Monday, May 14, 2012

Standing Yoga Poses

Here are some of the basic standing yoga poses.You can get so many benefits from Standing yoga poses as they help with balance, strengthen your posture, relaxes and calms  your mind as well as increasing your mind and body awareness.
  1. Standing in Mountain Pose, place your feet parallel and hip width apart.
  2. Extend your spine tall and fix your gaze forward at a focal point. Contract your core muscles as you shift your weight to your right foot.
  3. As you inhale, raise your left foot and place the sole of your left foot on your ankle, calf, mid thigh, or upper thigh with your toes pointing down.
  4. Keep your gaze at one point as you breathe.
  5. Feel that your left knee is comfortably pointing out to the side.
  6. The center of your pelvis should not drop to the left causing the entire pelvis to shift right.
  7. Gently press your left foot into the right inner leg. Visualize keeping your hip points and shoulders level with the ground by engaging your right outer hip muscles and pressing lightly into the right big toe mound.
  8. Feel an energetic connection rising from the medial (inner) arch of the right foot upwards to your inner groin line. Keep a light contraction in your core muscles to keep the abdomen from falling forward.
  9. Place palms in the prayer at the heart. As you inhale, slowly raise your arms overhead with your hands still in prayer. Keep the shoulder blades from rising to avoid tension in the neck. Continue to press your right foot lightly into the ground as the crown of the head lifts. Stay here for several breaths
  10. As you exit, exhale and slowly lower your palms to heart and softly place your left foot on the floor into Mountain Pose. Pause to shake the right foot and repeat on the other side.

    Triangle Pose

  12. Stand at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose. Take a big step back (approximately 3 feet) with your right foot, turning your foot towards the side of the mat while keeping your left toes pointing forward. Your two hip points are now facing the side of the mat.
  13. Inhale as you take your arms out in a “T” with your palms pointing down.  You shoulders are relaxed while moving your shoulder blades down your back.
  14. Exhale as you begin to hinge at your hip towards your left leg, deepening the crease where your hip bone meets your pelvis.
  15. Continue to reach out through the top of the head, keeping the spine long, and both sides of the torso of equal length. Lift your knee cap on your front thigh, contracting the quadriceps to support your knee.
  16. Allow your left hand to float towards your (from beginner to advanced) shin, a block on the inside of the foot, a block on the outside of the foot, or your fingers/palm on the mat or big toe.
  17. Your right arm will float up towards the sky, keeping the arms in a “T”. Which ever hand position you choose for your bottom hand, ensure you keep your spine and torso long, without creating a bend in the waist.
  18. Draw your low belly in to support the lower spine.
  19. Tuck your chin in slightly, lengthening the top of the neck near the skull, and turn your gaze up towards your right hand.
  20. Keep your connection with the earth, especially grounding with the outside of your back foot, and all four corners of your front foot.
  21. Breathe comfortably as you hold the position.
  22. To exit the pose, on an exhale look down towards your left foot, draw your low belly in, root down through the feet, and inhale as you rise up.
  23. Turn and step back to the top of the mat and repeat on the opposite side
  24. Warrior 1
  25. Begin in Mountain Pose.  Exhale as you step your left foot back three to four feet.  Align your left heel behind your right heel and then turn you left foot out 45 degrees keeping your right foot forward.
  26. Rotate your hips so both of your hip points are facing forward and parallel to the front of your mat.
  27. Gently root the outer edges of your left foot into the mat as your hips and shoulders rotate forward.
  28. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the ground keeping your arms open, shoulder width apart and parallel to each other.

  29. Reach through your fingertips as the palms face inwards and draw your shoulders blades down encouraging your shoulders to move down and away from the neck.  Feel as though your shoulder blades lightly hug into your back.
  30. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis so your tailbone moves down and under. Slowly bend your right knee placing aligning your knee over your heel.
  31. As you continue to breathe, feel your right heel anchoring allowing the toes to lighten and spread. Applying slightly more pressure in your right heel rather than the toes will keep your right knee more stable and will minimize the force being placed into the knee joint. Continue to draw your tailbone under and towards the pubic bone and feed the bottom front ribs in keeping your abdomen from swaying outward.
  32. Picture the pubic bone lifting towards your navel.
  33. Keep strengthening the pose by pressing the outer left heel into the floor sending a lifting energy up the left leg into the pelvis and through to the arms.
  34. Stay tall over the pelvis feeling your ribcage (especially the back edge) lift away from your pelvis. Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward, or tilt your head back and look comfortably up at your thumbs.
  35. Breathe slowly and stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  36. To exit, exhale to lower your arms and place your hands onto the hips. Inhale as you press firmly into your right heel and step your left leg forward. Exhale to release your hands from the hips and adjust your feet and pelvis into Mountain Pose.
  37. Take a few breaths and then repeat with the other side for the same length of time.

    Extended Side Angle Pose

    1. Begin in Mountain Pose.  Exhale as you step three to four feet apart.
    2. Lift your arms horizontally so they are parellel to the floor with your palms facing down.  Keep you arms full of energy as you feel your shoulder blade and heart region open.
    3. While your legs are straight, angle your left foot in slightly to the right and turn your right foot out 90 degrees.  The right heel should be aligned with the left heel after adjusting your ankles.
    4. Lightly contract your thighs, and then rotate your right thigh outward just enough that the center of your kneecap follows the centerline of your right ankle. Rotate the left hip slightly forward (or inwards), while rotating your upper torso back to the left thus preventing your torso from facing downwards later in the pose.
    5. As you inhale, ground your left heel to the floor. Then exhale and bend your right knee over your right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor (as if performing a Warrior stance).
    6. As you bend your right knee, gently connect the outer right foot into the earth so that your knee continues to follow an even, centered line over your heel.
    7. If your strength permits, position your right thigh parallel to the floor.  Do not allow your thigh or hips to fall lower than the level of your bent knee.
    8. Continue to ground your left heel to the floor. As you exhale, contract your abdominal and core muscles as you place the right side of your torso down on your right thigh. Without falling heavy into your thigh, press your right fingertips (or palm) on the floor just outside of your right foot. Bring energy into the pose by connecting the right knee against the inner arm. During this phase of the pose, your abdomen may passively push out creating an increased arch in the lower back. To prevent this unwanted passive arching, pull in your abdomen enough that your tail bone draws under and towards the pubis.
    9. As your left arm is now reaching straight up from the shoulder to the ceiling, firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs. Then turn your left palm to face toward your head, and as you inhale reach your arm over the back of your left ear. Your palm should be facing the floor without creating a crowded feeling in the neck and shoulder.
    10. Continue to elongate and stretch from your left heel through your left fingertips, feeling a natural lengthening along the entire left side of your body. If comfortable, turn your head to look at the left arm while keeping the sides of the neck even. As the left side of the body lengthens, mimick this length along the right side of the torso as well. Stay evenly engaged through both feet encouraging lightness rather than heaviness
    11. Focus on long, rich breaths to fuel the thighs’ stamina. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    12. To exit, inhale as you press both heels actively into the floor. Feel your left arm reach and pull you toward the ceiling. As your right leg straightens, bring your spine balanced over your pelvis and flow your arms horizontal to the floor.