Airplane, Dekasana, (dik-kha-sa-ah-sah-nah)
Also Known as: Warrior III With Airplane Arms
Pose Type: Balancing, Strengthening, Standing
Take your balancing skills to a new level.
Airplane Pose Fundamentals
This asana is a modern variation of the Warrior III Pose, the main difference is the position of the hands – they’re stretched toward the back of the body. Viewed from the top, that makes the body shape similar to that of an airplane.
For some, Airplane Pose is more difficult, and for some easier than Warrior III. It would be best to try both variations, and see what works for you.
As the name implies, Airplane Pose isn’t as ancient as Warrior II, nor it has any legends tied to it.
It’s more likely it is a combination of British gymnastics and traditional yoga, as is the case for many yoga asanas we encounter in modern classes. That’s due to the fact that when the British colonized India, they combined their own fitness knowledge with that of traditional yoga.
Yoga was always evolving in the past, and it continues to change to this day.
Airplane Pose & Energetics
On a deeper level, challenging asanas like the Airplane Pose generate a lot of energy in the body, which may help you during wintertime or any other period when you feel tired or lethargic.
If you like to build your sequences around chakras, you can include this asana in a class dedicated to the Third Eye and Crown Chakras. Working with these energy centers can help you gain higher insight and awareness.
Airplane Pose Benefits
- Strengthens the legs, particularly the calves, quads, and hamstrings. It also strengthens the shoulders, hips, abs, and arms.
- Encourages deeper breathing, which may help improve lung function and combat respiratory issues.
- Helps in correcting posture as it stretches the spine, and teaches the practitioner how to achieve good alignment.
- The contraction of the ab muscles also stimulates the internal organs of the abdomen and can boost their function.
- Improves your sense of balance, as well as concentration, focus, and awareness of the body.
- Releases tension around the sciatic nerve, so it may help prevent sciatica.
- The challenging nature of the pose makes it a great addition to a weight-loss yoga sequence.
How To Do Airplane Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin standing in Mountain Pose, with your feet hip-width distance apart. Take a moment to ground your feet on the floor.
2. Now shift your weight on your left leg, and place your hands on your hips. Activate your core.
3. Now, slowly, lift your straight right leg up behind you. You will simultaneously move your torso forward.
4. Stop at the point when your torso and your leg create one straight, parallel line to the floor.
5. Now stretch your arms to the sides of your body, fingers pointing toward the back of the room. You can move them straight behind you or at a 45-degree angle from your body.
6. Hold the pose for at least five breaths. Then slowly release back to Mountain Pose, and try the pose on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Gaze at a still point on the floor to help you with balance.
- Keep your core and leg muscles active – that’s where you’ll gain your stability and strength.
- Keep a micro bend in the front leg, that will help you to balance and activate the muscles.
- To maintain a flat back, you can check a mirror, film yourself, or ask a friend to help you.
- You can prop your heels up on a blanket to feel more supported in the pose.
Airplane Pose Variations:
Toppling Tree Pose
This variation is great if you’re looking for a more challenging version of the Airplane Pose. This modification will open your shoulders further.
The only difference is in the hand position – instead of stretching your arms to the sides, you will grasp your palms behind your back and open your chest.
When you change the sides of your legs, also change the cross of your hands, putting the other little finger on top.
If it’s difficult to maintain balance in Airplane Pose, you can use props to help you.
For example, you can stand next to a wall, so you can touch it with your torso or one of your hands when you begin to fall.
If it’s difficult to keep your lifted leg straight, you can loop a strap around both feet and hold the ends with your hands. Then begin to lift your leg and adjust the strap as needed.
When practicing Airplane Pose, you can also try to enter Warrior 3 as the pose is the same, and the only difference is the placement of the arms.
In Warrior 3, they’re stretched in front of you, in the same line with your torso and lifted leg.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Collapsing in the chest. Don’t allow your chest to collapse toward the ground. You can avoid that by actively stretching your arms backward.
Tilting the tailbone out. To maintain a neutral spine, engage your core, hamstrings, and glutes.
Avoid the pose if you struggle with high blood pressure, spondylitis, or any severe back issues.
Three-Legged Downward Dog Pose
Standing Forward Bend
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