Visvamitrasana: 5 yoga poses to prepare for it

3 min read

Named after the admired Hindu sage Visvamitra, Visvamitrasana is an intricate yoga pose acting as equal parts arm balance, hamstring stretch, and hip opener. With many complex components coming together in this beautiful pose, it can take some time and training to master.

We’ve outlined the steps you need to take in order to achieve the fullest expression of Visvamitrasana.

Pose Extended Side Angle

Extended side angle poses open the hips, shoulders, and chest to prepare the body for Visvamitrasana, the ultimate master pose. An ample side angle helps strengthen the hips and legs, which are important for the final pose.

Tip: Extend the blade of your back foot and reach forward to the fingertips of your top arm, stretching out the side of the body. Rotate the chest upwards to create a larger opening.

Modification: Place a block under the hand and lower it to reduce the distance.

Side Plank with Extended Arm

Side Plank ( Vasisthasana ) is also named after a sage, Vasistha. It tones and stretches the side body, which will be used in Visvamitrasana. This balance pose requires the body to maintain a neutral spine that is acting against gravity.

Tip: Engage your abdominals and quadriceps to find the neutral hip position (not too low, not too high). Imagine Tadasana turned sideways.

Modification: If the shoulders are too stressed, lower the leg to 90 degrees and rest it on the shin.

Revolved head-to-knee pose

The Revolved-Head-to-Knee Pose ( Parivrtta Sirsasana), which is a powerful hamstring stretch and side body stretch, is as difficult to perform as it is for you to pronounce. This pose involves rotating the chest, opening the shoulders, and passively stretching the gluteal and back muscles.

Tip: Keep the sit bones firmly grounded to maintain the alignment and angle of side bending.

Modifications: Use a strap if the upper hand is unable to reach the foot extended.

Compass Pose

In Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana), the upper half of the body is in almost the same position as Visvamitrasana. This pose prepares the spine, shoulder girdle, and hamstrings to perform more advanced postures.

Tip: Shimmy your leg up as far as you can on the lower arm before straightening. Use your lower hand to support the body weight and flex your feet to prevent ankle rolling.

Modification: Feel free to use straps/belts if you can’t get the pose (literally) right. Continue lifting your upper body to prevent collapse in the trunk.

Ardha Visvamitrasana

Ardha Visvamitrasana combines all the poses that have been done so far. It incorporates an arm balance, hamstring stretching, twist, hip and shoulder opener. This pose is a modified version of Visvamitrasana, as its name implies (ardha = halfway).

Tip: Press your lifted leg into the arm that is associated with it to stabilize your posture. Open the chest and look upwards.

Modification: Place the block under the hand that is grounded to raise the torso. This will reduce the intensity of side stretching and make the pose easier to assess.

Visvamitrasana can be a challenging pose. Even some of the preparatory poses are difficult. Once you master the postures above, Visvamitrasana should be a natural addition to your yoga repertoire. Remember to engage your leg from the foot that is grounded, extend the side body, and flex the foot raised.

To achieve a deeper chest opening and a more complete twist in the spine, it is helpful to continue reaching the scapula toward the midline.

Visvamitrasana is not just about physicality. It also demands a sage’s willpower. Be mindful throughout the process. Learn from your mistakes and keep practicing.

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