Updated: Jun 8
The first time I ever came across this pose in a yoga class…my mind was blown! This was a time before Instagram and so I had never seen Bird of Paradise pictured any place; I found myself attempting to balance on one leg, keeping my head and heart lifted while my hands were bound behind my back… it sounds (and looks) tortuous! I certainly didn’t master it on the first go…but I LOVED the lead up and learning how to get into it!
Of course it’s more than just a yoga pose, it happens to be an exotic bird from New Guinea which was the inspiration for the flowering Bird of Paradise, known as Strelitzia. It’s also my FAVOURITE tropical plant, and I have four waiting to be planted in my garden which I’ll get to this afternoon!
The Bird of Paradise stands strong on one lovely, long and powerful stalk, this single stalk represents the strength needed in your stationary leg and core to open up into the pose. The flower itself is a striking contrast of colour and that mimics the crests of tropical birds peeking through the leaves.
Svarga Dvijasana in Sanskrit, where Dvija means “twice born” and refers both to the bird (born once as an egg and again as the bird itself). In the yoga asana, two postures are required to find a fully blooming Bird of Paradise: Bound Half Moon and Bound Side Angle. Svarga is “paradise” referring to the bird’s tropical origins.
In our yoga sequence toward our Peak Pose: Bird of Paradise, we’ll flow through a Mandala Salutation to open the side body, shoulders, hamstrings and hips with binds, twists and forward folds. Usually considered to be an advanced asana, there are many ways to create your yoga sequence for this peak yoga pose; one variation we’ll explore in class this month uses the wall and a yoga belt, thus taking care of the balance and or bind element so we can focus on the boldness required of the upper body and the bind to find full bloom!
I love this pose because it strengthens the legs and core while opening the hips and hamstrings. It also improves balance. And while it’s not a position you will often find yourself in daily life, through steady practice and patience we can be more willing to meet any balance challenges that come your way. Energetically, it is said to open the sacral chakra and the root chakra.
Come and explore this striking, bold and beautiful Bird of Paradise for yourself this month and find your own expression! You can join us in the studio or livestream and watch the recording!
See you soon in the room x