How to Do Star Pose in Yoga
Star Pose is an active, invigorating yoga pose that energizes the body and improves posture. Its open stance feels expansive, and it is often considered to be a pose that brings joy. It is sometimes called "Five-Pointed Star Pose." This position is often used as a starting pose or a transitional posture between other yoga poses, such as Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) and Goddess Squat (Utkata Konasana).
Benefits of Star Pose
Star Pose stretches and lengthens the body in all directions at once. It aligns the spine correctly, which helps to improve posture and reduce back and shoulder pain. By opening the chest and underarms, this pose can also help the practitioners become more open to feelings of love, happiness, and delight, as if they were hugging the world.
When practiced correctly, Star Pose will utilize every muscle in the body. It strengthens the legs, ankles, abdomen, and back. It can also help reduce the effects of sciatica and flat feet. By providing more space for the lungs and heart, this pose also improves circulation and respiration. Practicing this pose with a steady and smooth breath will help you relieve stress and improve concentration.
Due to the balancing nature of the posture, do not practice Star Pose if you are currently experiencing headaches, insomnia, low blood pressure, or if you are lightheaded and/or dizzy. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) at the top of your mat with your arms at your sides. Bring your hands to rest comfortably on your hips.
- Turn to the right and step your feet wide apart. Turn your toes out slightly, so they point to the corners of your mat.
- Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height with your palms facing forward. Your feet and wrists should be about the same distance apart; adjust your stance if needed.
- Press down through your heels and straighten your legs fully, but do not lock or hyperextend your knees. Ground your feet firmly into the earth, pressing evenly across all four corners of both feet.
- Draw the tops of your thighs up and back, engaging the quadriceps.
- Tuck in your tailbone slightly, but don’t round your lower back. Lift the back of your thighs, but release your buttocks.
- Bring your pelvis to its neutral position. Do not let your front hip bones point down or up. Instead, point them straight forward. Draw your belly in slightly.
- As you inhale, elongate through your torso. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist.
- Spread your fingers and reach out strongly through your fingertips.
- Broaden across your collarbones.
- Press your shoulder blades toward the back ribs, but don’t squeeze them together. Keep your arms straight, fingers extended, and triceps firm. Allow your inner arms to rotate slightly outward.
- Elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, and hips should all be in one line.
- Keep your breath smooth and even. With each exhalation, feel your body elongating in all directions: Up, down, left, right, forward, and backward. Softly gaze forward toward the horizon. Hold the pose for up to one minute, and then release your arms to your sides and step your feet back together at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose.
Modifications & Variations
Star Pose can be a fun and energizing pose for yoga students of all levels. To avoid straining the lower back or shoulders, though, it's important to learn the correct alignment. Often, this means changing habitual patterns of alignment in your body. Try these simple changes to learn the pose correctly:
- If you are a beginner, you can practice the pose backed up against a wall. There will be a slight curve in your lower back, but your heels, buttocks, and shoulders should gently touch the wall. Keep your head away from the wall, keeping your ears in line with your shoulders.
- For a greater challenge, close your eyes in the pose.
- Your arms and hands can be placed in a variety of positions. To open the chest and shoulders more, turn your palms forward. To calm your mind and find center and balance, place your palms together in prayer position at your chest (this is called “Anjali Mudra”). For extra stability, place your hands on your hips.
- For a greater challenge, lift yourself onto the balls of your feet.
Star Pose can create symmetry and length throughout your whole body. Here are a couple of tips to help you stand up tall and wide:
- Work the pose from the ground up. Align your feet and heels, then press your weight evenly across both feet. Next, bring your awareness to your ankles. Continue upward to your shins, calves, and thighs. Then find alignment in your tailbone, pelvis, and belly; and then in your collarbones, shoulder blades, arms, and neck. Finally, extend the pose out through your fingertips and up through the crown of your head.
- Do not lock or hyperextend your knees; keep a micro-bend in them throughout the pose.
- To find your center of balance, lean your whole body forward and then backward. Then lean to the left and then to the right. Realign yourself so that your ears, shoulders, hips, and heels are all on the same plane, and your head and tailbone are aligned vertically.
- To find the neutral balance of your pelvis, imagine your pelvis is a bowl filled with water. Tip your front hip bones forward (causing your butt to stick out) and the water will spill over your front thighs. Tuck your tailbone and round your low back and the water will spill over your back thighs. Practice tipping and tucking a few times to find the neutral balance of your pelvis — where the "water" will remain steady and not spill.
Aim for the Stars
Star Pose can be a building block for expansiveness and balance in all areas of your life. Practicing this pose on a regular basis will bring poise, strength, and equanimity to your everyday routine! You can practice Star Pose anytime you need an extra burst of openness and joy!