Join Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Carrie Owerko for our new online course Iyengar 201—a mindful and fun journey into a more advanced practice. You’ll learn different pose modifications and the creative use of props, all designed to help you work with physical and mental challenges. And you’ll walk away with the skills you need to adapt to whatever life throws at you, on and off the mat. Sign up now.
Props are wonderful tools that can help make poses more accessible and awaken and bring intelligence and awareness to parts of the body that might seem dull or tense. However, we don't want to be overly dependent upon props. In some instances, it's more fun, exciting, and challenging to explore our body’s capacity to do certain poses without them.
Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-Legged Crane Pose II) is a great pose for more experienced practitioners, as well as those who are just beginning to work on arm balances. It's wonderful for igniting your core, improving the stability and mobility in your legs, hips, shoulders and spine, and for elongating and stretching the muscles of the back of the body. And it's just plain fun.
In my upcoming Iyengar 201 course, we will practice Eka Pada Bakasana II without props and play with a novel approach into the pose. In Iyengar Yoga, this pose is typically approached from Sirsasana II (Tripod Headstand), which can be difficult for many people. Below (and in the course), we will explore a way of entering the pose from the ground. Students who are not yet able to get all the way up onto their arms can practice the stage of the pose that allows them to experience the weight of their leg on their arm without having to bear the entire weight of the body on their arms.
Exploring this novel approach to the pose will help you gain flexibility and strength. You will also come away with a better understanding of the sense of direction of the pose, or how your body is relating to the environment. Focusing on the sense of direction keeps you involved in the process of how to move into and out of a pose without being overly concerned with the shape (or product) of the pose. It is about process versus product.
See also Iyengar Yoga