Sequence Wednesdays: Standing Series at the wall
Good morning everyone! I woke up with a horrible headache this morning and definitely considered going back to bed. But, then I wouldn’t be able to share this week’s sequence with you and that would be sad. So without further ado, here is my favorite set of poses to do against the wall. To make these poses feel amazing, you need to support your torso with the wall. It’s not super clear from the photos, but if you look closely, you’ll see that my back, shoulders, arms and head are leaning against the wall in the poses. Because I have a fairly large butt (I swear I talk about butts so much as a yoga teacher!), I need to have my feet about 6-10 inches away from the wall in order to lean comfortably. You’ll need to play around with the foot placement and find the right distance that allows your upper body to rest comfortably on the wall.
Step 1: Let’s start with triangle pose. You may also have noticed in the photo that I have placed a block against the wall in front of my let – we’ll need that in a minute. I’m not resting my bottom hand on the block or my shin because I am leaning into the wall. Using the wall as support, I can work on the openness in the chest and the length in the sides of the torso AND I don’t need to put any weight from my arms into my leg.
After hanging out here for as long as you like, you can head to Step 2. Moving into ardha chandrasana (half moon pose). In order to get the full benefit from the wall, I try to keep my torso planted onto the wall even as I shift my weight towards the block. You’ll bend your front knee and shift your weight off of your back leg, raising it up off the floor. If you are new to this pose, it might take a couple of attempts to shift your weight far enough to balance on the standing front leg. It can be fun to experiment with how much “push off” you need. Even if you don’t make it all the way up, this is a good exercise, so keep at it!
Step 3: You made it! Once you’ve successfully balanced onto your front leg, you’ll want to work on straightening it. Try not to lock your knee, and you can work with a microbend here if that feels right. Press your back heel (on the raised leg) into the wall and keep your torso against the wall. Looking at the photos, you can see that we’ve more of less turned triangle pose about 90 degrees. The same principles of opening the chest and finding length in the sides of the torso apply here as well. Your bottom hand should be very light – i.e. you are using it to balance but not putting a lot of weight into it.
Step 4: Bonus!! Look Ma, no hands! (Please ignore the horrible knee hyper extension in this otherwise awesome photo – I told you, I have a problem!) This pose always makes me feel like superman. I encourage you to play around and see what arm variations feel good and are FUN!
Step 5: Once you are done flying in ardha chandrasana, you’ll want to come out of it the way you came in, with control.
Optional step 6: Bring your back leg down to the floor, keep the front leg bent and come up to warrior II (not pictured). Finally, lean your front forearm onto your front thigh and raise your back arm up and over your ear for extended side angle pose (pictured below, though not against the wall).
Step 7: Come up, grab yourself some delicious cucumber water (courtesy of the wonderful photographer!) and rest!!
Tired yogini is…tired! Nothing like a quick hip release in upavista konasana.