Both a challenging and beautiful pose, Bird of Paradise requires strength, balance, concentration, and flexibility.
Considered an “advanced” asana (pose), the body must be warmed and stretched properly before attempting. Prepare the body by flowing through several sun salutations.
Once the body has been properly warmed, strengthened, and stretched, move into Tadasana, Mountain pose.Close the eyes and take several breaths here, allow the energy to settle and ground.
Spread the legs open, about two feet apart, so not a full wide legged posture, but legs are open. From here slowly come into a forward fold. Breathe and stretch.
Slowly begin to bend the knees. Continue bending as your arms slowly come into a bind. Right arm under the right leg, left arm stretches behind the back, bring the hands together.
From here, once solid in the bind (hands clasped), and connected with the breath, transfer the weight into the left leg. Stay here as long as needed until the body feels solid, balanced, strong.
When the left leg has rooted, maintaining the bind, slowly begin to rise. Move mind fully to standing.
When the body feels balanced, slowly extend the right leg out and up. Hold for several breaths.
Slowly come out of the pose, stretch in uttanasana, forward fold. Allow the arms to hang, shoulders relaxed. Sway a little from side to side. Release, relax.
When ready, do the pose again, the other side.
Like the flower this pose is named after, we stand tall and connect to an energy of strength, grace, and beauty.