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

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.

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