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Childs Pose (Balasana) View
Balasana is a resting pose. Move into this pose during your yoga practice when you need to take a break and gather up energy. Kneel on your mat, big toes touching, and sit on your heels. Separate your knees about hips-width apart (wider for extended version). Exhale as you fold forward, bringing your forehead to the mat, stretching out the back and neck.
Hands can be placed placed in any of the three positions above.
Benefits: stretches back, hips, ankles, and thighs. relieves stress. calms the mind
Contraindications: knee injury, pregnancy
Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) View
Benefits: calms the mind, relieves tension and insomnia, stretches spine and shoulders, strengthens and stretches the arms, hips, and upper back, enhances flexibility of spine. Contraindication: high blood pressure
Table Pose (Bharmanasana) View
Table is the starting and transition posture for many floor postures.
Begin with hands and knees on the floor. Palms directly under shoulders. Knees are hip width apart, feet directly behind the knees. Look down between the palms, back flat, head in-line with spine. Root down through the hands, spreading fingers wide. Neck is long, shoulders are away from ears.
Benefits: helps to lengthen and realign spine when transitioning from floor postures
Contraindications: wrists or knees injury
Modifications: To protect and reduce knee pressure place folded blanket under knees. To reduce pressure on the wrists, make fists rather than having palms down.
Cat/Cow Pose Combination (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana) View
This pose combination warms up spine and relieves back and neck tension. Begin in table pose, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Begin with back flat in neutral spine with abs engaged. Deeply inhale. Exhale,to cat, round spine towards ceiling, pulling navel in towards spine, engaging the abs. Tuck chin to chest, allowing neck to release. Inhale, to cow, arch back, let belly relax and loosen. Lift head and tailbone up towards ceiling. Continue flowing back and forth from cat to cow pose, inhaling for cow pose and exhale on cat pose. Repeat for 5-10 rounds, or until your spine is warmed up.
Balancing Table Pose View
Begin in table pose, shoulders over hands and hips over knees.. Inhale- lift right leg (foot flexed), then left arm up, both parallel to floor- reach fingers forward and foot back. Keep torso contracted and steady. Head is neutral, gaze down to mat. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths. Release, slowly exhale back to table position. Repeat on other side. To protect knees you may want to place a folded blanket under them.
Alternative: Make pose dynamic by reaching foot and arm out on inhale and folding knee to chest and arm inward during exhale.
Benefits: improves balance, posture, memory, and coordination. strengthens core and back muscles, lengthens spine.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees, back, arms or shoulders.
Tiger Pose (Vyaghrasana) & Knee-to-Nose View
Begin in table pose (hands below shoulders, knees below hips, head in neutral position), tops of your feet flat on the floor. Gaze down towards floor. Engage core muscles for stability. Inhale. As you exhale, bring right knee towards forehead. Back is rounded, abdominal muscles contract. Retain the breath. Inhale, extend and raise right leg back, lengthen and arch the spine. Look forward and slightly upward. Again, retain the breath with the lungs full. Alternate between these two positions following the rhythm of your breath. Once you have completed the desired number of rounds with the right leg, return to all fours. Take a small break in extended child’s pose. Return to ‘all fours’ and repeat on the other side. It is important to keep the hips level. It may help to use a mirror or partner until you get the feel of proper positioning.
Benefits: tones spinal nerves, relaxes the sciatic nerves, relives sciatica, loosens legs, tones reproductive organs, stretches abdominals, promotes digestion, stimulated blood circulation.
Contraindications: severe sciatica condition, hiatus hernia, weak back, slipped disc or serious problems with your wrist or knee joints.
One Handed Tiger (Eka Hasta Vyaghrasana) View
Begin in table pose (hands below shoulders, knees below hips, head in neutral position). Inhale, reach right foot up towards the ceiling with the knee bent and the spine gently arching. Looking straight ahead, shift weight onto right hand. Carefully reach left hand back and hold the inside of the right ankle. Keep arms straight. Carefully lift back leg higher. Breathe and hold for a few breaths. Then exhale, release back into Table pose. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: stretches the shoulder and front thigh, strengthens arms and tones kidneys. Increases energy, stimulates adrenal glands.
Contraindications: injury to back, hips, shoulders or knees.
Modifications: place a folded blanket under the knees for protection.
Thread the Needle or Kneeling Twist (Parsva Balasana) View
Begin in table pose (on hands and knees, neutral spine). Knees below hips. Wrists and elbows below shoulders, in a straight line. Inhale, raise right arm to ceiling, keeping hips centered. Exhale, bring right back down, slide right hand between the left hand and left knee. Slide right arm out to the left bringing right shoulder and side of the head to rest on the mat. Rest here or deepen stretch by extending left arm to ceiling, reaching through the fingers. Hold pose for 3-6 breaths. Release, exhale, bring left palm mat, unwind and press back up to table pose. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Releases toxins by compressing and massaging internal organs. Opens chest. Therapeutic for depression. Stretches shoulders, arms, upper back and neck. Contraindications: Pregnancy. Serious back/spine injuries. Injury to knees, shoulders, or neck.
Modifications: To protect knees from stress, place folded blanket under them.
Thunderbolt (Vajrasana) Pose with a Lift View
Use for centering before yoga or meditation or as a transitional rest between more difficult poses.
Begin in thunderbolt pose (vajrasana). You may benefit from a blanket under the knees, lower legs, and ankles- letting the tops of the feet lower onto the mat. Lenthen the spine. With an inhale, reach arms forward and over the head as you pull forward onto knees. Exhale slowly back and down. Move back and forth with the breathe.
Lions Pose (Simhasana) View
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) View
Come up onto knees. Place padding under knees if they are sensitive. Curl toes under, lifting heels. Place hands on lower back, open chest and arch (gentle camel). If this feels comfortable, continue to half camel. Reach one hand upward, reach other hand back and grasp raised heel. Breathe 3-6 breaths and lift both hands up, raising torso up into high kneeling. Continue on other side.
Full camel: Reach hands back towards heels one at a time. Grasp heels and bring hips forward over your knees. Release head back, opening your throat. To come out, bring hands up one at a time and lift torso up into high kneeling.
Feet can be flat on mat to deepen the back bend or try taking hold of opposite ankles.
Benefits: Stretches front of the body. Improves spinal flexibility.
Contraindications: high blood pressure, migraines, insomnia.
*This pose can cause back and neck injuries, so preparation and guidance from an experienced instructor is recommended.
extended high kneeling & goose posture series
Gate Pose (Parighasana) View
“Half Circle Pose (Ardha Mandalasana)”] View
Extended High Kneeling & Goose Posture Series View
This is a brhmana (tonification) practice used to gradually build energy. Emphasize the inhalation and breath hold after inhalation.
Begin in high kneeling pose with hands extended with a deep inhale, hold for 1-3 seconds. Gently exhale as you bring the forehead to the mat and hands meet at the lower back. Slowly inhale as you rise and bring the body forward into table pose (knees below hips, hands below shoulders) hold breath for 1-3 seconds. Make sure the back is straight. Then, exhale back to the last pose with forehead on the mat and hands behind the back. Repeat X 8 focussing on coordinating the breath with your movement.
Low Lunge or Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)View
From high lunge drop back (left) knee to mat. Place blanket under knee for more cushioning if needed for sensitive knees. Place right knee directly over right ankle. Bring hands onto right knee. Keep hips square, tailbone in and down, naval in and up. Inhale, raise arms above head, arms in line with ears. (You may wish to arch back and bring hands back while lifting the chest.) Exhale, deepen forward into lunge, bending into right knee. In this pose the knee can safely come forward front of the ankle since the body weight is supported by having back knee on the floor. Inhale, bring front knee back over ankle. Repeat on left.
Benefits: Improves balance, stretches hips and quadriceps
Contraindications: Be mindful and back off if there is knee pain, heart issues