Standing poses invigorate the whole body, increasing strength and flexibility while improving balance. They are the foundation for many other poses.
Start in Standing Mountain, then move your legs so that your feet, still pointed ahead, are 3 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms overhead, lifting straight up from the shoulders, palms facing each other. Next, pivot your left foot about 45 degrees in and your right foot 90 degrees, turning your torso to the right so that it is facing the same direction as your right leg. Then, bend the right knee (no further than a 90-degree angle), keeping arms raised. Return to start position and switch to other side.
Start in Standing Mountain, then move your legs so that your feet, still pointed ahead, are 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Stretch your arms to the side at shoulder level, palms down. Turn your right foot 90 degrees, so that it is pointed directly to your right. Turn your left foot in slightly. Keeping your legs straight, bend to your right, placing your right hand on your right calf or ankle (or whatever is comfortable for you without leaning forward or backward. If youre a beginner, your hand may even rest on your thigh), and extending your left arm straight up, palm facing forward. Keep your spine straight and avoid the temptation to bend at the knee. Come up and repeat on the other side.
Take your weight on your right foot. Bring your left foot up to rest on the calf or inner thigh of the right leg. Press the foot and leg together. Bring your hands into prayer position, or open the arms up and out, like a tree. Hold the pose as long as you can breathe easily, then repeat on the opposite side.
Kalli Rasbury (pictured in photos) is a yoga instructor in Birmingham, Alabama.