Eka Pada Galavasana (One-Legged Balance or Flying Pigeon) is an arm balance that tends to inspire awe, as well as fear from yogis. The delicate perch requires enough flexibility, skill, and both physical and mental strength to detach from the fear of teetering forward and falling on your face.
Some anxiety is perfectly reasonable. After all, humans are wired to avoid circumstances where we might bruise our faces—or our egos. Yet one of the most compelling reasons to practice arm balances is to push beyond our perceived boundaries. Not thoughtlessly, but consciously. Herein lies the beauty (well, one of the beauties) of the practice: By facing your fears and persistently and skillfully practicing Flying Pigeon, you’ll build self-confidence and gain an understanding of your true potential—in yoga as well as in life.
See also: 5 Cool Ways to Use Props for Arm Balances
A mind-body approach to Flying Pigeon
This mental fortitude is mirrored in the physical balance that’s so essential to achieving this pose. When you soar into Flying Pigeon with your chest and extended leg flying high above your shoulders, the amount of weight in front of your elbows must match the weight behind them. That’s easier said than done.
This step-by-step practice guide demystifies Eka Pada Galavasana by preparing the body with functional movement. You’ll create space in your hips, strengthen your core, and build a strong foundation through key actions (think Chaturanga arms) that will help you with this as well as many other arm balances. By intentionally targeting and opening specific parts of the body prior to attempting the pose, you’ll increase your chance of gracefully lifting into it.