Bird of Paradise, Svarga Dvijasana
1. Begin in Bound Extended Side Angle Pose. Place your right elbow on your right knee and extend you left arm out and overhead. Breathe deeply. The breath helps you flow into each pose.
2. From extended side angle, you’ll take the bind. Bring your left arm behind your back and take your right arm under your right thigh. Clasp your hands or if you have a strap and need it, take a hold of each end of the strap. Open you left shoulder and look up over your left shoulder to the sky. Breathe.
3. From here, your keep your upper body in the bind and work you left leg to the center of the mat. Firm your left foot in the mat and drag your right foot to meet your left. You’ll feel uneven, which will make you slowly work your right foot off the mat. Continue the breath work.
4. Now that your right foot is slightly off the mat, slowly work your way up to a standing position. You’ll feel a deep crease in your right hip flexer. Stand tall. Breathe.
5. From here, you’ll slowly extend the right leg out, straightening the knee and maintaining the bind. Work your shoulders down the back. Stand tall and breathe. This is bird of paradise.
6. Slowly work your right leg down to the mat and prepare for the other side.
This advanced pose will strengthen your legs, and give you a nice stretch throughout your inner thighs, groin, shoulder and hest. It is a wonderful hip opener that will leave you feeling invigorated, yet bring a sense of calm and peace. It will also improve your balance & flexibility. Be brave and give it a try!
(see previous “healing through yoga” entries here!)