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Building strength and flexibility with support

Building stability and flexibility through standing poses and forward bends.



In this sequence we will experiment with supports such as blocks, bolsters and folded blankets, and a chair, using them as leverage to help us get deeper into a stretch and increase our strength and flexibility.

Lie back over a three fold blanket in simple cross legs.
Come up for Virasana forward, placing the forehead onto the blanket.
Start to notice the length in the front of the body and the release of the groins, important for all forward bends.

Come up for Uttanasana, with the buttocks against the wall, feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall to take the strain off the hamstrings and to give freedom as you bend forward.

Now take a chair and go to Uttanasana again, feet in line with the buttocks and place the arms onto the chair back or the chair seat.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dog Pose) with the heels up the wall, to bring height into the hips to give a bit more release to the hamstrings.

Parsvottanasana, a standing forward bend, with the back foot to the wall and the hands to the chair. Keep the front of the body long.

Full Arm Balance preparation walking up the wall, and then Headbalance preparation, walking up the wall. Front body long, spread, and open the back of the legs.

Come back down to sit on the mat with extra blanket height as needed, with a chair placed to the front of your mat.
From Dandasana go forward to Paschimottanasana, taking the hands to the seat of the chair to help keep the front of the body lifted.
Then change to Janu Sirsasana, hands to the chair.
Triangmukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, blanket under the buttocks. Lift the trunk up as you go forward to your capacity, hands to the chair.

Come up to sit on the chair sideways, and holding the back of the chair turn to the right side. Then turn around and rotate to the left for a chair Bharadvajasana.

Lie on your back for Savasana with calves resting on the chair, and a blanket for the back of the head as needed.

View sequence

Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Building strength and flexibility with support
Handstand Preparation
Stand a couple of feet away from the wall with your back to it. Fold into Uttanasana and plant your hands on the floor. Then, activate your arms, open up your shoulders and collarbones, and walk your feet up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor.
Headstand Preparation with Blocks
Headstand Preparation
Place your forearms flat on the floor next to a wall and interlock your fingers behind the back of your skull. Keeping your head on the floor and your back straight, start to walk your feet closer toward your trunk. Straighten your back and pull your hips up to capacity. This can also be done with your feet to the wall.
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Seated Forward Bend
Make sure the backs of your legs are pressed firmly to the ground as you bend over to reach your feet. Release the spine. Use a belt if necessary.
Janu Sirsasana
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
Bend your knee out to the side and keep your sit-bones pointing downward as you stretch out over your extended leg. Use a belt if necessary.
Triang Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
Three-Limbed Forward Bend
Bend your left knee so your foot points straight back as you extend your right leg forward. Release your spine as you reach out to grab a hold of your extended foot. Use a belt if necessary. Repeat on both sides.
Building strength and flexibility with support
Sit on a chair and use the back and/or seat as leverage to help you twist your spine and chest. Repeat on both sides.
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.