Benefits of this pose:
- Opens the hips
- Lengthens the hamstrings
- Strengthens the core and back
How to do Bird of Paradise:
Start in Warrior II, with a bent left leg, right foot turned in slightly, and a firm, straight back leg. Inhale and take your arms to shoulder height. Exhale and bring your left arm under the left thigh, and your right arm to the sky, then behind your back. Clasp the left wrist with the right hand. Keeping the left leg bent, twist the torso to the sky as you gently press the hips forward. Your gaze is over your right shoulder as you settle into Bound Extended Side Angle Pose.
Exhale and look down. Turn both your feet parallel and then carefully start to move them toward one another. Once the legs are close to hip distance, straighten them both and twist your torso to the right, keeping the bind and finding Bound Standing Forward Bend.
Put all of your weight into your right foot and start to lift your torso, bringing the left leg off the floor. Keep the supporting foot’s toes spread; your weight should be evenly distributed between the big toe, little toe, and inner and outer heel, maintaining 4 points of balance. Keep the lifted leg bent in this variation—Bird of Paradise with a bent leg.
Open the chest and extend the lifted leg to the side, being careful not to swing the supporting hip out to the side. You’re aiming to find stability and ease in equal measure. Open your chest proudly, engaging the muscles across your back to hold your heart high. If you start to teeter, revert to a bent left leg and regain stability in the right leg by pressing evenly into all four corners of the standing foot and visualizing a line down the middle of the body that you are hugging into.
Fix your gaze straight ahead or over the right shoulder and stay for 5–10 deep breaths, embodying the beauty, stability, and vibrancy of the Bird of Paradise flower.