Yoga Walk Alignment Tips 06.16.14

Extended Side Angle

Extended Side Angle   Step your feet wide apart. The front foot turns forward and the back foot turns inward slightly. Line up your front heel with the arch of your back foot.  To help anchor the back foot, hug the thigh muscles to the bone. Bend the front knee directly above the ankle. Important: Align the front knee toward the little toe side of the foot.  Place your forearm on the bench. Tip: To modify, place your hand on the bench. Draw the navel upward and inward. Extend your heart away from the navel. Draw your low ribs inward. Firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs. Gently press into the bench and rotate your chest toward the sky. Extend the top arm over the ear and secure the upper arm bone into the shoulder socket. Find a comfortable place for your neck. Keep the back foot grounded. Enjoy for 3 breaths.        

Extended Triangle

Extended Triangle   Step your feet wide apart. The front foot turns forward and the back foot turns inward slightly. Line up your front heel with your back heel. Turn the front thigh outward so the front knee lines up with the front ankle. Press down through the feet and hug the leg muscles to the bone. Important: Avoid locking the knee joints.  Extend your torso toward the front foot, bending from the hip, not the waist. Place your bottom hand (or forearm) on the bench and align the shoulder with the front thigh. Extend the opposite arm upward. Keep the back leg strong and extend your tailbone toward the back foot. Relax both shoulder blades down your back. Draw the navel upward and inward. Extend long through both sides of your body. Rotate your chest toward the sky. Find a comfortable place for your neck.  Enjoy for 3 breaths.        

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog Feet are facing forward, hip width or closer. Hands are shoulder width apart. Wrists are long. Spread your fingers wide. Press down through both feet and lift the inner anklebones. Draw the navel upward and inward then extend the sit bones (hips) skyward. Press the thighbones back and roll the upper thighs inward.  Important: Avoid locking the knee joint. Draw your upper arm bones into the shoulder sockets (you will feel the shoulder blades firmly pressed into the upper back). Keeping the upper back firm, slightly lift the armpits and rotate the outer elbows downward. Extend your heart toward the thighs. Align your ears between the arms. Gaze toward the toes. Enjoy for 6 breaths. Tip: Modify by keeping the knees bent. It is more important to focus on a long spine rather than long legs.      

Revolved Downward Facing Dog

Revolved Downward Facing Dog   Follow the cues for Downward Facing Dog, but shorten your stance slightly. Again, integrate the upper arm bones with the shoulder girdle (you will feel the shoulder blades firmly pressed into the upper back). Important: Make sure the right upper arm bone remains secure, then release the left arm to the outer right shin. Keep the legs strong and roll the upper thighs inward.  Draw the navel upward and inward then extend the sit bones (hips) skyward. Gently rotate as you exhale. Gaze under the arm. Enjoy for 3 breaths.    

Standing Pigeon

Standing Pigeon   Hands are on the post. Cross the right ankle above the left kneecap and flex the right foot. Bend the left knee, bearing the weight in the heel as you sit your hips back into a squat. Important: Direct the left sit bone inward and back if it has a tendency to wander outward. With your hands, draw back on the post and feel the shoulder blades firmly pressed into the upper back. Keep the low back long. Draw the navel upward and inward. Lift your heart away from the navel. Let the collarbones feel wide. Enjoy for 6 breaths.    

Half Camel

Half Camel   Sit near the front edge of the bench. Place the left leg under the bench. The left foot faces straight back. Press down firmly through both feet.  Hug the leg muscles to the bones. Draw the navel upward and inward to help create length in the low back. Important: Keep the legs strong and the navel drawing upward and inward throughout the pose.  Place your hands on the bench behind you, shoulder width apart with the fingertips facing forward. Laterally widen the outer tips of the shoulders away from your neck. Let the collarbones and upper back feel wide. Press your hands into the bench and direct the heart forward and upward. Keep the back of the neck long.  Enjoy for 3 breaths. Tip: Make sure you are not leaning back into your hands. Press through the hands to lift the heart forward and upward.    

Standing Forward Fold

Standing Forward Fold Stand with the feet facing forward, hip width or closer.  Place your hands on the hips and extend your heart away from the navel. On an exhale bend forward from the hip joints, not the waist. Place your hands, stacked fists, or folded forearms on the bench. Press down through both feet. Roll the upper thighs inward and extend the sitting bones skyward. Tip: Modify by keeping the knees bent. It is more important to focus on a long spine rather than long legs.  Draw the navel upward and inward. Keep the front torso long by lengthening the heart away from the navel. Relax your head and neck. Maybe the head rests on stacked fists or folded forearms. Relax your shoulders away from the ears. Enjoy for 6-9 breaths. Important: To come out of the pose place your hands on the hips, lengthen the front torso, bend the knees, and slowly rise.

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