Yoga Poses

3 Poses to Prep for One-Legged Inverted Staff Pose

Open your shoulders, chest, and upper back, and practice rooting down through your forearms and lifting your shoulders away from the floor with these prep poses for Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana.

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Eka Pada Supta Virasana (One-Legged Reclined Hero Pose)

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Benefits
Stretches the thigh, psoas, knee, and ankle of your bottom leg and the
hamstrings of your top leg; extends your spine

Instruction
Lie in Supta Ardha Virasana (Reclined Half Hero’s Pose) with your left leg bent back and your right leg straight on the floor. Bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the mat. Extend out and down through your left knee. Bring your right knee toward your chest and hold onto it with both hands. Take a few breaths here before placing a strap around your right sole. With an end of the strap in each hand (like you’re holding reins), begin to straighten your right leg toward the ceiling. Stay here for at least 1 minute, and then repeat on the second side. 

See also Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

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Benefits
Opens shoulders, chest, and upper back; strengthens the upper body, butt, legs, and spine; stretches the abs and hip flexors; improves back flexibility

Instruction
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, parallel, and hip-distance apart. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor, just above your shoulders, with fingertips pointing toward your feet. Hug your elbows toward one another, press down through your palms, and lift up onto the crown of your head. (Note: You shouldn’t put too much weight on your head.) Pull back through your armpits, engage your shoulder blades onto your upper back, and press your sternum forward. Root down through your hands and feet, straighten your arms, and lift your head off the floor. 

See also Amy Ippoliti’s New Way to Wheel: A 6-Step Warm-Up

Dolphin Pose, variation with clasped hands

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Benefits
Opens shoulders, chest, and upper back; builds upper-body strength and awareness; teaches how to press down through the forearms

Instruction
From Tabletop, place your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Clasp your hands together. Tuck your outside pinkie finger inside the other so that the outer edges of your wrists and hands are flat and even. Press down through your wrists and forearms and lift your shoulders away from the floor. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back to come into Dolphin Pose. Keep your shoulders lifted as you take one or two steps forward and press the tops of your thighs back.

See also 3 Prep Poses for One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II

About Our Pro
Teacher and model Meagan McCrary is a yoga teacher in Los Angeles and author of Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga. To learn more, go to meaganmccrary.com