Birds of a Feather
Hips, Hamstrings, Balance, Shoulders, Strength, Core, Arms
This birds of paradise yoga sequence seamlessly moves you through a series of balancing postures. Embrace heat, fluidity and challenge in these postures.
Yogic Squat (Malasana)
Start in malasana by spreading your feet wide on your mat, with your toes pointed to the top corners of your mat, and your heels slightly in. Sink your hips in between your legs. Bring your hands to heart center and press your elbows into your inner-knees, broadening through the chest.
From malasana, plant your hands in front of you on the mat and then lift the hips. Bring the top of your head down in front of your hands, in the center of your mat. Your head and hands should make a triangle, with your head as the top point. Keep the balls of your feet on the mat and straighten your legs. Use your core to hug both knees into your chest, balancing on your head, with most of your weight pressing down into your hands. Slowly extend the legs straight up to the sky.
Engage your core, flex your feet and zip your legs together. Slowly begin to lower your legs, pulling your hip crease back. Lower your legs until you can see the tips of your toes in your field of vision, working to find a 90 degree angle between torso and legs, with legs parallel to the ground.
Headstand w/ Pike (Sirsasana Variation)
From your headstand variation, bend your knees into your chest. Carefully begin to lower your knees onto your biceps. Hug your toes in towards your seat, and hollow out the belly. Press into both palms evenly to lift your head off the ground. Keep pushing through the hands and engaging the core to lift into crow pose.
Yogic Squat, Arms Extended (Malasana Variation)
Carefully drop your feet back to the ground and make your way back to malasana. From malasana, bring your left fingertips down to the mat and extend your right arm up to the sky, creating a diagonal line with the arms and a slight twist across the chest.
Bound Bird of Paradise Prep (Svarga Dvijasana Prep)
From your open-arm malasana, drop the back of the right hand behind the back and then wrap the left arm around the left leg and grab the right finger tips, creating a bind. Toe-heel your right foot in so it lands in the center of your mat, then lift the left heel off of the mat.
Bound Bird of Paradise (Svarga Dvijasana Variation)
With the left leg still in the bind, begin to send weight into your right foot and get light on the left toes. Slowly, begin to lift to a standing position. Keep hugging the left leg into the body, and try not to release the bind. Stand tall into the right leg, left knee hugged in, with arms wrapped around and an open chest.
Extended Hand to Big Toe (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
Engage the left hip flexors and carefully release the bind, but don’t let the left leg move out of position. With your left “peace” fingers, grab hold of the left big toe. Straighten the left leg out to the side.
Bird of Paradise (Svarga Dvijasana)
To transition, bend the left knee and, keeping the leg elevated, start to work your left shoulder underneath the left thigh. From there, wrap your right arm around your back and grab for your left fingers. Re-extend the left leg for bird of paradise.
Yogic Squat (Malasana)
Slowly, begin to bend into the standing leg, sinking the hips and lowering the left foot back to the mat. Release the bind with the arms and bring the hands back to heart center. Take a breath in malasana before repeating this sequence on the other side.