4 Limb staff pose
- Bring your hands shoulder width apart; stacking the shoulders, elbows, wrists.
- Your feet should be hip width apart and come to the balls of your feet, pressing your heels back.
- Engage your core and keep your hips lifted creating a line of energy from the crown of your head through your heels.
- Squeeze elbows into your body as you slowly lower down with control. Make sure that your elbows bend only to a 90 degree angle. So your shoulders are at the same level with your elbows. No lower than that because you can hurt yourself over time.
Place the following three points on the line:
- Inside of one knee
- Inside of ankle on that same leg
- Outside of ankle on the other leg
Make sure your knees, ankles, and hips are all bent around 90 degrees. You are now in the starting position.
To get into the forward position, imagine someone pulling you by the shirt straight forward over your shin.
Keeping your back tight, bring your chest forward over your shin.
If you let your back round, you are not getting into your hip as well as you could.
After finishing whatever stretching method you are using in this position, go to the backward position.
To get into the backward position, lean your torso backward a little bit, try to twist through the back leg hip, and get your hand on the ground.
Try to avoid twisting a lot through your spine. The majority of the motion should be in your hip.
Sometimes people have knee discomfort with this on the inside of the knee. Try pressing your knee actively into the ground. This helps many people feel good in the stretch.
Many people also can’t get their hand to the ground. If this is the case, using something like a chair or medicine ball to place that hand on. This typically helps people relax farther into the stretch.
- Begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting beside your hips.
- Keeping your spine straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor.
- Draw in your low back, lift your chest, and lengthen the front of your torso.
- Begin with your hands and knees on the floor.
- On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up towards your spine, really engaging your abs.
- On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax and go loose.
- Stand up. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor.
- Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible.
- Firm your shoulder blades against the back.
- Stay for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs.
- On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground.
- Rest in the pose for as long as needed.
- Bend your knees slightly so that you can bring your palms flat on the floor about shoulder’s distance apart.
- Plant your palms firmly on the mat about a foot in front of your feet. Spread your fingers wide and press into the top joint of each finger.
- Bend your elbows straight back.
- Come up onto the balls of your feet and open your knees so that they line up with your upper arms.
- Place your knees on the backs of your upper arms.
- Begin to bring your weight forward into your hands, lifting your head as you go.
- Come up onto your tiptoes, then lift one foot and then the other off the floor.
- Engage the inner thighs for support while keeping the knees on the arms.
- Hug your feet toward your butt.
- Focus on the feeling of the body lifting. Avoid sinking into the pose, which can dump weight into the shoulders.
- To come out, exhale and transfer your weight back until your feet come back to the floor.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. The fold of your wrists should be parallel with the top edge of your mat. Point your middle fingers directly to the top edge of your mat.
- Stretch your elbows and relax your upper back.
- Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles. Distribute your weight evenly across your hands.
- Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, then draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an “A.” Imagine your hips and thighs being pulled backwards from the top of your thighs. Do not walk your feet closer to your hands — keep the extension of your whole body.
- Press the floor away from you as you lift through your pelvis. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Now press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.
- Firm the outer muscles of your arms and press your index fingers into the floor. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms to the top of both shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Broaden across your collarbones.
- Rotate your arms externally so your elbow creases face your thumbs.
- Draw your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you, lengthening and decompressing your spine.
- Engage your quadriceps. Rotate your thighs inward as you continue to lift your sit bones high. Sink your heels toward the floor.
- Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel.
- Hold for 5-100 breaths.
- To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.
1. Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width) like you’re about to do a push up.
2. Ground toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working, too — be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
3. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
4. Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising your form or breath.
Laying down knee to chest
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. This is called the supine position.
- Gently raise one bent knee up enough so you can grasp your lower leg with both hands. Interlace your fingers just under the knee.
- If you’re doing the two-legged version, bring one leg up and then the other. Because taking both up at the same time takes a lot of abdominal strength, starting with one and then quickly following with the other is likely safer, especially for vulnerable backs.
- As with the single-legged version, if you are taking both up at the same time, interlace your fingers or clasp your wrists between the lower legs, just below the knees.
- Gently pull your bent knee or knees toward your trunk, using your hands.
- While you’re pulling, try to relax your legs, pelvis and low back as much as you can. The knees-to-chest better reaches low back muscles when used passively.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Return your leg to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side.
Low lunge hands clasped behind
Inhale in right lunge. Lower your right knee to the floor. Lift your chest and clasp your hands behind your back. Breathe into this pose. Return back to left low lunge.
Lie face down with your forearms on the floor and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your feet flexed with the bottoms of your toes on the floor. Clasp your hands in front of your face, so your forearms make an inverted “V.”
Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor — your body should hover a few inches off the floor in a straight line from shoulders to feet.
Draw your navel toward your spine and tighten your buttocks. Look at the floor to keep your head in neutral position and breathe normally. Hold for at least 10 seconds and lower yourself back to the floor.
Lunge with twist
- Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and arms at shoulder-height, elbows bent to form a goal post around your head.
- Take a big step forward with your right foot and bend your knees to lower into lunge while twisting your torso over your right leg.
- Return to standing.
1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Engage your core.
2. Take a big step forward with right leg. Start to shift your weight forward so heel hits the floor first.
3. Lower your body until right thigh is parallel to the floor and right shin is vertical. It’s OK if knee shifts forward a little as long as it doesn’t go past right toe. If mobility allows, lightly tap left knee to the floor while keeping weight in right heel.
4. Press into right heel to drive back up to starting position.
5. Repeat on the other side.
- First, roll up a hand towel up.
- Next, sit on a firm surface, and find your “butt bones” — the two bones at the lowest part of your posterior.
- Sit directly on top of those bones.
- Then take the towel and place it behind the bones, under your gluteal muscles.
- Once you find that perfect spot perched on the butt bones, contract your abdominals lightly and relax your upper body, especially the shoulders and neck.
- Arch your back by sticking your butt back and out and slightly moving your chest forward.
- In that posture, with your legs flat on the floor, lift your right leg, and place the ankle on the opposite knee.
- Hold for 20 seconds then repeat on the opposite side.
Reclining angle bound
- Lie down comfortably on your back, with your legs extended and your arms at your sides, palms face up toward the ceiling.
- Bend your knees to bring the soles (bottoms) of your feet together to touch. The outer (pinky toe) edges of your feet should be resting on the mat. Let the legs fall open and allow gravity to support the weight of the legs.
- Check in with your body. If your hips and groin are feeling tight, you can take your feet further away from your body; alternately, if you’re feeling more open, you can bring your feet closer toward your body to deepen the stretch.
- Relax your shoulders away from your ears and allow your back body to sink more deeply into the mat. Stay in the pose anywhere from one to five minutes, depending on your level of comfort.
- To come out of the pose, take the palms of the hands on the outer thighs to gently fold the legs together, and bring the soles of the feet flat down on the mat. Then, hug your knees into your chest and gently rock from side to side to release the low back.
- Stand on the floor.
- Bring your legs together and keep your feet one inch apart.
- Relax your shoulders and let your hands hang by the sides.
- Now, begin relaxing your shoulders while bending your knees a little.
- Begin raising your arms behind your back.
- Now proceed to join your palms and keep the fingers pointing downwards.
- Now, inhale and turn the finger tips inward towards the spine and rotate until your palms are joined as you turn your fingertips upwards.
- Make sure that your knees are slightly bent and your palms are pressed firmly against each other.
- Stay in the position for around 25-30 seconds.
- Close your eyes.
- Now begin turning your fingertips back downwards.
- Release your hands and bring them back to the sides.
- Take a one minute break and repeat the motion.
- Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs extended behind you, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides and your chin on the mat. Press the tops of your feet into the mat and spread your toes. Do not tuck your toes, as this can crunch your spine.
- Bring your arms up and rest your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor, parallel to each other. Point your middle fingers directly forward.
- On an inhalation, press your forearms into the floor and lift your head and chest off the floor. Press your pubic bone into the floor. Strongly engage your legs. Roll your outer thighs slightly toward the floor to help lengthen your low back.
- Keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Drop your shoulder blades down your back and draw your chest forward. Lengthen your tailbone toward your heels.
- Let your face and eyes soften. Draw your chin toward the back of your neck. Gaze at your “third eye,” the space between your eyebrows.
- Hold for up to 10 breaths. To release, exhale as you slowly lower your torso, chest, and head to the floor. Relax your arms at your sides. Turn your head to the side and rest quietly.
- Sit down on the ground with your legs together and extended straight out in front of you. Move the flesh out from underneath your sitting bones and root them firmly down into the ground.
- Flex your feet and press your heels down, distributing your weight evenly across the inner and outer leg. Activate your legs without hyperextending your knees, and gently draw your energy in toward the mid-line of your body.
- Plant your palms beside your hips with your fingertips pointing toward your toes, and press into your hands to sit up tall.
- Gently draw your low ribs in and find a slight lift in your sternum, bringing your torso perpendicular to the floor. Soften the tops of your shoulders and relax your shoulder blades down your back.
- Lengthen all the way from your tailbone up and out through the crown of your head, and tuck your chin in slightly toward your chest.
- Remain in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 breaths.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turn your feet out, externally rotating your hips.
- With your hands clasped together at your chest, push your hips back and squat down, keeping your back straight and your upper body lifted.
Wide angle forward pose
- Sat down, bring your legs wide apart, up to a point where you feel a good stretch, but can still hold the pose, maintaining a straight spine, and without falling back.
- Flex your feet, and keep your knees and toes pointed up towards the ceiling. Press your legs and sitting bones down, and lengthen up through your spine.
- With a long spine, bend from the hips. Place your hands between your legs on the floor, and slowly exhale as you start to walk your hands forwards.
- Maintain length along the front of your body as you come further into the forward bend. If you feel you are starting to arch your back, don’t lower any further.
- Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
- To come out of the pose, come up with a straight back, pressing your sitting bones down, as you exhale.