Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with a Twist – Prasarita Padottanasana (with a twist)

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend with a Twist Yoga Pose
  • Stand with your legs wrist distance apart (approx 4-5 feet). A good way to measure this is by raising your arms shoulder height and bending your wrists so your fingers point down towards the floor. The outsides of your feet should be in line with the tips of your fingers.
  • Place your hands on your hips, inhale and lengthen the sides of your body. Roll the heads of your arm bones back.
  • Exhale and bend forward until your torso is parallel with the floor.
  • Lower your hands to the mat, directly below your shoulders. Spread the fingers wide apart, middle fingers parallel.
  • Create length in your legs by rooting the tail bone down and lifting and spreading your toes, shins and thighs towards the sky.
  • Relax your neck and head down towards the mat and bring your chest in closer to your thighs. Draw your shoulder blades down your back.
  • Move your right hand to the center of the mat
  • Inhale, raise your left arm up towards the sky, twist your torso to the left and turn your head to follow your arm.
  • Hold the pose and take a few steady breaths.
  • Exhale and lower your left arm to the center of the mat
  • Inhale, raise your right arm up towards the sky, twist your torso to the right and turn your head to follow your arm.
  • Hold the pose and take a few steady breaths.
  • Exhale and lower your right arm back to the mat
  • Bring your hands to your hips, and tuck your chin in towards your chest.
  • Inhale and slowly rise up to standing allowing your head to come up last.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend – Prasarita Padottanasana

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Stand with your legs wrist distance apart (approx 4-5 feet). A good way to measure this is by raising your arms shoulder height and bending your wrists so your fingers point down towards the floor. The outsides of your feet should be in line with the tips of your fingers.
  • Place your hands on your hips, inhale and lengthen the sides of your body. Roll the heads of your arm bones back.
  • Exhale and bend forward until your torso is parallel with the floor.
  • Lower your hands to the mat, directly below your shoulders. Spread the fingers wide apart, middle fingers parallel.
  • Create length in your legs by rooting the tail bone down and lifting and spreading your toes, shins and thighs towards the sky.
  • Relax your neck and head down towards the mat and bring your chest in closer to your thighs. Draw your shoulder blades down your back.
  • Hold the pose and take a few steady breaths.
  • Bring your hands to your hips, and tuck your chin in towards your chest.
  • Inhale and slowly rise up to standing allowing your head to come up last.

Low Lunge – Anjanayasana

Low Lunge Yoga Pose -Anjanayasana

  • Inhale, step your right foot back as far as you can comfortably, bend your left knee so that it comes directly over your ankle and lower your hands down to the mat on either side of your left foot (adjust your left foot so that its centered between your hands).
  • Exhale, gently lower your right knee to the mat and point your right toes back, press the top of your right foot into the ground
  • Inhale and raise your torso up, roll the heads of your arm bones back and take the crown of your head directly up towards the sky, almost as if there’s an invisible line pulling you up straight.
  • From here you have several options for what you do with your arms. You can move your arms so that they come directly under your shoulders, and keep your fingertips to the mat, OR inhale and bring your hands to rest on your left knee OR on that inhale you can raise your arms overhead, keeping them shoulder width apart.
  • You can continue to look straight ahead, keeping your neck long and in line with your spine, or turn your head to look up towards your outstretched arms.
  • Exhale and bend the left knee further forward over your ankle, but no further than the tips of your toes (*be sure as you bend the knee that your knee cap moves toward your middle toes, so that it doesn’t veer to to far to the right or left as this can cause discomfort.)
  • Take a breath or two in the full pose
  • Bring your hands back to the mat on either side of left foot
  • Exhale step your right foot forward coming into Forward Fold.
  • Repeat on the other side

Eight Limbed Bow – Ashtanga Pranamasana

Eight Limbed Bow Yoga Pose - Ashtanga Pranamasana

This pose typically follows Plank pose in Sun Salutation C.

  • Coming from Plank pose, simultaneously lower knees, chest and chin down to the mat.
  • Tops of thighs and butt are up off the ground. Toes remain curled, heels up toward the sky as they were in plank, crown of head also points skyward. Palms are flat alongside the ribcage. Elbows are in towards the ribs.
  • Take a breath and come into next position.

Boat – Navasana

Boat Yoga Pose-Navasana
Starting from Staff Pose, with your legs extended out in front of you, feet together, the backs of your thighs pressing into the mat.

  • Bend your knees and place your hands on your shins.
  • Sit up tall, roll the heads of your arm bones back and lengthen from the pelvis out through the crown of your head.
  • Inhale, lean your torso back to balance on your sit bones, lift your feet off the floor so that your calves are parallel with the floor. Flex your feet and bring your hands behind your knees.
  • Exhale, straighten your legs so that your feet are eye level, release your hands from the backs of your legs and straighten your arms, holding them at shoulder height, palms facing.
  • Extend from your pelvis down to the soles of your feet, and from your core to the crown of your head. Draw your naval to your spine. Think about bringing your shoulder blades further down your back.
  • Hold the pose and take a few unstrained breaths.

Reverse Warrior - Viparita Virabhadrasana

Reverse Warrior Yoga Pose-Viparita Virabhadrasana
Start from Warrior II (left knee bent, head turned to look out over your left middle finger)

  • Keep your left knee bent as you exhale and simultaneously slide your right arm down the side of your right leg and raise your left arm towards the sky.
  • Your left arm should be in line with your ear, turn your gaze to look up over your left elbow.
  • Hold the pose and take a few steady breaths

Extended Side-Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana

Extended Side Angle Yoga Pose-Utthita Parsvakonasana
This pose is commonly instructed before or after Warrior II. One great standing series is to go from Warrior II into Reverse Warrior than to Extended Side-Angle into Triangle, but for the purposes of this guide, I’ll begin from Mountain Pose.

  • From Mountain Pose, step your feet wide apart (approximately 3-4 feet).
  • Inhale and raise your arms up to shoulder height.
  • Turn your right foot in to about a 90 degree angle and turn your left foot out directly to the side.
  • Exhale, bend your left knee so that it comes directly over your left ankle.
  • Bend your left arm and rest it on top of your left thigh.
  • Stick your butt out as far as you can behind you (exaggeratedly so) and than tuck your left butt cheek under as tight as you can (I know if sounds crazy, but trust, you’re working to get your thighs in proper alignment and getting the most work out of your legs this way!) and bring that booty back in line with your torso.
  • Raise your right arm up overhead, bringing it in line with your ear (think about trying to draw your shoulder back and hollow out the armpit) and turn your head to look up towards your right elbow.
  • For a greater challenge and a deeper stretch straighten your left arm, and lower the fingertips down to the outside edge of your left ankle.
  • Lift and spread your toes to ground your feet and create length, than lower your spread toes back down to the mat.
  • Hold the pose for several steady breaths than inhale and come up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Standing Back Arch – Urdhva Hastasana

Standing Back Arch Yoga Pose-Urdhva Hastasana (variation)

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Inhale, bring your arms up overhead, shoulder width apart, palms facing, fingers spread wide.
  • Exhale and gently curl your spine backwards, to create the standing back arch.
  • Tuck your tailbone under slightly and continue to maintain the strength and length created in mountain pose.
  • Imagine energy being pulled up from the ground through the arches in your feet, shooting up your entire body and out through your fingertips.
  • Take a breath and than on the next inhale slowly begin to straighten yourself back up to tall mountain.
  • Exhale and bring your hands together at your heart.

Triangle – Utthita Trikonasana

triangle yoga pose - Utthita Trikonasana
This pose is often included with the Warrior series. I often include it after Warrior II, but for the purposes of this pose guide, we’ll start it from Mountain Pose.

  • Stand in Mountain Pose
  • Step your feet wide apart (about 3-4 feet)
  • Inhale and raise your arms out to your sides, shoulder height, roll the heads of your arm bones back
  • Turn your left foot directly out to the side, and look down to align your left heel with the arch of your right foot.
  • Shift your hips to the right exhale and extend your torso to the left so that your fingertips go out past your toes and lower your left arm down the outside of your left leg (to the floor or at your shin, or if you have a block, you can place the block to the outside of your left ankle and lower your hand down to the block).
  • Lift and spread your toes apart. Engage the muscles in your legs by lifting  arches, shins and thighs
  • Turn your chest towards the ceiling and bring your right arm directly over the left shoulder.
  • Turn your head to look up towards the ceiling
  • Hold the pose and take several steady breaths
  • Inhale to come up and be sure to repeat this pose on the side.

Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Pigeon Yoga Pose - Eka Pada Rajakaposanna

Personally I like to start Pigeon Pose from Down Dog however you can start from table just as easily. For the purposes of this pose guide, lets come from table pose. Hands are under your shoulders, knees are below your hips.

  • Exhale and bring your left knee in towards your chest
  • Lower your knee behind your hands with your left foot pointed towards your right thigh
  • Extend your right leg straight back, pressing your thigh, shin and top of foot into the ground.
  • Turn to the right, looking behind you to make sure that your leg is in a straight line from your hip, down to your toes. We have a tendency to sickle our foot out when we bring the leg back, so make sure that all 5 toenails are pressing down into the mat
  • Inhale and make your side body long (lengthen thru your sides, roll the heads of those arm bones back)
  • Exhale and sink your hips lower to the ground if you can
  • Take a few breaths here and see how you feel.
  • For a deeper stretch, lower your forearms to the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart and sink your torso forward OR you can extend your arms out in front of you, and lower your head to the mat. NOTE: Pay attention to your breath, if it feels like your straining to breathe, you need to readjust where your arms are, until you’re more comfortable.
  • There are many variations of pigeon, this is the one that I typically start teaching to a new class. This gets the hips open in a big, delicious way!
  • Take 6-10 full breaths here, making sure to breathe into the areas that feel tight
  • Hint: After you complete your 6-10 breaths, curl your toes under, slide your hands back under your shoulders and inhale as you lift your hips into down dog. Pedal out your feet a bit, it will help to pamper your legs after a deep stretch like that.
  • Repeat on the right side