Ekapadasana can be translated as “The pose in balance on one leg”. Apparently contradicting the spirit of the traditional yoga works, in which the authors clearly specify the need of complete muscular relaxation while doing the asanas, Ekapadasana involves a sustained muscular contraction.
However, as we shall see in the following, there is no inadvertence between the way this asana should be performed and the traditional view.
HOW TO DO THE ASANA
The starting position is standing on the feet, soles close together, the weight of the body sustained on both soles equally.
Raise the arms above the head, sticking the palms together, while the thumbs cross each other. Tense the musculature of the back. The mental focus will stay on these muscles while you do this asana. Inhale and hold the breath.
From the starting position, supporting your weight on one leg, bend over to the front, until the free leg, and the trunk are on the same line, parallel to the floor.
If you can perform this asana for a short while, the advanced yogis recommend that you hold your breath. The supporting leg has to be perfectly stretched. In this phase of the asana, the arms should be positioned in such a manner that if we were to draw an imaginary line from the toes to the fingers, this line should be perfectly parallel with the floor.
Keep your eyes open, and look straight to the front, towards the palms. Contract the back musculature all the time during this asana. Keep this pose for as long as possible, without forcing yourself to hold your breath more than you feel comfortable.
Come out of this asana going through all the stages we described, in the reverse order. Stand for several seconds, and then repeat the asana, changing the supporting leg.
Although the asana does not raise difficult issue, there may be some minor errors, such as:
1. Bending the supporting leg. This error is acceptable during the learning period of the asana, but it is essential that you correct this mistake.
2. Lifting the leg above the horizontal imaginary line we mentioned above. The correct position is when the lifted leg is on the same line with the trunk and parallel with the floor. This error prevents the energizing and stimulating contraction of the musculature of the back.
3. It is also wrong to bend the knee that is parallel with the floor.
4. To look towards the floor. This would prevent the spine to align properly with the line of the floor. Therefore, you need to look towards the palms of the hands.
THE PLACE IN THE SERIES OF ASANAS
This asana can be done in the beginning of the series of asanas, right after the exercises of warming up, or before or after the Sun Salute or Surya Namaskara.
Focus on the contracted muscles of the body, and especially on the back, all the while trying to attain a deep state of immobility and balance.
During this asana, retain your breath with the lings filled with air, as much as possible. However, during the first stages of performing this asana, Ekapadasana breathe normally and focus on the correct form of the asana, without concerning too much with the breath.
This asana is part of the poses that require the formation, preserving and enhancement of a good sense of balance.
This is one of the rare asanas in which the muscular contraction is extended over a large range of muscles. This asana fortifies especially the musculature of the back. It also strengthens the musculature of the abdomen.
Through its alternate execution, Ekapadasana acts directly on the spine, correcting its possible malformations.
This asana has important effects on the circulatory system. Through the contraction of the muscles, the veins are compressed and this fact determines the venal blood to return rapidly towards the heart.
In the case of the contemporary people, this “engine” works slower and slower, due to the sedentary lifestyle. The intentional and conscious contraction of the large number of muscles exercises an important pushing force on the veins, pushing the blood towards the heart, ensuring the better oxygenation of the organism.