This series of asanas has a stretching and strengthening effect on the back, shoulders and leg muscles. They are particularly beneficial for those who spend a lot of time sitting down or who have stiffness or pain in the back.

Standing poses activate and engage the core muscles. When our core is strong, correct posture and proper body alignment can be maintained. The follow on effect is that, when we are elongated through the spine and open in the chest, oxygenation and lung capacity increases.

Generally, right-handed people find these poses most easily learned by practicing to the right side first. To counterbalance the effect of habitual behaviour patterns, a practice leading with the left side is recommended. For left-handed people, practice with the right leading. This improves balance, coordination and connection between the two sides of the body and two hemisphere of the brain, thus producing union – yoga.

Spine & Back Pose

Meru prishthasana

  • Stand with the feet about shoulder width apart and have the toes turned slightly out to the sides.
  • Place the fingers of both hands on the shoulders with the elbows pointing out to the sides.
  • Twist the upper torso to the right as far as comfortable then return to centre.
  • Twist the upper torso to the left as far as comfortable then return to centre.
  • Practice up to 10 rounds.

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Locked Hand Raising Pose

Bandha Hasta Uttanasana

  • Stand with the feet together and arms beside the body.
  • Balance the weight of the body equally on both feet.
  • Cross the wrists in front of the body.
  • Slowly raise the arms above the head, keeping the wrists crossed.
  • Simultaneously, raise the head to gaze at the hands.
  • Spread the arms out to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Hold for a few seconds then reverse the movement by recrossing the wrists above the head.
  • Lower the arms straight down in front of the body and return the head back to centre.
  • Practice up to 10 times.

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Bow & Arrow Pose

Akarna dhanurasana

  • Stand with the feet shoulder width apart and the arms beside the body.
  • Take a small step forward with the right leg.
  • Make a fist with the right hand and raise the arm in front of the body slightly above eye level, inline with the right foot.
  • Make a fist with the left hand and bring it behind the right fist.
  • Imagine the hands are holding a bow and arrow.
  • Direct the gaze beyond the right fist and visualize a target ahead.
  • Slowly pull the left fist back to the left ear, tensing both arms as if drawing a bow.
  • Allow the head to move slightly back with this motion, engaging the neck muscles.
  • Keep the left elbow at shoulder height then release the imaginary arrow.
  • Relax the neck and take the left fist back to the right fist.
  • Practice up to 10 times on this side, then repeat on the other side.

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Pendulum Pose

Dolasana

  • Stand with the feet more than shoulder width apart and keep the legs straight.
  • Raise the arms and interlock the fingers of both hands behind the neck with the elbows pointing out to the sides.
  • keep the feet firmly on the ground, turn to the right and bend forward.
  • Bring the head as close as comfortable to the right knee.
  • Swing the upper torso from the right to the left knee and back to the right knee three times.
  • Return to the centre and stand upright.
  • Repeat with the swing starting from the left knee.
  • This is one round and is usually sufficient.

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Swaying while standing pose

Utthita Lolasana

  • Stand with the feet about one metre apart.
  • Raise the arms above the head and keep the arms straight.
  • Bend the wrists encouraging them to be limp with the fingers pointing forward.
  • Moving from the hips swing the torso down forward allowing the arms and head to sway through the legs.
  • After this initial swing, allow the body to rock gently and spontaneously a few times until it naturally stills.
  • Hang forward and be tension-free, like a rag doll.
  • Engage the core muscles and carefully raise the torso back upright with the arms above the head.
  • Lower the arms beside the body and relax.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Warrior 2

Virabhadrasana 2

  • Stand with the feet wider than shoulder width apart and keep the legs straight.
  • Turn the right foot out to the right 90 degrees and left foot in 45 to 60 degrees.
  • Roll the right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
  • Rotate the torso to the right and square the hips.
  • Raise the arms out to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Bend the right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Work towards having the thigh parallel to the floor.
  • Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the hips.
  • Turn the head to the right to gaze along the right hand.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release, press the back heel into the floor and straighten the bent knee. Relax the arms beside the body.
  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Warrior 1

Virabhadrasana I

  • Stand with the feet wider than shoulder width apart and keep the legs straight.
  • Turn the right foot out to the right 90 degrees and left foot in 45 to 60 degrees.
  • Roll the right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
  • Rotate the torso to the right and square the hips.
  • Raise the arms above the head, perpendicular to the floor.
  • Bend the right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is vertical to the floor. Work towards having the thigh parallel to the floor.
  • Reach the arms up whilst grounding down through the legs.
  • Lengthen the coccyx toward the floor and arch the upper torso back slightly.
  • Keep the head in a neutral position and gaze forward.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release, press the back heel into the floor, lift the arms and straighten the bent knee. Relax the arms beside the body.
  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the same duration to the left.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Revolved Side angle pose

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

  • Stand with the feet wider than shoulder width apart and keep the legs straight.
  • Turn the right foot out to the right 90 degrees and left foot in 45 to 60 degrees.
  • Roll the right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
  • Reach the arms actively out to the sides of the body at shoulder height.
  • Pivot the torso to the right, and square the hips so they are in line with the right leg.
  • Bend the right knee over the right ankle until the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Work towards having the thigh parallel to the floor.
  • Twist the left hip around to the right, and firmly ground the left heel.
  • Turn the torso further to the right and lean forward over the front leg.
  • Reach the left hand down on the shin, ankle or the floor.
  • Once steady, extend the right arm up towards the ceiling.
  • Keep the head in a neutral position or turn it to gaze at the right arm.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release, press the back heel into the floor, untwist and reach the torso up to centre.
  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the duration to the left.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Side angle pose

Parsvakonasana

  • Stand with the feet wider than shoulder width apart and keep the legs straight.
  • Turn the right foot out to the right 90 degrees and left foot in 45 to 60 degrees.
  • Roll the right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
  • Reach the arms actively out to the sides of the body at shoulder height.
  • Bend the right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Work towards having the thigh parallel to the floor.
  • Bend from the hip joint and extend the torso to the right directly over the right leg.
  • Rotate the torso to the left and keep the two sides of the waist equally long.
  • Rest the right hand on the shin, ankle or the floor.
  • Stretch the left arm towards the ceiling.
  • Keep the head in a neutral position or turn it to gaze at the left arm.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release, press the back heel into the floor and reach the torso up to the centre then straighten the bent knee.
  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the same duration to the left.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Revolved triangle pose

Parivrtta Trikonasana

  • Stand with the feet wider than shoulder width apart and keep the legs straight.
  • Turn the right foot out to the right 90 degrees and left foot in 45 to 60 degrees.
  • Roll the right thigh outward, so that the centre of the right knee cap is in line with the centre of the right ankle.
  • Reach the arms actively out to the sides of the body at shoulder height.
  • Pivot the torso to the right, and square the hips so that they are in line with the right leg.
  • Twist the left hip around to the right, and firmly ground the left heel.
  • Turn the torso further to the right and lean forward over the front leg.
  • Reach the left hand down on the shin, ankle or the floor.
  • Once steady, extend the right arm up towards the ceiling.
  • Keep the head in a neutral position or turn it to look up at the right arm.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release, press the back heel into the floor, untwist and reach the torso up to centre.
  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the same duration to the left.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Triangle pose

Trikonasana

  • Stand with the feet as wide apart as comfortable and keep the legs straight.
  • Turn the right foot out to the right at 90 degrees and turn the left foot in slightly.
  • Roll the right thigh outward, so that the centre of the right knee cap is in line with the centre of the right ankle.
  • Reach the arms actively out to the sides of the body at shoulder height.
  • Bend from the hip joint and extend the torso to the right directly over the right leg.
  • Rotate the torso to the left and keep the two sides of the waist equally long.
  • Rest the right hand on the shin, ankle, or the floor.
  • Stretch the left arm towards the ceiling.
  • Keep the head in a neutral position or gaze up at the left arm.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • To release, press the back heel into the floor and reach the torso up back to centre.
  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the same duration to the left.
  • Practice up to 5 rounds.

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Double angle pose

Dwikonasana

  • Stand with the feet shoulder width apart.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands behind the body with the arms straight.
  • Arch the back slightly, pushing the buttocks behind a little.
  • Bend forward from the hips until the back is horizontal and forms a right angle with the legs.
  • Raise the arms behind the back as high as comfortable.
  • Hold for up to 5 seconds then lower the arms to the back and slowly return to the upright position.
  • Release the hands, rest the arms beside the body and consciously relax.
  • Practice up to 10 rounds.

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Right angle pose

Samakonasana

  • Stand with the feet together and the arms beside the body.
  • Raise the arms and straighten them above the head.
  • Bend the wrists allowing them to be limp with the fingers pointing forward.
  • Arch the back slightly, pushing the buttocks behind a little.
  • Bend forward from the hips until the back is horizontal and forms a right angle with the legs.
  • Ensure the head, neck and spine are in a straight line and the legs are straight.
  • Hold for up to 5 seconds then slowly return to the upright position with the arms above the head, aligned with the back.
  • Lower the arms and relax the body.
  • Practice up to 10 rounds.

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Dynamic energy pose

Druta Utkatasana

  • Stand with the feet together or slightly apart.
  • Join the palms in front of the chest then raise and straighten the arms above the head.
  • Bend the knees and slowly lower the buttocks about ⅓ of the way down to the floor.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then raise the buttocks, straighten the knees and return to standing.
  • Keeping the spine straight, this time lower down ½ way.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then return to standing.
  • Finally, bend the knees and lower the buttocks down as near to the floor as appropriate.
  • Then return to standing, lower the arms and relax the body.
  • Practice up to 10 rounds.

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Squat and rise pose

Utthanasana

  • Stand with the feet about one metre apart and have the toes turned slightly out to the sides.
  • Check that the knees are in line with the toes and ensure they stay this way throughout the practice.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands in front of the body and let them hang loosely.
  • Keeping the spine straight, slowly bend the knees and lower the buttocks down about ⅓ of the way.
  • Raise the buttocks, straighten the knees and return to standing.
  • Keeping the spine straight, this time lower down ½ way.
  • Return to standing.
  • Finally, bend the knees and lower the buttocks down as near to the floor as appropriate.
  • Return to standing and relax the body.
  • Practice up to 10 rounds.

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Swaying Waist rotating pose

Tiryaka Kati chakrasana

  • Stand with the feet about shoulder width apart and keep them firmly on the ground throughout the practice.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands in front of the body and turn the palms down.
  • Raise the arms above the head and stretch up.
  • Bend forward from the hips to form a right angle between the legs and the torso.
  • Either gaze towards the hands or keep the head and neck in line with the spine.
  • Slowly swing the arms and trunk to the right, as far as appropriate.
  • Then swing the arms and trunk to the left, as far as appropriate.
  • Then return to centre, engage the core muscles and raise the torso upright.
  • Release the hands and bring the arms down beside the body.
  • Practice 5-10 rounds.

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Waist rotating pose – Kati chakrasana

Kati chakrasanaKati chakrasana

  • Stand with the feet about shoulder width apart and keep them firmly on the ground throughout the practice.
  • Raise the arms out to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Twist to the right.
  • Take the left hand to the right shoulder, wrap the right arm around the back and take the right hand around the left side of the waist.
  • Look over the right shoulder to gently accentuate the twist.
  • After a few seconds return back to the centre with the arms out to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Twist to the left.
  • Take the right hand to the left shoulder, left hand wraps around to the right side of the waist.
  • Look over the left shoulder to mindfully increase the twist.
  • After a few seconds return back to the centre and practice 5-10 times to each side.

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Swaying palm tree pose – Tiryaka tadasana

Tiryaka tadasanaTiryaka tadasana

  • Stand with the feet more than shoulder width apart.
  • Fix the gaze on a point in front.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands in front of the body and turn the palms down.
  • Raise the arms above the head and stretch upwards.
  • Bend from the waist to the right side.
  • Hold for a few seconds then return back to centre and stretch up.
  • Bend from the waist to the left side.
  • Hold for a few seconds then return back to centre.
  • Practice up to 10 rounds to each side.
  • To end the practice, return to the centred position, release the hands and bring the arms down beside the body.

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Palm Tree Pose – Tadasana

TadasanaTadasana

  • Stand with the feet together or slightly apart and place the arms beside the body.
  • Balance the weight of the body equally on the feet.
  • Interlock the fingers of both hands in front of the body and turn the palms down.
  • Raise the arms and rest the hands on the head with the palms facing upwards.
  • Fix the gaze on a steady point in front to help with balance.
  • Stretch the arms up to the ceiling and simultaneously lift the heels from the floor coming onto the toes.
  • Hold for a moment or two, stretching the whole body the lower the backs of the hands to the head and the heels to the floor.
  • Relax for a few seconds before practicing another round.
  • Repeat up to 10 rounds.
  • To end the practice, release the hands and lower the arms down beside the body.

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