocks, place your left leg onto your upper left arm
  2. Lean forward and place your chest on a block or blocks (depending on the height required for your body)
  3. Create an anterior tilt of your pelvis while internally rotating the upper thigh of your left leg
  4. Take the option to straighten the front leg—your back knee may stay on the mat 

In the 2nd drill, you are repeating the same actions as above; however, you are adding on by straightening the back leg. Matt demonstrates this with socks on, making it easier to practice by gliding your back foot on the floor rather than on a yoga mat. This is the first step in creating those elegant lines.

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EKA PADA KOUNDINYASANA 2: FIVE DRILLS FOR GREATER ACCESS

STATIC ENTRY WITHOUT YOGA BLOCKS

Drill #3 invites you to attempt entry into Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 from a static position, without the use blocks. Matt reminds you that entering the posture from a static position is muscularly demanding and that without the help of the blocks, it’s vital to create more stability in your upper body. If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you know that one of the essential elements of an arm balance is to grip the ground with your fingers. As you grip the ground in Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2, it’s imperative that you lean forward to offset the weight in your lower body. While executing the actions of the hips (anterior tilt of the pelvis and internal rotation of the upper thigh bone), another action will help to solidify the pose: squeezing your thigh into your arm. This will strengthen the adductors and create maximum stability. From there, you can start to lengthen the legs out in opposite directions.  

Practicing this posture in socks and on a hardwood floor can be extremely helpful in emphasizing a more graceful extension and easier access. Matt also offers the option of bending the knee of the back leg in order to gain a little more height before you straighten the leg out.

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STATIC ENTRY WITH YOGA BLOCKS

In this variation of Drill #3, the blocks support the back leg. The core actions remain the same, and you’ll see in the video that Matt stacks 2 yoga blocks on top of each other. Once you have both sent your weight forward into your hands and lengthened your front leg, you can take a deep bend of your back leg (while your back knee is resting on the blocks). You can experiment with either keeping the knee down or furthering the play with balance and lifting your back knee up away from the blocks.

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ENTRY WITH MOMENTUM

In Drill #4, you’ll explore coming into Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 with momentum. This allows you to practice a more dynamic way of entering the posture, which requires a great deal of coordination. Matt explains that less effort is required of the muscular system, but you’ll notice that you’ll require a slight pull back to keep yourself from falling. This means that the gripping of the fingers into the ground will also be key in maintaining balance.   

Here are the core steps for entry with momentum:

(left side)

  1. Begin in a short Downward-Facing Dog
  2. Lift your left leg up
  3. In one continuous motion, follow the steps to place your left leg on your left arm while creating the actions in your pelvis, upper thigh, and adductors

Drill #5 reintroduces the yoga blocks to get you started at a higher height. Matt places 2 blocks, stacked one on top of the other, underneath the foot of the leg that will extend behind you. This creates a “shelf” to help you gather greater height and momentum for the movement of your front leg. A tip is to place the blocks more directly behind the leg that will eventually come forward. You’ll see in the video how this really informs your ability to shift your weight more forward. 

ONCE YOU KNOW, YOU CAN FLOW

Matt advises you to practice these drills and variations repeatedly. As you experiment with them, you’ll build strength and confidence in the posture itself, and you’ll also build confidence in how you move your body as a whole. Repeating these drills creates an imprint in your body and puts your body “in the know,” or creates muscle memory. Once your body knows, you can release a little bit of focus as regards technique and allow yourself to flow and move between postures with more grace and ease. It’s not that you leave technique behind, but you develop a trust in your body’s ability to move with a sense of assuredness. You’ll access Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 with more strength and poise, and you’ll reveal a seamlessness in your practice that helps you find your flow.

You’ll want to sign up for Matt’s Move Immersion to dive deeper into your movement potential.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Vinyasa Immersion

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MOVE

  • Access your movement potential
  • Sweat and raise your heart rate
  • Master your breath/movement coordination
  • Increase mobility at all major joints
  • Learn to gracefully transition between postures
  • Improve your flexibility
  • Strengthen your hips, back, shoulders, and core
  • Improve your balance
  • Each class will raise your heart rate, bring you to a sweat, and return you back to a relaxed state of mind and body
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $98.00

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