Hot Yoga Postures
If you've ever arrived early for a yoga class, you've probably noticed your fellow students running through some simple stretches on their mats. Though most classes do start with a warm-up sequence, it's a good idea for you to know a few basic poses that will help get you ready for the session ahead.
In addition to preparing your physical body, doing a few poses when you get on your mat gets you into your yoga mindset, providing an important separation from the rest of your day. Keep in mind that you don't need to do the fullest expression of each of these poses. You are just starting the move your body and shake off the cobwebs. You can also use these stretches for your home practice, before doing a yoga video, or just to relieve tension at the end of the day.Leg Stretch Leg Stretch. ohn Freeman/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
Begin to work your legs toward perpendicular to the floor, either one at a time or both together. There are a lot of options for how to do this. From the pelvic tilt position, lift one leg off the floor and aim the sole of your foot at the ceiling. Keep the other foot on the floor or bring it up to join the first one.
If straightening the legs is a challenge, it's fine to keep them bent. They also don't have to come to fully perpendicular. A strap around the sole of your foot may make this position more comfortable.
Once you are set up, begin to strongly flex and then point your foot. Notice how these contrasting positions feel different all the way up your leg. You are beginning to stretch the hamstrings, feet, ankles, calves, and fronts of the shins.Eye of the Needle Pose - Sucirandhrasana Eye of the Needle Pose - Sucirandhrasana. Ann Pizer
Remaining on your back, cross your right ankle over the opposite knee for eye of the needle pose. Since you are just getting started, you can keep your left foot on the floor, especially if you have tight hips. If you want a bigger stretch, draw your left knee toward your body. Go easy since your hips may be stiff at first and make sure to do both sides.Easy Pose - Sukhasana Easy Pose - Sukhasana. ohn Freeman/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
Come up to sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position. Place one or two folded blankets under your seat so that your knees are lower than your hips. Do a few neck rolls here.