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Strengthen your legs, arms, and core and continue to open your hips with these prep poses for Eka Pada Galavasana.
PREVIOUS STEP IN YOGAPEDIAModify Sleeping Pigeon Pose to Balance Body + Mind
NEXT STEP IN YOGAPEDIAChallenge Pose: Eka Pada Galavasana
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Cow Face Pose
Complements Sleeping Pigeon by stretching your abductors, or outer hips; prepares your hips for the demands of Eka Pada Galavasana
Come to all fours in the middle of your mat. Lift your right knee; bring it behind your left leg and to the outside of your left knee. Your left knee will stack atop your right knee. Staying on your hands and knees, wiggle your feet away from each other until they’re slightly wider than your hips. Slowly lower your hips to the floor between your feet. If your hips are not able to lower to the floor—or you feel discomfort in your knees—sit on a block or folded blanket. Finish the transition into the posture by walking your hands forward and lowering your torso into a forward bend. Take 5 to 6 breaths before switching sides
One-Legged Plank Pose
Builds the strength in your hamstrings and gluteus maximus that you’ll need to lift and keep aloft your back leg in Eka Pada Galavasana
From Down Dog, raise your right leg up and back. Shift forward until your shoulders are slightly behind your wrists this will require your core to work harder than it would if you stacked your shoulders directly above your wrists. Engage your abdominals to support your lower back and maintain the lift of your right leg. Keep your lifted leg in line with your torso and parallel to the floor. Hold until you’re fatigued (3 to 6 breaths), and then step back into Down Dog before switching sides.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Builds the upper-body and core strength required to support your weight while balancing in Eka Pada Galavasana.
Begin in Plank Pose with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Press your hands into the floor, externally rotate your arms, and broaden your shoulder blades. Simultaneously rock forward to your tiptoes, bend your elbows so your forearms and triceps are at a 90-degree angle, and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Keep your quadriceps muscles and abdominals firm to support your weight. Squeeze your elbows toward your ribs as you broaden your chest. Take 2 to 3 breaths, drawing your shoulders away from your ears and sustaining the posture.
About Our Pro
San Francisco–based instructor and model Jason Crandell has 20 years of teaching experience. His classes integrate elements of power yoga, anatomical precision, and mindfulness. Crandell has taught on many teacher-training faculties and leads trainings globally. He is a contributing editor at Yoga Journal, where he has authored more than 25 articles, a podcast series, and four full-length DVDs. Find more of his teachings at jasonyoga.com.