The Bird of Paradise pose is a graceful and empowering yoga posture that demands both strength and flexibility. It requires a deep hip opener, hamstring flexibility, and balance. However, achieving the full expression of this pose can be challenging for many practitioners due to anatomical limitations or tightness in certain areas of the body. This is where props like blocks and straps come into play, offering invaluable support and assistance in refining the posture. How to use props like blocks or a strap to help get into the bird of paradise yoga pose.

Blocks: Stability and Support

  • Lift in Forward Fold: Placing a block under the hands in the forward fold phase of the bird of paradise yoga¬†can help individuals with tight hamstrings or limited flexibility in reaching the ground. This elevation reduces strain on the lower back and encourages lengthening through the spine, facilitating a safer and more accessible fold.
  • Assistance in Binding: Binding in the Bird of Paradise requires wrapping the arms around the lifted leg, which demands considerable shoulder mobility. For those who struggle to clasp their hands behind their back, holding onto a block can serve as a stepping stone. By gripping the block instead of attempting the full bind, practitioners can gradually work on shoulder flexibility and eventually progress toward a deeper expression of the pose.

Alignment cues I no longer use - Ekhart Yoga

  • Balancing Aid: Balancing on one leg while transitioning into the full expression of the Bird of Paradise can be precarious, especially for beginners. Placing a block under the standing foot provides a stable foundation, enhancing proprioception and confidence in the pose. It also alleviates the fear of losing balance, allowing practitioners to focus on refining their alignment and breath.

Straps: Lengthening and Extension

  • Hamstring Release: Tight hamstrings are a common obstacle in attaining the full expression of the Bird of Paradise. Using a strap wrapped around the foot of the extended leg enables practitioners to gently increase the stretch without straining or compromising alignment. Over time, consistent use of the strap can lead to greater flexibility in the hamstrings, facilitating a smoother transition into the pose.
  • Shoulder Opening: The bind in the Bird of Paradise requires openness and flexibility in the shoulders. For individuals with limited mobility in this area, a strap can bridge the gap by connecting the hands behind the back. By holding onto the strap and gradually inching the hands closer together, practitioners can gradually deepen the stretch and improve shoulder range of motion, paving the way for a more secure and comfortable bind.