Standing Poses


YOGA VIDA
Posture Center

MOUNTAIN POSE

English/Sanskrit Mountain Pose, Tadasana

Level Basic

Alignment Stand at the front of mat with inner edges of feet touching. Spread toes and press feet down equally. Lift arches and inner ankles up, lift kneecaps up to engage thighs. Pull navel in and up and lengthen tailbone down. Lengthen side ribs, lift center of chest and pull shoulders down and across the back. Face palms toward thighs with the fingers together. Engage and lengthen arms towards floor. Lengthen back of neck, maintaining the natural curve of the spine, and reach up through the crown of your head.

Modifications For hyperextension, take micro-bends in elbows or knees as necessary. A micro-bend is an almost undetectable bend in the elbow or knee so that the joint won’t bear the pressure of the weight and the muscles can begin to engage.

For flat feet, accentuate the lifting of inner arch. Feel more pressure in the outer edge of your foot and anchor the big toe joint down into the mat.

Benefits Improves posture, strengthens legs, increases awareness and develops grounding.
Posture Center

BIG TOE POSE

English/Sanskrit Big Toe Pose, Padangusthasana

Level Flow

Alignment Place feet hip-width distance apart with legs straight and parallel to each other. Grab big toes from the inside with peace fingers, wrap thumb around index and middle finger nails, bend elbows and fold into legs. Find equal weight in balls and heels of feet, and draw sitz-bones together and up. Soften shoulders away from ears and relax neck.

Modifications For stiff legs, bend knees deep enough to grasp big toes with peace fingers while keeping length in the spine. Tilt sitz-bones up and public bone back to stretch hamstrings.

For a rounded spine, pull chest forward with lengthened arms working on moving the shoulders away from the ears and down the back.

For hyperextension place micro-bends in knees, shift weight forward a bit and lift sitz-bones up.

Do not perform if experiencing glaucoma, hamstring injuries, or spinal disk disorders.

Benefits Improves flexibility in the hamstrings and spine. Strengthens legs and spine. Improves digestion, stimulates liver and kidneys, and regulates blood pressure. Relieves insomnia and stress.
Posture Center

FOOT HAND POSE

English/Sanskrit Foot Hand Pose, Padahastasana

Level Flow

Alignment Place feet hip-width distance apart with legs straight and parallel to each other. Stand on hands with palms facing up. Bring toes to creases in wrists, bend elbows and fold into legs. Find equal weight in balls and heels of feet, draw sitz-bones together. Soften shoulders away from the ears and relax neck.

Modifications For stiff legs, bend knees deep enough to grasp big toes with peace fingers while keeping length in the spine. Tilt sitz-bones up to stretch hamstrings.

For a rounded spine, pull chest forward with lengthened arms, moving shoulders away from the ears and down the back.

For hyperextension, take micro-bends in knees, shift weight forward a bit and lift sitz-bones up.

Do not perform if experiencing glaucoma, hamstring injuries, or spinal disk disorders.

Benefits Improves flexibility in the hamstrings and spine. Stretches the outer wrists and strengthens legs and spine. Improves digestion, stimulates liver and kidneys, and regulates blood pressure. Relieves insomnia and stress. Develops grounding. Massages the wrists.
Posture Center

SQUAT

English/Sanskrit Squat Pose, Malasana

Level Basic

Alignment Hop feet wide apart to outer edges of the mat and bend knees. Turn toes out slightly so knee bisects middle toe. Keep soles of feet grounded. Pull navel in and lengthen tailbone down. Place hands to prayer in center of chest, use elbows to push knees further out. Lift chest, draw shoulders down back, lengthen neck and reach up through the crown of your head.

Modifications For limited range of motion in ankles, place a blanket under heels to fill the space to the ground.

For trouble balancing weight or getting hips low enough, sit on a block for extra stability.

For knee injuries sit on a block.

For flat feet, work on lifting arches and press into the outer edges of the feet.

For hyperextension, take micro-bend in knees and shift weight forward.

Benefits Opens groins and hips, strengthens calves and ankles. Improves digestion and regulates emotions.
Posture Center

TRIANGLE POSE

English Triangle Pose, Trikonasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Warrior 2, extend front leg and shorten stance by a few inches. Place front foot at a 90 degree angle, turn back foot in 15 degrees, and extend both legs. Keep hips open toward the side, and reach front arm forward. Shift hips back and lengthen torso as you place front hand on shin. Lift back arm up, making one straight line from wrist to wrist. Draw navel in, lengthen tailbone toward back heel, open chest and slide shoulder blades away from ears. Gaze up to top fingers and keep head in line with front foot.

Modifications For beginners, place a block on the highest setting outside of right heel. Press front palm into block while in the pose.

For tight shoulders and chest, release top arm behind your back and reach for hip or inner front thigh.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in front knee and flex front toes off floor. Take care to lift only the toes, and keep the ball of your foot down. Use a block under bottom hand if there's too much pressure in the front knee.

For neck tension, look down instead of up.

Do not perform if experiencing serious groin, hamstring, neck, or back conditions.

Benefits Strengthens legs, neck and back muscles. Stretches hamstrings, groins and waist. Improves flexibility of the spine and aids digestion. Stimulates the nervous system and calms stress. Can reduce back pain and correct shoulder alignment. Develops grounding.
Posture Center

TRIANGLE POSE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Triangle Pose Variation, Trikonasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Warrior 2, extend front leg and shorten stance by a few inches. Place front foot at a 90 degree angle, turn back foot in 15 degrees, and extend both legs. Keep hips open toward the side, and reach front arm forward. Shift hips back and lengthen torso as you place front hand on shin. Lift back arm up, making one straight line from wrist to wrist. Draw navel in, lengthen tailbone toward back heel, open chest and slide shoulder blades away from ears. Gaze up to top fingers and keep head in line with front foot.

Modifications For beginners, place a block on the highest setting outside of right heel. Press front palm into block while in the pose.

For tight shoulders and chest, release top arm behind your back and reach for hip or inner front thigh, as shown here.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in front knee and flex front toes off floor. Take care to lift only the toes, and keep the ball of your foot down. Use a block under bottom hand if there's too much pressure in the front knee.

For neck tension, look down instead of up.

Do not perform if experiencing serious groin, hamstring, neck, or back conditions.

Do not perform if experiencing carpal tunnel.

Benefits Strengthens legs, neck and back muscles. Stretches hamstrings, groins and waist. Improves flexibility of the spine and aids digestion. Stimulates the nervous system and calms stress. Can reduce back pain and correct shoulder alignment. Develops grounding.
Posture Center

SIDE ANGLE A

English/Sanskrit Extended Side Angle A, Utthita Parsvakonasana A

Level Flow

Alignment From Warrior 2, press front hand down on the outside of the front foot. Lift other arm diagonally over the top ear. Turn top pinky finger down and release shoulders away from your ears. Keep front knee over ankle and press it into upper arm, creating a seal. Anchor the outer edge of back foot down, and maintain equal weight in both feet. Draw navel in and lengthen tailbone toward back heel; turn chest toward the ceiling and gaze at top hand.

Modifications If you can’t place your entire palm down firmly on floor outside the front foot, place a block under bottom hand.

If there is too much pressure on the front hip, lift out of the posture and place forearm on mid-thigh instead of bringing the hand to the floor. Keep the forearm parallel to the front edge of the mat with the palm facing up, as you release the shoulders down your back.

Do not perform if experiencing serious hamstring, groin, hip, or lower back injuries.

Benefits Tones legs, stretches groins, hips, chest, shoulders, lungs, and waist. Relieves sciatic and arthritic pain and stimulates abdominal organs. Develops grounding.
Posture Center

SIDE ANGLE B

English/Sanskrit Extended Side Angle B, Utthita Parsvakonasana B

Level Flow

Alignment From Warrior 2, press front hand down on the inside of the front foot. Lift other arm straight up to make one straight line from wrist to wrist, releasing shoulders away from the ears. Keep front knee over ankle and press it into upper arm, creating a seal. Anchor the outer edge of back foot down, and maintain equal weight in both feet. Draw navel in and lengthen tailbone toward back heel; expand chest toward sky and gaze at top hand.

Modifications If you can’t place your entire palm down on floor or need more space in your hip, place a block under bottom hand.

To add more leg strengthening and shoulder opening, take a bind. Thread bottom arm under thigh, reach top arm behind back, and grasp top wrist with bottom hand.

Do not perform if experiencing serious hamstring, groin, hip, or lower back injuries.

Benefits Tones legs, stretches groins, hips, chest, shoulders, lungs, and waist. Develops grounding. Opens shoulders.
Posture Center

SIDE ANGLE B VARIATION

English Extended Side Angle B Variation, Utthita Parsvakonasana B

Level Flow

Alignment From Warrior 2, press front hand down on the inside of the front foot. Lift other arm straight up to make one straight line from wrist to wrist, releasing shoulders away from the ears. Keep front knee over ankle and press it into upper arm, creating a seal. Anchor the outer edge of back foot down, and maintain equal weight in both feet. Draw navel in and lengthen tailbone toward back heel; expand chest toward sky and gaze at top hand.



Modifications If you can’t place your entire palm down on floor or need more space in your hip, place a block under bottom hand.

To add more leg strengthening and shoulder opening, take a bind, as shown here. Thread bottom arm under thigh, reach top arm behind back, and grasp top wrist with bottom hand.

Do not perform if experiencing serious hamstring, groin, hip, or lower back injuries.

Benefits Ensures safe preparation for hopping.
Posture Center

EXTENDED LEG STRETCH

English Extended Leg Stretch/Straddle, Prasarita Padottanasana

Level Flow

Alignment From Warrior 2, extend front leg and turn front toes in so feet are parallel. Bring hands to waist, and face elbows back. Press hips down, lift chest up and fold forward, placing hands on floor. Extend arms and feel equal weight in the front and back of feet. Tip sitz-bones up, and draw chest forward. Keep a long spine and bend elbows, reaching the crown of your head toward the floor. Walk hands back under elbows. Keep elbows parallel, and see that your wrists are in line with your heels. Modifications For stiff shoulders and neck or a rounded back, keep arms extended and work on pulling chest forward and tilting hips higher up.

For a deeper shoulder opener and to increase strengthening in legs, interlace fingers behind back into a fist and fold forward while stretching arms over head.

Benefits Builds strength, coordination and focus.
Posture Center

EXTENDED LEG STRETCH VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Extended Leg Stretch/Straddle Variation, Prasarita Padottanasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Warrior 2, extend front leg and turn front toes in so feet are parallel. Bring hands to waist, and face elbows back. Press hips down, lift chest up and fold forward, placing hands on floor. Extend arms and feel equal weight in the front and back of feet. Tip sitz-bones up, and draw chest forward. Keep a long spine and bend elbows, reaching the crown of your head toward the floor. Walk hands back under elbows. Keep elbows parallel, and see that your wrists are in line with your heels. Modifications For stiff shoulders and neck or a rounded back, keep arms extended and work on pulling chest forward and tilting hips higher up.

For a deeper shoulder opener and to increase strengthening in legs, interlace fingers behind back into a fist and fold forward while stretching arms over head, as shown here.

Benefits Strengthens legs and stretches hamstrings and back. Tones abdomen. Develops grounding. Relieves headaches.
Posture Center

SIDE STRETCH POSE

English/Sanskrit Side Stretch Pose/Pyramid, Parsvottanasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Warrior 1, release arms down and extend front leg. Step back foot in 3 to 5 inches to shorten your stance. Keep the front foot facing directly forward and the back foot turned in at 45 degrees. Fold forward over front leg, and press palms down on either side of front foot. Extend arms, and reach chest forward. Press equally into feet, grounding outer edge of back foot. Square off hips, and fold forward again, reaching chin to shin. Modifications If palms don’t press into the floor, place a block under each hand.

For stiff neck and shoulders or a rounded back, keep arms straight and reach chest forward while pressing hips back and tipping sitz-bones up. Work on accentuating the arch in back. You can use blocks under hands here as well.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in the front knee and flex front toes.

For more strengthening in legs and added shoulder opening and balance, place hands in prayer behind back. Fingers face up toward your head, and palms press together. If palms don’t press together, hold opposite elbows.

Do not perform if experiencing serious hamstring or lower back issue.

Benefits Stretches hamstrings and spine, strengthens legs. Stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion. Develops grounding.
Posture Center

SIDE STRETCH POSE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Side Stretch Pose Variation/Pyramid, Parsvottanasana

Level Flow

Alignment From Warrior 1, release arms down and extend front leg. Step back foot in 3 to 5 inches to shorten your stance. Keep the front foot facing directly forward and the back foot turned in at 45 degrees. Fold forward over front leg, and press palms down on either side of front foot. Extend arms, and reach chest forward. Press equally into feet, grounding outer edge of back foot. Square off hips, and fold forward again, reaching chin to shin.

Modifications If palms don’t press into the floor, place a block under each hand.

For stiff neck and shoulders or a rounded back, keep arms straight and reach chest forward while pressing hips back and tipping sitz-bones up. Work on accentuating the arch in back, as shown here. You can use blocks under hands here as well.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in the front knee and flex front toes.

For more strengthening in legs and added shoulder opening and balance, place hands in prayer behind back. Fingers face up toward your head, and palms press together. If palms don’t press together, hold opposite elbows.

Do not perform if experiencing serious hamstring or lower back issue.

Benefits Stretches hamstrings and spine, strengthens legs. Stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion. Develops grounding.
Posture Center

WARRIOR 1

English/Sanskrit Warrior 1, Virabhadrasana1

Level Flow

Alignment From Down Dog Split, step foot forward in between hands. Bend front knee to a 90 degree angle. Spiral back heel down to a 45 degree angle. With equal weight in both feet, stand up, keeping front knee bent over ankle and both hips squared forward. Extend arms straight forward and press palms into a prayer, thumbs in line with center of chest. Start to arch back and raise your arms, thumbs following the line of chest. Draw navel in as you lengthen your tailbone down, and press firmly into the outer edge of your back foot. Press palms together strongly, soften shoulders down your back, and lift your chest.

Modifications For stiff shoulders or neck, separate palms and keep them shoulder-width distance apart, facing each other. Keep extending arms upward, and continue to relax your shoulders down your back.

Do not perform if experiencing sacroiliac joint problems, sciatica or lower back pain.

Benefits Strengthens legs, arms, and back muscles. Stretches groins, psoas and back of thighs. Makes space in lungs, chest and shoulders, while toning abdomen. Develops grounding.
Posture Center

WARRIOR 2

English/Sanskrit Warrior 2, Virabhadrasana 2

Level Flow

Alignment From Warrior 1, open arms and hips out to side. Extend front leg then re-bend front knee over ankle. Press equal weight in both feet, keeping front foot at a 90 degree angle and back foot at a 15 degree angle. Keep front hip bones level with each other. Draw navel in and lengthen tailbone down toward floor, while lifting the side ribs and chest. Energize arms. Keep shoulders over hips and hands in line with shoulders. Soften shoulder blades down and across the back. Gaze at front middle finger nail.

Modifications For hyperextension take micro-bends in elbows.

Do not perform if experiencing serious knee or hip/groin injuries.

Benefits Strengthens legs and arms. Stretches groins, hips, shoulders, and chest. Improves circulation and develops grounding.
Posture Center

REVOLVED TRIANGLE

English/Sanskrit Revolved Triangle, Parivrtta Trikonasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Warrior 1, straighten front leg and release that same arm down along your side. Keep the other arm up and lengthen through side ribs. Step back foot in a few inches. Keep it in a 45 degree angle and press down through feet. Fold forward and place top hand down outside of front foot. Reach other arm up twisting from navel, and open across chest. Keep feet grounded and hips stable by drawing sitz-bones together. Look up to top thumb.

Modifications If you can't place your palm down outside front foot, place a block under hand for more grounding.

Do not perform if experiencing serious hamstring or sacrum injuries.

Do not perform if pregnant.

For flat feet, accentuate the lifting of inner arch. Feel more pressure in the outer edge of your foot and anchor the big toe joint down into the mat.

Benefits Strengthens and stretches legs, chest, and spine. Develops grounding and balance, and stimulates abdominal organs. Aids digestion.
Posture Center

REVOLVED EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE

English/Sanskrit Revolved Extended Side Angle, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From a Lunge, lower back knee down, lift torso and take hands to a prayer in the center of your chest. Draw navel in and twist toward bent knee, hooking opposite elbow outside front thigh and knee. Tuck back toes under and extend back leg. Press through ball of back foot, squeeze inner thighs toward each other, lean forward and turn chest towards ceiling.

Modifications For sacrum or lower back injuries, lower back knee to the floor and work on stabilizing hips, while twisting from the navel.

For a deeper twist and shoulder opener, take a bind. Thread bottom arm under front thigh and reach top arm around behind back, grabbing top wrist with bottom hand.

Do not perform if experiencing sacrum injuries or if pregnant.

Benefits Strengthens legs, stretches groins, chest, and shoulders. Stimulates abdominal organs and regulates digestion. Improves body awareness and develops balance.
Posture Center

REVOLVED EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Revolved Extended Side Angle Variation, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From a Lunge, lower back knee down, lift torso and take hands to a prayer in the center of your chest. Draw navel in and twist toward bent knee, hooking opposite elbow outside front thigh and knee. Tuck back toes under and extend back leg. Press through ball of back foot, squeeze inner thighs toward each other, lean forward and turn chest towards ceiling.

Modifications For sacrum or lower back injuries, lower back knee to the floor and work on stabilizing hips, while twisting from the navel, as shown here.

For a deeper twist and shoulder opener, take a bind. Thread bottom arm under front thigh and reach top arm around behind back, grabbing top wrist with bottom hand.

Do not perform if experiencing sacrum injuries or if pregnant.

Benefits Strengthens legs, stretches groins, chest, and shoulders. Stimulates abdominal organs and regulates digestion. Improves body awareness and develops balance.
Posture Center

REVOLVED EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Mountain Pose, Tadasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From a Lunge, lower back knee down, lift torso and take hands to a prayer in the center of your chest. Draw navel in and twist toward bent knee, hooking opposite elbow outside front thigh and knee. Tuck back toes under and extend back leg. Press through ball of back foot, squeeze inner thighs toward each other, lean forward and turn chest towards ceiling.

Modifications For sacrum or lower back injuries, lower back knee to the floor and work on stabilizing hips, while twisting from the navel.

For a deeper twist and shoulder opener, take a bind. Thread bottom arm under front thigh and reach top arm around behind back, grabbing top wrist with bottom hand, as shown here.

Do not perform if experiencing sacrum injuries or if pregnant.

Benefits Strengthens legs, stretches groins, chest, and shoulders. Stimulates abdominal organs and regulates digestion. Improves body awareness and develops balance.
Posture Center

LIZARD

English/Sanskrit Lizard Pose, Utthan Pristhasana

Level Flow

Alignment From Down Dog Split, step foot forward outside hand on the same side. Press through the ball of back foot, energize back leg and keep chest open. Lower elbows down inside front foot. Squeeze inner thighs toward each other, and keep front knee over ankle.

Modifications If back leg fatigues, lower knee to floor, as shown here. For a deeper stretch in groins, extend arms.

If spine is rounding, place a block or two underneath elbows and pull chest forward.

Do not perform if experiencing sacrum instability or serious sacrum or hip injuries.

Benefits Stretches and strengthens legs, hips, and groins.
Posture Center

INTENSE FORWARD BEND

English/Sanskrit Intense Forward Bend, Uttanasana

Level Basic

Alignment Bring feet together, keep legs extended, and fold forward. Press hands down in line with feet and relax neck. Find equal weight in the balls of your feet and heels, and draw sitz-bones together. Soften your shoulders away from your ears.

Modifications If palms don’t press down fully, place a block underneath each hand on any setting.

For a rounded spine, bend knees and tip hips and sitz-bones up high. If upper spine is still rounded, pull chest forward more until the rounding dissolves.

For hyperextension, take micro-bends in knees, shift weight forward and lift sitz-bones up.

Do not perform without the guidance of a qualified teacher if experiencing glaucoma, hamstring injuries, or spinal disk disorders.

Benefits Improves flexibility in the hamstrings and spine. Strengthens legs and spine. Improves digestion, stimulates the liver and kidneys, and regulates blood pressure. Relieves insomnia and stress.