Seated yoga poses include symmetrical forward bending poses, janu sirsasana type poses, poses with one or both legs in lotus, marichyasana type poses, side-bending poses, and more.
Symmetrical seated poses include bound angle pose, wide leg seated forward fold and seated forward fold.
In Bound Angle Pose (baddha konasana) pose both knees are bent with the feet together. If you have your feet close to the pelvis this pose stretches the inner thighs. If you have your feet further forwards then this pose turns into a stretch for the outer thighs. For both positions try pushing your feet down into the floor.
In Wide Leg Forward Bend you can press your legs down into the floor. At the same time reach your ribs away from your pelvis. To add weight to this yoga pose lift your hands off of the floor. Then reach them forwards. Make your arms feel long! But keep your neck long and your chest open as you do so.
In Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) focus on creating an upward pull on your legs so that your quadriceps and hip flexors activate. Reach your arms forwards to add weight to the pose.
As you get lower, focus on pulling your lower belly in using your transverse abdominus muscles. If your low back is ucomfortable you may find that stretching your hands forwards activates your latissimus dorsai which in turn helps to support your lower back.
While seated it is easy to place your hands behind you and lift your pelvis to backbend your hips and spine. For reverse plank in particular, try pulling your hands forwards against the floor as you lift your hips.
For boat pose you can first try lifting your feet an inch off of the floor. Then do it with shins parallel to the floor. Then try it with knees straight. To give your hips a rest, do table top pose, then boat pose, then reverse plank.
The janu sirsasana series of seated yoga poses can be used to stretch the hamstrings one leg at a time. They also work on the knee of the bent knee leg in different ways.
In janu sirsasana A the foot is placed against the inner thigh.
In the Janu sirsasana B variation place your anus on top of the heel.
In the Janu Sirsasana C variation place the sole of the foot against the inner thigh with the heel uppermost and the ball of the foot on the floor. In this position the shin is folded to the inside of the thigh and is externally rotated. In comparison the same foot in janu sirsasana A is internally rotated.
Notice the similarity of the Janu Sirsasana C foot position to the half bound lotus seated yoga poses.
When the foot is in lotus, the shin moves inwards slightly relative to the thigh (similiar to Janu Sirsasana C).
Postures that may help you move towards lotus, or that help to open the hips so that lotus is less stressful on the knee include yoga pigeon pose, double pigeon, screaming pigeon, low lunge and painful pose.
You could also use janu sirsasana C either as a preparation or as a substitute for the half lotus seated yoga pose.
For half bound yoga lotus forward bend (ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana) you may find it helps to bind if you twist away from the lotus leg.
If you can't bind, you can still do the forward bend. You can press the elbow of the straight leg arm into the foot. Use the elbow to press the foot back.
For standing one leg lotus forward bend read the ardha baddha padmasana article.
Once you can get your feet into lotus on one side you can then work towards full lotus (padmasana) seated yoga pose. I would suggest practicing both sides.
From an organ stimulation point of view, the left foot on top position (shown) is the preferred method since the left heel can then stimulate the liver and the left foot the stomach. The liver is higher than the stomach.
However, this will only happen if your lotus is very tight (the knees moving inwards and the heels pressing into the lower belly.)
In particular this happens when you bind both feet and/or bend forwards.
I don't practice lotus enough to offer an "expert" or "experienced" opinion and so ideally, try both options, notice the results and make your decision based on your own observations.
Where lotus pose involves an external rotation of the thigh and also an inwards movement of the shin relative to the thigh, hero pose is an inward rotation of the thigh with an outwards movement of the shin relative to the thigh. You can think of hero pose as a sort of kneeling yoga pose.
Bharadvajasana has a leg in hero and a leg in lotus. And it's a twist. So it's "self balancing." It doesn't need a counterpose. It may be one of the easier "traditional" seated yoga poses with a lotus element simply because the torso is upright.
Easier marichyasana seated yoga poses include modified marichyasana positions where the non-marichyasana foot in in hero position or the basic janu sirsasana a position. These are handy for learning to bind.
Generally the binding hand grabs the other hand but I'd suggest switching hands for a slightly different experience of these seated yoga poses.
Once you have bound I'd suggest using your arm to press against the leg. You can also press your leg against the arm to add tension to the pose. This tension may help give the pose greater integrity. Keep your neck long and make your arms feel long when preparing to bind.
In Triang Muka Eka Pada Paschimottansana try pressing down with the straight leg to stay balanced as you lean forwards in this seated yoga pose.
Reclining Half Hero is a nice way to stretch the quad and hip flexors of the bent knee leg.
Side bending seated yoga poses stretch the side of the body.
With one knee bent the usual option is to bent towards the straight leg.
When bending one knee you can fold the shin to the outside of the thigh (hero position) or to the inside (janu sirsasana position.)
If you are less flexible try bending the knee(s).
You can also place the lowermost hand to the outside of the thigh if you find you are tipping backwards.
The following seated poses include hamstring stretches, hips stretches and twists.
Frog pose is similiar to half hero side bend except that you bend forwards between your legs. This can be quite intense on the inner thighs.
In Ardha Matsyendrasana you can bind the hand or more traditionally, grab the foot of the upright knee with the arm along the outside of the thigh.
Once you are comfortable either grabbing the foot or binding, you can experiment with pressing the thigh against the arm while at the same time pressing the arm against the thigh.
The picture above shows a modified or preparatory position with the arm hugging the knee. In this position you can still use both arms to drive the twist.
Modified compass pose (or modified heron pose) is a preparation for compass pose but also an easy way to do heron pose since the bent knee leg isn't in hero position.
In this pose focus on relaxing your shoulders so that you can keep the hip joint decompressed You may find it easier then to pull the leg back.
In compass pose with the leg behind the shoulder, relax the shoulder of the grabbing hand until you get the knee straight. Then if you like pull the leg inwards. As you straighten the leg in compass pose, roll the leg so that the knee points towards the ribcage, like it does in either of the side bending yoga pose half hero side bend or janusirsasana side bend.
This pose can be a good preparation for the arm balance eka pada kundinyasana.
Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.
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A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.
Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.
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Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.
How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?
Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.
Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.
Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?
Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.
Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.
An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?
Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.
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Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.