Bird of Paradise (Svarga Dvijasana) is a challenging posture that works on opening the hips, lengthening the hamstrings and strengthening the core and back. Here we’ll give you a couple of warm up poses to prepare your body for the Bird of Paradise. Then we’ll explain in 5 easy steps how to get into this beautiful posture.
Starting off in Tadasana, inhale bring your arms up and exhale fold forward from the hip joints. Lengthen your torso as you are descending forward. If possible, bring your hands to the floor or bring the palms to the back of your ankles. If not, cross your forearms, hold your elbows and relax the neck. Stay here between 5 – 10 breaths. Inhale, bring your hands to your hips and slowly come up, keeping the tailbone down to arrive in Tadasana.
Prasarita Padattanasana C
From Tadasana, facing one of the long edges of your yoga mat. Then, step open your feet, more or less 1 meter apart. Make sure your toes are inward and your heels are outward. Engage your thigh muscles by drawing them upwards. Inhale stretch the arms out to the sides. Exhale interlace your fingers behind the back. Inhale, straighten the arms and exhale forward fold down, bringing the head towards the floor. Keep the arms straight and tuck your chin towards your chest. Hold here for 5 breaths. Inhale and slowly come up to a standing position. Exhale release the fingers.
Warrior 1 and 2
From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward between your hands, turn your back heel to a 45 degree angle and lower your heel to the floor, keeping your right and left heels aligned. Make sure that your right knee is directly aligned on top of your ankle, not going past it. Then inhale while reaching your arms straight upwards. Feel your energy flowing from your legs to your fingertips. Tilt your head back and gaze up at your thumbs. You can keep your palms parallel to each other if you can’t bring them together. Stay for 5-6 breaths.
Then open your arms wide to the left for Warrior 2; stretch open your arms to the sides, parallel to the floor. Keep your arms in the same line as your shoulders. Stay here for about 5 breaths and repeat this with the left leg in front.
Extended Side Angle
From Downward Facing Dog, step forward with your right foot, bringing the right knee directly on top of the right ankle. Align your right heel with the left heel. Activate the right knee and bring your right elbow on top. Now raise your left arm, bringing your left hand reaching up and forward above your head, with the palm of your hand facing down. Your body is essentially shaping a diagonal line from your left foot to your left hand. Keep your gaze on your left hand and make sure that the outer edge of your left foot is grounded to the floor. Stay here for 5 breaths.
5 steps to Bird of Paradise
1. Starting from Extended Side Angle, we’ll go to Bound Extended Side Angle. Bring your right arm underneath your right leg and bring your left arm to the sky, then behind the back.
Clasp the left wrist with the right hand. Keeping the right leg bent, twist the torso to the sky. Keep your drishti towards the sky.
2. Exhale and look down. Step forward with your left foot to meet your right foot.
3. Bring all your weight to the left foot and come to the ball of your foot on the right foot. Microbend the left leg and slowly rise to come up to stand on the left leg. Remember to breathe, move slowly and take your time to find the balance.
4. Once you find balance on your left leg, straighten your spine and open the chest. Slowly straighten the right leg as much as you can.
5. Find balance with both the standing leg straight and the bound leg straight. Look towards the left side. Keep the legs strong and chest open. Stay here for 5 breaths. Slowly come down and repeat on the other side.
Always take your time when getting into this posture. Many students rush to stand up on one leg, but always remember to just move with the breath and everything will seem much simpler. Also practice this daily or weekly, or however much you can to see your progress! Listen to your body and have a happy practice! <3