Yoga Poses

3 Ways to Prep for Scales Pose

Open your hips and hamstrings, create flexibility in your spine, and increase circulation to your core with these prep poses for Tolasana.

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Bound Angle Pose, variation

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Baddha Konasana

Benefits

Creates flexibility in your hips, groins, and knees; brings circulation to your 
abdominal organs; allows for good spinal extension; provides the opportunity to sit quietly

Instruction

Sit in Dandasana with your back against the wall. Relax your legs and place your hands inside your knees. Bend your legs outward, bringing the soles of your feet together. Draw your ankles toward your groin. Take a couple of breaths here. Place the block on its narrow setting between your feet, with your heels pressing against it. (For a deeper opening, use the block on a wider setting.) Relax your groins and allow your knees to move away from each other. Stay in the pose for 1 minute, then remove the block and return 
to Dandasana, observing the effects of the pose while taking a few breaths.

See also Lift Off: Confidence-Boosting Arm Balances

Head-of-the-Knee Pose

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Janu Sirsasana

Benefits

Opens your hamstrings; creates mobility in your spine; brings flexibility 
to your hips, groins, and knees; allows your breath to quiet

Instruction

Sit in Dandasana. Place your right hand inside your right knee, bending it out to the side. Bring your right heel to its own groin and tuck your toes under your extended (left) leg. Inhale and extend your arms up; exhale and bend forward to clasp either side of your foot, or use a belt. Lift your abdomen and chest; exhale to bend your elbows out to the sides. Descend first your abdomen, then chest, then forehead onto your left leg. If you are able, clasp your left wrist with your right hand. Stay here for 30 seconds to 
a minute. Return to Dandasana, and repeat on the other side.

See also Safely Modify Head-to-Knee Pose

Half Bound Lotus Seated Forward Bend

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Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana  

Benefits

Creates flexibility in your spine, hips, groins, and knees; quiets your mind; encourages circulation to your abdominal area

Instruction

Sit in Dandasana. Place your right hand inside your right knee, bending it out to the side. Lean forward and place your right foot at your left hip crease in Ardha Padmasana. Inhale and extend your arms up; exhale and bend forward. Hold onto either side of your left foot, or use a belt. Bring your abdomen over your heel, and bring your chest and head forward onto your leg. If possible, clasp your left wrist with your right hand. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. Return to Dandasana and repeat on the other side.

See also The Truth About Forward Bends

About Our Pro
Iyengar Yoga instructor Koren Paalman studied with B.K.S. Iyengar and his daughter Geeta, and has been teaching yoga since 1995 to both adults and youths in a variety of settings. In 2007, Paalman founded Conscious Grieving, a grief-support service that combines yoga with other modalities in individual consultations and workshops nationally. Learn more at korenyoga.com