Yoga 101: Chakravakasana, Sun Bird
Chakravakasana is such a pretty name, and when done with grace and breath will provide many benefits, too.
Yogis were bird lovers. There are lots of postures named after birds, such as pigeon, eagle, crow, and heron. One of the great things about Sun Bird and its modifications is that it is for beginners and advanced students.
Sun Bird will teach you how to engage and build strength in the pelvic floor (mulabandha) and the abdominals (uddiyanabandha). It also has the potential to massage and strengthen our kidneys, adrenal glands and all of the abdominal organs.
However, if you suffer from any wrist, knee, back, shoulder or elbow injuries, I recommend that you be mindful of limitations and do modifications as shown in the photo essay.
In saying that, let’s remember, yoga is tool that allows us to become more familiar with ourselves. Clear any and all physical activity with your physician or wellness provider before starting any new activities.
To begin, sit in sukasana and start with your pranayama meditation. See an image in your mind of a favorite bird soaring over the horizon; use this as a place of focus when you practice Sun Bird.
Take long inhales and long exhales, like a bird moving its wings, and concentrate on letting go of your day with every exhale.
Start with a table top, placing your hands shoulder distance or slightly wider and knees hip distance. Be gentle with yourself and pad knees with a blanket to help with discomfort.
To warm up and prepare for the full posture do a body vinyasa, sometimes referred as Tiger's Stretch.
As you inhale lengthen your right leg straight back on the horizon and then as you exhale, bend the knee toward your chest and slightly tuck the chin. (Hint: Drawing your navel up toward the spine will help squeeze out the last bit of air, and pressing into top of left foot and both hands will help to stabilize and keep hips neutral.)
After you do this two-three times on one side, repeat on the left side.
Now you are ready to take flight. Remembering your meditation, let’s find your Sun Bird:
- Use table top position as a foundation.
- Taking a deep inhale, lift your right leg into the sky. Keeping the leg extended, stabilize your belly by drawing it in and engage your pelvic floor by lifting it up.
- As you feel more stable, inhale deeply and extend the left arm forward with thumb up toward the sky. Remembering the grace of your favorite bird, connect your body with the horizon.
- Stabilizing the body with the top of your left foot and the right hand, make sure with each inhale you find length across the body from the finger tips to toes. Pulling your belly up and into the body will prevent overarching and help support the lower back and hips. (Hint: Avoid lifting your leg higher than your hips.)
- After you do this on one side, repeat on the other side.
Practicing this entire body stabilizer will create strength and balance over time. Make sure you leave enough time to take a long savasana.
Relax your wings and allow your body to surrender to the ground. I hope you let your inner beautiful Sun Bird fly, fly, fly.
Yoga Happenings This Week
In honor of my column last week, "Yoga 101: Wow, that’s Hot!" there is more heated yoga in the Tampa Bay area. The much anticipated opening of the new Evolation, 2416 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater, is offering free yoga classes all week long, with the regular schedule starting May 5. Stop in or call about the new studio specials: 727.796.7947
Bella Prana Yoga and Meditation studio has opened its new space at 1000 East Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. The new space has ample parking, two studios with sprung floors, showers and over 50 classes on the weekly schedule, over 50 classes on it weekly schedule, which includes hot and warmed flow classes throughout the week.
Have a great week!