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"Also the capacity for clarity, cleanliness, cheerfulness and intentness, as well as mastery over the senses, ultimately give rise to self-realization." - Yoga Sutra 2.41

Yoga is an ancient practice which helps in replenishing the mind, body and soul.

The word vatayanasana comes from the Sanskrit words ‘vatayana’ which means horse and ‘asana’ which means ‘pose’. Vatayanasana is also known as the flying horse pose or the horse face pose.

This is a complex asana which helps in increasing the flexibility of the legs and the strength of the lower half of the body. This asana also helps in instiling a sense of balance and stability in the body. 

This asana should not be done by people with high blood pressure, sciatica pain, slipped disc, hernia, and weak bones. This asana is strongly contraindicated for pregnant women.

  1. Steps: correct way to do vatayanasana (flying horse pose)
  2. Modification of vatayanasana (flying horse pose)
  3. Benefits of vatayanasana (flying horse pose)
  4. Precautions of vatayanasana (flying horse pose)

These are the steps to do the vatayanasana correctly:

  • Stand with your feet together and set your gaze on a fixed point keeping your head straight. This helps in increasing the ability to focus.
  • Shift your entire body weight onto the right leg. 
  • Now bend your left knee and place the left foot on the right thigh. 
  • Move your left foot as high as possible on your right thigh. You may use your hands to shift the heel of your left foot to a spot where it touches the groin area of your right leg and the toes along the base of your right thigh.
  • Once the left foot is placed high enough, hold the left ankle with your hand until your body is steady. Once the body is stable, place the palms of your hands together in front of your chest in a namaskar pose.
  • Now, take a deep breath, hold it and simultaneously bend your right knee and lower body until the left knee touches the floor.
  • Exhale out once the left knee rests on the floor.
  • Hold this final position for 5 seconds and rest while spreading the entire body weight on both the right foot and the left knee. 
  • After 5 seconds, transfer your body weight back onto the right leg.
  • Inhale deeply and hold your breath while slowly raising your body by straightening the right knee.
  • Once you are standing again on your right foot, release the left leg from the right thigh and return it to the floor. 
  • Rest your body in a relaxed standing position for at least 10 seconds before repeating the pose again with the other leg. 
  • Practise this asana up to 3 times on each side. 

There is a modification in conventional vatayasana pose which helps in increasing the flexibility of the arms. The steps are:

  • The posture of the legs remains the same but the arm posture changes into the ‘garudasana’ pose. 
  • In the modification, bend your elbows in front of your chest so your upper arm is parallel to the floor and forearm is perpendicular to the floor.
  • Now lift your right arm in through the crook of the left arm. Once you have achieved this position, try and twist the right arm around so that the palms of both the hands touch each other. The joined palms should rest in front of your nose.

The benefits of vatayanasana are: 

  • It helps in strengthening the leg muscles and knee joints. 
  • It helps in reducing the stiffness and pain related to arthritis.
  • It promotes proper circulation of blood in the hip area.
  • It reduces the cramping in the thigh region.
  • It relieves the stiffness around the sacroiliac joint (joint between the sacrum and iliac bone of the hip).
  • This asana claims to have the ability to correct minor asymmetry in the hips and the legs.

There are certain things which should be kept in mind while doing vatayanasana:

  • Do not practise this asana without an expert as there is a chance of losing balance during the asana.
  • People with chronic lower back pain conditions like sciatica and slipped disc should not perform this asana.
  • People with weak hips, knees or ankles should not perform this asana.
  • High blood pressure patients should not perform this asana.
  • People with heart problems should refrain from doing this asana. 
  • People with a hernia should not practise this pose as it would likely increase their pain.
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