Standing Half Forward Bend
Sanskrit Name: Ardha Uttanasana
Stand up straight. Put your palms on the floor, bending forward. Resting on your hands, raise your torso and stretch your body forward. Look straight.
Beginner’s Tip: support each hand on a yoga block set just outside each foot.
Target Muscles: erector spine, g.medius, g.maximus, piriformis, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, soleus
Standing Forward Fold
Sanskrit Name: Uttanasana
Stand up straight. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso. Engage your quadriceps (the front thigh muscles) and draw them up toward the ceiling. The more you engage your quadriceps, the more your hamstrings (the rear thigh muscles) will release. Bring your weight to the balls of your feet. Keep your hips aligned over your ankles. Slightly lift and lengthen your torso with each inhalation. Release deeper into the pose with each exhalation. Let your head hang Come up from the pose with a flat back.
This pose is an essential element of Sun Salutations and helps to prepare the body for deeper forward bends.
• If your hamstrings or low back are tight, bend your knees. Let your belly come to your thighs.
• Keep the front of your torso long and make sure you are folding at the hips, not at the waist.
• If your back is rounding, bend your knees even deeper, place your hands on a block or chair to keep this length as you fold.
• Aim to bring your belly to your thighs, rather than your head to your knees or your hands to the ground
Target Muscles: erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, gluteus maximus, gluteus, medius rectus femoris, biceps femoris, semitendinosus muscle, vastus lateralis, semimembranosus muscle , gastrocnemius
Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana I
From a standing position, the legs are in a wide stance with the feet aligned and flat on the earth. The back foot is in a 60-degree angle towards the front. The hips are squared. The inner thighs are rotated towards each other. The front knee is bent in a 90-degree angle directly above the ankle. The arms extend up to the sky with the biceps by the ears. The hands can be together or separated and facing each other with the fingers spread wide. The ribcage is lifted and the pelvis tucked. The gaze is forward. Repeat on other side.
Beginner’s Tip: If you find it difficult to keep the back heel grounded and the lower back lengthened in this pose, raise the back heel on a sand bag or other height.
Target Muscles: deltoid, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, rectus abdominis, external oblique psoas major, gluteus medius, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, peroneals, sartorius, hamstrings, adductors
Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana II
Stand with your feet wide apart, facing the long edge of your mat. Keep your back foot parallel to the short edge of the mat, or turned in slightly. Pivot on your front heel so that your front toes point toward the front short edge of the mat. Traditionally, the heel of the front foot is aligned with the arch of the back foot in warrior II, but you can also walk your left foot a little more to the left for a wider stance and greater stability. Bend your left knee trying to reach 90 degrees without rotating your torso and pelvis.
Beginner’s Tip: try to keep your left foor, shin, knee and hip in one line. Hips open to the side, pelvis neutral and even Keep your arms straight and strong, parallel to the floor, relax shoulders away from ears. Gaze over your left palm. Repeat on other side.
Target Muscles: deltoids, rectus abdominis, obliqus externus, obliques internus, transcersus abdominis, gluteus medius, lateral rotators of hip, piriformis, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, vastus medialis
Sanskirt Name: Virabhadrasana III
Stand up straight. Transfer your weight to the left leg and, as you inhale, lift your arms over your head. Exhale, raise your right leg back, and bend at the hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor and in line with your right leg. Repeat on other side.
Warrior III tones and invigorates the whole body and strenghtens the ankles, legs, shoulders and back. This pose also improves balance and posture and boosts concentration.
Target Muscles: spinal extensors, gluteus maximus, gastrocnemius
Sanskrit Name: Viparia Virabhadrasana
From Warrior II pose (with the right knee bent), bring the left hand down to rest on the left leg. Inhale the right arm up towards the ceiling, and reach the fingers away from each other. Look straight ahead or up at the ceiling. Keep the right knee bent, pressing into the feet with the legs strong. Sink the hips down toward the floor and relax the shoulders. Breathe and hold for 3-5 breaths. To release: inhale the arms parallel to the floor coming back into Warrior II. Repeat on other side.