Seated Foot-Behind-The-Head Pose   - Eka Pada Sirsasana


Seated Foot-Behind-the-Head Pose or Eka Pada Sirsasana in Sanskrit (eka, meaning “one,” pada, meaning “foot,” sirsa, meaning “head,” and asana, meaning “pose.”), is one of those quintessential advanced yoga poses that everyone thinks of when they think of yoga! This pose can certainly seem intimidating – and with good reason, as it requires some pretty extreme flexibility in the hips and legs. However, as you progress in your practice, this is a good “peak pose” to aspire to and work towards!
Seated Foot-Behind-the-Head Pose offers an extreme stretch for the hamstrings, hips, glutes, and psoas muscles, and also strengthens the core, back, shoulders, and neck.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Sit comfortably in the Staff Pose (Dandasana) with legs stretched straight.
Step 2
After that, slightly twist (bend) your right Knee. Now keep the sole of your right foot to the floor with your left knee.
Step 3
Next step, lower your right knee to the right side of the floor. Now open your hip.
Step 4
The movement or rotation of the hip is the important thing for setting up the final position.
Step 5
After that, hold/grab your ankle of your right foot. Embrace (hug) your right shin towards your chest.
Step 6
But you’ve to keep your ankle parallel to your other ankle.
Step 7
What you have to do, just grab your right ankle with by your left hand.
Step 8
Now it is the important part, slowly – slowly lift as well as draw your right knee towards the shoulder. You have to fit your right ankle behind the neck and left shoulder.
Step 9
Your leg touches the neck region, for maintaining the position you may lean forward for few seconds.
Step 10
But keep your other leg straight in front of you. Note that your sit bones are strongly placed. Move your right shoulder in a forward direction and your right leg moves backward on the top of shoulder.
Step 11
When you feel your right foot is completely tucked behind the neck. Then take your both hands towards the chest and make prayer pose (Namaste gesture). But your hands should touch your chest.
Step 12
Now you’re in the final Position, remain in the pose for five to six breaths.
Step 13
Lower down your hands and with the left hand grab the right toe. Unfold your right leg and lower down your right leg.
Step 14
Follow the same procedure with your other leg also.

Benefits and Contraindications


Increases blood flow and circulation, especially to the back of the body

Strengthens the back, neck and shoulders

Relieves tightness in the groin and hamstrings

Stimulates the abdominal organs, relieving digestive problems


Hip, knee, neck or back injuries


Modifications and Props for Beginners

  • Use a folded blanket: Place a folded blanket under your hips to elevate them and provide support. This can make it easier to fold forward and bring your head towards your knee.
  • Bend your knee: If you’re having trouble straightening your leg, you can bend the knee of the extended leg to make the pose more accessible. You can also use a strap around your foot to help you straighten your leg.
  • Use a wall: If balance is a challenge, you can use a wall for support. Stand facing the wall and place your extended leg against the wall. This will help you maintain your balance and focus on the stretch in your hamstring.

Useful Tips

  • The first thing to observe by you is that the main focus should be on the breath and make it slow and steady .
  • It might be a bit challenging for you to do the pose as it requires lots of flexibility, but once you have practiced and are able to do one-leg-behind-head-pose, then the focus should shift to breathing. You should try hard to do this pose and always try to relax in Eka Pada Sirsasana.
  • Remember to listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Eka Pada Sirsasana suitable for beginners?

Eka Pada Sirsasana is an advanced pose that requires a high level of strength, flexibility, and balance, and may not be suitable for beginners. It’s important to work up to the pose gradually with the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.

Are there any precautions I should take before attempting Eka Pada Sirsasana?

Eka Pada Sirsasana is an advanced pose that should be approached with caution. If you have any injuries or medical conditions, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting the pose. You should also avoid the pose if you have high blood pressure or any neck or shoulder issues.

How long should I hold Eka Pada Sirsasana?

You can start by holding Eka Pada Sirsasana for a few breaths and gradually work up to holding the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Remember to listen to your body and take breaks as needed.

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  • Compass Pose
  • Reclined Foot-Behind-The-Head Pose
  • Standing Foot Behind the Head Forward Bend
  • Foot Behind the Head II (Forward Bend)
  • Moon Bird
  • Yogic Sleep Pose 

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.