Basic Asana Cycle #1/Week #4 (Fundamentals)


Level: Fundamentals
Theme: Rolling the tailbone to the heel, straightening the back leg


This is the fourth in our 4-week cycle of basic yoga poses.

The general theme of this sequence is backward extension. The primary thing to consider when learning backward extensions is to keep the lower back broad and long so that the extension happens higher up in the spine. The major impediment to this is tightness in the thighs. A tight thigh will pull on the hip bones, causing the pelvis to tilt and the lower back to arch. Thus the focus of this practice will be stretching the thigh to free up the muscles there, coupled with rolling the tailbone towards the heels or knees to lengthen the lower back. The first part of the practice focuses on creating length in the trunk, activating the tailbone action and opening the upper back and chest. In the standing poses, the awareness is in the back leg, grounding into the heel and extending the leg fully to open up the front of the thigh. Following that are a few reclined backward extensions leading into a restorative section.

Click here for a fully illustrated, printable PDF of the sequence.

The Sequence

Virasana (Hero Pose)
Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Supta Tadasana (Reclined Mountain Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Supta Tadasana (Reclined Mountain Pose)
Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Thigh Stretch at the Wall
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose)
Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) on chair
Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Click here for a fully illustrated, printable PDF of the sequence.