Seated side bend can be used to stretch the quads. With one or both legs straight it can also be used to stretch the hamstrings. In either case it can also be used to stretch the side of the body, including the waist, the ribcage and even the shoulders.
When side bending the spine, both in isolation and in the context of yoga poses, you can focus on the short side of the side bend to make the side bend easier to feel.
Standing and seated yoga pose side bends for strengthening and stretching the side of the spine, hips and shoulders.
Some simple standing and seated yoga pose side stretches for stretching the sides of the waist and in some cases the sides of the hips.
Standing side bend yoga pose can be used to stretch the side of your spine (ribcage and waist) and hips. It can also be used to strengthen them.
Learn how to feel and use your spinal erectors when doing Spinal Back Bending Yoga Poses. Learn how to combine this with backbending hip actions.
Back bending yoga poses you can activate the spinal erectors or relax them. You can activate the buttocks and hamstrings or relax them. Here's a look at various back bends and how you can use your muscles while doing them.
In bridge pose should you or should you not clench clench your buttocks? Learn how to feel your spine and even your sacrum while doing this back bending yoga pose.
Where to bend your body when doing Bridge Yoga Pose with options for the Arms and Legs.
Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.
Cobra Yoga pose can help you lengthen your spine and bend it backwards and strengthen your arms at the same time.
Improve awareness and control of your thoracic spine and ribcage with locust pose. This pose can be used to both activate and feel your spinal erectors, the muscles at the back of the body.
Learn how to activate the back of your body (the posterior chain) while doing Upward Facing Dog.
Do you find it hard to get up into wheel pose. Do you dread the moment you have to do it? Make this yoga pose easier by learning to use your legs to push your pelvis forwards and upwards.
Forward bending yoga poses can be used to stretch the back of the neck, spine, hips and ankles. They can also be used to strengthen the front of the body and the back.
Hamstring Stretching Poses
In compass yoga pose the leg is behind the shoulder. Understanding this relationship you can use similiar poses to prepare for compass pose and in turn use it as a preparation for arm balances like eka pada koundinyasana.
Does your back hunch up while doing seated forward bend? Learn to unhunch it and how to stretch your hamstrings (as opposed to your back.)
Yoga forward bends includes forwards bends for the hips and spine. Forward bends for the hips include both bent and straight straight positions.
Hamstring Stretching Standing Poses
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
Improving hamstring flexibility in Padangusthasana, Padahastasana and other Standing forward bends
Parsvottanasana can be done without the hands in reverse prayer. You can then focus on relaxing your hamstrings so that you can stretch them in this standing forward bending yoga pose.
Pyramid pose is a straight knee asymmetrical standing pose that can be used to stretch, and strengthen, the hamstrings.
How do you get even foot pressure on both feet in parsvottanasana or pyramid pose? Does it matter?
Getting your hands in reverse prayer yoga pose (parsvottanasana) while bending forwards is difficult. Some simple muscle control can be used for both.
The standing forward bend yoga pose can be used to stretch or strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It can also be used to stretch and strengthen the calves and as a balance exercise.
Bharadvajasana uses the lotus and hero foot positions and includes a twist for the spine. Use it to cool down or to release your low back.
Revolved triangle can be used as a strengthening pose for the legs, waist and even the arms.
Parivrtta trikonasana can be challenging. Make it easier by giving yourself a checklist of things to do while you are in the pose. Instead of thinking about how much you dislike the pose, you can then get on with doing it.
Spice up your seated twist by activating and relaxing your spinal erectors. Practice activating your multifidus and rotatores. Then add you abs.
This standing spinal twist includes activating the hips so that the spinal muscles have a stable foundation from which to more effectively twist the spine.
Twisting poses: Passive, assisted and active twists for the ribcage and spine. Passive twists use gravity, assisted twists use the arms while active twists use the abs and intercostals.
Binding yoga poses require hip, shoulder and thoracic mobility. they can also be used to increase these mobilities.
Steps for working towards bound side angle so that you can bind a little more easily.
Trying to bind in marichyasana A, how to grab your hand behind your back.
Modified Marichyasana B is done with the other leg not in lotus. This pose can still be challenging to bind it, so some tips on how to bind with awareness.
Here's a look at the forward bending and twisting marichyasana yoga poses with an emphasis on learning how to bind. I've included two simple marichyasana variations that can make binding easier, even for those with limited flexibility.
Bound Twisting Poses
Learning to Bind Intelligently in Ardha Matsyendrasana. Create space and add tension to this twisting and binding yoga pose.
Tips for working towards binding in Bound Twisting Side Angle Pose.
How do you grab a wrist and bind with your hands behind your back in marichyasana C? The first step is to make your spine long so that you can use your spinal and thoracic muscles to deepen the twist so that binding is easier.
Bound Lotus Variations
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana or half bound lotus is a standing forward bend with one foot in lotus. The trick is learning to get in and out of this yoga pose without hurting your lotus knee.
Steps for Binding in Seated Half Bound Lotus Pose as well as modifications if you can't bind, and actions you can do when you do bind.
Work towards seated Half Bound Lotus Yoga Pose with exercises for closing the knee, stretching the hip rotators, practicing external rotation of the shin and activating and shaping the foot and ankle.
Marichyasana B is a forward bending binding yoga pose with the non-marichyasana leg in lotus. One way to prepare for this position is to use the janusirsasana C foot position.
Marichyasana is potentially dangerous for your knee. Here are some ideas for moving into this twisting lotus variation intelligently. Rather than worrying about binding, focus on feeling your body as you work deeper into this yoga pose.
The idea of counterposes is to help bring the body back into balance. Here's a look at several different ideas for counterposing yoga poses.
Hip openers generally involve stretching the inner thighs and/or stretching the hip while it is externally rotated. So how then do you counter pose these actions?
In most yoga arm balances you have to press your leg down against your arm in order to lift higher. To stay balanced when reaching a leg back, reach chest and shoulders forwards. Read more about bakasana, eka pada bakasana, eka pada koundinyasana, tittibasana.
A simple set of exercises for working towards the Astavakrasana Yoga Arm Balance.
Lifting up into eka pada bakasana from marichyasana A with tips on lifting up and balancing while transitioning from the binding yoga pose to the arm balance.
Prior to learning the Yoga arm balance called galavasana it can help to learn how to lift and stabilize the hips in pigeon pose. This page shows you how.
Here are some tips for getting your feet off of the floor when doing the arm balancing yoga pose called mayurasana.
Learn how to work towards the arm position from eagle pose. If you first get the hang of eagle pose arms in isolation you can then combine it with various leg positions including eagle legs.
The arm position from prasarita padottanasana c can be used to stretch the front of the shoulders, but only if you can clasp your hands behind your back. Here are some suggestions for developing the flexibility stability and range of motion required.
To get into reverse prayer position you can first practice internally rotating your shoulders. After that you can use this position to open your chest and stretch the fronts of your shoulders.
Yoga shoulder stretches include reverse prayer, eagle arms, dwikonasana (prasaritta padotanasana c), yoga cow face arm position and downward facing dog.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
Having difficulty lifting up into chaturanga dandasana (or lowering down)? Make this yoga pose easier by positioning your hands further ahead so that your forearms are angled and learn how to add tension to your torso and legs.
Are you too weak to do Chatarunga Dandasana? Build arm strength, develop muscle control and body awareness by lifting into this Sensational Yoga Pose in stages.
How to actively stretch your calfs and shoulders in downward facing dog.
Reverse plank can be used to strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors and the shoulders. There are particular muscle activations you can use prior to entering the pose to make it more bearable.
Lots of people hate purvottanasana aka reverse plank. There's a simple way of activating particular muscles to make this pose less hateful.'
A progression of side plank exercises for shoulder stability, inner and outer thigh strength, quad and hip flexor activation and hamstring strength.
Balancing in side plank can be made easier to learn if you learn the necessary actions step-by-step with this sensational yoga poses yoga tutorial.
To learn shoulder actions for side plank it can help to practice with the hips on the floor. As shoulder control improves, side plank pose can be made progressively more challenging.
Practice weighted scapular retraction in table top yoga pose. Use your adductor magnus muscles to press your pelvis upwards and your shin bones down.
Foot behind the head can be a challenge both mentally and physically. To make it easier work towards it while laying on your back and prepare with variations of pigeon and happy baby yoga poses.
The first step when doing inverted yoga poses isn't to try balancing, but to create a stable foundation and to get used to being upside down gradually. With comfort and a stable foundation you can then work towards balancing without the aid of a wall.
Suggestions for preparing the shoulders and then adjusting the shoulders (and arms) in Dolphin Yoga Pose.
Learn how to balance on your forearms in the yoga position called pincha mayurasana. Make it easier by stretching your shoulders with Spiderman Wall Stretch and Rack Pose.
Stability is a key factor in a lot of yoga poses. Learn about creating stability and staying balanced in headstand yoga pose.
How to lift into a yoga headstand with legs straight? This article shows you the steps and what to focus on to stay balanced.
This is a step-by-step introduction on how to do a headstand. It shows how to set up neck and shoulders and how to get comfortable being upside down in bound yoga headstand.
The wider base of tripod headstand makes it a relatively easy type of headstand compared to bound headstand. It can also place less stress on the neck, particularly if you lean forwards so that the hands bear as much weight as the head.
Handstand is a an upside balance pose. Use L shaped handstand to get used to being upside down and to practice kicking up. Also use it to get used to using your hands to feel your balance pont.
You can do a handstand against the wall but you can't pull your feet off of the wall to balance. Learn how to peel your feet off so that you are balancing in handstand.
Having trouble jumping into handstand with feet together from downward facing dog? Learn why it can help to get your shoulders ahead of your wrists. And how to use your legs to drive your pelvis forwards and up.
When kicking up into handstand with control and grace the most essential element is using your legs (off course) but once you've learned that, direct your awareness so that you can kick up with minimal effort and maximal grace.
Two key body elements that may make doing handstands easier and more pleasurable are the knees and the elbows. It's not so much about the joints as the single joint muscles that work on these joints that make controlling your body easier.
Having difficulty lifting into handstand (let alone with grace and poise)? Learn how to shift your weight, set up your shoulders, and use your spinal erectors and mula bandha to make floating upwards an actual possibility instead of a distant dream.
What is proper yoga alignment for handstand? Why not learn to feel and control your shoulders and ribcage so that you can learn to feel when your body is best aligned.
Inversions-Shoulderstand And Plough
Learn how to control your body easily in shoulderstand using a wall to help you get up. This option is also great as a leadup or followup to restorative yoga poses using a wall.
Have trouble getting into plough pose? Practice a controlled back roll to strengthen your abs and work on your balance.
In shoulerstand (salamba sarvangasana) use your rhomboids to pull your shoulder blades together so that your ribcage lifts away from the floor. Reduce neck stress by balancing first on shoulders and elbows. Then you can slowly shift your weight towards your head if you like.
Kneeling And Virasana
Tips for working towards kneeling yoga poses and semi-kneeling postures.
Reclining half hero yoga pose, eka pada supta virasana, is a gravity assisted quadriceps stretch with several variations. Some simple adjustments can be used to help keep the knee down and create room for the hip.
Virasana or hero pose is a kneeling yoga posture that can be used as a quadriceps stretch. It can also be used as a lying quadriceps stretch (supta virasana).
Double pigeon yoga pose can be used to stretch the glutes. For a full range glute stretch you can lean forwards or backwards or reach to the side.
For beginners one of the most important actions in yoga pigeon pose is learning to use the front leg to help support the pelvis.
Belly down and prone yoga poses can be used to strengthen as well as stretch (and increase flexibility) of the front and back of your body, shoulders and hips.
Some tips for making yoga boat pose more doable while still strenthening abs and hip flexors.
Bound angle pose can be used to stretch the adductors or inner thighs.
Cross leg poses offer a simple way to twist and bend the spine and stretch the hips and shoulders. They can also be used for strengthening.
Use easy seated forward bend (legs crossed) to practice feeling your pelvis as you tilt it forwards. You can also use it to stretch your hips. Make you spine feel long in this pose by reaching your ribs away from your pelvis.
Keeping your knee safe in hurdlers stretch while internally rotating your shin, stretching your hamstrings and groin.
Create space in your hip joint to make stretching your hamstring easier in Janu Sirsasana A. Add weight to the pose by lifitng your arms and reaching them forwards.
Janu Sirsasana B is literally a pain in the butt. You position your perineum on top of your heel. You can use it as a prep for lotus pose because it uses body weight to close the knee joint. To make it easier on your knee support your weight with your arms and slowly lower down.
One simple modification for janu sirsasana c is to turn the foot out 90 degrees. Here are some simple foot preparations that could also be substituted for the pose while helping you to work towards it.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
Upavistha konasana or seated wide leg forward bend, is one of the easier seated hamstring stretches. While you could use this yoga pose to work towards the splits, if you keep your legs 90 degrees apart or closer then you can use it as a prep for more challenging hamstring stretches.
Seated wide leg forward bend is an easy way of stretching tight hamstrings. You can add weight and deepen the stretch by lifting your arms and reaching them forwards. It can also be used to stretch the adductors is the legs are widened.
For people who can't do them, splits are one of the stretches that we can aspire towards. You can work towards splits first by using your arms to support your body, and then learning to use your legs to support your body even as you gradually go deeper.
Part of relaxing your legs to go deeper in hanumanasana or splits is using your arms to support the weight of your body.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
8 Reasons to do standing yoga poses. With a clear cut purpose, it's easy to do standing yoga poses in a way to support that purpose.
For students with limited flexibility, standing yoga poses can be used to gradually improve strength, flexibility and body awareness.
To protect your hips it can help to learn some basic hip adjustments for standing yoga poses. The better you can feel your hips, the easier it is to protect them.
Eagle yoga pose combines balancing on one leg with hip flexibility and shoulder stretching. To make eagle pose easier to learn and you can focus on the leg crossing element in isolation. Then you can intergrate the arms.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
One of the challenges of yoga tree pose is staying balanced. Another challenge is that one side may be easier than the other.
Some intelligent options for working towads the Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana set of ashtanga yoga poses. You could also call these the lazy options.
Practice balancing on one foot in warrior 3. Lift your leg higher by tilting your pelvis forwards and bending your spine backwards. Improve awareness and coordination by feeling your pelvis and keeping it level.
Standing Poses With Knees Straight
Work on hip stability, foot and leg control with triangle yoga pose. Strengthen the obliques.
Strengthening the legs and waist with Utthita trikonasana yoga pose as well as tips for grabbing the toe (and options for not grabbing the big toe.)
Mountain pose can be used as a proprioception exercise to improve foot awareness, spinal awareness and balance.
Standing Poses With One Knee Bent
Side angle pose can be used to lengthen the side of the body, strengthen the abs and or stretch the hip extensor muscles. It can also be used to practice activating the serratus anterior muscle.
Touching your hands together over your head in virabhadrasana.
In warrior 1 and warrior 2 learn how to form a stable base with your legs while reaching your arms either upwards or outwards.
Warrior 1 offers a nice opportunity for exploring muscle control actions for different parts of your body, including your hips, spine, and shoulders and even how to use your feet to make it easier to square your hips to the front.
In warrior 2 it easy to forget about your back arm because you are looking at your front arm. Stay aware and focus on feeling your back arm and reach it away from you. Make both arms feel long.
Understanding how the sartorius functions makes it easy to see how warrrior 1 can be used as a sartorius stretch. Learn more about how the sartorius functions as a hip flexor, knee flexor and shin rotator and how you can use this understanding to exercise your sartorius muscles.
Standing Poses With Both Knees Bent
How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.
Body Weight Squats are great for building leg and back strength and creating heat. Learn how to do them intelligently.
Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.
A step-by-step guide to operating your body effectively in this bent knee standing yoga pose.
Do you experience knee pain while doing chair yoga pose? Here are some suggestions to alleviate knee pain. You can also use chair pose as an excuse to practice squatting.
Supine yoga poses including bridge, wheel pose, supine bound angle, big toe pose variation, and preparations for wheel pose, plow pose and shoulderstand.
If you are feeling tired but still want to practice yoga then you could start with these restorative yoga poses using a wall. Using the wall to help support your body you may find that you feel refreshed enough to continue with a more energetic yoga practice afterwards.