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Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
BENEFITS Warms up your hips and hamstrings to prepare for the deeper intensity of Ardha Chandra Chapasana, our final pose
INSTRUCTION Take a wide stance with your feet parallel to one another. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees, making sure your feet are lined up, left heel to right arch. Place your left fingertips to the floor on the outside of your left foot, and extend your right arm over your head. (Alternatively, place your left forearm on your right thigh). Keep the weight balanced between the front and back legs as you breathe and elongate all parts of your body. Hold for 3–5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Uthitta Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
BENEFITS Powerfully stretches your hamstrings while your leg is straight and turned out, in preparation for the same muscle action in the final pose
INSTRUCTION Take a wide stance with your feet parallel to one another. Turn your left foot out, making sure your feet are lined up, left heel to right arch. Place your right hand on your right hip and extend your left arm out in front of you. Firm your legs and bend forward, pushing your chest forward and your thighs back. Reach your fingertips down to the floor or a block in front of you. Once your fingertips are grounded, keep your legs straight and rotate your left leg externally as you move your left fingertips behind your foot to the floor or to a block. Lift your right arm up to the sky. Keep your legs strong, and elongate your body in all directions. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)
BENEFITS Opens and warms your hip flexors and quadriceps to prepare them for the bow in the final pose
INSTRUCTION Lie on your tummy and prop yourself up on your elbows. Bend your left knee and reach back with your left hand to grab the inside of your foot. Depending on your upper body flexibility, either stay here and pull your foot closer to your outer hip to stretch the front of your leg, or try slowly rotating your elbow toward the ceiling as your fingers slide over the top of your foot, so the base of your palm is pressing the top of your foot. Be sure to keep your knee in line with your hip. To increase the stretch, maintain a natural curve in your lower back while drawing your buttocks down. Be sure not to push your foot too hard if it hurts your knee. Hold for 3–5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
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