Yoga for Stances

To start in downward-facing dog, begin on your hands and knees.  Walk your knees back a few inches and press in with your hands to lift your knees a couple inches above the floor.  Continue pressing your hands into the floor and send your hips back and up, keeping your knees bent.  Work on maintaining a flat back and slowly straighten your knees.  You can walk your feet forward or back in order to make this pose easier.

DownwardFacingDog

Zenkutsudachi: Warrior 1

From downward-facing dog, bring your right foot up and behind you, then forward in between your hands.  Plant your left foot on the floor with the toes pointed forward; this should be similar to zenkutsudachi, but try bringing your left foot in line with right (it’s okay if you don’t quite make it).  Keep your hips square to the front of the room, and move your back foot forward or back as necessary to accomplish this with the toes still pointed forward.  Bring your arms forward and up to come into the full warrior 1 pose.

Warrior 1

Hold for three to five breaths, then plant your hands on either side of the front foot.  Bring the front foot back to meet the left, then repeat on the other side.  This should open the hips and hamstrings and, over time, allow you to maintain deeper stances.

 

Zenkutsudachi to boubi shikodachi: flow between warrior 1 and goddess pose.

Come into warrior 1 once again.  From here, bend the back knee and turn the back toes out at 90 degrees, bending the elbows to a 90-degree angle and bring the elbows in line with the shoulders coming into goddess pose.

Goddess

Inhale back to warrior 1, then exhale back to goddess pose.  Repeat for three to five breaths, then switch to the other side.  This should help train the muscles for the quick changes between warrior 1 and boubi shikodachi in kata like Seisan.

 

Shoulder stance: warrior 2

From downward-facing dog, bring your left foot forward in between your hands.  Place your right foot on the floor, toes at a 90 degree angle or slightly forward.  Bend the left knee and come up into a standing position and bring your arms parallel to the floor.  Square your hips to the side and bring your gaze over the front fingertips.

Warrior2

After three to five breaths, cartwheel your hands down to frame the front foot.  Bring the left foot back to meet the front, then repeat on the other side.

Uchihachijidachi: wide-legged forward fold

Step your feet wide apart, then walk the toes in a bit.  They don’t have to be as far in as for uchihachijidachi, but walk them in as far as you can manage with this wide-legged pose.

WideLegs

With your hand on your hips, extend your spine long, then fold forward toward the floor.  Place your hands under the shoulders and begin to bend forward so your head starts to come toward the floor.

WideLeggedFold

If you can place your head comfortably on the floor, walk your feet in a bit until your experience a stretch through the inside and backs of your legs.

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