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ARM BALANCES

Kiana Ng Yoga

Are you new to yoga and looking to take that first class? To give you a head start, here are a few common beginner yoga poses that you might see in your first class!

Side Plank (Vasisthasana)

  • Start in down dog
  • Take feet together and step right hand about 1 inch forwards (wrist should not be directly below shoulder in side plank)
  • Keep feet flexed to roll on to the outside of right foot, bringing left hand to left hip
  • Lift hips towards sky
  • Extend left hand up

Options:

  • Take bottom knee to mat below hips so that the shin is parallel to back of mat, toes curled under
  • Take front leg on to mat in front of hips with knee bent to a 90 degree angle and toes pointing away from you
  • Place top leg in tree position
  • Hold onto the big toe of the top leg with the peace fingers of the raised arm

Crow Pose (Bakasana)

  • Start in malasana squat
  • Plant hands to lift hips and bring big toes to touch
  • Squat back down with knees wide
  • Reach hands out in front of you as far as you can
  • Slide hands back in with knees aiming to be outside of shoulders
  • Shift weight forwards into hands and toes (think: chaturanga)
  • Lift hips
  • Exhale to lift one foot up and then the other
  • Squeeze heels into seat & keep big toes touching

Options:

  • Start with feet on block
  • Place blocks underneath shoulders
  • Straighten arms

Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

  • Start in chair pose
  • Exhale to prayer twist (the deeper the twist, the better)
  • Squat all the way down with seat on heels to plant hands on floor
  • Shift weight towards arms
  • Lift hips
  • Exhale to continue to shift weight to the side and into the arms as you begin to stack your hips over each other. Hips should be in your midline
  • Keep ankles and knees pressing together
  • Squeeze heels into seat

Options:

  • Extend legs straight
  • Straighten the arm that the legs are not resting on
  • Place blocks below shoulders

Eight Angle Pose (Ashtavakrasana)

  • Start in sukhasana
  • Cradle right leg to open hip
  • Holding the top of the foot with left hand and the back of the heel with right hand, lift leg to try and hook knee on back of right shoulder
  • Plant right hand down on the right of the left leg and left hand on the left of the left leg
  • Engage left hip flexor to hook the foot on to the right foot
  • Exhale to shift forwards into hands as you kick through the heels to straighten out the legs and squeeze the upper right arm between thighs

Options:

  • Place blocks under shoulders

Firefly (Tittibhasana)

  • Stand with feet mat distance apart
  • Bend knees to fold forwards
  • Hold on to backs of heels with hands (palms facing down) to wiggle shoulders behind legs as best as you can
  • Plant hands on mat, fingers facing forwards
  • Slowly rock weight backwards into hands, feeling feet getting lighter until they float
  • Draw seat towards heels, engaging the core, and straightening the arms
  • Take gaze forwards and keep collarbone expansive as you begin to straighten the legs
  • The goal is to get your legs vertical

Options:

  • Leave arms bent to keep the legs horizontal (as shown in picture)

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya 1 (Eka Pada Koundinyasana I)

  • Follow steps to move into side crow (see above)
  • Once in side crow, extend legs straight
  • Split legs by taking top leg back

Options:

  • Place blocks under shoulders

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya 2 (Eka Pada Koundinyasana II)

  • Start in down dog
  • Take right knee to above right elbow, shifting forwards into plank position
  • Bend elbows like chaturanga to rest right leg on top
  • Shift weight into toes
  • Kick out through the right heel to extend leg
  • Engage back body to float back leg off mat

Options:

  • Place blocks under shoulders
  • Place back foot on block

Flying Pigeon (Eka Pada Galavasana)

  • Start in tadasana
  • Shift weight to left foot and cross right ankle above left knee with foot flexed & pointing down
  • Begin to sink your hips until hands reach the mat and seat sits on heel
  • Hook top of right foot to outside of left shoulder with right knee behind right shoulder
  • Lift hips to shift weight forwards into toes and bend arms
  • Press right shin into arms as you float left leg up and back behind you

Options:

  • Place blocks under shoulders

Grasshopper (Parsva Bhuja Dandasana)

  • Start in tadasana
  • Shift weight to left foot and cross right ankle above left knee with foot flexed & pointing down
  • Exhale to prayer twist to the left, aiming to get bottom of right foot behind above right elbow
  • Squat down with seat on heel and plant hands
  • Lift hips to shift weight forwards
  • Press right foot into right arm as you lengthen left leg away from the mat and to the right
  • Left outer thigh can rest on right arm to start, but work at using the left inner thigh to keep it floating

Options:

  • Place blocks under shoulders
  • Baby hopper variations

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