Eka pada bakasana II, also known as One-legged Crane Pose II, is an arm balancing yoga pose. It is an advanced variation of Bakasana, or Crane Pose.
Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II) requires flexibility in your hips and length in your hamstrings. The forward bends, with facilitated stretches of your hamstrings and gluteals, help to prepare for this.
Notice how the various components of the pose interact with each other. For example, your both hips flex and one knee straightens while the other is bent. The position of your straight leg is similar to Tortoise Pose (Kurmasana), and the combination of your both legs is like One Leg Folded Forward Bend Pose (Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana).
Similar to Kurmasana, your straight leg is drawn in against your upper arm, or even your shoulder, creating balance and stability. Your straight-leg thigh braces the shoulder while stretching the muscles at the back of your leg and your buttocks. This position strengthens your quadriceps, which then provide feedback through reciprocal inhibition to relax your hamstrings. At the same time, the center of gravity shifts slightly forward and to your straight-leg side, projecting outside the confines of your body.
Imagine an axis of rotation at the center of your chest and balance your body around it. Squeeze your thighs toward your arms, and co-activate your straight-leg quadriceps and bent-leg hamstrings. Engage mula bandha to contract your pubococcygeus muscle and nutate your sacrum. Combine this with engaging the abdominals to tuck the tailbone under. This can be used to counterbalance the forward momentum of your body. Once you attain stability, engage your triceps and chest muscles to lift your torso upwards.
Benefits of Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II)
With pproper alignment following benefits will be gained by practicing Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II):
- Improves balance and coordination
- Strengthens Core Muscles
- Strengthens Wrist, Forearms and Shoulder
- Improves Concentration
- Activates Navel Chakra
- Maintain a healthy nervous system
- Improves Breathing Pattern
Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II) Instructions, Anatomy Engaging Tips and Tricks
The preparation for Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II) is similar to Crane Pose; however, you may wish to take the general form of Tortoise Pose and One Leg Folded Forward Bend Pose before going up into the balance. This pose requires flexibility in your hips and length in your hamstrings. The forward bends, with facilitated stretches of your hamstrings and gluteals, help to prepare for this.
- Press your hands into the floor with your knees on either side of your arms.
- Squeeze in with your legs and out with your arms to feel the muscle groups that activate in the pose.
- Tilt forward onto your tip-toes, contract your abdominals, and tuck your tailbone. Here your weight may shift — forward or back; At this point, you might try straightening your leg (before coming up into a balance).
- When you come out, rest for a moment in Standing Forward Bend Pose before going on. This gives your unconscious brain an opportunity to develop circuitry to more efficiently perform the pose.
- Then come up onto your toes again and lean forward into Bakasana. Ease your one leg toward full extension by flexing the hip and engaging the quadriceps. Squeeze your thighs into the arms.
- Reverse this process to ease out of this posture by bending your knee back to Crane Pose and then tilting the body weight back and down onto your toes. Come up and relax in Standing Forward Bend Pose.
Anatomy Engaging Tips and Tricks
Engage your serratus anterior and levator scapulae to protract your shoulder blades away from your spine and draw your elbows toward the midline. To engage your serratus anterior, imagine expanding your chest wall. Your pectoralis major, teres major, infraspinatus, teres minor, and latissimus dorsi draw the elbows in, adducting the arms. Imagine doing a chin-up to feel this action. These muscles keep your forearm bones perpendicular to the floor and prevent them from splaying outward. This position aligns your anatomical and mechanical axes and transfers the effort of holding your body weight from the muscles to the bones.
Press your hands into the mat using your pronators teres and quadratus, as well as your wrist flexors. This balances the external rotation forces that your infraspinatus and teres minor muscles produce to keep the elbows drawing in (as described in Step-1). Engage your triceps to attempt to straighten your elbows. In addition to extending your elbows, the long head of your triceps (which originates from your scapula) stabilizes your shoulder blade; This synergizes the muscles in Step-1. Lift your torso by contracting your deltoid muscles at the fronts of the shoulders. A cue for this is to imagine raising your arms overhead. Note how your muscles and bones interconnect from the hands through your elbows and into the shoulders in a coiling fashion.
Contract your psoas to flex your hip. Visualize your gluteus minimus engaging to synergize this action. Activate your hamstrings to flex your knee. This tilts your pelvis back and down by pulling on the ischial tuberosities and counters the anterior tilt of your pelvis produced by the contracting psoas. Co-activating your antagonist muscles can be used to stabilize a region—in this case, the pelvis. Evert your ankle and dorsiflex your foot by engaging your peronei and extensor digitorum. You may try this before entering the pose, to see how it works. These actions create ligamentotaxis (the pull of ligaments on bones) and activate the arches of your feet. Engage your extensors digitorum longus and brevis to extend your toes. Counter eversion of your ankle by contracting your tibialis posterior muscle. This dynamizes the arch of your foot and stabilizes the bones of your lower leg.
Draw your pelvis upward by engaging your abdominals, especially the rectus abdominis. Combine this with actively flexing your hips from the tops of your thighs by contracting the psoas and its synergists—the pectineus and adductors longus and brevis. The synergists of the psoas combine to squeeze your legs into the upper arms. Look at the matrix of interactions between your various muscle groups and the coupled movements of your hips, pelvis, and spine in this pose.
Contract your quadriceps to straighten your knee. One of the heads of your quadriceps, your rectus femoris, also synergizes the psoas in flexing your hip. Your kneecap tends to roll outward in this pose. Counter this by internally rotating your thigh, using your tensor fascia lata and gluteus minimus muscles. Feel how this also contributes to flexing your hip. Flex your ankle joint by contracting your gastrocnemius/soleus complex. Then evert your foot with the peroneus longus and brevis and use your toe extensors to draw the toes toward your body, extending them. Finally, counter-balance eversion of your foot by attempting to invert it. This contracts your tibialis posterior and dynamizes your longitudinal arch.
- While doing Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II), do not wear slippery clothes like silk cloth in this posture. Since these clothes are slippery, they can cause problems by bending your knees.
- If you are suffering from disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome or spondylitis, do not do this asana.
- If you have recently suffered a deep injury to your arms, shoulders, palms or abdomen, avoid this yoga asana.
- While doing this yoga asana, you will experience a sudden flow of blood on your head. So, a person suffering from migraine should avoid this yoga asana.
- Since Eka Pada Bakasana II (One-legged Crane Pose II) puts a lot of pressure in the abdominal area, doing it during pregnancy is not good for fetal health. Therefore, avoid this asana during pregnancy. Also, do not do it during the menstrual cycle.
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Written by Amit Kumar. He is a certified Yoga Instructor; Diploma in sports & exercise and nutrition; Diploma in fitness and weight loss; Diploma in Nutrition; Diploma in Nutrition, Food, Science and Menu Planning.