Learn to Fly in Hurdler’s Pose

Arm balances require two main things: strength and flexibility. Like all of yoga, a good balance of both is needed to, well, balance. And in this case, fly.

For most people, one of the hardest parts of any arm balance is getting into the posture. Hurdler’s pose (a.k.a. Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1) is no exception. To do it requires a lot of openness in the legs, matched by power in the arms, and strength in the legs and core. If we want to learn to fly, we have to get the body ready.

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 at Rock Creek, CA

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 at Rock Creek, CA

Here are three yoga postures to help prepare your body so you can fly!

Chatturanga Dandasana :: Low Plank Pose

In a recent class, I taught Low Plank pose as a posture all on it’s own, broken out of the flow of the vinyasa. Afterwards, a student told me she hadn’t even known it was a separate pose! That’s how little most of us focus on it these days. Flow is in, holding poses is out and Chatturanga gets lost in the process.

If you want to master pretty much any arm balance, you have to be able to do this pose. Sorry, but it’s the truth.


Some key aspects to the pose are:

  • Keep the head of your arm bones (shoulders) back
  • Go only so low that your shoulders never drop below your elbows.
  • Make your legs super strong and straight, and push through your heels.
  • Lift your belly and waistline up, tuck your tail towards your feet.

Utthita Trikonasana :: Extended Triangle Pose

Triangle pose is a great leg opener and it perfectly mirrors what the legs need to do in Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1. For more on this, go here.

Some key aspects to the pose are:

  • Keep your legs strong and straight.
  • Tuck your front hip down, or under.
  • Turn your belly and spine towards the sky.
  • Lengthen out through both sides of your torso.

Virabhadrasana 3 :: Warrior 3

airplaneIn Hurdler’s Pose, working the back leg is crucial to flying. Not only does it have to be straight, you have to lift it up as you shift forward to balance on your arms.

Warrior 3 is a great pose to teach this as you can’t see your leg and you’re balancing, both of which mimic the pose we’re prepping.

Some key aspects to the pose are:

  • Keep your legs strong and straight.
  • Lift the inner thigh high on your back leg.
  • Try to square your hips.
  • Roll your shoulders back towards the sky, regardless of which arm position you choose.
  • Stretch out through the crown of your head.