How to Do Eight Angle Pose (Astavakrasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman on yoga mat in eight angle pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Balance, arm strength, hamstring stretch

Level: Advanced

When you look at Eight Angle Pose (Astavakrasana) it's hard to tell how to get there. While it is an advanced posture requiring core strength, flexibility, and balance, when you break it down step by step it starts to enter the realm of the possible. If you can do Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) and Elephant's Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana), you've got the building blocks. If not, keep working on your arm balances and abdominal strength. This pose will still be here when you are ready.

Benefits

This pose strengthens the arms and abdominal muscles, improves core strength and balance, and stretches the legs. You may find that it helps you relieve stress. Being able to achieve it can give you confidence.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin in a comfortable seated position.

  1. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of your right foot to the floor close to your right buttock.
  2. Lift your right foot off the floor, bringing your shin roughly parallel to the floor.
  3. Thread your right arm under your right knee. Try to get your right knee as high as possible on the right arm, maybe even bringing the knee over the right shoulder. It may take several adjustments to get the knee to its highest position.
  4. Plant both palms on the floor on the higher side of your hips and straighten your left leg.
  5. Press into your palms to lift your body, including your left leg and foot, off the floor. This is Eka Hasta Bhujasana. Your left leg needs to be engaged with the foot flexed for this to be possible. Your right leg needs to be actively hugging your right arm.
  6. Once you have the left leg lifted, bend that leg and bring the foot toward your body to hook your left ankle around your right ankle.
  7. Bend your arms to 90 degrees to shift the weight of your torso forward, towards parallel to the floor. At the same time, move both legs over to the right, parallel to the front of your mat.
  1. Straighten both legs as much as possible, squeezing your right arm. Lift your head but don't crank your neck.
  2. To come out of the pose, straighten your arms and shift your weight back to lower to your butt with control. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Common Mistakes

To help achieve this pose, avoid these errors.

Hand Placement

Don't place your hands too close to your hips. They need to be about a foot in front of your hips so you can bend your elbows and lift your hips.

Elbow Position

If your outer elbow isn't close to your ribs your outer shoulder will drop too low and you will have increased pressure on it.

Modifications and Variations

As with other advanced yoga poses, there are ways to work yourself up to the full pose or to give yourself an additional challenge.

Need a Modification?

Work up to Eka Hasta Bhujasana. You must be able to lift your whole body up before continuing. It may help to place blocks under your hands to press into and assist in lifting your body.

Up for a Challenge?

Try moving back to Chaturanga without letting the feet touch down until the end.

Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have any injuries to your shoulders, wrists, or elbows. Remember that it is an advanced pose requiring suitable hip mobility, balance, and core strength. Develop these before you attempt this pose.

Try It Out

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

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