Welcoming The Year of The Rooster: 4 Bird Yoga Poses To Spice Up Your Practice
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The past weekend, Chinese community all around the world welcomed the year of the Rooster with great excitement and fervor. The Rooster, according to the Lunar New Year calendar, is the 10th animal in the cycle and will only reappear in 2029.
The Rooster is known to be hardworking, resilient and strong. Spice up your yoga practice this week by incorporating as many bird poses into your yoga sequence as possible! As a tribute to the Rooster, I’m sharing with you my 4 favorite bird yoga poses of all time!
The Eagle, in both Hindu and Tibetan traditions, is regarded as a majestic and mythical bird. It is an animal almost synonymous with freedom, though when working in the pose, one might not feel so. Eagle pose requires the practitioner to work themselves into a series of twists and knots at the legs and then at the arms. However, don’t be discouraged! Once you find your footing and stability, you will find immense strength and balance in this pose! Garudasana strengthens the ankles and calves, which are parts of the body that are usually overlooked. The somewhat complexity of this balancing pose also improves concentration as the practitioner needs razor sharp focus to not topple over.
Tip: Release tension in your toes. Instead, work with pressing the mounts of your foot and your heel down. Try to lift the inner arch of your foot up to help you engage your calve muscles.
Sleeping Swan (Hamsasana)
The Sleeping Swan is anything but a sleeping pose! It’s an active pose that stretches the hip joints and helps the practitioner attain greater flexibility in the hips. Because it is a gentle and relaxing stretch, the Swan pose is a very common pose in Yin Yoga. It also detoxifies the lymph nodes in the groin, which will increase the immune system.
Tip: The Sleeping Swan is a good restorative pose. To maximize the benefits that you can attain from practicing this pose, try to stay in the pose for a lengthened period of time between 3 – 5 minutes.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
This One-Legged King Pigeon pose is a great pose to practice right after the sleeping swan, as your hips joints would have been significantly relaxed already by now. In addition to the stretch on the thighs, groin and psoas, this pose helps the practitioner to open the shoulders and chest, making it a full body workout! This pose might be a little difficult for beginners, so do honor your body and only go as far as it feels good. For tight hips, support the front-leg hip with a block or a blanket.
Tip: Rotating your back thigh in will keep your hips stable and squared. Being able to press all five toes on to the mat is a good indication of whether or not your thigh is rotated in.
The Crow pose is an ideal first arm balance to start with when exploring this group, as it provides a good foundation for other arm balances that you might want to explore in the future. Leaning on your arms and lifting off the mat may seem a little tricky and overwhelming at first, but when you get the hang of it, it becomes a really fun way to spice up your yoga practice! Above all, the Crow pose builds confidence as you learn to trust yourself and your strength to lift. It also strengthens the arms, forearms and wrists.
Tip: Take extra care of your wrists in this pose, ensuring to press your whole palm down on the mat by pressing the roots of your fingers and thumb firmly down. Rotate your shoulders out as well.
Intrigued by the different yoga poses and the meaning behind their names? Discover more and delve deeper into yoga philosophy through a yoga teacher training retreat!