Horse Face Pose, or Vatayanasana is a balancing posture that requires hip and arm flexibility, as well as healthy knees and ankles. The stance is named for its resemblance to a horse’s face, with the balancing knee acting as the nose and the torso, arms, and head representing the upper half of the face.
This pose combines the qualities of several other poses, such as the Garudasana twist or Eagle arms, the connection between the feet and heels of Padmasana (Lotus pose), to create a unique combination of twist, balance, and fold that challenges the body and the mind.
Horse Face Pose: Benefits
Horse Face Pose helps to promote good circulation in the entire body. The intertwined arm positions also help create flexibility for the upper body. This pose strengthens the bones of the lower body and helps to alleviate minor asymmetries in the legs and hips.
The pose encourages mental focus in order to maintain balance. Due to the difficulty in finding mental balance and the physical challenges of the carriage (like balancing on one knee), it is important to maintain calmness when the situation becomes challenging.
Warm up your ankles, shoulders, and hips to explore Horse Face Pose safely. After warming up, explore these postures in order to prepare your body and mind to achieve the best Horse Face Pose.
Ardha Padmasana allows you to improve your hip flexibility by placing the soles of your feet on the hip.
Take the time to practice this movement in a safe seated position and let the hips open.
Garudasana or Eagle Pose requires you to balance, twist, and bend the upper leg over the lower leg. You will also need to intertwine the arms and bend the elbows to stretch your arms. To prepare for the Horse Face Pose, try the full Eagle Pose to stretch your hips, challenge your balance, and get comfortable with the feeling of Eagle arms.
Tree Pose with Lotus Leg
Vrkasana, or Tree Pose, is a traditional balancing pose that helps you develop a calm and focused focus while strengthening your legs. Once you feel comfortable in Tree Pose, move the leg to a Half Lotus position to stretch your hips and experience the feeling of standing.
This is basically a standing Horse Face Pose with the lower legs.
Virasana, or Hero Pose, stretches the muscles of the legs and ankles to prepare you for the Horse Face pose. Hero Pose is an excellent way to warm the ankles before Horse Face Pose because Horse Face Pose requires both dorsal and plantar flexion.
Circles of the Hips and Ankles on the Back
The hips must be warmed before you can do the Horse Face Pose. Your bent knee hip should also be able to rotate externally. Try this motion while lying flat on your back. Begin by circling your hips in both directions. Circumcircle the ankle in two movements, starting with one and ending with the other. Repeat the exercise on both sides.
Horse Face Pose is best done when your body has warmed up and opened. Bring one leg to Half Lotus from kneeling, and then twist your upper body into Eagle arms.
Create a blanket-based structure
Horse Face Pose places pressure on the knee that balances, so you should give your knee and yourself the support and comfort needed to achieve full expression.
Fold the blanket to the thickness you feel comfortable with. You want the blanket to be stable but not painful. Allow the veil to become thinner as you get more comfortable with the pose. You can now support your knee comfortably and safely.
Balance on a Wall
Horse Face poses challenges to your balance. A wall can be used to help you explore the pose and not fall.
It may be awkward to get into the Horse Face Pose. The pose is between a sitting and standing posture and is basically a balance on the knee. You can enter this pose in many different ways, such as from a seated or standing position, on all fours, or from a lunge. Choose the entry that works best for you.
Remember that the goal of yoga is to practice and not be perfect. Explore Horse Face Pose and find out what works for you.