The Sanskrit word Svarga means “heavenly world” and Dvija means “twice-born”. Svarga Dvijasana is popularly known as ‘Bird of Paradise pose’.
Bird of Paradise is a beautiful flower (1) that has an unusual pattern of the petals that looks like a bird taking flight.
This signature asymmetrical shape is replicated in a yoga pose. It has been creatively expressed in this challenging asana. You will need an enormous amount of physical and spatial strength to maintain stability in this pose.
Though you may face tremendous stumble and loss of focus, be patient to keep practicing until you soar a new height in achieving this peak pose. Soon you can compare your body with the beauty of the bird of paradise flower.
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Step-by-Step Instructions to Follow
To settle in Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana or Bound Extended Side Angle Pose, you need to first begin with Warrior II Pose. For that, bend your left leg keeping the right leg straight and right foot slightly turned. Both the arms are kept in the shoulder height distance while inhaling.
While exhaling, put your left arm under the left thigh and the right arm first bring it to the sky and then behind your back. Grasp the left wrist with your right hand. Being in this position, twist your torso towards the sky. Press the hips forward while doing so. Keep your gaze over your right shoulder. This is called as the Bound Extended Side Angle Pose.
In this step, look down while exhaling. Slowly turn both your feet, keeping them parallel to each other. Now, carefully bring both your legs in a hip distance.
Keeping the legs tightened, move your torso towards your right. The hands are still in that bind position. This is the Bound Standing Forward Bend or Baddha Uttanasana.
In this step, all your weight should be concentrated on the right leg. While bringing your left leg off the floor, start to lift your torso.
Here, you need to spread your weight evenly on the supporting foot. Keep your toes spread while maintaining four points of balance (inner heel, outer heel, big toe, and little toe). This is one of the Svarga Dvijasana variations where you can keep your lifted left leg bent.
Open your chest widely to extend your lifted leg. Here you have to aim for stability and ease in similar measures. So be careful not to swing your hips to the side.
Engage your back muscles to hold it tight. If by chance you get to teeter, come back to the bent leg position and regain your strength and stability, concentrating on your standing right foot.
Focus your gaze (Dristi) straight ahead. The final flourish is to straighten the extended leg.
Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths, enjoying the vibrancy and stability of the Bird of Paradise pose.
Variations and Modifications
Precautions: It is advised to skip the pose if you are facing any injury or pain in your shoulders, lower back, hips, knees, pelvis, or hamstrings. People with high blood pressure and pregnant women should avoid Svarga Dvijasana. Several other beneficial variations are there to serve the purpose.
You can try the pose in a seated position by lifting one leg if you don’t want to compromise with your knees or shoulders.
When your chest and shoulder are stretched to the maximum and it becomes difficult to cooperate in that position, instead of binding, hold the shin of the lifted leg and keep the knee bent.
The supine version of Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) will help when your hips are tight.
You can use a strap to bind instead of using your arms. You can also take the support of a wall initially to prevent misbalance and fall.
Be patient while practicing the pose. Stop and release the bind if you are finding it difficult to continue.
This pose needs a lot of core strength for which you can add crunches to your routine.
Benefits of Svarga Dvijasana
Svarga Dvijasana is a balancing yoga sequence that strengthens your calves, quadriceps, and glutes. The following muscles are benefited by this yoga:
- Hamstring muscles
- Biceps and Triceps
It helps to access and engage the core muscles. It increases your concentration by teaching through the value of Drishti (gaze). While you need to focus steadily on maintaining the pose, you are actually increasing your mental ability to focus on any crucial situation in life.
Safety and precautions are the priorities before jumping into any yoga practices. At any point, if you feel any pain in your upper arms and inner thighs, release the pose as you might have tweaked any muscle or nerve. Be familiar with the basic poses first. Many make common errors when they try to attempt it too soon. Always remember that your shoulder needs to be pulled back instead of hunching it.