This great little sequence always goes down well in class and makes a nice change if you're a tad tired (surely not!) of Sun Salutations. It can be demanding of the lower back so be sensible. Read the modifications at the bottom of the page before you get started ~ we don't want to encourage Lord Shiva as Destroyer!
Stay focused on your breath. It's quite logical here ~ inhaling as you lengthen, exhaling as you feel yourself contracting. As long as you stay with the breath, you are doing yoga. It's not about some notion of "the perfect pose".
Play. Have fun.
1. Rather than have arms extending overhead in Palm Tree (Tiryaka Tadasana), keep your hands at heart centre or on your hips, remembering to engage your core and root down through your feet. (You're also welcome to adopt a jaunty stance, as illustrated.)
2. If you're like me and as wobbly as a newborn deer in balances, in Lord Shiva's Pose (Parivrtta Natarajasana) you can always keep the toes of the lifting leg on the floor and focus on getting a beautiful twist from the waist.
3. If you have a stiff upper back and shoulders, remain more upright in Twisted Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana). My little stick man is rather pitched forward, oops ~ you may feel like this, but better to avoid it!
4. Right Angle/Same Angle Pose (Samakonasana ) can be a beast on the lower back and shoulders so keep your hands at heart centre. If that still feels a little too much, support yourself with your hands on your thighs ~ it's all gravy. Your body, your practice, remember? Make sure to keep some softness in the knees, no locking. You'll see I've drawn them a little bent to remind you.
5. In Forward Fold (Uttanasana), keep your knees bent if that's more comfortable for your back. To come up to standing, press into the outer edges of your feet and hinge up from the hips keeping the core engaged throughout. Alternatively, you could simply walk yourself up your body with your hands.
Disc issues or back injury, recent abdominal surgery, advanced pregnancy.