Beginner: Lotus Link is a beautiful practice for beginners to test the boundaries of their abdominal, arm and shoulder strength and flexibility while discovering where their true center lies. Keep your back straight and maintain proper and comfortable alignment of the head and neck with the spine. The breath body link is Lotus Link. Stretch arms overhead and cross the wrists on the inhale. Arms descend on the exhale and the elbows bend as the wrists and hands begin to open. Keep your shoulders dropping down and body aligned as you move through the link. Advanced: For the advanced yogi, focus on the hand placement and how the slightest adjustments can completely change the expression of each pose. The Lotus Breath Body Link will draw your attention to your hands, their grace, strength and fluidity. As you are comfortable with the timing of your breath, focus on using the energy from your center to lift the arms and provide graceful support to the hands as they express the unfurling of the lotus flower. Is your foot placement even? Be sure you are not leaning too far forward or backward.
Beginner: Crouch is a great way for beginners to work on lengthening the spine and hamstrings while strengthening the legs and feet. If you cannot sink your heels all the way to the floor, try widening your stance, or use a prop or folded towel beneath your heels. Advanced: The advanced practitioner contines to benefit from the crouch position by focusing on really lengthening the spine and focusing on keeping all three bandhas lifted and engaged. Are our elbows pressing firmly into your knees? Keep your chin and shoulders down.
Diagonal Flat Back
Beginner: Beginners can stretch the spine, arms and legs while strengthening the muscles of the abdomen in diagonal flat back. Keep your spine and arms straight as you lean back into the pose. Only go as far as you feel comfortable and no further. If you are uncomfortable in this posture, you may place a prop or pillow beneath your sitting bones to aid in proper alignment. Advanced: Now that you are comfortable in diagonal flat back, the advanced practitioner can focus on testing their balance a little, leaning a little farther back and using their core muscles to hold the position. Is your chin still gently tucked in? Really energize the arms and legs, reaching through the hands and feet, even the fingertips and toes. Feel grounded in the sitting bones as you extend in all directions.
Beginner: Upward-facing plank is a strengthening pose for the arms and lhamstrings, while stretching the chest and fronts of the legs. Be mindful of your wrists in this pose. If there is discomfort, try returning to center and repositioning the arms and hands. Advanced: Once you are comfortable in expressing upward-facing plank, the advanced yogi can bring mindful focus to the intricacies of the pose. Focus on really lifting and opening the hips. Are your arms directly beneath your shoulders? You should feel your weight even along the whole of your hand, not just in the heel of the hand.
Seated Forward Fold
Beginner: Beginners have a wonderful opportunity to stretch the hamstrings and spine in seated forward fold. If you tend to round your spine, consider placing a prop or pillow beneath your sitting bones to ensure a straight spine. Keep your chin tucked in and only go as far as you feel comfortable and no further. With repeated practice, you will deepen in the posture. Advanced: Seated forward fold is a rewarding posture for the advanced practitioner. Feel grounded in your sitting bones and keep your feet flexed as you settle into the pose. You can really reach your arms and wrap your hands around your feet, or even stretch your hands past your feet to feel a good extension through the length of the spine and through the arms.
Bound Angle Pose
Beginner: For the beginning practitioner, bound angle is a strong, foundational pose to practice. The posture will help open the hips and pelvis. If you feel too much of a stretch in your thighs, placing a prop or pillow under that area of each leg for more comfort. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across your sitting bones and spine is straight. Advanced: To deepen in bound angle pose, really focus on lifting through the chest while sinking the legs. Are your shoulders and chin dropped? Think of extending the line of the spine through the neck and up through the head.