Health

Yoga for 'Every Body'

Published 2:22 PM ET, Wed April 12, 2017
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Jessamyn Stanley's book, "Every Body Yoga," looks at how every person can pick up a yoga practice. Here are some poses to start with.

Mountain pose: Tadasana For the first in the series of standing poses featured in "Every Body Yoga," Stanley says, "Remember to shift your hips over your heels. Keep your pelvis neutral. Root in through your feet."
Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Upward salute: Urdhva Hastasana Before moving into upward salute, begin in mountain pose. "Extend through your fingertips. Relax the sides of your neck. Lengthen through the sides of your body. Distribute weight evenly through your feet," Stanley says. Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Standing forward fold: Uttanasana "On the exhale, fold forward from your hips as you draw your arms, hands and heart to the floor," Stanley says. "Keep your hips stacked over your knees. Relax your shoulders. Let your neck hang long and loose." Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Standing half forward fold: Ardha Uttanasana You can do this pose supported, with a block under your hands or unsupported, with your fingertips directly on the floor. Key suggestions from Stanley include, "Keep your weight stacked over your heels. Keep you spine long and shoulders relaxed. Keep your hands down or on your shins as you lift your chest. You can bend your knees in order to keep your hands on the ground." Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Downward-facing dog: Adho Mukha Svanasana One of the poses most widely associated with yoga, downward-facing dog can also be done with modifications for comfort including adding two blocks under your hands. In the unmodified version, Stanley says, "Keep a bend in your knees if necessary. Keep shooting your hips up and back. Distribute your weight evenly though your entire hand, including the fingertips."
Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Chair pose: Utkatasana The goal of chair pose, Stanley writes, is to get your thighs parallel to the ground. However, "don't stress yourself too much if it's too much fire for you."
Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Warrior I: Virbhadrasana I The key in Warrior I, Stanley says, is to "stay active through your fingertips. Square your hips forward. Sink deep into your front knee. Stay grounded through the back edge of your back foot." Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Warrior II: Virbhadrasana II In Warrior II, "If your arms get tired, turn your palms to the sky and bend the elbows." Throughout her book, Stanley writes about modifying poses to make sure they work for you. Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Warrior III: Virbhadrasana III In this pose, Stanley tells readers to "Flex VERY actively through all ten of your toes, pressing into the big toe of your standing leg. Square your hips forward and spin your back toes to the floor or as close as possible." She says to focus your gaze forward to help with your balance. Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Reverse Warrior: Viparita Virbhadrasana With your legs in the same position as Warrior II, "sweep the palm of your front arm up and back while letting your rear hand touch your back thigh or calf." Stanley also says, "Spin the pink edge of your hand toward the ground, though your pinky does not need to actually face the ground."
Photographs by Jonathan Conklin
Extended triangle: Utthita Trikonasana This pose can also be modified with a block under the hand closest to the floor if you cannot reach all the way to the ground. Stanley says, "Keep a microbend in your front knee" and suggests that you "look up or down depending on your mood." Photographs by Jonathan Conklin