Drills for Eka Pada Bakasana (EPB)!
eka = one, pada = foot, baka = crane, asana = pose
This is a challenging arm balance, but a great one to learn on BOTH SIDES if you are interesting in ironing out imbalances and weaknesses that you maybe didn’t even know you had.
I have included drills that will help you achieve EPB on both sides.
Even if EPB isn’t of any interest to you, these skills are worth trying because they will:
✅ Build back stability strength.
✅ Strengthen the wrists, arms & shoulders.
✅ Improve straight leg hip extension.
✅ Challenge your core.
✅ Improve balance.
⓵ Dog Push-Ups.
⓶ Child’s Pose Leg Lifts. Check out my very detailed tutorial on this here.
⓷ Crane Pose (Bakasana) & Crane Prep.
⓸ Half Crane.
⓹ EPB Prep.
⓺ Eka Pada Bakasana.
I hope these 6 exercises help you as much as they are helping me annihilate imbalances and weaknesses! See below for more details.
If you need help overcoming pain and stiffness from muscle imbalances, I would be honoured to help you. This is my passion. For more information on being mentored by me, head over to my Strength Academy Program. It’s never too late to get started. I got started when I was 39 and now I’m 45 and moving better than I did when I was 18.
- This is how we build baseline strength in the back muscles (lats). It helps us learn how to use the lats as stabilizers when we are pushing.
- The goal is to come forward, but not a lot. So don’t turn this into a push-up. The goal is NOT range of motion. The goal is to feel the lats engage. Don’t let the elbows flare out. Your back muscles are what keep the elbows in.
- The goal is not DEPTH, and the key is to move SLOWLY.
- Start in a SHORT downward dog with flat feet. Hands are shoulder-width apart. Fingers are SPREAD open. Come up on your tippy toes to move forward into a mini push-up. Focus on feeling your lats engage.
- Film yourself from both the front and side view. The front view will show you if your elbows are flaring out to the sides.
Child’s Pose Leg Lifts
- This exercise looks easy … until you try it 😉.
- Use a foam yoga block. Keep your hips square. Keep the leg MAXIMUM STRAIGHT, even if you can only lift it 1mm off the ground. If you cannot lift it, just try, it’s the thought that counts. Do 10 controlled reps per leg, hold the last rep for 10s.
- Why? To learn how to find the glute-ham connection when extending your STRAIGHT leg. The intent over time is to increase your straight leg hip extension AROM whilst keeping your hips square. Really find and dig into your contralateral oblique to stabilize you. You have to really use the glute max to extend the straight leg, and that hip flexor needs to open up.
- For more info, check out my detailed Child's Pose Leg Lifts tutorial here.
Crane Pose (Bakasana)
(Bent arm variation)
- Don’t hold your breath.
- Hands Shoulder width, fingers spread.
- Don’t let elbows flare out (don’t lose your lat engagement).
- Get the knees up high on the arms, but try not to rest the legs on the arms, instead, get the knees tight to the chest (compress) to lift up.
- Push into the floor. Shift weight into finger tips.
- Gaze forward.
- Hips up. Back rounded. Feet together.
- Don't confuse this with the crow. With the crane, the hips are up, which is relevant for EPB!
- Put pillows/blanket, yoga block or mat about 4 inches in front of your fingertips. Rest your forehead on it. Try to tease your head off.
- Another way to scale: Squeeze your inner knees into your outer arms.
- Whilst holding crane, lift 1 knee off and hold for a few seconds. Repeat other side.
- Start from a downward dog.
- Knee rests just above elbow.
- Shift weight forward.
- Keep the gaze forward and bend both elbows. Don’t let elbows flare out. Hug elbows towards each other.
- Hips remain high in the air. The most common mistake: not keeping the hips HIGH. It’s harder to lift the straight leg if the hips are not high.
- Extend the back leg as soon as it leaves the ground.
- Make that leg maximum straight.
- If you cannot lift the leg off the floor, just try and hold the position (the EPB prep).
- Do the other side.