In this section, we introduce you to ten standing postures and describe the step-by-step process for each exercise. We also discuss the benefits and the classic (traditionally taught) version of the posture. We don't recommend the classic version for beginners because, in most cases, the postures are more difficult and sometimes risky. Here are a few tips before you get started with the standing postures:
✓ Many of these postures start in the mountain posture, so be sure to check out the "Mountain posture: Tadasana" section.
✓ When you try the postures on your own, follow the instructions for each exercise carefully, including the breathing. Always move into and out of the posture slowly and pause after the inhalation and exhalation (flip to Chapter 5 for more on breathing). Complete each posture by relaxing and returning to the starting place.
✓ When you bend forward from all the standing postures, start with your legs straight (without locking your knees) and then soften your knees when you feel the muscles pulling in the back of your legs.
✓ When you come up out of a standing forward bend, choose one of three ways:
• The easiest and safest way is to roll your body up like a rag doll, stacking your vertebrae one on top of other with your head coming up last.
• The next level of difficulty is to bring your arms up from the sides like wings as you inhale and raise your back.
• The third and most challenging way is to start with the inhalation and extend your arms forward and up along side of the ears. Then continue raising the upper, mid, and lower back until you're straight up and your arms are overhead if possible.
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