Pose: Warrior II

Yoga instructor Katherine poses on Abby Road in London

Yoga instructor Katherine poses on Abby Road in London

 

Name of Pose: Warrior II; Virabhadrasana II in Sanskrit
Difficulty Level: Easy
Benefits: Stretches the hips and shoulders; lengthens the spine; stimulates digestion and circulation; and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles.

How to Get into the Pose

1. Begin in Tadasana pose (feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your side). Step your feet wide apart, inhale, and extend your arms.

2. Turn your right leg out directly to the side. Turn your left foot in slightly and align your right heel with the arch of your left foot.

3. Exhale and bend your right knee to 90 degrees. Hold for several breaths. Pull your legs toward each other to engage the muscles, inhale, and rise up out of the pose. Repeat on the other side.

Pro Tip: “Get your foundation set BEFORE raising your arms,” said yoga instructor Katherine Okon. “You can even look down at your feet, feel them grounded firmly on the mat. Once you raise your arms, soften your shoulders. Coordinate your breath with each movement.”

 

Pose: Modified Uttanasana

 

feet on mat

Co-owner Kathy in modified Uttanasana

Name of Pose: Uttanasana, done with a rolled-up mat and a block

Difficulty level: Beginner

Classes you might see this pose: All levels and therapeutic

Benefits: Opens up the hamstrings, calves, hips, and groin; Stretches the foot to relieve symptoms of plantar fasciitis; Stimulates internal organs.

How to get into it: Roll up a sticky mat really tight and place it on top of your mat. Step on the rolled-up mat with your feet hip-distance apart, heels on the floor, and ball mount of your feet on the mat. Pressing all four corners of your feet evenly into the mat, lift the toes to increase muscle energy in the legs and feel the stretch all the way up to the hips, then root from the hips back into the floor. Use a block under the hands if your hamstrings are really tight. Keeping the thighs back will help additionally in this therapeutic pose.