Plank Pose

The plank pose develops strength in your arms and legs. It helps to create a balanced and strong body. It is often used as a transition pose, leading or connecting one pose to another.

Yoga Poses Extended Pushup

1. Lie on your stomach, with your fingertips in line with your shoulders and your elbows bent in toward the body, toes curled under.

2. Push yourself up into an extended pushup position (the "up" end of the pushup) and hold.

Try to keep your body in a straight line from ears to ankles. You will discover where the weakest sections of your body are the longer you hold this position: They are the parts that start to sag toward the floor!

Breathe. Push your heels out to keep your lower back from caving in.

Come back down onto your stomach, or use this pose as a transition into the following arm balance pose.

Vashishthasana: Arm Balance

Vashishthasana (pronounced VAH-shish-THAH-sah-nah) is a pose named after the Indian sage Vashishtha. Vashishthasana strengthens the wrists and arms, and tones the lumbar and coccyx regions of the spine. It also develops concentration, nonattachment to either achievement or failure, and an undisturbed, steady mind.

Ouch!

Keep breathing steadily throughout vashishthasana. Don't let your hips droop down, because this will cause strain to your back and put undue force on your arms. Keep your elbows straight and keep your foot balanced on your leg. Don't let anything droop!

1. Begin in the plank pose.

2. Turn your entire body to the right, and balance on your right arm and foot on the side of your body. Your torso should be in a straight line, held in a diagonal to the floor by your right arm.

3. Lift your left arm up straight in the air with your palm facing forward.

4. Getting Started: Don't lock your elbow in this pose, or you could injure it. Keep your arm straight, but keep strength and flexibility in your elbow so you could bend it easily at any time during the pose (just as you would keep your knees just slightly bent rather than locked when standing for a long time). Your muscles should be holding your weight, not your elbow joint. And when you feel you can't hold your own weight for another second? For goodness's sake, stop!

Learning the basic standing postures is a great way to start, and balance poses will increase your stability. Practicing these basics will improve all aspects of your yoga practice and give you an inner peace and strength.

The Least You Need to Know

^ Standing poses like the mountain, triangle, side angle stretch, warrior, and lightning bolt are an important basis for strength and balance.

^ Posture isn't just about looking good. It has a profound effect on health and well-being.

^ Practice the basic standing postures before you progress to more complicated poses.

^ Balance poses like the tree, eagle, plank, and arm balance create stability and a centered sense of being.

^ Hatha is finding balance. (If you can't find the balance, let out a good "HA!" and try again.)

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