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One of Yoga Journal’s favorite poses, One-Legged Upward Bow (or Wheel) Pose (Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana), has graced the cover and pages of YJ regularly since its first year, 1975. And it is hard to think of a better asana to represent the magazine’s path over the last 40 years. Rooted in an investigation of self-study and yogic philosophy, YJ has always aimed to support the yoga community in stepping out with courage to practice on and off the mat with an open heart. Here are seven ways we’ve embodied Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana and its variations over the past four decades.
True to its Iyengar roots, the third issue of Yoga Journal, in August 1975, featured popular California Iyengar teacher Rama Jyoti Vernon. Assistant editor Jean Girardot (YJ’s first cover model) interviewed Vernon, revealing her path toward an Iyengar practice. This cover photo was snapped by staff photographer Christopher Wentworth.
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Photographer and yoga teacher Elise Miller shot this silhouette of British Iyengar teacher Angela Farmer in Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana (One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose) in Greece for the cover of the April 1982 issue. The magazine included a profile of Farmer by Carol Cavanaugh, a longtime Yoga Journal contributor. Cavanaugh wrote about Farmer, who had a seemingly unique approach to Iyengar at the time: “I was to move into a forward bend not by bending but by breathing deeply, connection with the earth, and becoming sensitive to my body’s natural energy flow.”
Another well-known California Iyengar teacher, Catherine De Los Santos, was featured in the October 1993 issue in a photo essay by Larry Hatlett. The images were a sneak peek of Yoga Journal’s 1994 Yoga Calendar.
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“Cybermodel” and yoga DVD star Suzanne Deason sparkled on the cover of the April 1996 issue and in a feature that month about whether going online connects or disconnects us from our spiritual quest. “Like Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Hindu god Shiva, humankind has at last created a world—the world of virtual reality,” writes feature writer Jeff Zaleski. “Each day many million of us visit this world through our computers. …virtual reality will have profound consequences—perhaps, above all, for how we relate to the sacred.” The photos were taken by Steven Baratz.
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Long-time Yoga Journal photographer David Martinez captured master Iyengar teacher Patricia Walden for the cover of the November 2002 issue. The image was part of a bigger photo project that culminated in the 2002 book Yoga: A Yoga Journal Book, which included 350 striking black-and-white photographs of poses executed by some of the world’s greatest teachers.
San Francisco-based hatha yoga teacher Chrisandra Fox models in Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana (One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose) on the cover of the May 2008 issue. The photo was taken by David Martinez in California, where the magazine was based until it moved to Boulder, Colorado, in the fall of 2013.
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The March 2014 issue includes a powerful Master Class column by vinyasa yoga teacher Stephanie Snyder called “What’s your calling?” In teaching Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana (One-Legged Upward Bow Pose), Snyder writes: “Backbends can inspire you to express your dharma, or life’s purpose, in a way that is honest, empowered, and loving. … They require a good deal of self-awareness of both your body’s strengths and limitations, as well as plenty of courage.”
READ MORE Wheel Pose and its variations