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Course Level: Intermediate

The ‘Eka Pada’ of Back Arches

Eka pada (lit. one-leg)actions teach us to observe and balance two perspective - seemingly opposites of each other. In this session we explore the front and back legs scissoring away from each other as it plays out in back arches.

Duration: 90 mins.

Level: Intermediate

Props needed: a stack of firm blankets or a bolster, a couple of blocks, a sturdy chair, access to a wall

This recording is part of the Short Course Eka Pada Actions – The Leap Towards Hanumanasana (Level: Intermediate).

Tag words: abdominals back arches back thighs backbends backward extensions deskjob deskworker eka pada urdhva dhanurasana front thighs hamstrings hips quadriceps salabhasana supta virasana Urdhva dandasana urdhva mukha svanasana ustrasana virabhadrasana I virabhadrasana II

Combining extension at the hip (in other words, one of the legs of the eka pada action), with spine extension (in other words, back arching) is a relatively complex combination that ultimately leads to leg splits (hanumanasana). But you do not have to reach hanumanasana to appreciate the delicate beauty of the adjustments required in these actions, and the wealth of good they can do to the hip, and the back.  The separation of the front and back legs moving away from each other in the saggital plain is important to maintain the health and mobility all along the legs, the knee and hip joints, and the groins.  This has become even more relevant these days with our sedentary lifestyles and long hours of seating on chairs, as well as the popularity of physical activities such as running and bicycling, that involve repetitive short range movement of the legs.

Back arches are contra-indicated in many kinds of back pain/ injuries.  People with shoulder or cervical weakness and injury are also advised to exercise caution in approaching this session.  Some parts of this session can be stressful for knees that are weak.  During the days of menstruation, women are advised against strong back arches and strenuous actions.