What Is the Hurdler Pose (Eka Pada Koundinyasana II) in Yoga? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Hurdler yoga pose activates your internal organs. (Image via Pexels / Polina Tankilevitch)
Hurdler yoga pose activates your internal organs. (Image via Pexels / Polina Tankilevitch)
Soniya Y

The hurdler pose is an advanced arm balance in yoga. The name, Eka Pada Koundinyasana II, keeps it simple. It translates to “one legged balance” and is a progression (II) of a one-legged balancing pose — Koundinya Asana I (also called the crow pose). But here's the thing: no matter your experience level, you're doing more than a one-legged pose.

Yoga requires a lot of focus on your breathing and form. You do not get anywhere in yoga if your form is incorrect. That means you are able to practice yoga longer and more effectively if you don't make silly mistakes.

How to Do Eka Pada Koundinyasana II: Correct Form

Hurdler pose can be achieved in a variety of ways. Lizard Pose is one of the most basic. Lizard Pose has you on all fours, balanced in front on your forearms, with one leg straight behind you and one leg rotated forward with a bent knee and heel near your elbow.

  • In Lizard Pose with your left leg forward, bring your elbows off the floor and straighten your arms.
  • Slide your left arm under your left leg and place your palm on the floor outside of your foot.
  • Stack the left knee under the shoulder; flex your elbows to bring them parallel to the floor in Chaturanga.
  • Press your hands against the floor behind you.
  • Lift up one leg, keeping your thigh muscles engaged.
  • Look down at the ground in front of you.
  • Hold this balancing pose for five breaths. Release the pose by lowering the back leg to the floor and repeat it on the other side.

Safety tip: Avoid the Hurdler pose if you have any lower back pain, sciatica, shoulder injury, or wrist injury or conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are pregnant or have high blood pressure, you should avoid it. If you feel any pain, ease yourself out of this pose. Do not use this pose on a hard surface; use a pillow to rest your face.

Tips & Techniques for Hurdler Pose

  • Lie on your back and place your legs on the bolster with ankles crossed.
  • Place the back of your upper arm at 90 degrees to your body, and rest your forehead on it.
  • Then step your right foot forward, bend your right knee, and place your left foot on the floor (if it was lifted). Lower your left knee to the bolster.
  • Unwind your upper arm from behind you and step your right foot back to return to starting position at the foot of the bolster. Then switch sides.
  • The bolster ramp is a simple yet very effective tool that allows you to focus on building strength in each asana, which can be difficult to do when you have to support your entire body weight.
  • It also helps you to learn correct alignment and build endurance in chaturanga since the pelvis is supported.

Benefits of Hurdler Pose (Eka Pada Koundinyasana II)

In Hurdler pose, your hips, legs, and arms are strengthened as you balance on one leg. In addition to developing physical fitness, it is also calming for the mind.

• This pose builds muscle strength in your arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, core, hips, spine and hamstrings.

• It also helps activate your internal organs and improves the strength of your abdominal muscles.

• Practicing this pose makes you more confident about your body and mind.

• Hurdler pose brings awareness and connection to your body as it requires focused balance. A great hip opener at an advanced level!

• This pose is a great way to help with meditation, as meditation requires focus and stability. The back muscles and core of your body stay strong while practicing this pose.

• Eka Pada Koundinyasana II (Hurdler Pose) strengthens and tones the entire body. It also encourages good blood flow and activates the various systems and functions of the body.

• It focuses mainly on belly fat, burning it off with deep breathing. It is a great pose to master before trying more challenging arm balance poses.

Common Mistakes

Here are some common errors to avoid in order to get the most out of the Hurdler pose and prevent strain or injury.

Collapsing Through the Shoulder: Keep your shoulders square, squeezing your shoulder blades together so your chest is lifted. Do not allow a shoulder to dip or collapse.

Position your upper arm:

Raise your arms to shoulder height, with your elbows bent to ninety degrees. Your upper arms should be positioned on your sides, not outward towards the front of the room.

Bottom Line

The Eka Pada Koundinyasana II Yoga pose is also referred to as the hurdler's pose, or the one-legged balancing pose. The purpose of this asana is to bring focus and balance as well as strength to your body. It may take people who are completely new to yoga a little while to get used to this pose since it requires a lot of concentration and balance.

However, once you are able to perform the Eka Pada Koundinyasana II or hurdlerʼs pose in yoga, it will strengthen your legs and be a very healthy addition to your yoga practice.

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Q. Have you tried the advanced level yoga?

Yup; I have!

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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