Eka Pada Koundinyasa, also known as flying splits, is an advance arm balance meaning One-Footed Pose dedicated to the sage Kaundinya. This pose can be physically demanding and frustrating if you’re someone who’s just starting with your journey. But like everything great, the beginnings are always the hardest. However, with patience and effort, nothing is impossible.
Developing strength through balance.
This pose improves balance, builds strong shoulders, wrists and arms. It also strengthens the internal organs, boosts metabolism and increases mobility of the spine. Flying splits is also a good posture to create a stronger core and legs. This posture promotes self-awareness and develops a clearer mind to balance the energies of life and composure while facing struggles.
Approaching the posture can be frustrating and very challenging. The science behind flying splits is slowly shifting your weight forward to the foundations of the shoulders and arms rather than just trying to lift your back foot up. The weight at the front of the body will create the leverage to allow your back foot to lift without actually lifting it up. Do not lower the upper body too much to avoid pushing the shoulders into extensions.
Flying Splits. Eka Pada Koundinyasana is amazing but it’s not an easy posture. However, with regular practice, your body will naturally be familiarized with the technique needed to remain at balance, holding the pose for few breaths, strengthening the overall body and the mind.
How: Start in Downward-Facing Dog. Plant your hands shoulder width apart and your feet hip width apart on the ground. Push through the hips and imagine that it is tied to a string pulling your body up in an inverted V. Then transition to Three-Legged Dog, lifting and extending your left leg up. Inhale and bend your left knee and slowly bring it to your left triceps. Exhale gently as you lower your body in chaturanga, shifting your weight forward, allowing space at the back to lift your right leg. Extend both legs and hold the pose for three breaths. Stabilize your balance by spreading your fingers and planting them on the ground. Do the same technique on the other side.
Chaturanga, crow pose, compass pose and eight angle pose would be great preparatory poses before digging into Eka Pada Koundinyasana. Don’t attempt the pose if you have any injuries on wrists and shoulders or any other medical conditions unless approved by your physician.
Do not rush flying your splits. It will take practice and patience as you learn and have fun while building a strong foundation. Learning to fully approach will be even harder if you have tight hamstrings. Don’t feel down when it seems you can’t hold the pose. Take a rest. Pause for a moment to regain composure and try again with integrity and stability.
Be in the moment and listen to your body. Never force it to do anything that goes against its current capabilities. Slowly progress and be aware of what’s happening within and it will surely manifest itself physically in the practice. Keep learning and one day you’ll fly your Eka Pada Koundinyasana!