One-Legged Upward Bow or Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana
1. Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Bend your knees, keeping your feet parallel and aligned with your hips. Draw your heels close to the edges of your buttocks.
2. Reach your arms up overhead, then bend your elbows to place your palms on the floor at either side of your head. Inhale as you lift your hips upward toward the ceiling. Bring the crown of your head to the mat.
3. On an exhalation, straighten your arms and lift your head completely off the floor. Press the weight of your hands equally through your index fingers. Straighten your arms and lift your chest. This is Upward Bow Pose.
4. Shift your weight onto your left foot. On an exhalation, bend your right knee and draw it toward the center of your torso. On an inhalation, reach through the ball of your right foot and extend your leg up toward the ceiling as though you were trying to touch it, or as vertical as possible.
5. Continue to lift your hips and chest as high as you can. Keep the heads of your upper arm bones nestled deeply in your shoulder sockets. Lengthen your entire spine as you lift your foot higher. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Then, on an exhalation, lower your right foot to the floor. Repeat with the left leg for the same amount of time.
6. Release the pose by first bringing the crown of your head to the mat, and then your whole body. Rest on your back with your knees bent and dropped together.
One-Legged Upward Bow is an energizing and uplifting pose. Balancing asymmetrically demands both mental & physical strength, as well as flexibility! Only try this pose if you are comfortable in Upward Bow pose for at least 10 breaths and with straight arms.
(see previous “healing through yoga” entries here!)