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Updated: Mar 7, 2020

The 3 most popular stances in Yoga Asana, we see them all the times in the Sun Salutations. To me, High Lunge, Warrior 1, Warrior 2 are must-have in a Yoga class. Very popular, we do them all the time, but to a beginner in Yoga, they can still be challenging.


HIGH LUNGE IN YOGA

High Lunge is not an original Yoga pose. It comes from the Lunge in other forms of training, introduced to Yoga as a variation or modification of the Warrior 1. Personally, I prefer to introduce High Lunge to beginners in Yoga. High Lunge put people in a semi-balance Yoga pose where their legs are trained.


Like in Chair Pose, raising the arms can create an unnecessary backbend for people with tight shoulders. We can find other positions for the arms so that we can focus on the lower body such as holding hands on the hips, hands on the thighs. Hands on the thighs is very helpful when we lift ourselves from the floor to High Lunge, especially from 3 Legged Down Dog to High Lunge in the Sun Salutations. Hands on thighs is a great pose for beginners in Yoga so they stand up straight. It's totally fine to bend the back knee. Depends on what benefits I want to gain from the class, I will choose to do High Lunge with a backbend or with neutral spine, and back knee straight or bent.


There's some balance feature in High Lunge for we are standing with only the toes on the back foot. Yoga beginners who are not used to balance can support the pose by put their heels on a block or on the wall. As you progress in Yoga, your body will get used to High Lunge and balance better.



Once we solved the lower body, we can find more variations for the upper body. Use a strap to help increase the mobility of the shoulders by tearing the strap apart as bringing the strap over the head. You can add variations such as backbend or side bend with the strap like I have demonstrated in Urdhva Hastasana. Some more variations are introduced in the Twist section.



VIBHRASANA 1 - WARRIOR 1

Warrior 1 looks easier than High Lunge, for now we are standing with both feet on the floor. It's easier to keep balance, yes, but the tricky part is that the hips still have to be ¨square¨ like in High Lunge. Warrior 1 gives you a calf stretch that High Lunge doesn't have. It feels easier to keep balance in Warrior 1 and that's where many people fall into the pose without finding strength on the back leg. For a flexible person, this may lead to colapsing in the knee or ankle. I am quite a flexible person and I have to put extra strength into my back leg so that my knee won't be hyper extended.



For a rather ¨stiff¨ person, the problem is that their hips are not square, but turning to the side in Warrior 1. Option 1 is to bring the feet towards the sides of the mat, so that you are in a wider stance, creating more space for the hips to square. Notice that wider stance not longer stance. And Option 2 is to make it a shorter stance, bringing your back foot a bit closer to the front foot, so that your hips can square.



VIBHRASANA 2 - WARRIOR 2


Warrior 2 is a simple and stable standing pose in Yoga but very powerful and strengthening for the lower body: legs and hips. I highly recommend this pose. Hold Warrior 2 for a while to feel the strength coming in your lower body. This pose is also strengthening for the arms and shoulders.


Warrior 2 is suitable for all levels, and I believe anyone who can go to a Yoga class can perform Warrior 2. Props are not so necessary. However, to make the pose more fun, we can try holding two blocks and feel how it heats up the arms!


Look funny, but try holding the two blocks, even bringing them up and down continuously or circling your hands with the blocks. It's really burning your arms!


From Warrior 2, we can do Reverse Warrior, a side stretch variation, or Extended Side Angle, which I have a whole post for. Use a strap to make the pose more interesting, a bit more challenging and improve shoulder mobility for someone with tight shoulders.


By holding the strap, when you move from Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle with the Bound, you already have the strap to support in bounded hands.

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Thank you for reading! More about Basic Standing Poses in Yoga:


See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:

  1. Grounding Poses in Yoga

  2. Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations

  3. Basic Standing Poses

  4. Standing Balance Poses

  5. Core Yoga Poses

  6. Backbends in Yoga

  7. Twists in Yoga

  8. Forward Bends in Yoga

  9. Arm Balance in Yoga

  10. Inversion in Yoga


Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!


Do you find the post helpful? Share to your social media!

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

Standing strong and stable. Balance and victorious. Humans evolved into standing and walking with two legs, setting the arms free to work. We are the only animal with a vertical spine to stand up straight:



David by Michelangelo. Symbolic human beauty with developed muscles at the core, hips, and legs to stand up straight.


But as time passes by, something tremendously wrong is happening as we are sitting more and more instead of standing which we were evolved to do. We sit at school, sit on the car /bus/train/bike/airplane, sit in the office, sit in front of the computer, sit on the couch to watch TV or sit to check the phone.


Sitting for a long time and sitting in bad postures cause many health problems. Some common problems are: rounded back, back pain, neck pain, low back pain, tight hips, tight hamstrings, weak buttocks, digestive problems, stress problems, tight muscles, nerve pain, etc... The chairs give too much support that the body loses the strength needed to hold good postures.


That's why to Yoga beginners, I always choose to introduce Standing Yoga poses. They are also the closest poses to daily activities. Standing Poses like the Warrior 1 & 2, Triangle, Side Angle, Pyramid, etc. are the foundation of lower body strength, on which we build stable Asanas.


And the first standing Yoga pose I would like to present will be a goodbye to the Chairs:



CHAIR POSE - UTKATASANA. When you sit, but there's no chair.


Fun fact: Utkatasana translated literally from Sanskrit means ¨the Difficult Pose¨. It's not so easy as it looks.


Chair Pose has a similar shape to sitting on a chair, but in an awesome way, it strengthens us and not weakens us. The shape of the pose is simple, only flexing at the hips and the knees. However, it could still be a challenge to Yoga beginners. For those who have tight shoulders, raising the arms over the head creates a backbend to compensate for tight shoulders.



We can choose to keep hands on our hips or arms along the body to take the backbend away from our spine. We maintain a neutral spine, which is also a good start to build core strength.


In Chair Pose, it's the hip joint that is holding the body weight. To focus completely on the lower body, we can do easier shapes with the arms such as hands on hips, arms to the front or to the back, prayer hands in front of the chest, etc.



Try Chair Pose with the wall. Put your back on the wall to ¨forget¨ about the spine for now, and focus even more on big muscles on your thighs and buttocks.


One last way we can prop up Chair Pose is to wear a strap around the thighs and push the thighs out to the straps to create hip external rotation. Now, your glutes will have to work and will be strengthened. Gain back what it lost while sitting too long!


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Thank you for reading! More about how to Prop Up Standing Poses in Yoga:



See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:

  1. Grounding Poses in Yoga

  2. Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations

  3. Basic Standing Poses

  4. Standing Balance Poses

  5. Core Yoga Poses

  6. Backbends in Yoga

  7. Twists in Yoga

  8. Forward Bends in Yoga

  9. Arm Balance in Yoga

  10. Inversion in Yoga


Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!


Do you find this post helpful? Share to your social media!



First, ABOUT INVERSION IN YOGA


Long story short, Inversion is when the hip is higher than the head. We already do an inversion in some basic Yoga poses such as Down Dog, Standing Forward Bend, etc.


In the Inversion in Yoga that I'm going to talk about (and prop up), except for Halasana or Plow Pose that I will introduce right now, the others are all inversion and balance. Inversion and balance are two separate skills, which means just like any other skills, each person has their own capacity. Also just like any other skills, we can train and get better at these skills.


When we go upside down, we need to focus and pay more attention to body awareness. Upside down together with balance make the Yoga pose even more challenging. When we invert, we lose a sense of direction. It's very hard to identify up, down, left, right. Therefore Inversion in Yoga is an excellent chance to practice concentration, calmness, and awareness.


The first inversion Yoga pose I want to introduce is Halasana - Plow Pose. This is an inversion without balance skill. At the end of the post is a list of other Inversions with Balance.


HALASANA - PLOW POSE


Some people can just roll themselves into a Plow Pose, however, this pose actually stretch deeply the backside of our body, especially at the neck and upper back. To people who are stiff on the backside, this pose is a lot of tension there.


When I do Plow Pose, I feel so much tension on my upper back, especially when I inhale deeply. My back tends to be rounded in Plow Pose, and the best support for the pose is a folded blanket padding underneath the shoulder to support and elevate. From here, my back gets more space and can rise straighter.



Many people choose to always support their shoulders in both Plow Pose and Shoulder Stand. Without the blanket, we risk pressing through the neck bones (cervical spine) to the floor, which is painful and not healthy. It's hard to hold the pose in pain, and moreover, we risk having wear and tear injury. The blanket helps us gain space for our neck and put our body weight right on the shoulder and not on the neck.


You can choose to clasp your hands or press your hands to the floor, but mind yourself that the action of the shoulder is to extend by pressing to the floor and squeeze the shoulder blades to each other (retraction).



Or you can bend your elbows and use your hands to hold your body in the pose. Use your hands to push your hips so that you can keep the hands on your back. The pushing action helps stretch upper back muscles. Now that you are bending the elbows, remind yourself to hug your elbows towards each other. In the photo, I'm doing an easy variation of Plow Pose with the knees bent. The knees can rest on my forehead or touch my ears.


When your knees feel quite close to the floor, you can find the floor with your feet. The next step is to slowly straighten your knees.



One way to do Plow Pose with your knee straights is to put your feet on blocks. It would be easier for you if someone can put the blocks for you. As a Yoga teacher, you can help people put blocks under their feet.



If you feel like you can put your feet lower to the floor, just kick the blocks away (haha).



One more way to prop it up, use the wall to put your feet on and walk down on the wall. In this case, you need to estimate the space between your head and the wall so that you can put your feet on the wall and extend your knees. In the photo, I'm a bit too close to the wall but by pushing my feet into the wall I still feel a good stretch in my hamstrings.


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Thank you for reading! More about how to Prop Up Inversions in Yoga:


See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:

  1. Grounding Poses in Yoga

  2. Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations

  3. Basic Standing Poses

  4. Standing Balance Poses

  5. Core Yoga Poses

  6. Backbends in Yoga

  7. Twists in Yoga

  8. Forward Bends in Yoga

  9. Arm Balance in Yoga

  10. Inversion in Yoga

Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!

Do you find the post helpful? Share to your social media!

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Ha-My Le, RYT500 Vinyasa Yoga teacher

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Email to hamyyoga@gmail.com

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