Man on the Mat with Ravi Dixit

Vatayanasana (Horse Pose)

Vatayanasana is a pose from the Ashtanga intermediate series. The name translates as 'horse pose' and is a unique kind of balancing pose.


  • Increases flexibility. The stretches in this asana are advanced and with regular practice can release trapped tension from the muscles.
  • Improves blood circulation of the lower body and specifically through the hip region.
  • Reduces stiffness in the body and relieves joint pains.
  • Strengthens muscles and bones.
  • Improves posture and can improve minor asmmetry in the hips and legs.
  • Enhances balance, focus and concentration.

Common mistakes

  • Not warming up. This asana requires considerable flexibility so always warm up the body before attempting the pose, especially in the hip area.
  • Impatience: the flexibility will come with time. Be patient and go for small improvements with everyday practice. In the beginning, this pose may be difficult and the knee may feel painful so don't push yourself too much and listen to your body.

Beginners Tips

  • Use a blanket for support. Before bending the leg into half lotus pose, put a blanket under the knee for comfort and to help with balance.
  • If you're struggling to get into this asana, start with sitting down and do a simple butterfly pose to warm up and help the hips to get used to deep stretching. Then try a modified version of the pose: start with half lotus standing up with your back against the wall for support, don't put the knee on the floor. Fold your arms like in eagle pose.


  • Vatayanasana helps improve concentration. It requires focus, core awareness and while balancing the body on one foot and one knee, concentration power enhances.

Caution: As a beginner, please only practice this pose with the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher and be careful if you have any knee pain or injuries. If at any point you experience pinching pain or discomfort, stop right away. Please avoid this pose during pregnancy.

Ravi Dixit is an Indian yoga teacher living in London, passionate about making traditional yoga understandable for everyone. Visit: or connect on Instagram @raviyoga_goa

Photo: Cecelia Cristolovean-Csiky (

Horse Pose

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