Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing yoga for life.

Eight Angle Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Set your abs on fire in this challenging asymmetrical arm balance, the Eight-Angle Pose also known as Ashtavakarasana.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits


(Pronounced as "ahsh-TAH-vak-ah-RAHS-anna")

The Sanskrit phrase Ashtavakara means "eight bends." This pose takes its name from the Sage Ashtavakara, who fearlessly avenged his father by defeating the great Vedic scholar Vandi in a philosophical debate while he was a young boy. The legend says that after his triumph, he earned a blessing that straightened out all the deformities in his eight crooked limbs.

How to do Eight-Angle Pose

Step One:

Stand on your yoga mat with your toes facing forward and your feet almost 2 feet apart. Bend your knees as you bend forward to press your right palm on the mat in between your feet. Press your left palm into the floor next to the outside edge of your left foot.

Lift your right leg up over your right arm, resting the back of your right thigh on top of the back of your right upper arm. Bring your left bent leg forward between your arms, and then place your left foot right next to your right foot with both of the soles of your feet pressing into the floor.

Step Two:

Now take a breath and straighten your arms. As you exhale, lift both your feet off of the floor. Then cross your ankles in the air so that your left ankle rests on top of your right ankle. Your left knee bends down and points out to the side while your right knee stays up firmly on your right shoulder. Extend your heels and do not point your toes. Now your feet are dangling in the air above your right hand.

Step Three:

Squeeze your right arm tightly between your thighs and shift your weight slightly to the left hand while extending your interlocked legs out straight to the right side. Keep your left arm straight.

Take another breath and exhale as you now bend your elbows to lower your head and torso so that they become parallel with the floor.

Step Four:

Hold the pose for 30 seconds -- or as long as you can -- for up to one minute. To come out, inhale as you straighten your arms, lift up, pull your legs back in, release them and stand once again. Then repeat all these steps for the same amount of time on the other side.

Beginner's Tip:

When you first learn this pose, it is enough to practice holding your lifted feet up off of the floor in front of you. When you have built up more core strength, then you can try extending your legs out to the side. To help you learn the balance, rest your bottom hip and outer leg on top of a folded yoga blanket or bolster.

Eight-Angle Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:


Pose Level:

Level 3

Contraindications and Cautions:

Do not practice this posture if you have recently injured your wrists, elbows, shoulders or abdominal muscles.

Eight-Angle Pose Benefits

Eight-Angle Pose builds strength in the wrists, arms, abdominal muscles and lower back.

Next Pose:

Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

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Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
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Crow Pose
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Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
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Sage Koundinya I Pose
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Hero Pose
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Wild Thing Pose
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