Little Thunderbolt Pose or Laghu Vajrasana

How to Do Little Thunderbolt Pose - Laghu Vajrasana
Little Thunderbolt Pose - Laghu Vajrasana. Ann Pizer

Laghu vajrasana is included in Ashtanga yoga's second series. The Ashtanga version is done with your hands on your ankles. The variation shown here deepens the intensity of the backbend by bringing the crown of your head to your feet and the hands to your thighs. The Ashtanga version is actually pretty accessible if you are comfortable in camel pose. Make sure to keep chest moving up and the glutes soft to lengthen the spine and avoid crunching the lower back. Lowering back and lifting up with control really works the thighs more than anything.

  • Type of pose: Backbend
  • Benefits: Increases spinal mobility; opens the throat, chest, and quadriceps; strengthens the abdominals and spinal support muscles.


  1. Begin in a kneeling position with your thighs perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Lift your chest to lengthen your spine as you move back to camel pose.
  3. Bring your hands to grasp your ankles.
  4. Drop your head back. 
  5. With control that comes from grounding through the legs, drop your head back and slowly lower the crown to the ground, coming into a backbend.
  6. Keep your arms straight and hold on to your ankles the whole time.
  7. To come out, engage the core and draw yourself back up to kneeling.

Beginners' Tips

  • This is an intense pose and should only be attempted by students with a strong back-bending practice.
  • Camel pose is a more moderate version and good preparatory pose.

Advanced Tips

If you have a bendier back, try this variation:

  • Instead of holding your ankles, keep your hands on your thighs as you drop back. When your head comes to the ground, slide your hands down your thighs toward your knee. This is a tighter version of the pose. Keeping your hands on your thighs means that your head may come to rest between your feet.
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