This pose isn’t so much about putting your foot behind your head as it is about opening up your hips. Opening your hips helps you release physical and emotional tension.
Eka Pada Sirsasana also strengthens your neck, allowing energy to surge into your body and give you clarity of thought.
If you don’t have a comfortable lotus position, don’t try this position. This posture isn’t for everyone. You need to put in the foundational work to be able to get into Eka Pada Sirasana, but if you really try this with patients you will eventually see the results you’re looking for. It might take you 20 years but if you’re willing to put in the work you will get there. Keep the faith and keep practicing along the way.
Make sure you warm up before you try this.
Start by sitting on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend the right knee and let it fall open. This is the first step to getting your leg behind her head.
Think of your knee is a signpost telling you what your hip is doing. It needs to be in external rotation so you need to make sure your knee is falling open completely and pointing out to the side.
The second most important thing is the position of the pelvis. Suck your belly in and pivot to the back of your sitting bones. You need a little bit of roundness in your back but not too much. If you’re crunching down, you risk damaging the vertebrae in your back.
As you attempt this posture you need to make sure you respect your leg and hip joint. Yoga is a conversation between your conscious mind and your body.
Now place your ankle on top of your left thigh so your hip can fall open. This is almost like a seated version of a pigeon puts. Activate your lower abs and now hold onto your foot with your left hand and your knee with your right hand and bring your leg up toward your chest. If your shinbone cannot come up in touch your chest, you’ll know that you’re not ready to try to put your leg behind your head.
Stay here for a little while and cradle your shinbone against her chest.
Now move your foot up a little bit. Make sure you relax your hips. Hold on to your foot and knee and then slide down to the hip crease. Bring the instep of your foot to your forehead. You may just stay here or if you feel like you can you are ready to progress to putting the foot behind the head.
Inhale and move your knee to the side. Roll your right shoulder down to slide it underneath your leg. Now place the sole of your foot near your ear. Drop your head down–not your chest just your head.
Reach behind your back with your left hand and grab the foot. Now wiggle up so you can move your shoulder forward in front of your leg, so your right elbow touches the thigh.
If there’s pain in the knee then back off. Keep pulling with the left hand on your foot. Once you are in the position look up and your head will hold your leg in place and bring your hands to prayer position.
Watch this video with Kino for more detail about how to do Eka Pada Sirsasana or Leg Behind the Head Pose.