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Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

Elephant Trunk Pose, or Eka Hasta Bhujasana, is a fascinating and challenging yoga pose that combines elements of strength, balance, and flexibility. This arm balance pose requires lifting one leg while balancing on one arm, mimicking the shape of an elephant's trunk. It’s an excellent pose for building upper body and core strength, while also enhancing hip flexibility and focus.

Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

The name "Eka Hasta Bhujasana" comes from Sanskrit:

  • Eka: One

  • Hasta: Hand

  • Bhuja: Arm or Shoulder

  • Asana: Pose

Together, Eka Hasta Bhujasana translates to "One-Handed Arm Pose," symbolizing the balance and strength required to maintain this posture.


Eka Hasta Bhujasana is pronounced as:

  • Eh-kah Hah-stah Boo-jah-sah-nah


Anatomy of Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

Understanding the anatomy involved in the Elephant Trunk Pose helps in executing the pose correctly and safely:

Muscle Groups Engaged

  • Core: Engages the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques to stabilize the torso.

  • Arms and Shoulders: The deltoids, triceps, and forearm muscles work to support the body weight.

  • Hip Flexors: Engage to lift and hold the leg in position.

  • Leg Muscles: The quadriceps and hamstrings are active to maintain the lifted leg.


Joint Involvement

  • Wrists: Bear weight and require strength and flexibility to support the upper body.

  • Shoulders: Stabilize the arm balance and support the weight distribution.

  • Hips: Flexibility in the hip flexors and strength in the abductors facilitate the pose.


Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana): Steps / Instructions

  1. Begin in Dandasana: Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you and your hands resting on the ground beside your hips.

  2. Bend One Knee: Bend your right knee and draw it towards your chest. Place your right foot flat on the floor.

  3. Place Your Arm Under the Leg: Thread your right arm under your right knee, bringing your hand to the outside of your right foot.

  4. Lift Your Leg: Use your right hand to hold onto your right ankle and lift your right leg, placing your right knee high up on your right upper arm.

  5. Plant Your Hand: Place your right hand firmly on the ground beside your hip. Your left hand can stay on the ground for balance initially.

  6. Engage Your Core: Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your torso.

  7. Lift Your Left Leg: Press into your right hand and lift your left leg off the ground. Keep your left leg extended and active.

  8. Balance and Hold: Find your balance by leaning slightly forward. Once stable, lift your left hand off the ground and extend it forward or to the side.

  9. Maintain Steady Breathing: Breathe deeply and evenly as you hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.

  10. Release and Switch Sides: Gently lower your left leg back to the ground, release your right leg, and repeat on the other side.

Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

When to do it

Elephant Trunk Pose is best practiced when your body is warm and limber, making it suitable for mid to advanced yoga sessions. Avoid practicing immediately after eating to ensure comfort and stability.


Preparatory Poses

Prepare your body for Elephant Trunk Pose with these poses:

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Warms up the shoulders and core.

  • Boat Pose (Navasana): Strengthens the core and hip flexors.

  • Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): Opens the hips deeply.

  • Plank Pose (Phalakasana): Builds upper body strength.


Follow-Up Poses

After practicing Elephant Trunk Pose, integrate these poses to stretch and balance the body:

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana): Releases tension in the back and shoulders.

  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): Stretches the hamstrings and lower back.

  • Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana): Opens the hips and stretches the inner thighs.


Chakra

Elephant Trunk Pose is connected to the Manipura Chakra, the Solar Plexus Chakra located in the upper abdomen. This chakra governs self-confidence, willpower, and transformation. Practicing Eka Hasta Bhujasana can help balance and energize the Manipura Chakra, enhancing personal power and inner strength.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Mantra for This Pose

A suitable mantra to enhance your practice of Elephant Trunk Pose is: “Ram” (pronounced as Rahm)

Chanting the mantra "Ram" resonates with the qualities of the Solar Plexus Chakra, promoting confidence, courage, and vitality during your practice.

“Ram”

Alignment Cues

  • Core Engagement: Maintain strong engagement of the core muscles to stabilize the torso and support the arm balance.

  • Arm Position: Keep your supporting arm firm and shoulder-width apart. Press firmly into the mat with your fingertips to distribute weight evenly.

  • Hip Opening: Focus on deep hip flexion and external rotation to place the knee securely on the upper arm.

  • Gaze: Maintain a steady gaze (drishti) either forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration.


Duration of Hold

Hold Elephant Trunk Pose for 5-10 breaths initially, gradually increasing the duration as your strength and balance improve. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and breathing deeply throughout the hold.


Drishti

Your drishti (gaze) in Elephant Trunk Pose can be directed forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration. A steady gaze helps stabilize the mind and enhance focus during the pose.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Physical Awareness

  • Core and Arm Strength: Focus on engaging and strengthening the core and arm muscles throughout the pose.

  • Breath: Maintain steady, deep breathing to support endurance and concentration.

  • Alignment: Pay attention to alignment cues to prevent strain and maximize the benefits of the pose.


Spiritual Awareness

  • Manipura Chakra Activation: Connect with the energy of the Solar Plexus Chakra to enhance confidence and willpower.

  • Mind-Body Connection: Cultivate mindfulness by synchronizing your breath with movement, deepening your practice.


Beginners’ Tips

  • Build Hip Flexibility: Develop hip flexibility with regular hip opening poses to prepare for the deep hip flexion required in Elephant Trunk Pose.

  • Strengthen Core: Practice core strengthening exercises to build the stability and strength needed for arm balance.

  • Use Props: Place a block under your hips or hands for additional support and stability until you gain confidence in the pose.


Who Should Not Do It

  • Wrist or Shoulder Injuries: Individuals with acute or chronic wrist or shoulder issues should avoid the Elephant Trunk Pose or practice it with caution.

  • Beginners: Those new to yoga or arm balancing should build a strong foundation in basic poses before attempting Elephant Trunk.


Who Should Do It

  • Experienced Yogis: Those with a solid understanding of arm balances and hip flexibility seeking to challenge themselves.

  • Athletes: Individuals looking to enhance upper body strength, core stability, and balance.

  • Yoga Enthusiasts: Practitioners interested in advancing their practice and exploring deeper levels of physical and mental focus.


Benefits of Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

Physical Benefits

  • Hip Flexibility: Deeply stretches and opens the hip flexors and external rotators.

  • Core Strength: Strengthens the abdominal muscles and core to maintain stability in the pose.

  • Arm Strength: Builds strength in the arms, shoulders, and wrists necessary for supporting the body weight.

  • Balance and Coordination: Enhances overall balance and coordination through the integration of hip opening and arm balancing.


Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Focus and Concentration: Requires mental focus and concentration to maintain balance and alignment.

  • Confidence: Boosts self-confidence and inner strength as you achieve and hold a challenging pose.

  • Stress Relief: Promotes stress relief and relaxation through deep breathing and mind-body connection.


Variations of Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

Advanced Variations

  • Extended Leg Variation: Extend the supporting leg straight out in front for a deeper challenge.

  • Bound Variation: Clasp hands behind the back in Elephant Trunk Pose to deepen the chest and shoulder opening.


Simplified Variations

  • Supported Elephant Trunk: Use a block under the hips or hands for additional support and stability.

  • Knee Bent Variation: Keep the extended leg bent on the mat to reduce intensity and focus on hip opening.


Modifications for Elephant Trunk Pose (Eka Hasta Bhujasana)

  • Use of Props: Utilize props such as yoga blocks or a folded blanket under the hips or hands for support and stability.

  • Half Elephant Trunk: Instead of lifting the extended leg fully, keep the toes on the mat to lessen the intensity while still practicing the hip opening and arm balance aspects of the pose.


Common Mistakes

  • Lack of Core Engagement: Failing to engage the core can lead to instability and difficulty in holding the pose.

  • Rounded Back: Allowing the back to round can strain the lower back. Maintain length in the spine by engaging the core and lifting through the chest.

  • Over-Gripping with Hands: Gripping the mat too tightly can cause tension in the arms and shoulders. Focus on pressing down evenly through the palms and fingertips.

  • Hip Placement: Placing the hip too far forward or backward can affect balance. Aim to stack the hip directly over the supporting arm.

  • Not Breathing: Holding the breath disrupts the flow of energy and stability. Remember to breathe deeply and evenly throughout the pose.


Safety and Precautions

  • Warm-Up: Always warm up thoroughly before attempting Elephant Trunk Pose to prepare the muscles, joints, and mind for the challenge.

  • Avoid Injury: Listen to your body and avoid forcing the pose. Gradually work towards the full expression of the pose as your strength and flexibility improve.

  • Consultation: If you have any existing hip, wrist, or shoulder injuries, consult with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional before attempting Elephant Trunk Pose.


Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face While Doing This Pose and Why

Face towards an open space or wall where you have sufficient room to extend the legs and maintain balance. Facing forward helps in maintaining focus and alignment, aiding in the integration of mind-body awareness during the pose.


What to Wear for This Pose

Opt for comfortable, form-fitting clothing that allows freedom of movement. Yoga pants or leggings with a fitted top are ideal to ensure ease of movement without distractions.


Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance

Practice the Elephant Trunk Pose in a quiet and spacious area free from distractions. Consider using essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to promote relaxation and enhance focus during your practice. These scents can create a calming atmosphere that complements the physical and mental challenges of the pose.


Music for This Pose

Choose soothing instrumental music or ambient sounds to accompany your practice of the Elephant Trunk Pose. Gentle melodies and rhythms can help maintain concentration, deepen relaxation, and support a serene ambiance conducive to yoga practice.


Elephant Trunk Pose, Eka Hasta Bhujasana, invites you to explore the integration of strength, balance, and flexibility. As an advanced arm balance and hip opener, it challenges both the physical body and the mind, fostering resilience, focus, and inner strength. Keep exploring, keep challenging yourself, and enjoy the empowering journey that yoga offers.



Happy Yoga-ing!

Namaste!



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2 comments

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Guest
Jul 09
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Should I do with alternating legs? My elbows hurt what should I do?

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Guest
Jul 09
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

This is something I can try with my students. Can you share some similar poses for beginners and any advanced poses. Thanks. Always read your blog.

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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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