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How you transition from pose to pose is as important during a yoga practice as the poses themselves, according to Jason Crandell, a yogi who teaches alignment-based vinyasa yoga, since these вЂњbetween posesвЂќ are often the strength- and balance-builders. Move too quickly, and you disconnect your brain from your body, rushing into the next pose. Linger in transition poses long enough for an inhalation and exhalation before moving into the next pose.
Often, your instructor will call for mountain pose, which is a simple standing pose. This pose is often a place to reset your breath and rest before moving into a different pose. In this pose, you stand straight with your feet hip width apart. You can also stand with your feet together. You hold you arms along the sides of your body and face your palms out. Keep your shoulders down, which will open your chest.
Upward Dog/Cobra Poses
In most yoga flows, like what you'll find in vinyasa or power yoga classes, you'll transition from chaturanga, which is a yoga pushup, into downward dog, where your body resembles an upside down letter V, via upward dog or cobra. The difference between these two transition poses is where your legs are. From this low pushup position, lower, then push the front of your body through your arms, lifting your chest and head high. To access cobra, keep your lower body and pelvis on the ground; to access upward dog, lift your lower body and pelvis so that the tops of your feet and hands are the only parts of your body touching the ground. These transition poses take some pressure off your biceps and triceps and give your hips more freedom to lift up and back, which they do when in downward dog.
Chair pose is one of the more intense transition poses, since it works your legs and arms at the same time. You may transition into and out of chair into a standing balance or one of the warrior poses. In chair pose, you bend your knees until they are over your toes, lengthen through your spine and extend your arms above your head, reaching your fingers wide and keeping your shoulders from creeping into your ears. If your shoulders hurt, you can put your hands on your hips. To intensify the pose, lift your heels. This is a transition pose of work, which can come between poses that focus more on balance than strengthening.
A resting transition pose, child's pose is always available during your yoga practice, whether your teacher calls for it or not. In this pose, you sit back on your glutes and bend your torso toward the ground. Stretch your arms in front of you or reach them back along your sides. You can touch your forehead to your mat, turn your head to one side or the other or place a towel under your head. You'll often transition through this pose between more aerobic portions of class. Accessing this pose gives you a chance to resume yoga breathing, if you've stopped, and mentally prepare for what comes next.