agnistambhasana for athletic performanceBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

With the advent of the warmer weather, many Yogis and Yoginis incorporate a diversity of outdoor athletic activities into their fitness regime. Some of these activities may include rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking. Other popular summertime activities are swimming, jogging and tennis. According to sports physiologists, it is important for an athlete to cross-train because by engaging in a variety of different sporting activities, he or she will strengthens different muscles groups in the body. Additionally, by becoming involved in a competitive sport, an individual will experience a clear sense of purpose and will easily formulate a set of concrete fitness goals to strive towards.


Participating in team sports also provides an individual with enhanced social contact and engagement in one’s community. However, as we set athletic goals for implement vigorous and challenging training routines and ourselves in order to meet those goals, many Yoga practitioners may experience sports-related injuries. These injuries run the gamete from pulled hamstrings, to torn rotator cuffs and strained wrists, to name only a few! Clearly, the type of injury that a Yoga practitioner may experience when cross-training in other sports depends on which sports he or she has chosen to participate in.

All aerobic activities will improve cardiovascular health. However, many sports shorten and tighten muscles and ligament throughout the body. This is particularly true of the leg, hip and shoulder muscles and ligaments. By incorporating a regular, balanced practice of Yoga poses into your exercise program, you will be able to offset the potential risk of sports-related injuries. Practicing Yoga poses several times a week will help to keep your muscles and ligaments flexible and strong, so that you can safely and enjoyably reach your fitness goals.

Fire Log Pose: Agnistambhasana

Fire Log Pose is a very powerful and effective hip opening Yoga asana. It deeply releases tension in the hip area, as it stretches out the groin muscles. This pose also relieves stress, anxiety and tension. It is both a hip opener and a cooling seated forward bending pose. Agnistambhasana is also known as Double Pigeon because it deepens the hip stretch initiated by Pigeon Pose. This is a wonderful cooling Yoga asana to practice after you have finished the aerobic portion of your workout.

Agnistambhasana, or Fire Log Pose, is usually practiced after a series a Sun Salutations, standing poses, backbends and inversions. In other words, towards the end of a full Yoga practice. However, if you are short on time, you can also practice Fire Log Pose as a “stand alone” Yoga asana or in the context of a series of cooling seated forward bends after your workout. To practice Fire Log Pose, coming to a seated position on your Yoga mat. If your hips are tight today, you may wish to have a folded blanket or a Yoga block nearby, so that you can use a prop for additional hip support.


When you are ready to practice Agnistambhasana, take a few deep breaths, remembering to exhale completely and fully. With your next inhale, take your right foot and place it gently on top of your left knee. Stack your two lower legs on top of each other like the logs in a fire with your lower legs parallel to the front of your Yoga mat. If your knees, ankles or hips are very tight, or you experience pain or a sensation of pinching in any of these areas, place a folded blanket or bolster underneath your right hip. This will modify the intensity of the stretch in the hip and relieve pressure on the knees and ankles.

If you are still experiencing any pain in the knees, ankles or hips, modify the posture further by placing your lower right leg directly in front of your lower left leg on the mat. Place your hands one to two feet in front of you with your hands in a cupped position. With your next exhale; bend forward gently until your reach the point where you feel a nice stretch in your hips and groin muscles without pain. Hold Fire Log Pose for five to ten breaths, and then slowly release the posture and come back to Easy Seat at the front of your Yoga mat. When you are ready, repeat Fire Log Pose on the left side.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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