Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), standing with your feet a few centimetres apart and your arms at your sides.
Feel into the soles of your feet and snuggle them comfortably and evenly on the ground.
Place your awareness in the region of your pelvis. See if you can get a feel for the pelvis as a centre of stability and movement in your pose.
Settle the pelvis comfortably on the legs and the soles of the feet. Bring your pelvis to its neutral position, balancing over the feet, with your lower belly facing forward.
From the pelvis, lift softly through the belly, heart and crown.
On an inhalation, sweep your arms out to the side and up overhead. Touch your palms and cross your thumbs. Reach up to the ceiling, so the shoulders come up to the ears. And then release the shoulder blades down, relaxing the shoulders away from the ears.
On an exhale, press your left hip out to the (left) side and bow your trunk and arms to the right. Keep your feet grounded. Lengthen through the length of your spine and arms.
Gaze softly forward toward the horizon.
For a deeper side stretch, draw your top elbow back, opening the heart, and cast your gaze up to the ceiling.
Hold for a few breaths to allow the sensations to land. Then on your next inhale, come back to centre.
Repeat on the other side.
Exhaling, float your arms back down to the sides of the body.
Repeat this flow as long as you see fit. Then pause in Mountain Pose for a breath or two. Invite a moment of stillness and notice how you're feeling.
Keep your shoulders on the same plane as your hips and ankles. Try not to let your upper torso drop forward or too far back.
If it’s difficult to straighten your arms when they’re overhead, bring your arms farther apart — shoulder-width distance or wider. Stretch from your inner elbows to your palms to straighten the arms, and then extend through your fingertips. And then bow into the side bend.
Beginners can practice the pose backed up against a wall. The heels, buttocks, and shoulders can gently touch the wall for support.
Watch out for...
If you have a shoulder or neck injury, avoid raising your arms completely overhead. Instead, practice Mountain Pose or a gentler arm variation. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, check with your GP before practicing yoga.
For more of a challenge, stand with your feet together.
For less of a balancing challenge stand with your feet up to a hip distance apart. Gradually step your feet closer together as you gain confidence in your balance.
If your shoulders are a little tight, keep your arms as wide as your shoulders (or wider) throughout the pose.
If you can keep your arms straight without drawing your shoulders up, then press your palms together and cross your thumbs or interlace your hands, touching the tips of the index fingers together.
Alternative Poses Side Bend in any of the seated positions For example: Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Adept's Pose (Vajrasana) Staff Pose (Dandasana) Thunderbolt (Vajrasana) Hero (Virasana) Side Sitting (Bharadvajasana) Lotus Pose (Padmasana) Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana)
All Fours Side Bend (Parsva Bharmanasana)
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
If you have any questions about Lotus Leaf Yoga, please don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll be happy to help. email@example.com text: 07 514 777 777