Yoga Class 2021 – Standing Poses

Yoga Session 1

The Yoga props you will need for this remote class include a mat, two blocks (or one block and a similar-sized item), and a belt or similar.

Please note that the Yoga videos are not “real-time” in terms of duration for holding the poses, but simply meant to show the basic movements into, within, and out of each pose.



Yoga Standing Poses

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – hold for 5 full breaths

Hold for 5 conscious breaths while working with awareness and actions from the feet up to the crown of the head.

Key actions:

  • Spread, well-connected feet
  • Legs active, thighs inwardly rotated
  • Spine long, chest open, neck relaxed
  • Shoulders “un-shrugged”

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) Arm Variations (2x through)

Inhale and extend arms overhead, interlace fingers above head and rotate palms up.

Exhale to release arms down.

Inhale and interlace fingers behind your back, then exhale and role the shoulders back, extending the arms behind.

Key actions:

  • Move arms with the breath
  • Keep the jaw, throat and neck relaxed

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) – 2x through both sides, hold for 3-5 complete breaths

From Mountain Pose, step the feet wide, right foot turns out 90 deg, left heel out slightly. Right heel lines up with arch of left foot. Align legs, externally rotating the thighs, keeping all corners of the feet connected. Inhale and raise arms to shoulder height, exhale, shift the hips to the left and extend to the right, bringing the right hand down and extending left arm up. Elongate both sides of the torso.

Key actions:

  • Legs active, thighs rotate outward, drawing upward from the feet through the legs to the hips. 
  • Lengthen the lower waist and ribs.
  • Externally rotate the shoulders
  • Neck and jaw relaxed

Prasarita Padottanasana Variation (Spread Foot Forward Bend with Downward Dog Extension), hold for 5-10 complete breaths

From Mountain Pose, step the feet wide apart, turning the toes in slightly to align the outer edge of the feet with the ends of the mat. Exhale and hinge from the hips, placing the hands down directly beneath the shoulders with arms straight (on floor or blocks or a chair), keeping the spine long, neutral, not rounded forward. Hold for 3 full breaths, then keeping the hips positioned over a virtual line between your feet, slide the hands forward, taking the upper body into Downward Dog shape. Hold for 3 full breaths, then return the hands back under the shoulders, pausing for a breath or two. Then to come out, engage strong legs, keep the spine long, and inhale to come up. Exhale and step the feet back together into Mountain Pose.

Key actions:

  • Legs active, drawing upward from the arches of the feet through the hips. 
  • Feet well-connected to the floor, even when bent forward.
  • Keep the spine long and even slightly concave, also keeping the head from tilting up or down.
  • When transitioning to D-Dog upper body, keep the hips back over the line between the feet and head between your arms, neck long.

Virabadrasana II (Warrior II Pose) – 2x through both sides, beginning and ending in Tadasana (Mountain), hold for 3-5 complete breaths

From Mountain Pose, step the feet wide, right foot turns out 90 deg, left heel out slightly. Right heel lines up with arch of left foot. Align legs, externally rotating the thighs, keeping all corners of the feet connected. Inhale and raise arms to shoulder height, un-shrugging the shoulders and extending through the finger tips with palms facing down. Keep the shoulders over the hips and both sides of the torso long and lifted. Exhale, bend the right knee while extending the left leg. Both legs contribute evenly to the stance. Take the right thigh as close to parallel with the floor as possible, keeping the bent knee over the ankle and not past it (adjust your stance width accordingly). Elongate both sides of the torso, keeping the torso lifted and tall, rather than leaning the upper body to the side. Turn the head and gaze gently toward the fingers of the right hand. Inhale and come up and repeat on the second side. End with Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

  • Bent knee positioned over the ankle (with shin vertical) and no further. 
  • Engage strongly through the straight leg.
  • Keep the shoulders over the hips, torso vertical and lifted.
  • Neck and jaw relaxed.

Parvritta Uttanasana (Revolved Standing Forward Bend) – 2x through both sides, hold for 3-5 complete breaths

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with feet at hip-width. Have a prop (block, chair, etc.) for your hands if needed to maintain neutral spine and avoid rounding your back when bending forward. Exhale and hinge at the hips, keeping the spine neutral and same shape as when standing in Mountain – avoiding forward flexing the spine at all, and bend forward to bring your hands onto your prop (or the floor if spine remains neutral), which should be under the mid-line between the shoulders. Keeping the left hand on the block, bend the left knee and placing the palm of the right hand on your sacrum, exhale and revolve to the right, lowering the left hip while lifting the right hip and extending the outer right leg. Extend the right arm up, reaching through the fingertips and externally rotating at the shoulder. Keep the feet evenly on the floor and keep the hips over the feet. Inhale to untwist, switch the position of the hands and change the bent/ straight legs to repeat on the second side. To come out, come back to the original, neutral spine forward bend and stand back up into Mountain Pose.

Key actions:

  • Tadasana feet stay connected to the floor – avoid lifting the heels or rolling a foot to its outer edge.
  • Keep the hips over the feet.
  • Externally rotate both shoulders.

Supta Dandasana (Reclining Staff Pose), hold main pose for 10 breaths, arm variations 3-5 breaths each

Place one block under thoracic spine (upper-mid back) and a slightly taller block under the head. The video shows two block orientation options.

Lie back and take the arms away from your sides turning the palms up, allowing the shoulders to roll back. Release into this position for 10 full breaths. This is the restorative and calming variation.

To progress to the more active variations, activate the legs by elongating through the heels, grounding and internally rotating the thighs. Then lower the block supporting the head to the same height as the thoracic block. Extend the arms up, press your open palms together and extend the arms beyond the head. Hold for 5 full breaths, then fold the arms and release them back and down. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then repeat changing the fold of the arms. To progress to a deeper variation (as shown in the video), lower the head block or remove it. Add the arm actions again.

To come out of the pose, replace the head block to its original height, bend a knee, press your arms into the floor and slowly sit up.

Key actions:

  • Externally rotate the shoulders.
  • Legs active, thighs rotate inward, ground the thighs and extend through the soles and heels of the feet. 
  • Keep the face passive, especially the jaw when adding arm variations.

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose Variations) – 2x through both sides on each variation

Lying on your back, take the right leg up with a belt. Extend both legs, reaching through the heels, both arms straight as well. Repeat on second side.

Variations II and III: Belt the foot from inner ankle around outer heel to help externally rotate the leg and while grounding the left thigh, exhale and take the right leg to the right. Rest the foot on something, if not the floor. Continue to extend and externally rotate the leg. Inhale to bring the leg back up and switch hands to bring the leg across the body. Rest the backs of the shoulders on the floor and extend through the belted leg. Inhale to bring the leg back up and repeat on second side.

Key actions:

  • For variations II and III, belted leg is externally rotated.
  • For variation III (twist), both thighs grounded)
  • All arms and legs extended throughout.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose), hold for 5-10 complete breaths, repeat 2x

Lying on your back, bend the knees and bring the feet under the knees. Hips, knees and feet all line up to the same width and should not change. Be sure to keep the knees at this width throughout, and keep the feet pressed evenly into the floor. Inhale to lift the pelvis up, inwardly rotating the thighs. Interlace the fingers underneath you and roll the shoulders under you as well. Place a block either at its intermediate height and wide, or tall and narrow underneath the sacrum. Be sure the block does not come in contact with your lumbar spine (low back). Hold for 5 full breaths. To come out, inhale to lift the pelvis up, remove the block and exhale to release the hips back down to the floor. Stay in that position for at least 2 full breaths before rolling to your right side and coming back up sideways.

Key actions:

  • Thighs rotate inward, feet well connected and evenly weighted, knees remain at hip width.
  • Externally rotate at the shoulders underneath you.

Savasana (Corpse Pose), hold for 5-10 min

Lie back on your mat with the head supported slightly on a blanket. A rolled blanket or bolster can support the knees if the low back is tight or uncomfortable in order to passively ground the thighs. And eyebag or similar works well to minimize brain stimulation. Arms away from your sides, palms facing up, shoulder roll back. Allow the legs to roll out as well. Let all your weight to sink into the floor. Relax the jaw, throat, tongue and eyes, letting the muscles of the face become soft. Hold for 5 minutes or more.

To come out, bend your knees and roll to your right side, keeping the eyes closed. Come up sideways, raising the head up last. Go slowly and come to a seated position. Hands in namaskar (prayer), tilt the chin toward your chest and take 2-3 conscious breaths. Bring the head back to neutral and slowly open your eyes.

Key actions:

  • Relax and receive.
  • Breathe.

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