Vrishasana (Bull pose) also know as Mrigiasana (deer pose) in Yin Yoga, as Saithalyasana in the Bihar school of Yoga, and as pinwheel pose in Nosara Yoga.
To prepare the hips for the pose,
- lean back on the hands
- have the knees bent, the feet mat width apart,
- allow the knees to drap to one side, dropping a knee toward a foot
- bring the knees up and release to the other side
- as you go side to side, you may want to move the hips closer or further from the feet to keep the movement comfortable and smooth
- end when ready
On to Vrishasana, first the right side,
- draw the left foot back by the left hip
- draw the right foot straight in front close to the pelvis
- you may need to elevate the hips on a blanket or a cushion for the posture to be comfortable
- if you elevate the hips be sure that the joints (ankles, knees, hips) are comfortable, if not then don’t continue
Spine Side to Side
Once you are in Vrishasana, we will began placing the hands on each side of the right knee. When you exhale lower over the knee. Come back up with the inhale and turn to the left side. Place the hands on each side of the left knee and lower over the knee moving with the exhale.
The side with the foot back beside the hip (currently the left side) will be more difficult, don’t expect to go as low down as the other side.
When transitioning side to side is comfortable, then bring the arms up overhead when you inhale up.
As you release over the leg, relax the hips and draw the low belly in. There’s no point in lifting the opposite hip to go lower of the leg. The opposite hip will rise naturally, there’s no point in forcing it down. Allow the hips comfortable motion.
Repeat six to ten times, working comfortably with the breath.
Either switch sides now or continue and switch sides at the end. Experience the sensations of the body change when needed.
To switch sides, use the hands to help the back leg come in front. Then lean to the ‘back leg’ side and help the ‘front leg’ move back bringing the foot alongside the hip. Adjust the newly placed front foot toward the hip, adjust any padding for the hips.
Back Hip Up and Rotate
In Vrishasana on the right side, place the right hand on the ground beside the hip where it is supportive. Place the left hand on the crest of the left hip.
With the inhalation, raise the left hip, pressing the left hand up with the hip, as the hip rises, turn the hip toward the right side; lifting and rotating the hip. Look to the right moving as the hip moves.
With the exhalation, lower the left hip down. Release the weight of the hip down, without pressing down.
Repeat with the breath, doing three to ten repetitions. In the beginning do fewer repetitions.
Either do the rotations on the opposite side or continue with leg extensions on the same side.
When these rotations are comfortable, we extend the work for the hip as follows:
When the back hip is lifted and rotated, pause and look at the back leg. Now, straighten out the knee and straighten the leg. As you straighten the leg, the foot will be pointed horizontally and move the foot forward so it is in front of the hip line.
At this point the hip is still lifted, lower the hip and as you do so turn the foot vertical. The leg will be straight and off to the side. The body is now in a variation of Janusirasana. Adjust the angle of the legs so they are comfortably placed.
Turn the chest toward the straight leg and exhale over the leg. Inhaling rise up, and exhale release over the leg.
To exit, place one hand on the hip of the extended leg and the other hand on the floor off to the side of the hips. Lift, then rotate the straight leg hip turning the foot horizontal. Now the knee can safely bend back and the foot return to by the hip. Next, lower the hip back down.
On a repetition of the leg extension, consider using Parivrtta janusirasana. Rather than turn toward the extended leg, turn the chest away toward the bent leg, take that arm overhead, and lean over the straight leg.
When the back hip is lifted and rotated, pause and look at the back leg. Now, lift the back leg up off the floor, then release the leg down, and the hip down. Repeat as comfortable, be aware that too many repetitions can lead to a cramp in the hip. If a cramp does occur then try lifting and rotating the hip, or change the legs to a more comfortable posture.
Inserting a simple lift and rotation of the back hip between leg lifts can be helpful.