Ekapadahastasana

Taking the asana position

Initial Position - Sitting position
  1. Spread the legs as far apart as possible, with the toes pointing up to the ceiling.
  2. Turn the torso towards the left leg. Inhale and extend the right arm and hold the left toes with the right hand, wrapping the left arm behind the waist.
  3. Exhale and bend forward from the hips. If possible, touch the forehead to the left knee or shin. Breathe normally.
The asana position

In this position, the legs are spread apart and kept straight. The torso is turned towards one leg and folded forward towards the leg. The opposite arm is extended towards the leg and catching hold of the toes. The forehead is touching on the knee or shin of the leg.
   
Releasing the asana position
  1. Exhale and while inhaling, lift up the head.
  2. Release the arms back to the sides of the hips.
  3. Join both legs and come back into sitting position.

Practice on the other side, bending towards the right leg.
   
Anatomical focus

Awareness
   
Do's
  1. Keep the back straight.
  2. Keep both legs straight.
  3. Keep the toes pointing up.
  4. Touch the right elbow to the ground if you are able to catch the toes.
  5. Relax in the pose.   
Dont's
  1. Hunch the back in order to touch the forehead to the knee.
Benefits
  1. Improves the flexibility of the hamstrings, hips and inner thighs.
  2. Tones and massages the organs in the abdominal and pelvic areas.   
Therapeutic application
  1. Menstrual disorders
Precautions & contra-indications
  1. People who suffer from slipped disc or sciatica or those who have had recent abdominal surgery should not practice this asana.   
Duration   
   
Variations & tips

If it is not possible to reach the toes with the hand, it is ok to catch hold of the shin or ankle. It is more beneficial to keep the back straight and bend from the hips, than to hunch the back in order to catch the toes or touch the forehead to the knee.

It may also be easier if you do not spread the legs to your limit. This will relieve the strain on the inner thighs.
   
Preparatory poses
  1. Ardha paschimottanasana
  2. Paschimottanasana   
Follow-up poses
  1. Ardhapadmabandhasana
  2. Ugrasana   
Ancient texts