Filled with twists and major body extensions, Bird of Paradise is a challenging yoga pose that’s great for improving balance and stability, mental concentration, flexibility and overall strength.
However, as with any other yoga pose, the best way to achieve Bird Of Paradise is to slowly build up into it. You have to gradually open the parts of your body that need to be stretched out, and strengthen the parts that need to hold the shape. Thankfully, our favourite yogi and regular contributor, Kate Kendall has broken it down for us.
Ever wondered how to get into Bird of Paradise? Practice makes perfect, so ease your way into one or all of these postures to make your way into one of my favourite balances. Note: if you have a shoulder injury, stay out of this sequence until healed – Kate Kendall.
1. Side Angle
What does it do: Prepares the hips and shoulders.
- Take feet wide, chest and hips open to the left side of the mat.
- Lunge deeply into the right leg so that right knee and ankle are in line.
- Inhale your arms out to shoulder height.
- Inhale lean forward, exhale and take your right hand to floor at inner right foot or block.
- Inhale lengthen left arm up and over your head. Hold for three breaths.
- To bind, take right hand through the gap between your legs and wrap left arm behind you to grab a hold of left wrist with your right hand. Hold for three breaths.
2. Bound Triangle
What does it do: Prepares the hamstrings.
- From extended side angle, inhale the right leg straight – or as straight as you can without breaking something. Breath deeply. Hold for five breaths.
3. Twisted & Bound Forward Fold
What does it do: Further prepares shoulders, hips, and hamstrings, plus gives your spine a sweet twist.
- Bend your right leg again and, looking forward to the top of your mat, and keeping your spine straight, step your left foot forward to meet the right, hip distance apart.
- Keeping the right knee bent, inhale left leg straight and lift chest to lengthen the spine.
- Exhale, twist the spine gently to left and look above left shoulder. Hold for five breaths.
4. Bird Of Paradise
Standing firmly on your left foot with gaze out in front for focus, begin to lift your right knee and foot.
5. Bird Of Paradise final position
Stay here or keep lifting the leg until you can squeeze it straight. Enjoy the view and breath deeply.