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Improve your flexibility and balance with the power of the horse pose

Published on:26 April 2021, 16:08pm IST
Improving flexibility and balance by regularly practising the horse pose or vatayanasana, can improve the quality of your workout sessions.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Your workouts will definitely be more effective if you work on your flexibility with the horse pose! Image courtesy: Grand Master Akshar
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Ever felt jealous after seeing a celebrity perform tough yoga poses and easily complete intense workout routines? Well, let’s tell you their secret. It’s their flexibility quotient! Now, it takes time to build your flexibility but if you are in a hurry and want to add something to your fitness routine in order to quickly increase your flexibility, you’ve gotta try the horse pose, also known as vatayanasana.

Vatayanasana is also known as flying horse pose or horse face pose. It is basically a balancing posture that targets the quads, glutes, and inner thigh muscles.  It is a beginner and intermediate yoga posture with variations available for both levels.

Ladies, we would like to give you a heads up before you incorporate it into your workout routine. Avoid this asana if you fall under the following categories:

  • Avoid practising the vatayanasana if you’re pregnant
  • Those who are suffering from sciatica or slip disc should refrain from performing this pose.
  • Do not perform it with an injured knee, hip, or ankle.
  • If you are suffering from a hernia, do not practice it as it might increase the pain.

When it comes to the horse pose, yoga expert Grand Master Akshar suggests 2 poses, based on your level of expertise:

A step-by-step guide to performing the horse pose for beginners
  • Start by standing straight  
  • Keep your feet apart. Your toes should be pointing outwards.
  • As you inhale, reach your arms in line with your shoulders, stretching them outward to the side.
  • As you exhale, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle
  • Keep the knees aligned
  •  Hold this asana for 30 seconds and keep breathing
horse pose
Horse pose variation 1. Image courtesy: Grand Master Akshar
A step-by-step guide to performing the horse pose for those at the intermediate and advanced levels
  • Sit on the floor, placing the left foot on the right thigh close to the hip, i.e., half padmasana
  • Keep your hands by the sides, placing the palms on the floor
  • Exhale as you lift your torso off the floor
  • Bring the externally rotated left knee on the floor
  • Bring the right foot forward and place the right heel near the left knee
  • Ensure that the right thigh is parallel to the floor
  • Inhale and straighten your back, stretching the pelvis forward. Lift your hands to the chest level
  • Bend the elbows, crossing them so that the right elbow lies in the crook of the left
  • Now, intertwine the forearms and join the palms together
  • Hold the pose and keep breathing normally
  • Release the arms and sit on the floor, straightening the legs
  • Repeat the pose by switching the position of the foot and the arms
Horse pose
Horse pose variation 2. Image courtesy: Grand Master Akshar
Grand Master Akshar suggests 6 spectacular benefits of doing the horse pose
1. Enhances your flexibility

It releases muscle tension if practised regularly. The stretching involved in the pose provides extra flexibility to the muscles.

2. Strengthens your muscles and bones

It increases the endurance and stability of the bones and muscles. Eventually, your bones and muscles get stronger.

3. Improves blood circulation

The asana improves blood circulation in the lower body. It particularly facilitates the proper flow of blood through the hip region.

4. Reduces joint pain

The pose helps in getting rid of any stiffness in the body and relieves joint pain.

horse pose
Treat muscle cramps with yoga. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Improves the posture

With a focus on the lower body, the pose is particularly beneficial for the hips and legs. Regular practice of vatayanasana improves minor asymmetry in the hips and legs, improving alignment and balance. Hence, it improves the posture of the body.

6. Improves balance and concentration

Vatayanasana helps in improving concentration and focus. It will enhance balance but more importantly, it will also strengthen focus due to the concentration on proper balance.

“According to research, vatayanasana provides an improved sense of balance and concentration to the practitioner,” says Grand Master Akshar.

So, are you ready to flex at your best?

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.