1. Child’s Pose (Balasana) – personally, in my practice I love child’s pose for so many reasons. But as an instructor, I usually start my classes here because it can tell me a lot about the students in my class – I can quickly scan and see the following:
who has tight hips, shoulders, knees, ankles, etc.;
imbalances between the right and left side of a student; and
who is struggling to let go of thoughts or settle into their breathe for the class.
2. Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrkasana)– handstand takes me back to my childhood. There was probably a good 10 years of my life where I had put handstand to rest and never imagined I would endeavor to rise up on my hands again, let alone do it! Now, a few decades into my life, I love handstand because it reminds me to be playful. And to fall once in a while, yes. And that all things are possible. I love seeing students try handstand, because with a little bit of carefulness, it can be a really fun pose to succeed and fail at.
3. Half Pigeon (Ardha Kapotasana) – I often wish I could keep students in half pigeon for five-plus minutes on each side, but a 60-minute class just doesn’t afford for this. We’ve become much more sedentary in our lives and spend a lot more time sitting at desks, in meetings, in the car and even on the couch at home. Opening the hips up – really opening them – can help relieve some of the stress our sedentary lives place on our hips, lower back, psoas as well as help to protect our knees as we get up and get more active!
4. Twisted Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana) – This is a recent favorite for me. I just love all the things going on in this pose. As a beginner, you may only focus on the twisting of the upper body, but as you become more aware of your body in this pose, you will quickly realize there is a lot more going on – hamstring lengthening, hip opening, spine lengthening & strengthening, shoulder opening - and with some minor tweaks and adjustments, you can get a lot of this pose!
5. Plow Pose (Halasana) – There is nothing like a stretch from head to toe! Again, our sitting habits throughout the day do little to lengthen the spine and actually compress it. I love the length that plow pose creates in the neck, spine, lower back and in the backs of the legs. Head to toe!