Yoga Tips: Birds Of Paradise

almonds and asana birds of paradise.jpg

Based on my Instagram polls it sounds like you guys want to know more about yoga poses - tips, breakdowns, modifications, etc.

So today we are starting with a challenging but really fun bound balancing pose, Birds Of Paradise

The english name for the pose, comes from it's resemblence to the tropical flower birds of paradise. However, the sanksrit name is a little different. Per Yogapedia:

Svarga dvijasana is an effective asana for cultivating balance and patience. The name comes from the Sanskrit, svarga, meaning “paradise”; dvija, meaning “twice born”; and asana, meaning "pose."

For me, this pose is a peak pose in the practice. It is one that takes a lot of warming up and is certainly not a begginers pose. That said, it is something everyone can work to with the right preperation.

Warming Up:

It's important to focus on a few things when prepping for this pose in your practice.

  1. Shoulder opening/binds - made sure to do adequate shoulder stretches and binds throughout the flow you practice or teach before this pose. For example adding binds and half binds into poses like extended side angle
  2. Hip Openeing: As you can clearly see the hips and hamstrings have to be VERY open to get into the full version of this pose. Work on lengthening your hamstrings & hip flexors, as well as your glutes. I would say plenty of deep anjanayasanas, half/full/standing splits, and pigeon variations.
  3. Balance: This is, ultimately a balancing pose. TO get ready for that prepare your body by taking other balancing poses such as tree pose or one leg tadasana to get your bearings. Additionally, making sure you set a  soft gaze on something that isn't moving will help ensure better balance.

To Get Into The Pose:

  1. To get into it, start in Warrior 2 - take a Reverse Warrior and then reach your front arm to the front of the room and lower your hand to the ground (or a block) inside of your leg: Now you are in extended side angle.
  2. From here, if your right leg is forward and bent, take a full bind, right arm under your leg, left arm behind the low back and clasp your hands together or use a strap to connect them.
  3. Bring all of your weight into your right leg, and softly step the left foot up so that it closer to the right foot
  4. Now transfer your weight onto the left leg and slowly rise up with the right leg bound.
  5. The leg may stay bent at the knee or if you have the flexibility to extend the leg go for it!

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Below are photos of shoulder stretches, quad stretches (lunges) half splits, balancing poes, extended side angle and the standing fold starting point, and of course full birds of paradise!