bird of paradise for november

bird-of-paradise5-1024x473It wouldn’t be a challenge month without a challenging pose to play with! Meet Bird of Paradise pose (Svarga Dvijasana), a hip-opening, hamstring-stretching balance that will no doubt require all your concentration.

Just like the flower that shares its name, as this pose blossoms it opens with grace and strength. There are several poses that prepare the body for Bird of Paradise:

These poses will help you stretch and strengthen the parts of the body needed to come into Bird of Paradise correctly. There are some variations on the way you enter Svarga Dvijasana, but the following steps show the most common method:

  1. Begin in Warrior II pose, with left foot forward and left knee bent. On the exhale, draw your left arm under the inside of your left thigh and bring your right arm up and then behind your back. Draw hands together until they clasp and twist your upper body to the sky as you settle into Bound Extended Side Angle pose.
  2. Turn both feet to the front of the mat and start to creep them towards each other until they are hip distance apart and your torso is flattened to your thighs. Maintain the bind.
  3. Shift all your weight into your right leg and begin to carefully lift your torso, raising your bent left leg with it. Raise up until you are standing tall, crown of head to sky. You may like to stay with this variation, Bird of Paradise with a bent leg. Otherwise, continue:
  4. Expand the chest and draw the lifted left leg to the side as you slowly extend it, finding your balance in the pose. Revert to a bent leg to find steadiness. Hold your gaze steady and deepen your breath.
  5. Come out of the pose the way you came into it, in reverse.
  6. Repeat on the other side!