How to Do Eight-Angle Pose in Yoga (Guide to Astavakrasana)

Eight-angle pose is an advanced arm balance that requires core strength, arm strength, and a whole lot of focus!

“As well as building muscle, eight-angle pose is a wonderful way to get out of the limitations of your mind,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “While in eight-angle pose, it’s hard to think about anything else!”

Eight-Angle Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Astavakrasana
Pose Type: Arm Balance Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Advanced pose
Targets: Biceps, triceps, core
Benefits: Eight-angle pose stretches and strengthens the arms while improving core strength and focus.
Preparatory Poses: One-legged insect pose, compass pose, cradle pose, crow pose

How to Do Eight-Angle Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee into your chest and hold onto your right foot with your left hand.
  3. Draw your right thigh closer to your chest then bring the right arm underneath the knee so that the right knee is resting close to your right shoulder. Use your left hand to move your leg into a comfortable position.
  4. Place your right hand on the floor next to your right hip and your left hand on the ground next to your left hip.
  5. Lift the right shin so that it’s parallel to the ground.
  6. Inhale to engage your core, and exhale to lift your left thigh away from the ground.
  7. Bend your left leg to wrap your left ankle around your right ankle.
  8. Once locked, straighten your legs out to the right-hand side.
  9. From here, bring your torso parallel with the ground by bending your elbows to 90 degrees.
  10. Square your shoulders and gaze ahead, not down.
  11. To come out of the pose, bring your legs to the ground and slowly move back to staff pose – seated with your legs straight out in front of you.

Beginner’s Tip

Before trying this pose, make sure that you’re comfortable in forward fold and staff pose, as you’ll need lots of flexibility in the hamstrings.

Spend some time in easier arm balances such as crow pose or crane pose to help you wake up your arm muscles in preparation for eight-angle pose.

Contraindications

  • Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure or any issues with the heart.
  • Avoid this pose if you have or experience any back pain.
  • If pregnant, avoid this pose as it puts a lot of pressure on the core and can restrict breathing.

Variation

If you’re not yet able to practice eight-angle pose, try flowing through plank poses instead. Plank pose will work your core and arm muscles in a similar way that will help to prepare your body for eight-angle pose.

  1. From your mat, bring your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Step your feet away to come into a high plank.
  2. Bend your elbows to come into a forearm plank.
  3. Lift the hips up and back to come into dolphin pose.

Remember to keep your core engaged.

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