I adore yoga because it is truly limitless. Not only are there many, many traditional poses, but we can build upon those with creative and inspiring variations. One of my favorite variations is the “funky arm” base where one forearm is down and one is like in Chaturanga. We’ve played with these in Funky Headstand and Funky Side Crow and today we’re just going to get silly and do it in Bakasana. I actually discovered this by accident while teaching a workshop where I said it wouldn’t be a pose if you tried to do the funky base, when lo and behold—why not! My dear friend Taylor Harkness chuckled and said he does this all the time!
Not only will this pose relieve some wrist pressure (if you struggle with that), but you’re also giving yourself a bigger base, which means easier balance. And it’s cute, whimsical, and a good reminder that you can play with your practice. Enjoy!
Begin on hands and knees. Place your right forearm flat onto your mat and drag your left palm back so that it’s shoulder-width apart from your right arm and the fingertips/center of palm is in line with your right elbow. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs to come into a Dolphin Pose. Walk the feet in slightly. You’ll notice that your left elbow is behind your wrist. Don’t panic, this is fine. The shift to elbow-over-wrist will happen in just a moment.
You have two options in this step and I recommend trying both ways. I’m lifting the same leg as my forearm in this picture, but you can practice entering the pose from either leg. Let’s stick with the photo for now then try a second round on your own with the opposite side. Lift your right leg up into the air. Bend your knee and bring it towardsyour right outer arm as you lean your chest forward.
Land your right knee onto your right tricep. Allow your right shoulder to lean past your elbow without collapsing. This means you’re still hugging the upper outer right arm in as the shoulderhead descends. Press evenly into all five fingers. As you lean the right shoulder forward, your left elbow will now stack over your base wrist. Don’t lower that shoulder below a 90 degrees! Bend your left knee.
Keep gazing forward and take a slight hop to get your left knee right above your left elbow onto your arm. Keep the left arm firming in as you would in Chaturanga. Round your upper back and draw the inner edges of your feet together. Smile!
Kathryn Budig is jet-setting yoga teacher who teaches online at Yogaglo. She is the Contributing Yoga Expert for Women’s Health Magazine, Yogi-Foodie for MindBodyGreen, creator of Gaiam’s Aim True Yoga DVD, co-founder of Poses for Paws and author of Rodale’s The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga . Follow her on Twitter; Facebook; or on her website. Come on retreat with her in Stowe, Vermont this October for yoga, archery + outdoor beauty via The Travel Yogi.