Hip-opening exercises are an important part of any gym or home workout. Skandasana is a type of yoga pose that gives quite effective results as a hip opening exercise. Most commonly, this asana is practiced as one pose in a sequence of flowing yoga poses. However, you can also do it separately and hit your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Skandasana is considered an advanced form of Malasana (also known as the squat pose). In the squat pose, your whole body weight rests on one foot. However, Skandasana requires you to balance your weight on just one leg. This way, it tones your thighs and lower leg muscles.
What is The Meaning Of Skandasana Yoga Pose?
The name ‘Skandasana’ comes from the Sanskrit language where ‘Skanda’ means warrior’s position while preparing for an attack and ‘asana’ means pose. According to myths, Skanda is also the name of Kartikeya who is known as the god of war. There are various other common names of Skandasana such as utthita eka pada Skandasana, and eka pada Skandasana.
What Are the Benefits of Skansasana?
Here is a list of some Skandasana benefits that you get by practicing the pose regularly:
- It Improves The Flexibility of Your Lower Body: When you practice Skandasana and go into a deep stretch, you essentially loosen up the muscles of your lower body. This includes the muscles of Hip, hamstring, calves, pelvic, and so on.
- It Strengthens Your Muscles: The right and left movement in yoga pose Skandasana engages your abdominis and obliques. This results in the strengthening of your core.
- It Strengthens Your Ankle And Knee Joints: Skandasana pose requires you to exert a little pressure on the ankle and knee joints which increases blood circulation to these joints. With more blood, the concerning tissues get more oxygen, and nutrients, ultimately leading to strengthening of ankle and knee joints.
- It Helps In Fighting Stress And Anxiety: Not just your lower body, the Skandasana yoga pose improves the blood circulation to almost all major parts of your body like neck, head, shoulder, and so on. A better blood flow induces a calming effect and helps in fighting stress and anxiety.
- It Improves Respiration: The traditional form of yoga pose Skandasana and its various variations require you to bend your torso and stretch muscles present between the ribs (also known as intercostal muscles). This allows more room for the expansion of your lungs.
- It Helps In Balancing Root And Sacral Chakra: This pose helps in balancing two out of the seven body chakras namely the sacral chakra and the root chakra. The balance of these chakras gives you a calming sense of groundedness and emotional security.
- It Helps In Opening The Hip Joint: Once you get comfortable with the pose and start practicing it for a longer period of time, it will help you open up the hip joint. An opened up hip joint is required by 180-degree stretch poses like the monkey pose (also known as Hanumanasana).
How to Do Skandasana Yoga Step-by-Step?
Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you do Skandasana yoga the right way:
- Begin Skandasana by getting into the Prasarita Padottanasana (also known as the Wide-Legged Forward Bend).
- Now, bend your right knee and get into the half-squat position.
- Meanwhile, keep your right leg straight and bend your foot in a way that your toes get lifted off the ground as you root into the left heel.
- Pull your hips back, keep the spine straight, and root into the left heel.
- If you want to balance your body, you can use your hands by keeping them on the floor.
- Alternatively, you can bend your elbows and get into the Anjali mudra pose.
- Hold the Skandasana yoga pose for a few seconds and then gradually, get back to the central position where you started the asana.
- This time, shift your body weight on the left leg and repeat the asana.
What Precautions and Safety Points for Skandasana Yoga?
Just like most other yoga for beginners, Skandasana yoga is quite safe to practice. However, you should keep the following precautions and safety points in mind to ensure that you do not put stress on major muscle groups:
- Never twist the knees while practicing Skandasana pose. You can hinge your body forward at your hip joints. While doing so, ensure that you are keeping the hips joints square and in alignment with your ankles.
- If you can not understand how to perform Skandasana, you should join online yoga classes to master the pose, instead of compromising with the right form.
- Keep your spine lifted and your abs engaged while practicing utthita eka pada Skandasana.
- If you have any unhealed injury to your ankle joints, knee joints, or hip joints, you should avoid eka pada Skandasana until you are fully recovered.
- If you are doing physical therapy for any health condition, discuss your physiotherapist first before adding this asana to your home workouts.
- If you feel a sharp pain in any part of the body while practicing the asana, you should come out of the pose and consult a physiotherapist before resuming Skandasana.
What Are the Variations of Skandasana Yoga?
There are various ways you can modify the yoga pose according to your level of comfort. You can make the exercise easier if you think that your body is not flexible enough. Or you can also increase the challenge if you want to reap the extra health benefits of Skandasana. Here is a list of some ways you can do Skandasana variations and modifications:
- If you can not achieve the full squat pose, you can stay up on the foot for the first few days.
- You can also practice its standing version in which you have to bend forward, keeping your foot behind your head.
- You can do the side lunge stretch pose in which you have to keep your hand off the alternate side in the air as high as possible while taking the lunge position.
Skandasana is an easy yoga pose for beginners who want to open up their hip joints and stretch hamstrings. Once you master the right pose, you can make this yoga asana more challenging to meet your skill and strength level.
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