Eight-angle pose is a lot less scary to begin tinkering around with than some of the other arm balances, as you start from a seated position rather than coming down into it. (Read: Much less danger of face-planting, even if you’re on a pool table as I demonstrated in this SHAPE Yoga Anywhere video!) Also, a lot like in shoulder press pose where your legs are squeezing your shoulders, in eight-angle, you have your thighs squeezing together over your arm to help hold you up, giving you an extra layer of support so it’s not 100 percent arms and abs.
Eight-Angle Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin seated in Dandasana (Stick Pose), with both legs extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee in to your chest, then bring your right arm to the inside of your bent right leg. Take a hold of your right foot or ankle with both hands and begin to snuggle the underside of your right knee behind your right shoulder, as if you’re pulling on the strap of a backpack. Hook your right leg as firmly behind the right shoulder as you can.
- Keeping the calf of the right leg hugging firmly behind the right shoulder, place your palms down on either side of your hips. Spread the fingers wide, keep the chest lifted and the collarbone as broad as you can.
- Maintaining the hug of the right leg around the shoulder and the palms planted on the ground, pick up the left leg and lightly cross your left ankle over your right.
- Begin to bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle and extend the heart forward as if you are moving into Chaturanga (elbows over wrists). Keep the legs squeezing firmly and extend them as straight as you can.
- Note the tendency for the left shoulder to collapse here, and keep both shoulder heads lifted and level with one another. Stay here for 3-5 full breaths, then gently lift the torso, straighten the arms, and set your bottom back down on the ground to come out of the pose. Whenever you feel ready, repeat on the other side.
Eight Angle Pose is a challenging arm balance with several benefits:
- Strengthens the wrists, arms and shoulders
- Tones the abdominals
- Tones the inner thighs
- Improves sense of balance