Tree – Vrksasana

tree yoga pose -vrksasana

  • Start in Mountain Pose
  • Begin to lean your weight to one side and bring the top of that thigh back
  • Bring the sole of the opposite foot to touch either the calf, above the knee (never on the knee) or into the inner thigh (wherever your comfortable) of the standing leg
  • Square your hips forward to the front of the room
  • Focus on a point in front of you, and soften your gaze
  • Bring your palms together at your heart
  • Once you’ve found your balance, inhale and extend your arms up over head in line with your ears, keep your arms shoulder width apart, palms facing each other
  • Spread apart your fingers, wide like a starfish to help hold your balance
  • Continue to softly gaze at your focus point and breathe

Warrior III – Virabhadrasana III

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
You can come into Warrior III from Warrior I or II, but for the purposes of this guide, lets begin in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat.

  • Keep your feet at hips distance as you step your right foot back about 3-4 feet (it’s ok to keep your back heel lifted for this pose)
  • Exhale and bend your left knee so that it floats over your left ankle at a 90 degree angle. To stay in good alignment here, keep your knee in line with your middle toe and your neck in line with your spine
  • Bend your torso forward over your left thigh and carefully extend your arms out in front of you in line with your ears, palms facing each other, fingers spread wide like a starfish (Note: If you find that your having difficulty balancing, you can extend your arms out to your sides, like an airplane instead, this may help once you come fully into the pose)
  • Find a spot on the floor in front of you to gaze at, keep your focus on that spot as it will help you to stay strong and steady
  • Inhale and simultaneously begin to straighten your left leg, lift you torso and bring your right leg up behind you
  • Flex your right foot
  • Rotate your right leg inward so that your knee and toes point down towards the ground and descend your right hip so its near level with your left
  • Think of lengthening your body from the tips of your fingers all the way out through the arch of your right foot
  • Remember to keep your neck in line with your spine here. You may need to tip your chin a bit to get the length in your back
  • Hold the pose and take a few breaths
  • Continue to engage all the muscles in your legs to come out of the pose and slowly lower your back leg down
  • Repeat on the other side!

 

 

Forward Fold - Uttanasana

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

  • Exhale and fold forward
  • Keep belly away from your thighs
  • Relax your head and neck down towards the mat

Upward-Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • Coming from four-limbed staff, hands slide back so that your forearms are perpendicular with the mat
  • Spread those fingers wide (again think starfish!)
  • Point your toes and draw your legs together muscularly
  • Lengthen the sides of your body, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you lift your shoulders up and away from the floor to bring the shoulder blades closer to your spine
  • Press your hands down, inhale and straighten your arms, to draw your spine into a backbend
  • Roll the heads of your arm bones back to prevent shrugging
  • Press all ten toenails into the mat, engage your thigh muscles and lift your knees off the mat so that only your hands and the tops of your feet press into the floor
  • Take 3-5 breaths

Four-Limbed Staff – Chaturanga Dandasana

Four-Limbed Staff (Chaturanga Dandasana)

  • Begin in Plank Pose (think of your body similarly in position to a high push-up)
  • Keep your neck in line with your spine
  • Hands are directly under your shoulders, arms are straight, but not locked. Look at the pits of your elbows, they should be facing each other
  • Spread your fingers wide like a starfish, middle fingers center with the front of your mat, and press your hands down through the knuckles
  • Create side body long – roll the heads of your arm bones back, drawing your shoulder blades closer to your spine as you extend your legs back and flex your feet. Lengthen your tailbone down towards your heels
  • Bring your belly in towards your spine so that the waist doesn’t dip down
  • Exhale and lower your body half way down, so that your upper arms are parallel with the floor
  • Hold for 3 smooth breaths than release yourself all the way down to the mat on your last exhale

Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

Half Moon:

You can come into Half Moon from any of the Warrior series, but for the purposes of this guide, lets begin in Mountain Pose

  • Step your right foot back (about 3-4 feet) and turn your torso to the right
  • Your back foot (right foot) should be turned to a 90 degree angle, your front foot should point forward to the front of the room
  • Look down at your feet, the heel of your left foot should be in line with the arch of your right foot
  • Inhale and raise your arms so that they are at shoulder height and parallel with floor,  make sure to roll the heads of your arm bones back so that your chest remains open
  • Exhale and bend your front (left) knee until its directly over your ankle, make sure your left knee lines up with your middle left toe
  • Place your left fingertips about 10-12 inches in front of your left foot (note, this might be a great place to use a block, if this is your first time, definitely place the block on the floor in front of you at this distance and place your fingertips on top of the block), and look down towards your left hand
  • Bring your right hand down to your hip, this will help with your balance
  • Inhale, straighten your left leg and simultaneously lift your your inner right thigh up and parallel to the floor, engage the toes of your right foot
  • Find your balance here and if your feeling strong, slowly begin to extend your right arm up above your right shoulder, careful you might get a little wobbly
  • Turn your head to gaze up at your right hand
  • Take a few breaths here (4-5) or whatever you can do

To come out of this pose:

  • Bring your right hand back down to your hip
  • Turn your gaze back down to the floor
  • Exhale and bend your left knee, slowly bring your right leg down behind you

Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

  • Start in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat
  • Step your right foot back (about 3-4 feet) and turn your torso to the right
  • Your back foot (right foot) should be turned to a 90 degree angle, your front foot should point forward to the front of the room
  • Look down at your feet, the heel of your left foot should be in line with the arch of your right foot
  • Inhale and raise your arms so that they are at shoulder height and parallel with floor,  make sure to roll the heads of your arm bones back so that your chest remains open
  • Exhale and bend your front (left) knee until its directly over your ankle
  • To get proper alignment for this pose, make sure your left knee lines up with your middle left toe
  • Turn your head to gaze out over your middle left finger
  • Press all four corners of both feet into the mat and lift the top of your right thigh back and lifting up towards the ceiling to really feel the work in this pose

 

Tall Mountain – Urdhva Hastasana

Tall Mountain (Urdhva Hastasana)

  • Inhale and raise your arms above your head
  • Keep arms straight and shoulder width apart
  • Spread your fingers
  • Extend from your hips all the way up through your fingers to create length

Plank Pose – Phalakasana

plank pose - phalakasana

  • The goal is to hold your body in this pose in as close to a straight line as possible, literally think of your body like a plank
  • Extend your legs out behind you as far as you can to mimic that straight line
  • Wrists are directly under your shoulders
  • Fingers spread wide, line up your middle fingers with the front of your mat and press index fingers into the floor
  • Strong straight arms, elbows should not be locked, heads of arm bones rolled back to create and opening in your collarbones
  • Bring your belly in towards your spine

Chair - Utkatasana

Chair (utkatasana)

  • Inhale and raise arms above your head and in line with your ears, palms facing
  • Create length from your fingertips down into your shoulders
  • Exhale, bend your knees as if to sit in a chair until you feel a stretch in tops of your thighs
  • Lightly tuck your tailbone under to draw your naval towards your spine
  • Continue to sink deeper into the pose on your exhales