Big Toe Hold
Hug your right knee into your chest and grab your big toe with two fingers of your right hand. Stay here for three long, deep breaths. If you feel steady, gently extend your right leg forward. Lead with your heel. If your right leg doesn’t straighten all the way, down force it. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and stay steady with your breath. Stay here for three long, deep breaths. From your front extension, open your leg out to your right side. Stay here for three long, deep breaths then bring your leg back to the forward position.
Bird of Paradise
Begin by getting into bound extended angle: From warrior II, bring your torso forward over your front thigh. Press your right forearm into your right thigh and open your chest outward and up. Extend your left arm up and over your left ear. Look toward your left palm. If there is room, wrap your right arm around your back and hook your hands together. Lengthen your torso upward. Feel as if you are reaching upward with the top of your head and back through the outside edge of your back foot.
To move into bird of paradise, maintain the bind as you move your back foot forward so it’s parallel with your front foot. Slowly transfer your weight to the unbound leg. Now raise yourself up while keeping your bind, moving the bound leg upwards as you straighten up. Balance on one leg and hold the other leg in mid air. Once you feel stable, straighten the bound leg so your toes are pointing upwards. Focus your attention on the opposite shoulder.
Stand up tall with your feet parallel to each other, under your hipbones. Shoulders should be in line with your hips. Stand with your eyes closed for three long, deep breaths. On your next inhale, bend your knees and sink your hips down like you are sitting in a chair. Reach your arms up toward your ears, keeping your shoulder blades down your back. Relax your face. Allow your muscles to work for you without getting involved. If thoughts begin to enter your mind, observe them and then gently send them on their way. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. If your body starts to feel like it’s working to stay in this position, that’s a good thing, it just means you are alive and have a functioning body. Breathe fuller and deeper to give your body what it needs here. (Optional: Cross left leg over right knee before sinking down into one-leg chair pose.)
Shift your weight onto your right leg. Bend your left knee and grab the inside of your left calf with your left hand. Gently press your foot into your hand to open your back. Reach your right arm straight up. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. Try the other side.
From all fours, tuck your toes, left your hips, and press back into down dog. Reach your heels toward the ground. Relax your shoulders toward the ground and relax your head and neck. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. If desired, lift the back of your right thigh straight up for down dog split.
Hug your right knee into your chest. Bend your left knee and cross your right leg around your left leg, hooking your right foot on either side of your left leg. Wrap your right arm under your left arm. Sit down as much as you can and lift up through the arms to stay on balance. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. Unwind and do the same thing on the other side.
From warrior III, plant your right fingertips down under your right shoulder, open your left hip on top of your right, and open your torso toward your left. Extend your left arm straight up and look up toward your left fingers. If desired, lift right hand off the ground and extend both arms out over your head for half moon balance. Stay here for five long, deep breaths.
High Lunge Arms Up
Come into a low lunge. Press down through your feet and bring your torso up, aligning your shoulders above your hips. Inhale and lift your arms straight up. Relax your shoulders downward. Stay here for five long, deep breaths.
Starting in warrior III, slowly lean forward reaching your hands to the ground and extending the back leg up with toes pointed. Hold for five long, deep breaths.
Tree, Hands in Prayer
Shift your weight onto your left leg. Draw your right knee into your chest, grab your ankle, and press the bottom of your right foot onto your left thigh. If you feel wobbly keep your hand on your ankle while it’s pressed into your thigh. If you’re finding your balance really easily, reach your arms straight up or press your palms together in front of your chest. If this is challenging in an overwhelming way, place your toes on the ground and rest your foot onto your ankle. Press your palms together in front of your chest. Stay here for ten long, deep breaths. Come back to standing for ten long, deep breaths and try the same thing on the other side.
From warrior II, straighten your right leg so both legs are straight. Lean your torso forward over your front leg, keeping both sides of your torso long. Rest your right hand on your shin or bring your fingertips to the ground if you can. Lean back, open your shoulders, and extend your left arm up above your shoulders. Look up to your left fingers. Stay here for five long, deep breaths.
From high lunge, spin your back heel so your foot is planted on the ground, turn your right toes to face your front and your left toes slightly in so your hips and shoulders are facing your left. Open you arms straight out and away from your torso, right arm in front of you and left arm behind you, palms down. Look over your front hand. Bend your right knee so your thigh is parallel to the ground. Stay here for ten long, deep breaths.
From your high lunge, spin your back heel so your foot is planted on the ground, turn your right toes to face your front and your left toes slightly in so your hips and shoulders are facing your torso, right arm in front of you, and left arm behind you, palms down. Look over your front hand. Bend your right knee so your thigh is parallel to the ground. Stay here for ten long, deep breaths.
Hug your left shin into your chest, then extend it straight back behind you so it’s parallel to the ground. Flex your left foot and point the toes down. Bring your fingertips to the ground to stabilize yourself. Reach your arms out in front of you so your body is in a straight line from your fingertips all the way down your back and out through your left heel. Stay here for three long, deep breaths. Bend both knees slightly and again hug your left shin into your chest and place your left foot next to your right to come back to standing. Do the same thing on the other side, starting with tree pose first.