7.04.2012

Asana of the Week: Agnistambhasana

Asana of the Week is back!  I am going to try to put these out every Wednesday to make things nice and regular.  


As anyone who has attended a few of my Vinyasa classes could guess, this is one of my favorite postures and I can't believe it has taken me this long to do an AOTW on it.  Agnistambhasana, also known as Fire Log Pose or Kindling Pose, may derive its name either from the "stacking" of the shins as logs for a fire, or from the intense sensation it produces for most in and around the hips.

Because Agnistambhasana is such a deep and effective hip opener, we must approach the posture with caution so as not to damage the knees.  To perform this posture safely, it is important to be precise with the position of the legs.  This is not a half lotus posture.  Let me repeat:  This is not and never will be a variation of half lotus and is in no way related to Padmasana or its variants.  Rather, in this posture, the bones are stacked such that the top ankle is resting on the bottom knee and top knee is hovering over or, for the very flexible, resting on the bottom ankle.  The shin bones are parallel.  Both feet are FLEXED. 

If, following all of these instructions, you experience discomfort in one or both of your knees, do not practice this pose.

In the basic posture, which will yield plenty of sensation for most, the spine remains upright and the hands may rest either on the top leg or on the floor beside the hips.  If necessary, more ease may be found by leaning back slightly with the hands behind for support (pictured right).

If the upright position is comfortable, you may go a step further by placing the palms together and lowering the forearms onto your shin (pictured below).  I really like the feeling of stability this variation provides because of the even pressure along the top leg.  


Finally, if the above variation is comfortable, you may choose to walk the hands forward and bend over the legs.  In time, the chest may come down to rest on the shin and the head may drop toward the floor (pictured below). As always, be sure to hold the posture for an equal length of time on both sides.  If one side feels tighter, spend a little longer on that side until the hips are even.

6 comments:

  1. I tried this pose in a prenatal class I took and found one side to be more flexible than the other. Is this normal? Also, what is the best method for balancing out?

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    1. It is typical for one side to be tighter than the other because our daily behaviors are not symmetrical (driving, door-opening, vacuuming, writing, etc...). There are two things you can do to address the imbalance: 1) spend more time in relevant postures on the tight side, and 2) bring more awareness to the way that you carry yourself in daily life. Make a conscious effort to balance yourself in every way that you can. Your hips may never be perfectly even, but you can prevent further imbalance with these practices.

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    2. Ok. I'll give that a go. Thanks :)

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  2. Since I take baths, I practice fire log in a hot tub every morning. It helps to open the hips and not hurt the knees. I highly recommend trying this technique to get to a comfortable fire log pose.

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  3. Hey Megan.
    Good tips/variations for this pose. I was actually just thinking about writing about my frustrations/challenges with this pose on my blog...so when I get around to it, I will definitely link to your AOTW! (speaking of, I would be ever so grateful if you would consider adding Lila to your blog roll!). I've always found this pose next to impossible even though baddha konasana and padmasana are a breeze for me...I keep on telling myself I need to add it into my daily practice, but since of course, it's so easy to avoid the things that are hardest, I rarely do. Anyways, thanks for the reminder...tomorrow morning I am going to sit down and build a little fire and stick with it!
    Blessings,
    Frances

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  4. Thanks You for the instructions :)

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