#CheckMyYogaForm:  Eight Angle Pose

  

 Eight Angle Pose, Astavakrasana in Sanskrit, is a fun arm balance that is easier than it looks.

As with all poses, alignment is the most important thing in keeping you safe during your practice. To really get into proper alignment, you have to focus on the core.  Pulling your core in and up will get your hips off the ground and and help you hold the pose longer, and  safer.

Now, look at my arms in the photo above.  Really look at the alignment of my shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

1.  You’ll notice my left shoulder is slightly lower than my left elbow.  In 8 Angle Pose, my elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. This would mean my shoulders should be in line with its elbows. Not higher, not lower!

2.  Next, look at my right arm. Although you can’t see my elbow, you can tell it’s going out to the side by the diagonal of my forearm – my elbow is not stacked over my wrist.  To correct this, I would hug my right elbow in towards my body a little more and that will stack the elbow over its wrist.

Other than those two adjustments, this is what the pose is supposed to look like.  See below for full instruction…

Step by step 8 Angle Pose:

1.  Begin in Staff Pose (Dandasana).

2.  Bring your right knee in towards your chest, then thread your right arm through your bent right leg.

3.  Grab your right ankle with one, or both hands and get the krook of your right knee as high up on the right shoulder as possible.  Imagine your leg is a backpack strap.

4.  Once right leg is in place and secure, place both hands on the ground on either side of your hips.  Make sure your fingers are spread wide and your middle fingers point directly in front of you.  Grip the ground with your finger tips!

5.  Keeping your right leg hugged into its shoulder, bring your left leg over to cross your left ankle over the right creating a bind at the ankles.

6.  Now, begin to lean forward while keeping shoulders open until your elbows come to a 90 degree angle (Chaturanga arms).  Keep squeezing your legs towards one another, and extend them out to the right as much as possible.

7.  Be sure to keep your shoulders level (do not dip the left shoulder as I am in the photo), and keep your core pulled in and up to keep the hips lifted.

8.  Hold for as long as comfortably possible, then to come out, simultaniously lower your hips as you straighten your arms.

9.  Come back into Dandasana, take a couple wrist rotations in each direction, then repeat on the other side once ready.

Important:

Do not attempt this arm balance or any other if you feel pain in your wrists, elbows, or shoulders.

Tips:

Begin with core work, twists, and hamstring and hip openers.

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