Bird Of Paradise Pose, Svarga Dvijasana, (svar-gah dwee-JAH-sah-nah)
svarga (heaven) + dvija (twice born or bird) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Bhujapidasana
Challenge your flexibility and find your center of gravity in this advanced leg balancing pose.
Bird Of Paradise Fundamentals
Break your routine and spark some curiosity with Bird Of Paradise Pose. This is a challenging leg-balancing pose that requires a lot of hip and leg flexibility.
But it also requires you not to take yourself too seriously – just enjoy exploring new ways in which you can move your body. Even if you fall out of it and aren’t able to lift your leg high at all, we’re sure you’ll have fun playing on the mat with this asana.
The shape your body takes in this pose resembles the Bird of Paradise plant, but that’s not the only meaning of the name.
Svarga Dvidasana, the Sanskrit name of the pose, translates to “paradise” and “bird”. However, Dvida also means “twice born”, which is related to a second, spiritual birth.This asana is challenging and should be done as a peak pose, later in the practice. Although the full expression is reserved for intermediate to advanced students, you can also try it if you’re a beginner and keep your leg bent.
Aside from balance, strength, and flexibility, Bird Of Paradise Pose also requires you to be able to focus and maintain concentration. This makes it a great tool to develop these skills.
Spiritually, we can connect to the “twice born” energy of this asana, and think about how we can experience heaven while still in this body, by connecting to the divine with our entire body and soul.
Surprisingly, for some, advanced asanas can be perfect for this type of practice as they force you to calm down and focus on the present moment.
Bird Of Paradise Benefits
- Stretches almost the entire body, especially the hips, groin, and leg muscles of the lifted leg and the back and shoulders.
- Strengthens the standing leg.
- Boosts your concentration and sense of balance.
- Calms the mind and allows you to enter a mindful state.
- Helps you become more aware of your posture, as it requires you to actively work to keep the spine straight. That can help you build better postural habits in the long run.
How To Do Bird Of Paradise: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Begin in a Standing Forward Bend Pose with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Shift your weight into the right foot and come onto the ball of the left foot. Place the left shoulder next to the inner left knee.
- Tuck the shoulder behind the knee, and move the hand behind the back. Then move the right hand behind the back to clasp the left.
- From there, activate the core, and begin to lift your torso up, holding the thigh with your clasped arms. Find an unmoving point to gaze in front of you to help with balance.
- Stop here, or move to the full expression of the pose, trying to extend the leg fully. Point the toes to the ceiling.
- Hold the pose for 3 to 5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Press firmly into the standing leg and focus on your foundation rather than the extension of the lifted leg. In this way, you’ll first build stability, and then have a solid base to work on your mobility.
- If you’re a beginner, learn the pose next to a wall or with a help of a teacher or a friend to avoid falling.
- This pose is both a deep stretch and a balance. Make sure you do other hip openers, binds, and standing leg balances before going into the Bird Of Paradise Pose.
Bird Of Paradise Pose Variations:
If you’re not able to bind your arms around the knee, or it causes you to slouch your shoulders, use a strap.
A strap will add length, and you can keep adjusting it when you lift the leg up to find a perfect position for both your shoulders and your overall posture and alignment.
Near A Wall
If you struggle with balance, practice next to a wall. You can use it to catch you if you begin to fall, and you can also walk the lifted foot up the wall, which might also help you get deeper into the stretch.
If you’re just learning the pose or are still working on your flexibility, keep the leg bent. Just working on maintaining balance will already challenge you enough, and you will still get a good stretch in the hip and groin.
If you’re forcing to extend the leg, you could easily compromise other points in your alignment like the shoulders or your stability, so focus on these first.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Trying it too soon. Beginners may be tempted to try all the coolest poses right away, but as fun as this one looks, don’t underestimate it – it is difficult, and you should build a good foundation in yoga before attempting it.
Slouching the shoulders. It is common for students to hunch their shoulders because they’re trying to extend their leg. Instead, keep the leg bent and work on maintaining a long back.
Injuries and Other
Avoid Bird Of Paradise Pose if you have issues or injuries in the pelvis, shoulders, arms, hips, or hamstring. Also, avoid it if you’re pregnant due to the pressure on the abdomen.
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