When you do yoga, do you like to work towards a peak pose? With more intermediate poses like Dancer’s Pose it is important to do stretches that will prepare you for the pose you are working towards.
These poses contain spinal twists and hip openers among others to prepare you for this balancing pose. Dancer is the penultimate pose because I also believe you should cool down a bit after. I would suggest also doing a child’s pose before you carry on.
- Reclined Pigeon – Lay down on your back. Cross the left ankle over top of the right knee. Pull the right leg in towards you. Keep length in spine. To add a hamstring stretch, straighten the right leg. Repeat on the other side.
2. Bridge – Bring both feet to the floor. Push into the heels to curl the hips, low and mid back off the floor. Anchor the shoulder blades. Think about pulling the heels back.
3. Happy Baby – Pull knees in, widening them towards the shoulders. Grab the feet or big toes. Stack ankles over knees. Use the elbows to push the knees away from one another, while drawing the thighs down. Keeps head, shoulders and tail grounded.
4. Half Split – Come up to table top, and step the right foot through between the hands. Keep fingertips grounded down. Push into right heel and straighten the leg any amount. Flex into the right foot, curling the toes in.
5. Reverse Low Lunge – Bend into the front knee, stacking knee over ankle. Push into legs and lift the hands up overhead. Stay here. Or, bring the right hand to the left leg and rotate the chest and gaze towards the right for a gentle side bend and twist.
Repeat 4 and 5 on the other side.
6. Dancer’s Pose – Come to standing. Balance on the right leg. Lift and lengthen up tall. Bend the left knee. Catch hold of the inside of the left foot with the left hand. Notice if your left knee is opening out to the side, keep it hugging in. Kick the foot into the hand to lift it up. Keep the chest lifted up and right hand reaching forward.
7. Balance Twist – Release the left foot, lift and hug the left knee in. Catch the left knee with the right hand. Open and reach the left hand back, twisting the chest towards the left.
Repeat 6 and 7 on the other side.
This sequence makes up much of my 15 minute morning practice that I shared recently. Check it out below.