Bird of Paradise - The Yoga Collective

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Pose Summary

This advanced posture requires a combination of strength and flexibility. It promotes concentration and stability.

Yoga Collective - Bird of Paradise

Steps

Step 1

Begin in Tadasana (mountain pose) with your feet together and arms alongside your body. Distribute the weight evenly in your feet. 

Step 2

On an exhale, step your left leg about 4 to 5 feet in back of you and turn that back foot at about a 80 degrees angle. You want the front heel to be aligned with the arch of the back foot. 

Step 3

Bend the right (front) knee to 90 degrees so that the knee is directly over the ankle and the shin is perpendicular to the earth. The knee should be tracking over the second and third toe. Distribute the weight evenly through that front foot as you lift the inner arch and root down through the corners of the feet.  The front toes are pointed forwards and are parallel with the front edge of your mat.

Step 4

Engage the quad of the back leg. The leg should be straight without locking out the knee. Root down the outer edge of the back foot into the earth as you press into the big toe mount. 

Step 5

The hips are facing the length of your mat and bring a gentle engagement to your belly by drawing the navel in and up towards the spine. Lengthen your tailbone down towards the earth. 

Step 6

On an inhale, lift the arms to shoulder height, palms face down towards the ground. Relax the shoulders away from the ears and reach through your fingertips. This is warrior 2.

Step 7

On an exhale, lower your right forearm to the right thigh and extend the left arm up towards the sky. 

Step 8

Plug the left arm bone into its socket and extend the arm above your head. The bicep is directly above the left ear and the fingertips are actively reaching forwards. Bring your gaze to the extended bicep. 

Step 9

Use the core muscles to hold you in this position rather than dumping the weight into your right forearm. 

Step 10

After a few breaths, extend the right hand/fingertips down to the ground. Rotate the left tricep so that the palm of the left faces in back of you.

Step 11

Engage the core even more then bend the left elbow and reach the right hand through the opening of the legs.Hook the fingers or wrap the left index and thumb around the right wrist. Open the heart up to the sky and create more length in the right hip crease. 

Step 12

Keeping the bind, slowly walk the left foot to the top of the mat. Then shift the weight into the right foot and come to standing on that right foot. 

Step 13

Stay strong in the belly and extend the left leg out and up. Flex the toes and reach out through the heel. Lower the left hip so that it is even with the right one. Hips are square in front of you. 

Step 14

Soften the gaze to the horizon. 

Step 15

To get out of the posture, bend forward and bring the left foot back on the earth release the bind then use the strength of your core to come back to warrior 2. Straighten the front leg, lower the arms and step back to mountain pose. Repeat on the left side 

Benefits

  • Stretches groin, hamstrings, hips, shoulders and back 
  • Tones core muscles, legs, knees, calves,hips and ankles 
  • Promotes balance physically and mentally 

Contraindications

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Neck injury keep the gaze forwards instead of upwards