CHENNAI:The Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svan Asan translates as the one-legged downward-faced dog pose. It is a variation of Adho Mukha Svanasan—referred to as downward- faced dog, inverted V or parvat asan.
Starting from the box position on all fours with hands placed below the shoulder joint and knees below the hip joint, curl your toes and push the floor with your toes and push your pelvis off the floor. Push your tailbone towards the ceiling and allow your head to sink towards the floor- the crown of the head should be close to the floor or rest on the floor. Next move your face towards your knees while moving the shoulder blades towards each other. You chin will be on your sternum (Jalandara bandha) and your gaze has to be at your knees or naval. Your heels should be on the floor, try to push them down for a calf stretch if they are elevated. This is the Adho Mukha Svan Asan Position. To improve the pose, pull your pelvic-floor muscles up towards the abdomen (Mula Bandha) and your belly button towards the spine (Uddiyan Bandha). Next lift one leg off the floor and point it straight up. Toes should also point away from you. Maintain the knee of the extended leg straight.
TIP: Move your face towards the leg on the floor. Hold the position and breathe normal for 5-10 breathing cycles. Slowly lower the leg and switch taking the other leg up. Sit back on your heels or go back to the box position and relax.
BENEFITS: This is a rejuvenating pose and relieves you of tiredness. Your back, gluteus maximus in the buttocks, hamstrings and your
calves get a nice stretch. Anterior muscles of the body- the abdominals, quadriceps and anterior tibialis get contracted. The hamstring and buttock of the raised leg get a good contraction. The head gets a nice rush of blood and the heart below the spine feels restful too.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: As Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasan is a semi-inversion it should be avoided by those who suffer from hypertension.
(Anshu Vyas Seetharaman is a yoga and fitness trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru.)