How to Do Ear Pressure Pose (Karnapidasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Er Pressure Pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Focus, stretch for back of body from neck to knee

Equipment Needed: Mat

Level: Advanced

Ear Pressure Pose is a calming advanced pose. In contemporary yoga classes, there is often talk about how to incorporate the philosophical eight limbs of yoga into your asana practice and your life. Karnapidasana is a rare yoga pose that literally does that, illustrating the principle of pratyahara. Pratyahara is described as the withdrawal of the senses, meaning shutting out external stimuli so you can turn your attention inward. You can warm up to Ear Pressure Pose with Plow Pose (Halasana). It might be used in an advanced hip opening sequence or one focused on the hamstrings.

Benefits

This pose stretches the neck, shoulders, back, glutes, and hamstrings. The mental benefits of reducing stimuli take practice, but you can get a glimpse into what it might feel like in this pose if you use your knees against your ears to cut yourself off from the sounds around you. To continue your exploration, close your eyes and focus exclusively on your breath for the short amount of time that you are in this pose. Remember this feeling and try to return to it in your meditation practice during or outside of class.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin in Plow Pose with the shoulders tucked under. Your hands can be flat on the floor or interlaced behind your back.
  2. Bend your knees and bring them to the floor on either side of your head.
  3. Rest the tops of your feet on the floor.
  4. Allow the knees to apply light pressure to the ears, momentarily cutting off aural distractions.
  5. Take at least five breaths before releasing your arms and slowly rolling out of the pose vertebra by vertebra.

Common Mistakes

There's some weight in the neck in this position so don't move your head from side to side. 

Modifications and Variations

You can work up to this pose or deepen it in a few ways.

Need a Modification?

Don't worry if your knees don't come all the way to the floor. It's fine to keep the knees up until they come to the floor naturally.

Up for a Challenge?

Another way to get out of this pose is by doing an Ashtanga-style back somersault (Chakrasana). Release your arms from behind your back, bend your elbows, and bring the palms of your hands under your shoulders as if you were preparing to do Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana). Curl your toes under and push into your palms to straighten your arms as you do a back roll into Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).

Safety and Precautions

As this pose is an inversion, it should be avoided if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition. You should also not do it if you are pregnant as it compresses the stomach. Avoid it if you have any injury to your neck. If you feel any pain, come out of the pose slowly.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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