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E K A P A D A U T T A N A S A N A
The name of this asana is composed of the following Sanskrit roots: Eka - one, Pada - leg, and Uttan - lifting, raising. Consequently, Ekapada Uttanasana is "the asana of one raised leg".
This asana belongs to the group of asanas with support or lifting on the arms and despite its apparent compleity it is not difficult to perform.
HOW TO DO IT
Sit on the floor, legs stretched in front of you.
Place the right hand on the floor, next to the hip, fingers oriented to the front, and palm firmly supporting the arm. With the left hand, place the right knee on the flexed right arm and then place also the left arm on the ground, next to the hip.
Slide the left ankle over the right foot.
Stretch the two legs as much as you can, and this effort will make you come up from the floor. The left leg is always parallel to the floor, at approximately 10 cm from it.
We stay in this position and breathe deeply for 10 - 20 times relaxing the body and making the inhalation equal with the exhalation. Do not retain the breath at all.
The powerful contraction of the abdominal musculature imposes a breath almost exclusively thoracic. In this first case, we try to locate the breath in the left side of the thorax.
EXECUTION ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE
Begin again contracting the left side of your abdomen and continue all the steps described before, on the opposite side.
Focus especially on the process of breathing and on the abdomen compressed by the contraction of the muscles. From the subtle point of view, this asana activates the secret center of force Manipura Chakra, placed at about two widths of finger below the navel.
There are no restrictions in performing this asana because all the people who can do it are in no danger.
POSSIBLE ERRORS THAT HAVE TO BE AVOIDED
One frequent mistake is not bending enough the supporting arm. In this case the flexed leg will slide and fall from the arm and the practitioner will be able to perform this asana only with considerable and useless effort. The pose is truly correct and efficient when the leg that is not on the bent arm is straight and parallel to the floor.
This asana develops the abdominal and the dorsal muscles. In the following, we give a detailed description of all the effects of this asana.
Effects on the abdominal muscles and organs
When we perform this asana, the hip of the flexed leg compresses half of the abdomen. Therefore, it is recommendable that we begin with the right leg flexed. Thus the colon and the liver are toned by this compression.
The abdominal muscles are contracted and fortified and the abdominal organs are toned. The breath is deep and the compression of the abdomen determines a powerful blood circulation in them. The venal blood is rapidly emptied and is recycled.
Thus, the organs get back their normal size. This asana activates intensely the liver and acts efficiently on eliminating the constipation. In fact, the whole of the digestive tube and the annex glands benefit from the energy triggered by this asana.
Effects on the dorsal and thoracic muscles
The dorsal muscles on the part of the bent knee is extended and contracted, which makes the blood flow increase in this area. In the final pose, the abdomen is blocked by the contracted musculature and its volume is reduced.
This is why the diaphragm cannot go down and thus the breath is superficial. The nervous roots from the dorsal area of the spine benefit the most of this increased flux of blood. The fact that half of the abdomen is compressed determines a profound ventilation of the lung situated on the other side on the thorax.
Effects on shoulders and arms
This exercise fortifies the musculature of the shoulders and neck. The wrists will regain their suppleness.
PLACE IN THE SERIES OF ASANAS
Traditionally, this pose is performed before The Peacock Pose (Mayurasana).