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Agnistambhasana or Fire Log Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Fire Log Pose
Double Pigeon Pose
Knee to Ankle Pose.
Sanskrit
अग्निस्तम्भासन/ Agnistambhasana
Pronunciation
ugg-nee-stahm-BAH-sah-nah
Meaning
Agni (अग्नि): means “Fire”
Stabha (स्तभ): means “Pillar”
Asana (आसन): means “Pose”

Agnistambhasana at a Glance

Agnistambhasana is a yoga pose that involves the concepts of fire and stability. Agnistambhasana has many physical and mental benefits, also called Fire Log Pose or Double Pigeon Pose or Knee to Ankle Pose.

Benefits:

  • Agnistamabhasana, or the firelog pose, stretches and opens up hip joints and improves body flexibility.
  • The pose stretches the thigh, outer hips and lower back muscles.
  • Regular Agnistambhasana practice improves blood flow to the tight hips and legs, thus improving flexibility.
  • Agnistambhasana is used as a preparatory pose for meditation as it helps to enhance the focus of the mind.

Who can do it?

Agnistambhasana can be practiced safely by intermediate to advanced practitioners and people with good hip flexibility.

Who should not do it?

People with recent hip injury or Discomfort, knee pain or ankle injury, pregnant women (especially in later stages of pregnancy), and people with conditions such as severe arthritis and osteoporosis should avoid Agnistambhasana.

Introduction

Agnistambhasana, commonly known as Fire Log Pose, Double Pigeon Pose, or Burning Log Pose, is a seated yoga pose that stretches hips and groins. It is called Fire Log Pose due to the resemblance of the legs to a stack of logs. Agni explains the inner fire or energy within the body, associated with transformation and digestion, “stabha” refers to a pose that involves being steady, firm or resembling a pillar.

Chakras

Agnistambhasana is believed to primarily activate and balance the Muladhara (Root) Chakra and the Swadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra. The pose motivates the practitioners to stay grounded to earth, simultaneously be creative and passionate, and maintain a sense of balanced emotions.

Philosophy

Agnistambhasana pose ignites the inner fire (agni) within the body, thus enabling transformation and fire within the body. The pose encourages the practitioner to find stability and balance in life while dealing with the intensity and heat that may arise, thus enabling to deal with life situations with equanimity and confidence.

How to Do Agnistambhasana?

Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start with Sukhasana. Practice some external rotation of the hips. Extend your left leg in front of you.
  • Bend your right knee and rest it on the left thigh of the bottom foot. Check the space between your top knee and the foot it’s resting on. Use props if needed to fill the space.
  • The left shin should be over the right shin like the two wood logs. Try to have the shin parallel on the front edge of the mat.
  • The right ankle of the right leg should rest on top of the left ankle (opposite ankle) without straining your knees and ankles.
  • The left knee should align at the outer side with the left ankle. Keep the alignment perfect by lengthening the spine. You can hinge slightly forward.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths with no upper knee strain. Maintain deep, steady breathing throughout the pose.
  • Release the pose by straightening the legs or keep your knees bent, come to the staff pose, and relax. Switch sides by placing the left leg on the right thigh of the right leg and the right shin on top of the left shin and repeat.

What are the Benefits of Agnistambhasana?

  • The pose stretches and opens the outer hips, groins, thighs, and external hip rotators by opening the hips.
  • It involves and strengthens the muscles in the thigh, lower back, and hip flexors by involving these muscles in the stretches and strengthening of the lower body.
  • It encourages the correct posture by aligning the spine and opening the hips by providing proper blood circulation throughout the body.
  • It reduces stress and calms the nervous system by focusing on breathing and balancing chakras.
  • It is believed to activate the body’s fire element, which induces the transformation and balance within the body.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Agnistambhasana

  • It is a deep hip opening pose, thus strengthening hips and legs.
  • Aids in digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs.
  • Relieves mild lower back pain.
  • Very powerful pose for opening hips and groins.

Safety and Precautions

  • People with recent injuries to hips, knee surgery or ankle issues should avoid the pose as it may aggravate the issue.
  • People with hip or lower back issues should avoid the pose as it involves deep hip opening.
  • People with sciatica should avoid the pose as it may pressure the sciatic nerve.
  • Pregnant women, especially in their later stages, should avoid the pose or do it with some modification.
  • People with high blood pressure should avoid the pose as it may temporarily affect their blood pressure.
  • The pose may be uncomfortable during menstruation.
  • People with arthritis, hips, knee or lower back issues should avoid the pose.
  • People with limited hip mobility should be cautious before practicing this pose.

Beginner’s Tip

  • Always start your practice with a gentle warm-up on your yoga mat for your hips, thigh, and lower back to help your body for deeper hip opening required for the firelog pose.
  • You can start with a pose, sit on a folded blanket or yoga block under your knees or hips for support or fill the space between your top knee and the other foot.
  • You can modify the pose by placing your ankle on the other knee instead of stacking them one over the other in the beginning.
  • You can place your ankle on top of the other knee by bringing your lower leg over the other leg and then slowly work towards keeping the pose perfect.
  • Keep the alignment of your legs proper by keeping the outer edge parallel to the floor. You can bring your bottom foot forward. Try to keep the shins close. Do not put any unnecessary strain on your ankles and knees. The pose creates a burning sensation in the hips. You can place your left foot close to your right sitting bone.
  • Maintain slow, steady, deep breathing throughout the pose to find stability in the firelog pose.
  • Progress gradually by practicing regularly with deep breathing. Do not force them to come to the pose immediately to prevent injury.
  • You can slightly maintain a forward bend to deepen the stretch at the hips, as comfortable or twist your torso for good flexibility.
  • Practice regularly to get more flexibility and stability in the pose. You can consult a yoga teacher to get good practice.

Agnistambhasana Variations

  • Start with a seated position. Cross one leg over the other and keep your ankle over the opposite knee. Flex the feet to avoid any knee or ankle injury.
  • You can take support of a yoga block or folded blanket at your hips, under your sit bones, to deepen the practice of the firelog pose.
  • Start with the fire log pose, then slowly move backward with the help of your arm support. Begin in the regular seated Fire Log Pose. Keep the alignment of the legs the same. You can place your left foot close to your right sitting bone while folding.
  • Begin with a regular fire log pose. Straighten your legs and fold forward. Bring the chest towards the legs. Repeat these steps by flowing into it, maintaining a dynamic movement.
  • You can practice half lotus variation also in the pose Agnistambhasana.
  • You can twist your torso in the pose by placing the opposite elbow outside the bent knee. You can deepen the twist by keeping the alignment of the legs the same.
  • You can take support of the wall by sitting close to it and aligning with it. Stack the shin parallel by placing one shin against the wall to maintain proper alignment in this knee-to-ankle pose.

Deepening Agnistambhasana

  • Always begin with a gentle warm-up to prepare your thighs and hips for a deeper pose stretch.
  • Keep a check on the alignment of the legs. Do not force the stretch. Modify the pose as needed.
  • Try to align your shin perpendicular to the ground, making a right angle with your right leg. Place your left knee over your right ankle below your right knee. Keep the alignment of the upper leg proper with no strain.
  • Place your sitting bones firmly on the mat, and keep lengthening the spine and your left foot close to your sitting bones.
  • You can slightly maintain a forward bend for your upper body to open your hips, make the pose more comfortable and enhance flexibility.
  • Maintain deep breathing throughout the practice. Avoid rounding your shoulders.
  • You can place your hands on the floor or hold your shins or ankles. Practice regularly.

Common Mistakes

  • Make sure your legs are aligned properly by placing your left shin over your right shin.
  • Maintain your spine straight and engage your core to avoid injury to your lower back.
  • Place your sitting bones firmly on the mat.
  • Progress towards perfection very slowly and gradually. Lean forward to get good hip flexibility.
  • Keep your weight equally distributed on both the sitting bones and maintain balance in the fire log pose.
  • Do not lift the leg too high off your mat. Align with your knees. Do not put any strain on the top leg.
  • Use props as needed to modify the pose. Maintain deep breaths. Regular practice will improve your flexibility and endurance in the pose.

The Physical Alignment Principles of Agnistambhasana

  • In this pose, first, make yourself comfortable sitting in a comfortable place. Maintain deep breaths and slowly lift your leg, keep your leg well rested on your opposite leg and avoid any strain on your knees or ankles.
  • Keep your spine lifted and open your chest.

Agnistambhasana and Breath

  • Begin by focusing on your natural breathing pattern.
  • Inhale as you extend your right leg and place your left leg into the pose. Breathe deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale and come to the forward fold. Keep your exhalations slow and long, relaxing the muscles.
  • Maintain deep, long breaths throughout the pose. With each exhalation, try to deepen this pose by pressing into the stretch, every time gently.
  • As you release the fire log, inhale deeply to transition to the starting position. Always synchronize the breath with the movements for deeper stretches and attain stability in this pose.

Preparatory Poses

Follow-Up Poses

  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
  • Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
  • Sucirandhrasana (Ankle-to-Knee Pose)

Take Away

Agnistambhasana or Fire Log Pose is an excellent hip opener that can provide many benefits for those who practice it regularly. It’s important to be aware of your body and mind while practicing this pose so that you can find the balance between intensity and surrender necessary to get the most benefit from it. As with all poses, be sure to listen to your body and take breaks as needed.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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