Beginner Seated Postures
Cross Leg Sit Pose
This is the basic seated pose. Sit with your legs crossed, feet tucked under your legs. Either leg may be on top; but try to sit more often with the leg that is least comfortable on top to balance your body.
Place a small cushion under your tailbone if this is more comfortable. Allow your legs to relax onto the floor. Rest your hands on your knees.
Keep your back and head erect, chin parallel to the floor and neck extended slightly upward. Breathe gently and rhythmically.
Benefits: Loosens hip, knee and ankle joints; tones pelvic organs and glands; tones groin nd inner thigh muscles.
This posture is good for practicing breathing exercises and meditation.
Cross Leg Spinal Twist Pose
Sit in "Cross Leg Sit". Inhale and place your right hand on your left knee and press your left hand flat on the floor with your wrist close to your tailbone. Exhale and twist your body around to the left. Hold. Inhale and as you exhale reverse out of the pose. Do other side
Benefits: Stimulates spinal nerves, tones liver and spleen, aids peristaltic activity develops flexibility, helps relieve backache by stretching vertebrae
Sit with the soles of your feet together, knees splayed out, legs relaxed, back erect, and your hands holding your feet. Slowly draw your feet closer to your body, relax your groin muscles, and allow your knees to fall to the floor. Do not allow your back to slump. Hold, and try and breath normally.
Benefits: Opens hip joints; stretches groin and inner thigh muscles; tones pelvic floor and urinary organs
Seated Bent Knee Forward Bend Pose
Sit erect, legs extended. Fold one leg so that the sole of the foot presses high on the muscle of the other thigh. Inhale while raising your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale, bend toward outstretched thigh. Stop when your back begins to round. Grasp extended leg where you can without straining; at calf, ankle or foot. If it helps, bend leg slightly. Hold. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Stretches the hamstring muscles, massages the abdominal organs, relieves lower backache, stretches the spinal column
Seated Spinal Twist Pose
Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee with the right thigh on the floor, cross your left leg over your right thigh, and place your left foot flat on the floor next to your right knee. Put your left hand flat on the floor behind you with the arm straight, palm down, fingers pointing away from you. Inhale and turn slightly to the left. Bend your right arm and place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. Keep your shoulders down. Exhale and twist your spine and push your chest forward to lengthen the spine. Don't over twist your neck. Keep the twist the full length of the spine for full benefit. Hold. Inhale and return to starting position and repeat on the other side. If this is too difficult, keep your right leg straight and bend left leg over the right leg with the left foot flat on the floor on the outside of the right thigh. Hold the left knee with your right elbow. Place your left hand on the floor behind your back and twist.
Benefits: Gives the spine a nice lateral stretch, increasing spinal elasticity. Also improves side-to-side mobility; decreases backaches and hip pain; contracts and tones the liver, spleen and intestines; reduces abdominal size; improves the nervous system; prevents calcification at the base of the spine; frees the joints
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Sit erect, legs straight, pelvis tipped forward, feet perpendicular to legs. Inhale. Raise your arms straight ahead. Exhale, stretch forward and down. Keep back straight. Place hands comfortably on legs, whether on knees, calves or ankles. Relax, allowing chest to sink toward thighs without arching your back. Breathe softly. Hold
Benefits: Gives an intense stretch to the entire back, massages the abdominal organs, increases flexibility of the spine, fosters a sense of calm and letting go
Sit on floor with spine erect, knees up and bent, and feet flat on the floor. Hands hold onto the backs of the thighs. Lean backward and balance on the "sitting" bones. Tips of the toes remain on the floor. Straighten your legs. Straighten your arms alongside your legs, palms facing in. If your back rounds as you straighten your legs, bend your knees slightly. Hold.
Benefits: Tones the abdominal muscles, strengthens the thighs and knees, increases stamina
Start in cross legged seated position and pick up the right leg with your hands.
Then insert your fingers and thumb into your toe, one at a time.
Use your hand as resistance and push your hand and foot towards one another
Release the resistance and repeat, pushing a little more the next time.
Repeat 6-8 times on one foot.
Then repeat on the other foot
Kneel and sit back on you heals with the tops of your feet in contact with the floor. Your soles will stretch and curve into a good arch underneath you. Keep your big toes and heals together so there is not gap or space between the feet. If the front of your ankles are not flexible enough to rest comfortably on the floor without a space, use a small towel to roll into a tight tube shape to place underneath, and gradually use smaller cloths until you no longer need this prop.
Sit with your back and spine straight but not tense. Let your spine lengthen upward without forcing it. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head up to a bunch of helium balloons. On your breath inhale relax and balance, then on the exhale allow your spine to lengthen and straighten, stretching gently upward.
Aim to stay in this position for 5 minutes. If this is uncomfortable or you experience "pins and needles," you probably need a larger rolled towel beneath the front of your ankles.
Now we are going to tuck the toes so that your soles raise facing directly behind you as your toes curl away from the soles. Lower your weight slowly and gently onto the length, not tips, of your toes. This will stretch the toes and soles. Avoid stretching too hard or release too much weight. Gradually after practicing for a few weeks gently increase the stretching in the toes and soles. Reduce stretch at any feeling of strain or pain.
Hold this stretch for 1-2 minutes.