Astavakrasana – Eight Angled Pose

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What is Astavakrasana?

The name comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Asta’ meaning ‘Eight’, ‘Vakra’ meaning ‘bent’ or ‘curved ‘and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’. It is one of the advanced arm balance poses in yoga. It is an excellent way to develop your stability and equilibrium, while strengthening your wrists and arms.

Astavakrasana is also known as Eight Angled Pose.Astavakrasana is a hand balance pose with a lateral twist. Meant only for very seasoned practitioners of Yoga, the Astavakrasana, the Eight Angled Pose with Ashta meaning eight and vakra meaning angle, the pose is named after sage Astavakra.
Focusing and strengthening the wrists, arms and abdomen, the pose helps supply blood to the spine and helps to eliminate toxins.
Caution: Do not perform this pose if you have pain or weakness in the wrist, elbow, or shoulder. Also, perform this pose with great stability to avoid injuries.

Here’s a step by step guide:

  1. Stand in Tadasana with your feet as wide apart as the shoulder. Exhale and bend forward, press your palms to the floor outside your feet.
  2. Bend your knees slightly, slip your right arm inside and bring out from behind the right leg (across the back of the knee) and press this hand on the floor outside your right foot.
  3. Support your right shoulder against the right knee and slide your left foot to the right.
  4. Place the left ankle in front of the right (in a cross) and hook the ankles. Lean slightly to the left, shifting weight to your left arm and lift your feet a few inches off the floor.
  5. With the right leg placed firmly on the shoulder, exhale and bend your elbows.
  6. Straighten your knees and extend your legs to the right, parallel to the floor. Push your upper right arm between your thighs and twist your torso to the left. Look at the floor.
  7. Hold for 30 seconds.
  8. To come out of the pose, straighten your arms, lift your torso, bend your knees, unhook ankles, and return your feet to the floor.
  9. Rest in Uttanasana for a cycle of 6 breaths.
  10. Then repeat the pose to the left.

Astavakrasana Steps

1. Be seated in cross –legged position and make yourself comfortable.

2. Make your right knee bent a little and your right foot sole should be bought near the right bottom.

3. Let your right arm come under below your right knee. Raise the sole of the right foot from the floor, and make your shinbone parallel to the floor.

4. You should try to bring your right knee to come up as high as possible on your right arm. The knee can be bought over the right shoulder.

5. Let both your palms planted on the floor, while the straightening of the left leg is done simultaneously.

6. By pressing into your palms, raise your body off the ground.

7. Once the left leg is raised, bend the leg and let the left ankle hook the right one.

8. Your torso should then be bought forward so that it becomes parallel to the ground. The right side of the body should have both your legs.

9. Make both your legs straight.

10. Remain in this posture for around 30-60 seconds with your breathing to be kept smooth and even. Bring your body back to the ground and then repeat on the other side.

Astavakrasana Benefits

1. It strengthens wrists, arms and shoulders.

2. It tones the abdominal muscles.

3. It tones the inner thighs.

4. It improves the sense of balance.

Astavakrasana Dos and Don’ts

If you suffer from shoulder, elbow or wrist injuries then you should avoid this asana.Also; if you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome then also you should avoid doing this asana.