Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)

Level: All levels

Eka = one. Pada = a foot. Sarva = whole, all, complete. Anga = limb.

There are two ways of practicing this pose, either with the focus on keeping the trunk as lifted and connected to the raised leg as possible, or with the trunk connected to the descended leg. The former focuses on lift and length, the latter on groundedness. For the former, you will only bring the leg to the ground if you are able to keep a continuous line of extension through the trunk and raised leg. Either keep the descended leg from going all the way down, or bring it to a block or chair for more stability and support.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Come into the pose from either Halasana (Plough Pose) or Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1).
  2. If coming from Halasana, raise the left leg first. Press the right toes into the ground, reach through the left leg and stretch it up.
  3. If coming from Sarvangasana, reach the left up towards the ceiling as you descend the right leg. Keep the trunk lifted.
  4. Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Return to Halasana or Sarvangasana and repeat on the second side.
  6. Either continue on with other Halasana or Sarvangasana variations, or exhale and come down, using the arms to control yourself as you roll down through the back.
  7. Slide off the blankets towards the head until the shoulders come to the floor and the hips are raised on the blankets. Rest there for a few breaths.
  8. Roll over onto the right side and press yourself up.

Practice Points

  • Anchor down evenly through the upper arm bones.
  • Reach up strongly and evenly through both sides of the trunk.
  • Widen the hip crease of the descended leg.
  • Soften and widen the buttocks.
  • Broaden and lift the back ribs evenly on both sides.
  • Broaden the collarbones.
  • Soften and widen the chest, neck and throat.