This is a really fun transition. Some people tell me that it looks kind of like a breakdancing move, which has got me thinking recently about incorporating some breakdancing moves into my asana practice. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about breakdancing.
The first step in this transition is obviously to get into Eka Pada Koundinyasa I. This can be done from Tripod Headstand, from the floor, or even from Handstand. In this first video, I simply jump into a kind of twisted prep-pose from Down Dog, before leaning into Parsva Bakasana (twisted crow) and then scissoring the legs to get into Eka Pada I. From here, I prepare myself for the switch into Eka Pada II. This quick move involves balance, some explosive strength, some subtle strength, and, of course, core. In this first video, I demonstrate the full transition, which is the one that looks like a bit like a breakdancing move. To do this transition, I first exert a forceful but controlled burst of energy upward with my entire lower body. To do this, the arms and core must be pretty well engaged – i.e. you can’t “dump” into the arm balance if you expect to get any kind of air time with your legs during the switch. This burst of energy lifts the entire aparatus (i.e. my legs and hips) up for a brief second. At this point, the bulk of my body weight is being borne by my arms. Immediately, I windmill the legs, switching them with control from Eka Pada I position to Eka Pada II position. The hard part of this transition, at least for me, is not the initial move but the landing. It’s also quite difficult to keep the legs perfectly straight throughout the transition, but feels and probably looks more graceful if you can pull it off.
In this second video, I demonstrate a modified way of doing the switch. This version involves none of the flying around or breakdancing of the first version. It is a good way to practice maneuvering your legs and hips around while in an arm balance, but with a significantly reduced risk of falling down and getting hurt. From Down Dog, I come into Parsva Bakasana, then Dwi Pada, then Eka Pada I. From here, instead of doing a flying switch directly to Eka Pada II, I bring the rear leg forward and come first into Dwi Pada Koundinyasana again. Then, I slowly remove the bottom leg, allowing the top leg to fall or plop down onto the arm. From here, I adjust the hips and extend the legs, coming finally into Eka Pada II.
Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, and the ideas and opinions expressed here are not intended to be formal instruction on yoga poses. If you plan to start up a yoga practice, or if you have one and plan to do any of the yoga poses described in this blog, please seek out an experienced, living, breathing yoga teacher to guide you with hands-on instruction.