Extra Gentle Yoga Standing Poses
Stand by your chair for balance if needed, with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing forward. Let your abdomen soften so you can breathe diaphragmatically. Tip or tuck your pelvis, (bring your navel toward your spine) to establish the normal curves of the spine. Balance front and back, left and right, until the body feels relaxed. Soften the knees and relax, and roll the shoulders back so that you can feel your heart open. Put your hand on your abdomen and practice breathing. As you inhale feel the belly expand; as you exhale feel it contract.
From tadasana, on an inhalation, turn your palms forward and circle your hands upward. Interlock your thumbs overhead, palms still facing forward and stretch tall. On the exhalation, extend the stretch to your left and slide your hips slightly to the right, so the entire body forms a graceful sideways arc. Relax your shoulders down away from the ears, remaining slightly on your toes if this is comfortable. Keep your body in a single plane, as though pressed between two panes of glass. Try not to twist, or lean forward or backward. Actively lengthen the entire left side of your body. If you need the chair, raise one arm instead of two, using the arm not raised to hold on to the chair.
From tadasana, standing in back of your chair, inhale and circle your hands out to the sides and overhead, stretching tall. Bring your palms together and bring them slowly down the center of your body stopping first at the point between the eyebrows. Stay relaxed and feel the energy of this center.
Again begin to slowly move the hands downward, stopping at the heart. Relax and feel this center.
As you now exhale, push your sitbones back behind you, and bend forward from your hips keeping your spine straight and knees bent. Place your hands on your thighs, and lead with the heart. If you wish you may hold onto the back of the chair. Then relax your head and neck, then just relax.
To exit from the pose, come up slowly using either the chair or the hands on the thighs to help push you up.
From tadasana, step your left foot straight back about 2-3 feet. Turn your left foot out slightly, and bring your left hip forward so your entire pelvis faces forward. Slightly bend your right knee. Tuck your pelvis. Keeping your lower body stationary, inhale and circle your arms out to your sides and overhead, lengthening your spine and lifting through your heart into a gentle backward bend. Bring your palms together. As you exhale, soften your elbows and relax your shoulders down away from your ears, shoulder blades releasing down your back. Lead the backward bend with your heart, opening your chest and shoulders while keeping your pelvis tucked and shoulder blades apart. Exit on an inhalation, straighten your right leg and lengthen in the spine, returning to vertical as you stretch upward through your arms. On the exhalation circle your arms slowly back to your sides.
Step to the right of your chair. Spread your legs comfortably apart. Point the left foot toward the back right leg of the chair, make sure your left knee is aligned with your left toes. With your hands on your hips, lengthen your torso to the left with the left underside of your rib cage long and open. At the same time release your left hip joint downward and keep your spine long and straight. Imagine your left elbow is the tea pot spout, and you are pouring tea. When you have gone to the left as far as is comfortable, release your left arm and rest it on the chair, or the leg if you are not using a chair. Raise your right arm to vertical, palm facing forward. Exit by bending the left knee and pushing up with the left arm.
From tadasana, turn your palms forward. On an inhalation, bring your arms forward and up to horizontal as you come up onto the balls of your feet. Bend your knees and come down as though sitting onto the edge of a high stool. Keep your spine long and straight and the shoulders soft. To exit, inhale and lengthen.
From tadasana, shift your weight onto your left foot, rooting your foot into the floor. Fix your gaze on a stationary point on the wall in front of you. Leave the ball of your right foot on the floor and rest your right heel just above the ankle.
On an inhalation, circle your hands out to the sides and up overhead, bring your palms together as you stretch tall. On the exhalation, soften your elbows and shoulders as you keep your spine long. To exit, inhale and extend you arms straight overhead, then exhaling, release and circle your arms back down to your sides. Release your right leg and bring your right foot to the floor, coming back into tadasana.