Seeking Freedom (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose) is considered a standing pose although it has elements of a forward extension and an inversion as well.

The biggest difference between a dog doing this pose and us humans is that the dog usually does this pose with joy and abandon!

Start by using the support of a wall for the hands. 

Then, take the support of the wall for your heels.

If you don't have a wall to use, grab the sides of the mat with your hands and use a block to support your head. 

You do not need to seek freedom on a different land for it exists within your body, heart, mind and soul
— B.K.S. Iyengar

One of each? (Seated Vinyasa)

Now, put the seated poses together! 

Sit it Upavista Konasana (Extended Angle pose) with both legs straight.

Then, bring the right leg into Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle pose)

Then, bring the right leg into Virasana (Hero's pose)

Then, bring the right leg into Janu Sirsasasana (Head of the Knee)

Go back to Upavista Konasana and try the other leg

Keep the hips level as you work on the action of the bent leg. Take height as needed to protect the back and knee.

Great warm-up for Padmasana (lotus pose)

I am standing on my own altar; The poses are my prayers.
— ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

Express Yourself (Janu Sirsasana)

Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee or Head of Knee pose) is a seated forward bend which teaches the actions of all the other seated forward bends and prepares us for the "king" of forward bends, Pashimottanasana (Intense stretch of the West).

Before we can bring our heads down in seated forward bends, we must learn to lengthen and extend our front body so the chest does not collapse. 

As with the other seated poses, take blanket height to keep the pelvis tilted up as necessary. 

Start with you hands by the sides of your hips and use the arms to lift the chest.

The straight leg is like Dandasana. The bent leg is somewhat like Baddha Konasana and Virasana. Be sure to keep any twists out of the bent knee to protect your knee.

If your knee hurts in this pose, sit higher up on more support.

Now raise your arms up AND keep your hips and legs grounded.

Then, extend forward and grab the sides of your straight leg foot. If you cannot reach, grab your shin or use a belt.

Elongate the front of the spine from the navel to the chest towards the sky AND keep your straight leg grounded into the floor.

The material body has a practical reality that is accessible. It is here and now, and we can do something with it. However, we must not forget that the innermost part of our being is also trying to help us. It wants to come out to the surface and express itself,
— B.K.S . Iyengar


KISS: Keep it simple poopoosticks! (Dandasana)

Disclaimer: The modified quote above with "poopoosticks" added is courtesy of my young cousin Cece.

Dandasana (staff pose) is the foundation of all seated postures. Simple, not easy, I am reminded of a time years ago in a workshop with Kofi Busia where we sat in this pose for 30 minutes without support while he waxed philosophical!

Start sitting on the floor in front of a stack of blankets so that you can actually feel the touch of your hips and legs on the floor

Use your arms to keep the chest lifted and also to take some weight off the legs so you can adjust them. 

Test the strength of your legs by bringing your arms up to Urdhva Hastasana (arms extended).

The “staff” in this pose is the spine which must remain completely upright extended. If your “staff” falls back then take blanket support under your hips.

To protect your lower back, ensure that you can sit on the center of your pelvic “sit bones” and keep the legs absolutely straight.

Then, reach forward to Urdhva Mukha Dandasana (upward facing) and grab your feet, shins or a belt. Lead with your chest (heart) not your head.

Keep your legs and hips grounded into the earth. Your middle and lower back moving forward in a back extension. And lengthen your front body from navel to sternum towards the sky.

“The aim of yoga is to calm the chaos of conflicting emotions.”
— B.K.S. Iyengar

No seriously, HERE'S where the FUN begins (Prasarita Padattonasana)

Prasarita Padattonasana (Wide leg intense stretch) is a standing forward extension pose that helps us to become comfortable being upside down. 

The arm actions can help us to create the stability needed in the shoulder blades for Sirsasana (headstand) and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)

Please make sure your head is supported on the floor or a block before attempting the arm movements.

If you don't have stability in the legs yet then go back to the concave version from yesterday

Standing on the edge of a cliff....hold your ground (Parsvottanasana)

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) is another foundational standing pose

As always, we start at the base, creating earthy ground in our feet and legs

This is a balance pose, so try starting with your back heel at a wall

Don't allow the the back heel to become light as you come forward

The front foot engenders balance, particularly pressing through the ball of the big toe

Keep your chest open and well lifted throughout

Putting things together (Parsvakonasana)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Flank Pose) is another foundational standing pose.

See the post on strengthening the outer hip in Virabhadrasana II

Why are we using a block here? That's right! To open the chest.

See the post on Urdhva Hastasana to work on the movements of the top arm

Oh the places you can go from here! (hint: Parsva Janu Sirsasana) and the places you have come from (hint: Vrksasana)