Friday, April 18, 2014

Bird of paradise pose: asana out of the ordinary

My upper back is always, since the last few years, more stiff than before. My doctor likes to say, age. I say, no, that apart,it is my kickboxing. All those punches, specially the ones which land wrong, always injure my wrists, my shoulder joints so badly that I hurt for days afterwards. I heal them back, and bang, I go again. Yes, what is a yoga person doing with kick-boxing? That's  another story, and another blog. Just now, this fabulous -- faabbuuulous pose -- Bird of Paradise -- Svarga Dvidasasana -- pose.

Whenever I see such poses for the first time --( I found it actually while hunting for the Sanskrit name for the sparrow pose -- I did not find the name, but used Sherlock Holmesian powers to deduct that I could find the word in Sanskrit dictionary sites. ) -- I always feel I must need years to catch them. But I also know that is just a trick of the mind, which, uh-oh, is very lazy for sure.

So, I checked out various entries for this pose. I realized the entries are the actual secrets to all poses.. how you enter the pose, where you fix your eyes before you lift off into its fabulous final stage, are the crucial part where the special thing, the raja yoga aspect of the yoga, becomes exciting.

It is started from the parivrtta parsva konasana variations, with the hands locked behind. Then, you bring the legs together, in front, and then lift the locked leg up. While lifting, because it feels so unnatural, you will tend to collapse on the hands. Instead, if you decide to make the leg light and lighter and lightest  (mentally) you will just lift straight up. Then, while standing, again in complete conversation with the leg, you open it up on the side, and lo, one of the most exotically named poses.

I was just surprised at the ease with which this pose may be learnt.

Preparatory poses:
  • Absolute comfort with the extended side angle variations.
  • Ability for single leg balancers, and go for the tough ones, to get confidence. Crescent,(also often called the crane, which seems more appropriate)  with the head into the leg, or without using the hands for balance, will help.
  • Ability for arm balancers, simply because the legs never learn to soften when challenged, unless you learn arm balancers:)
  • And an absolute sense of fun in such poses, instead of achievement:) I find, as a teacher, that those who use the former retain their practices with greater ease:)
Happy sadhana!


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