Photo by Emily Johnson
Astavakrasana is an arm balance that tests your balance and strength, all while requiring a twist! This pose has become one of my favorites through time and practice, as it allows me to lift and stay in the present moment while also strengthening my arms and core. If you’ve never tried this before, take it step by step, and remember to take a few cycles of breath in between.
Keep your faith, hold patience with your practice, and have fun!
How to Practice:
- Start in a seated position in Janu Sirsasana, lengthening your left leg and bending your right knee inwards as you would in a butterfly position, hugging the sole of your right foot into your inner left thigh.
- Use your arms to lift your right shin in towards your chest. Start with your right knee pointing out towards your side.
- Use your arms to pull your right knee back and hike your right leg high over your right shoulder. Keeping hugging your right leg over your shoulder to keep your right leg stable. If your right leg does not reach your shoulder, hike your right leg as high as you can onto your right arm.
- Keeping your right leg hugging inwards, plant your hands down by your sides shoulder-width apart, and round your back to push up off of the floor. If you are exploring this posture for the first time, you can also use blocks to help you lift up off of the floor; it will help engage your core as you feel the sensation of lifting up!
- Keep your right leg hugging inwards onto your shoulder or arm as you move your left leg towards you, crossing your right ankle over your left.
- Lean your weight forward to allow your elbows to stack over your wrists. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle like you would in Chataranga (or push-up position). Lengthen your legs to your right as you keep your ankles crossed.
- To come out, slowly unhook your ankles, and shift your weight up and back to land softly in a seated position. Remember to switch sides!
Incorporate transitions by working into Astavakrasana from your handstands, or even jumping into the posture from downward-facing dog!