Many believe that yoga is a means to attain immense flexibility and contort the body in many different ways. While that notion is true to an extent, it is only an effect of practicing intermediate yogic poses (asana).
The true essence of yoga is to bring stillness to the mind. In Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutra’, he states, “Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha.” In Sanskrit, this means that yoga is a way to block the patterns of consciousness in order to attain a state of superconsciousness (Samadhi).
While the Five-Pointed Star pose may seem easy and can be attempted by all, it is a crucial pose. It not only grounds us but also helps us hold a pose for extended periods of time. This enables us to concentrate even deeper when we meditate.
So let us learn more about the Five-Pointed Star pose and why you should include it in your yoga flow:
Basics of Five-Pointed Star Pose:
In Sanskrit, this pose is known as ‘Utthita Tadasana’. Here, the word “utthita” denotes ‘extended’ and ‘tadasana’ is ‘mountain pose’.
It is a beginner-friendly pose that is usually practiced as part of the Warrior series or the Side-Angle pose, which requires one to come into this posture before assuming the next one.
The pose targets the limbs of the body as it requires us to straighten them. It also helps us keep our spine erect and balance both Ida and Pingala Nadis.
Benefits of Five-Pointed Star Pose:
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner of yoga, sometimes you feel find yourself feeling anxious and overwhelmed. This pose is an excellent way to ground yourself and find your center.
If you are starting your yoga journey, you will slowly be able to develop strength in your arms by practicing this pose for long periods of time.
The Five-Pointed Star pose also helps correct alignment and help one find their balance before they move on to other poses.
During this pose, one experiences a lightness in their physical body and the mind becomes more agile. This has a small benefit on all systems and organs in the body.
How To Practice the Five-Pointed Star Pose:
- Stand erect on your mat with your feet together and arms by your side. Your feet should be firmly on the ground with your heels and big toes touching each other.
- As you inhale, tighten your knees, contract your hips and keep your stomach in.
- Your chest should be forward, your neck straight and your spine long and erect. This is known as ‘Tadasana’ or ‘Samasthiti’.
- Distribute the weight of your body evenly on both heels and toes, you should not lean to one side.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, spread your legs apart for 3-3.5 feet. Make sure that your feet are firmly touching the ground and your toes are pointing forward.
- Raise your arms sideways and keep them in line with your shoulders. Your palms should face downwards. Your arms should be parallel to the floor.
- Hold this final pose for as long as comfortable.
- Gently release the pose by first lowering your arms and then bringing your feet together. If you are practicing this pose as part of a sequence, you may move on to the next pose.
Common Mistakes While Practicing the Five-Pointed Pose:
As mentioned in how to practice this pose, it is crucial that the body is balanced equally. For most of us, the bodyweight is generally only on one leg. One needs to be mindful of weight distribution when they are in the final pose.
Also, the legs must not be turned sideways. This may negatively affect our spinal elasticity.
Before coming into the final Five-Pointed Star pose, spend some time balancing yourself in Tadasana. Although this may seem relatively simple, it is crucial that you develop the correct habit of standing straight without bending forward or back.
If you face difficulty in keeping your arms stretched for long intervals, try to hold the pose for as long as you can, release gently, and then repeat it 3-5 times, slowly increasing the duration each time.
From Tadasana, you may also place your hands on your hips when you are spreading your legs apart. This will help you distribute your bodyweight equally.
Cautions During Practice:
This pose can be attempted by all. If you are a beginner and feel strained or lightheaded while practicing this pose, release it immediately and relax.
If you are recovering from knee surgery or injury, you must not practice this pose. Those with weak knees may practice this but only under the supervision of a guru or teacher.
Utthita Tadasana is generally considered safe and can be practiced by all, those with any severe preconditions should check with their doctor before practicing either this pose or even Samasthiti.
Variations of the Five-Pointed Star Pose:
Although there are no known variations of this pose since it is for beginners. If you are severely injured or fatigued, you may practice this pose while laying down on your mat. But be mindful of your posture. You must not keep your neck loose, as is the tendency.
For those who are easily able to practice this pose, you may graduate to the Warrior series, starting with Warrior 2. You can also go into the Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) from Utthita Tadasana.