Bhairavasana (Fierce Shiva Pose) registers as 16* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty in Light on Yoga. This yoga pose is named after one of the eight aspects of Shiva.
Iyengar explains that bhairava means “formidable”. Fittingly, Bhairavasana presents a formidable challenge to the practitioner! There are two many ways I use to get into this yoga pose.
The first way in to Bhairavasana is through Eka Pada Sirsasana. Once you have your left leg behind your head, slowly begin to roll back onto your back, placing your forearms down by your sides. It may help to hold your left foot in your right hand to help stabilize your left leg behind you.
The second way in to Bhairavasana is from a supine position. Cradle your left shin in your arms with your right leg extended onto the ground. Gently lift your head up and use your hands reach your left shin back behind your neck and shoulders. Once again, it might help to hold your left foot in your right hand.
Personally, I prefer the first option. This approach reduces the likelihood of straining your neck to reach your leg up and overhead. Also, it provides a more gradual decline down into the supine position, which may alleviate some discomfort in your abs.
If Bhairavasana is in your practice, how do you prefer to approach it?