Astavakrasana - Eight-Angle Pose This arm balancing pose challenges even the strongest practitioners. It it not only requires strength to lift your body weight off the floor but a unique coordination of leveraging the arms, torso and legs to surrender into this pretzel like form.
Some poses that can help you to prepare for this pose are: Navasana: to strengthen the abdominal muscles Chutarunga Dandasana: as the arm placement in this pose is the same as Astavakrasana Eka Hasta Bhujasana: staff pose with one leg over shoulder and pulling back and up to lift hips
The best way to approach this pose is in playful steps allowing your body to get used to the components that are required and how they work together to create this impressive form.
Start in a seated position and lift your right leg into your chest
Looping your right arm under the leg and wrap over shoulder.
Hold right foot with your left hand to help leverage the leg on your shoulder and then plant both hands on the outside of hips.
Press left foot into mat to help give you the lift needed to start to move your hips off the ground and up and back. (This might be a place you play for a awhile)
Steadiness of practice will lead you to eventually taking flight and once you have the hips up start to cross the left foot over the right and move legs out to the right side as you lower your chest and bring your seat up and back.
Fun and advanced approach to the pose can be entered jumping from down dog or entering from a tripod headstand. You can also play with switching sides without touching the ground with your feet.