Stand in Tadasana.
(Tip! Feel a straight line from the heels to the top of the head and even beyond.)
Inhale into a backbend.
(Tip! The backbend shown is quite deep. It is healthier to enter a gentle backbend
or even healthier stretch straight up and lengthen your back as much as
possible upward. My back aches for days if I do sun
salutations and enter these deep backbends all the time.
Cobra pose is enough to open the spine and gain flexibility without
Exhale into a forward bend.
For years we have been saying the back should remain as straight as
possible in yoga. This was good practice and helped to avoid causing
or aggravating back injury. I like to curl the back a little and you
may prefer this as well. It stretches many of the small muscles in the
back which are not stretched when it is kept straight. If your not
flexible you will only come down a little when the back is kept
straight. Monitor your body and feel what it prefers. I like to
straighten after everything has opened. Keeping it straight may be
safer but only the legs are stretched.
Inhale and step the right leg back.
Keep your chin up. You may get lazy here but it is
Exhale into One Leg Downward Dog Pose.
You may want to open the hip a little rather than
have them horizontally in line. This will allow your muscles
in the groin, called adductor muscles, to avoid a sudden pull
which brings an abrupt stop to the lift and could cause mild
tears in the muscles.
Inhale as you bring the leg forward.
(This part is actually quite debatable when considering the subject of breathing. It is quite challenging to breathe in and take the leg all the way forward and down,
especially since the knee passes the diaphragm on the step forward, as this
interferes with the movement of the breath often times cutting it short. Keep the leg up in One Leg Downward Dog Pose for the
inhalation and then try exhaling down if you have a problem with this transition.
Inhale as you open the arms to the sides in Pigeon Pose.
For spine protection keep your hands down and reduce the back bend.
This will reduce the compression on the spines discs.
Perhaps it is better if you to remain here for an inhalation and exhalation before continuing. Otherwise you barely get a chance to feel the pose.
Exhale back to One Leg Downward Dog Pose.
Inhale and step the left leg forward.
Here is the tip for inhaling on the step forward. Delay the inhalation or breathe in slightly until the knee passes the diaphragm. This makes a big difference and allows a more full breath.
Exhale back to Half Moon Pose.
Hold and inhale.
Exhale and drop the right leg down into a forward bend.
This pose helps you move into Chair Pose
easier. Most of you will enjoy this pose better with a
slightly bent knee.
Bend the left knee and raise up into Chair Pose on an
Delay the inhalation a little on this movement or
inhale and exhale during the transition. If you
choose the latter of these suggestions inhale
again before the next step.
Exhale into Tadasanawith the hands in
Perform the same sequence on the opposite leg. If you like
you can vary the headstand sequence each time or simple
perform the same one.