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VINYASA YOGA

Vinyasa

Vinyasa

Vinyasa
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Standard Vinyasa 90 minute

Standard Vinyasa 90 minute

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90 Minute Standard Vinyasa PRESENCE

90 Minute Standard Vinyasa PRESENCE

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VINYASA

Vinyasa Yoga Transitions

The History of Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is a popular yoga style today. It was born from the Primary Series of Ashtanga, which was created by Krishnamacharya in India, and passed down to Pattabhi Jois to bring to North America.  

Below is the Primary Series #1 of the Ashtanga Series.

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Vinyasa Yoga

The Vinyasa Yoga Sequence that you will begin to teach contains 11 sections.  Each section contains a theme of postures that are similar in their focus and fluid in their shape.

 

I omit unsupported Shoulder Stand completely.  After years of research and discussion with a plethora of doctors of various methodologies and practices, it was concluded that this posture, unsupported could potentially cause damage to the neck.  tWe typically spend our lives rounded forward; most humans have a slightly forward head-set. This makes the pressure on the neck nearly unbearable in relation to the cervical vertebrae, especially C7. 

Class Description:

A flowing, all levels, mind body connecting class.  Expect a delicious presencing to begin, followed by a flowing warm up and a combination of strengthening and stretching poses.

Signature: Sun Salutations A & B 

Vinyasa Sequencing

 

There is a lot of different ways to sequence your yoga class. A standard vinyasa sequence from the Primary Series of Ashtanga yoga consists of:

 

  • all directional movements

  • all posture categories 

  • all anatomical focus

 

Many (not all), vinyasa classes are sequenced in such a way, however this is not the only way.  To provide your students with a deeper experience, you can focus your sequence on different subjects or themes, such as one or a combination of the following:

 

  • one posture category ie. forward folds

  • one movement category ie. lateral movements (side bending / opening)

  • a yama or niyama

  • one or more of the 6 bodies

  • a specific body part ie. yoga for hips

  • a certain purpose ie. yoga for relaxation 

  • The Ayurvedic Approach 

  • The Chakras 

  • on an energetic effect of the posters ie. energizing, grounding etc.

Asana Categories

PR Presencing * ✔️

W Warming ✔️
F Firing ✔️
B Balancing ✔️

G Grounding ✔️
HO Heart Opening ✔️

CA Core Activating ✔️

REJ Rejuvenating  ✔️

REL Releasing ✔️
CL Closing * ✔️
S Surrendering * ✔️

Presencing

 

The presencing category is very important.  Choose a "melting posture" for your first asana. This is posture that requires ZERO effort to hold; think of postures you can really melt into. IE: child's pose, reclied pyramid, legs up the wall, supported baddha konasana etc.  Note: Seated asana are not melting postures, as we must connect to some effort to hold the posture.

Creating Your Theme

 
TO THEME OR NOT TO THEME

 

When we first start teaching yoga classes, we often omit a theme.  I mean, we already have breath, alignment, postures and the transitions to worry about!  However, now that you have the basics under your belt, it’s time to start thinking about theming your classes.  A theme is another tool you can use to guide your students effectively and also deepen their experience and connection to their practice, and to really allow themselves to meet themselves exactly where they are at (the purpose of yoga!). 

 

Sample class themes:

 

Breath

Breath is a simple and effective theme that can provide your students with an individual experience of the 7 Bodies. You can deepen a breath theme by adding a pranayama.

 

Meditation

You can theme your class around a specific meditation.

Mantra

A lot can be incorporated into a Mantra themed class, such as vedic mythology, the intention / message of the mantra, and the "closing blessings" of the mantra. This can include the mantras aligned pranayama, mudra & meditation.

 

Questions

Think about questions you can ask your students to allow them to further deepen their experience of your theme. 

 

Use your intuition

If you pre-planned a theme for your class and it doesn’t feel right once your start your class, change it.  Always let the core teaching techniques guide your class: Connection, Silence and Space, Call See Pause, Alignment - critical first.  Allow your theme to be a way to further connect to your students, and to allow your students to further connect to their practice.

 

Pepper your theme

Think about your theme as your own personal teacher’s guide for the class.  You do not have to state “This is my theme for the class”.  Although some teachers prefer to do this, I prefer to create the theme a subtle offering for the student.   Introduce this in your presencing sequence.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Attend a variety of teachers classes to learn!  After all, the best teachers are stellar students!

The 7 Bodies Method

Physical

Heart opening, pelvic floor, fascia tissue, one of the posture categories, use tangible sights of nature: sky, moon, sun, tree, the world, planet.  Hasta Mudras: Bring your hands together at Anjali mudra, create a space between your palms, remember that your palm centers are a direct representation of your heart chakra (or heart energy), allow this heart energy to fill your palms.

 

Mental

Thinking mind, an intention, or changing intention, thought awareness.  

 

Emotional

Feelings, leaning in, meeting yourself where you are at.  

 

Energetic

Right  side / Left side, Shiva / Shakti, Sun / Moon, energetic awareness, meridians, elements, chakras, nadis, 
 

Spiritual

Define spirit, connection, what does it mean to you, how can you bring this into your practice.

Soul

Can you connect to your soul? What do you feel your soul purpose is?

 

Intellectual

New knowledge, comparing sides, perhaps taking a longer sequence (but not too long!) on one side, with a pause in neutral to feel the difference from side to side.  Yoga philosophy: Yamas and niyamas, Krishnamacharya, Bhagavad Gita, Sanskrit meanings, tying two or more themes together ie. Gratitude and love with the heart chakra and back bends, quotes (be mindful not to do this too much, it is important to explain how the quote relates to the class, rather than just blurt out a quote).

 

How To Theme Your Class

Take your pen to paper!

 

  • Theme idea

  • Meditate on your theme, what insights came up?

  • Music 

  • Scent 

  • Words to say to introduce your theme

  • Pranayama

  • Meditation

  • Postures to emphasize 

  • Yoga history

  • Mudras 

  • Mantra

  • Words to say to close theme

  • Complete your Sequencing Circle to bring it all together 

Transition Postures

 

STANDING TO BELLY 

Sun A - hi plank to Advasana (belly down savasana)

STANDING TO BACK 

Sun A - downdog: step your feet through to seated and lay down on your back

STANDING TO SEATED 

Sun A - downdog: step your feet through to seated in sukhasa (crosslegged or kneeling)

 

STANDING TO ALL FOURS 

Sun A - downdog to all fours

BACK TO STANDING 

Rock and roll to Tadasana (be mindful of disc issues)

Navasana to Utkatasana 

SEATED TO STANDING 

Navasana to Utkatasana 

ALL FOURS TO STANDING 

Downdog, step feet to hands, reach up, tadasana

 

Creative Sequencing

PRESENCING (PR)

Purpose: Presence
Possible Themes: Presence, attention, connection
Pranayama: Breath retention
Peak Pose: Easy pose with pranayama & meditation on physical body & mental body

Remember the "melting postures" - we want to have one of these our very first presencing postures.
Legs up, child's pose, savasana, reclined pyramid - "effortless postures".

Savasana
Windshield wipers
Hug knees in
Rock and roll
Downward facing dog (dynamic)
Child’s Pose (dynamic)
Cat cow (dynamic)
Downward facing dog (dynamic)
Easy pose with pranayama & meditation
Dandasana to gentle forward fold (dynamic)
Toe yoga (do gentle forward fold in-between to show opening in fascia)

Reclining Bound Angle (butterfly) Windshield Wipers

Supine Twist Savasana

WARMING (W)

Purpose: to create heat in the body

Possible Themes: tapas, asteya

Pranayama: Breath of fire
Peak Pose: Various

mini sequence A x 4

Tadasana
Chair
Forward fold to half way lift (dynamic)
Shoulder rinse
Half-way lift
Downward Facing Dog
To seated, easy pose for pranayama & meditation Rock roll to downward facing dog

mini sequence B x 4

Plank
Low plank
Upward dog
Downward dog
Extended cat cow (dynamic with bind) Free style cat cow
Downward dog
Warrior 1 (dynamic)
Warrior 2 (dynamic with reverse warrior) Extended Goddess (dynamic)
Tadasana

Repeat mini sequence A x 3 Repeat mini sequence B x 3

  

FIRING (F)

Purpose: To burn away impurities
Possible Themes: Tapas, energy, sthira and sukha

Pranayama: Ujjayi focus
Peak Pose: Various

mini sequence A

Chair (dynamic)
Crescent lunge (dynamic)
Crescent lunge Twist (dynamic)
Down dog
Three leg down dog
Downward Facing Dog
To seated for pranayama & meditation Rock and roll to downward facing dog Walk or float to tadasana

 

mini sequence B

Extended Goddess
Revolved Goddess
Chair
Revolved chair
Side crow
Revolved chair
Forward fold to chair to revolved chair Side crow

 

mini sequence C

Chair
Forward fold
Halfway lift
Plank
Side plank
Chaturanga, updog, downdog

 

mini sequence D

Revolved chair (step back)
Revolved crescent lunge
Extended side angle (dynamic)
Downward facing dog (dynamic, three legged) Chair

   

mini sequence E

Malasana or crow

Intense foot stretch

Downward Facing Dog

Arm Balance

BALANCING (B)

Purpose: Balancing
Possible Themes: Presence, Attention, Connection

Pranayama: Breath Retention
Peak Pose: Various

mini sequence A

Tadasana
Standing crescent moon
Reach up, to Warrior 3 (dynamic to airplane)
Airplane
Standing splits (dynamic)
Forward fold (dynamic, transition)
Reach up
Tree (dynamic)
Tadasana, malasana to seated for pranayama & meditation

mini sequence B

Forward fold / Half way lift (dynamic) - hold with interlaced fingers)
Fingers to floor for Revolved half moon - add bind for a challenge or hover hand Forward fold (split feet)
Standing split

mini sequence C

Malasana
Crow to Malasana Forward fold
Half way lift, forward fold Reach up, tadasana Upright big toe (standing) Revolved hand to big toe

mini sequence D

Tadasana
Dancer’s (dynamic, bend knee, back to tadasana)
Eagle to tadasana
Warrior 1, warrior 2, trikonasana, to triangle arm balance High plank
Side plank, high plank, low plank, up dog
Down dog

Standing splits
Flying pigeon
Forward fold to chair twist Side crow

mini sequence E

Extended Cat Cow (bird dog dynamic with bind)

Down dog to seated
Seated twist
Happy baby, half happy baby

Supine twist
Hug kness in, rock and roll, down dog to forward fold,

Utkatasana
Chair twist, forward fold, malasana, to seated
Fire fly
Malasana (dynamic, bound noose)
Navasana Double toe hold (navasana variation)
To seated Scale
Eight angle

Option:
Forearm Stand * possible peak Handstand * possible peak Scorpion* possible peak

  
GROUNDING (G)

Purpose: Ground & centre

Possible Themes: Connection

Pranayama: Ujjayi
Peak Pose: Various

mini sequence A

Tadasana
Chair / Utkatasana
Forward fold, half way lift, chaturanga, upward dog, down dog (dynamic) Pyramid (intense side stretch) (dynamic)

Wide Legged Forward Fold (dynamic with shoulder rinse) Goddess / Utkata Konasana
Easy Pose * meditation, pranayama

mini sequence B

Pyramid (dynamic)
Revolved Pyramid
Chaturanga, updog, downdog Warrior 1 (dynamic) Warrior 2 (dynamic)
Triangle, warrior 2
Warrior 3 (dynamic to airplane)
Tadasana
Tree Pose

HEART OPENING (HO)

Purpose: Opening
Possible Themes: Heart energy, connection

Pranayama: Alternate nostril
Peak Pose: Various

mini sequence A

Child’s pose
Child’s pose (dynamic)
Cat Cow (dynamic, free style) Downward dog (dynamic with up dog) Upward dog / Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

 

mini sequence B

Belly savasana
Locust (with prep)
Cobra (dynamic with prep) Sphinx
Belly savasana
Floor bow
Belly savasana
Broken wing

mini sequence C

Dolphin (dynamic)
Child’s pose, downward dog to seated Cow Face (deep fascia stretch) Pranayama and meditation

mini sequence D

Camel (dynamic with prep) Lifted hero
Sukasana

mini sequence E

Down dog through to laying down Bridge (dynamic)
Reclined pyramid
Wheel

Reclined pyramid
Inverted Staff Pose (forearm wheel) Reclined pyramid

     

mini sequence F

Heart Bed Fish Savasana Supine twist Savasana

CORE ACTIVATING (CO)

Purpose: Ground & centre

Possible Themes: Connection

Pranayama: Kapalabhati
Peak Pose: Vaarious

mini sequence A

Scale / Tolasana
Navasana dynamic
To seated for pranayama and meditation Navasana dynamic to laying down Bicycle Twists (very slow)
Shins to sky crunches (very slow)
Legs bent core twist (very slow)

mini sequence B

Boat to utkatasana, forward fold to half way lift
High plank (hold)
High plank (dynamic with rainbows)
High plank (dynamic with knees crossing to elbows)

mini sequence C

High plank (dynamic to forearm plank) Forearm Plank to dolphin (dynamic) Belly savasana
Locust to banana

mini sequence D

Belly savasana to high plank
Side plank to high plank, down dog to laying down

Single Leg Lifts / Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (very slow)

Bicycle Twists (very slow)
Reclined pyramid

   

REJUVENATING (REJ)

Purpose: Calm
Possible Themes: Rejuvenate & Restore
Pranayama: Gentle breath awareness, puraka, rechaka

Peak Pose: Handstand or headstand

mini sequence A

Forward fold (dynamic with halfway lift)
Downward dog (dynamic with knee to elbow)
Walk hands to feet (long forward fold, dynamic)
Downward dog (dynamic) to seated for pranayama and meditation

Traditional Headstand * advanced
Child’s pose
To wall or with partner handstand Handstand * advanced

Child’s pose

mini sequence B

Legs up the Wall (with baddha konasana variation)

mini sequence C

Supta Baddha Konasana Windshield Wipers

RELEASING (REL)

Purpose: Deep release

Possible Themes: Be with

Pranayama: Kapalahati

Peak Pose: Various

mini sequence A

Reclined pyramid Wide wipers Wind removing Savasana

Hug knees in, happy baby, half happy baby Savasana
Reclining hand to toe (supine strap stretch) Reclining Bound Angle (butterfly)

Thread the needle Reclined shoelace

mini sequence B

Easy twist
Rock the baby
Seated baddha konasana
Seated extended twist
Bound sage
Seated forward fold
Fascia stretch (seated)
Seated half spinal twist
Toe yoga, forward fold to dandasana Half pigeon to downward dog to knees

 

mini sequence C

Cat cow
Intense foot stretch
Rabbit, downdog, through to seated
Double pigeon
Shoelace
Hero for pranayama & meditation Reclining hero

 

mini sequence D

Downward dog
Malasana
Wide Seated Forward Bend Turtle Frog
King Pigeon
Lizard with dynamic forward fold Monkey (splits)

   

CLOSING (CL)

Purpose: Deep release

Possible Themes: Be with

Pranayama: Breath awareness

Peak Pose: Various

 

mini sequence A

Easy twist
Lion pose
Reverse table top
Seated forward fold
Head to knee
Sukasana for pranayama & meditation

mini sequence B

Revolved head to knee (seated) Seated baddha konasana
Wide legged seated forward fold Turtle to laying down

 

mini sequence C

Happy baby Half happy baby June bug

SURRENDER (S)

Purpose: Surrender
Possible Themes: Trust

Pranayama: Soft breath, ease

Peak Pose: Savasana

Heart bed (supported) Legs up the wall Windshield wipers
Supine twist (dynamic)
Savasana

 

Why do yoga teachers tell us to roll to our right side when coming out of savasana? 

 

Firstly, ancient yoga texts such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika don’t even mention a transition roll; the emphasis is on the savasana, “corpse” pose to remove tiredness and relax the body and mind. 

 

Some say, although western science does not really give significance to this, that because our heart is on our left side, when we roll to our right side, our heart remains above our organs; which physically exerts less weight on our heart.

 

In India, the right side is considered as auspicious. It also represents the east and so rolling to the right or the rising sun is symbolic of asking for blessings of grace and bliss.

 

Some believe that the sympathetic (active) nervous system is thought to be associated with the right side of the body, and the theory is that by rolling to the right, the meridians associated with the sympathetic nervous system helps stimulate wakefulness when coming out of Savasana.

 

According to TCM, lying on the right opens up the left nostril, the left representing the cool Yin feminine side. So the corresponding opening of the cooling channel would keep the body in a state of calmness which gives a nice balance of energy to the body.

 

SUN A

Sun Salutation A

Sun Salutation "A" Simple (from the Ashtanga Primary Series)
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  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) connect to ujjayi breath

  2. Reach Up (Urdhva Hastasana) inhale

  3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  4. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  5. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  8. Walk or float your feet to your hands Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  9. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  10. Reach Up (Urdhva Hastasana) inhale

  11. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) exhale

Sun Salutation "A" Low Lunge Variation
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  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) connect to ujjayi breath

  2. Reach Up (Urdhva Hastasana) inhale

  3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  4. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) inhale

  5. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  8. Walk or float your feet to your hands inhale

  9. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  10. Reach Up (Urdhva Hastasana) inhale

  11. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) exhale 

* You often see a "chin, chest, knees" alternative to chaturanga - however, despite this common mis-cue, this is NOT a healthy alternative to chaturanga.  When you put your chin and chest on the floor together, you are creating a tremendous amount of stress on your cervical spine - a "no-no" when it comes to our optimum alignment for our cervical spine. 

Sun Salutation B

Sun Salutation "B" Standard from The Primary Series of Ashtanga
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  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) connect to ujjayi breath

  2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) inhale

  3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  4. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  5. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  8. Warrior 1  (Virabhadrasana) inhale

  9. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  10. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  11. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  12. Warrior 1  - otherside (Virabhadrasana) inhale

  13. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  14. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  15. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  16. Walk or float your feet to your hands

  17. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  18. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  19. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) inhale

  20. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) exhale

Sun Salutation "B" Warrior II
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  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) connect to ujjayi breath

  2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) inhale

  3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  4. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  5. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  8. Warrior 1  (Virabhadrasana 1) inhale

  9. Warrior 2  (Virabhadrasana 2) exhale / inhale

  10. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  11. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  12. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  13. Warrior 1  - otherside (Virabhadrasana) inhale

  14. Warrior 2  - otherside (Virabhadrasana 2) exhale / inhale

  15. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  16. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  17. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  18. Walk or float your feet to your hands

  19. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  20. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  21. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) inhale

  22. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) exhale

Sun Salutation "B" Reverse Warrior
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  1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) connect to ujjayi breath

  2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) inhale

  3. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  4. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  5. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  8. Warrior 1  (Virabhadrasana 1) inhale

  9. Warrior 2  (Virabhadrasana 2) exhale

  10. Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana 2) inhale

  11. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  12. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  13. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  14. Warrior 1  - otherside (Virabhadrasana) inhale

  15. Warrior 2  - otherside (Virabhadrasana 2) exhale

  16. Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana 2) inhale

  17. Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana) exhale

  18. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) inhale

  19. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) exhale

  20. Walk or float your feet to your hands

  21. Half Way Lift (Ardha Uttanasana) inhale

  22. Forward Fold (Uttanasana) exhale

  23. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) inhale

  24. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) exhale

Moon Salutation

Chandra Namaskar, or Moon Salutation, was first created in the late 1980s by a group of women teaching at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Their purpose in creating Chandra Namaskar was to cultivate a practice in respects to female bodies and cycles while also complimenting Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations.

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  1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)

  2. Upward mountain (Urdhva Hastasana)

  3. Standing half moon (Konasana II) 

  4. Goddess pose (Utkata Konasana)

  5. Star pose

  6. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)

  7. Pyramid pose (Parsvottanasana)

  8. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana) 

  9. Side lunge 

  10. Garland pose (Malasana) 

  11. Side lunge 

  12. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana) 

  13. Pyramid pose (Parsvottanasana)

  14. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)

  15. Star pose

  16. Goddess pose (Utkata Konasana)

  17. Standing half-moon or crescent pose (Konasana II)

  18. Reach Up (Urdhva Hastasana)

  19. Mountain pose (Tadasana)

SUN B
Moon Sal
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