Why eka pada galavasana Eka Pada Galavasana, or flying pigeon, is a big pose, combining hip opening with an arm balance. The elements of balance, strength and openness are essential. This beautiful asana is named for the sage, Galava. According to one story, Galava was the son of Vishvamitra, Guru of Rama. ‘Gala’ also means cord. As an athlete, my legs, hips and lumbar spine had become tight; muscle-bound. I came to yoga with some upper body muscle, but not real strength. I lifted weights in order to use my arms as “second legs” in running. Eka Pada Galavasana, flying pigeon pose, works to open the deep lateral rotators of the hips: obturators, piriformis, gemellus and quadratus femoris. The particular arm strength we use in Yoga will come with time; one can work incrementally to build it, for instance, by not taking it all the way to the full balance, but accepting more weight over time as you are ready. The external rotation of the hip with some of the body’s weight on it creates more openness. How
- Stand with your feet hips’ width apart.
- Bend at knees until you can place hands on floor, shoulder width apart, six or so inches in front of you, fingers turned forward.
- Cross left foot over right arm, hooking toes around the upper arm. Inhale deeply, and with a slow exhale, bend right leg at hip and knee, shifting the body’s weight onto hands, and lifting the right foot up and back. Keep toes hooked around arm.
- Press down through center of the palms, extending through the center of your right leg to raise it up behind you, lowering chest slightly to parallel to floor.
- Balancing, breathing, and lifting, gaze down past the cheekbones while turning the outer corners of your mouth turned up toward your ears.
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