Focusing on your breath while in a yogic posture allows you to move beyond whatever physical limitations you perceive to the full extent of your body’s ability to move completely into a posture.
Failure to breathe deeply while in a posture only ends up frustrating a yogic practitioner due to failure to completely enter a pose. The breath is the key to yogic poses, so move with the breath by making the greatest progress in the standing postures with the exhale, while drawing energy in and lengthening the spine on the inhale.
Warm up for standing postures
Use this warmup prior to doing the 5 standing postures to loosen your body and get it ready for the postures. It offers your spine more flexibility, loosens up the shoulders and hips, frees your ribs for rotations, relaxes and calms the eyes, and dramatically improves circulation.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, and swing the torso and arms from side to side. While keeping your legs straight, allow your arms, head, and eyes to follow the movement of your torso, Do this either gently or with vigor for 30 seconds to one minute before beginning the standing postures. This is also a good exercise to do when you have been sitting for a while.
Standing posture number 1: the Classic Sun Salutation
A beautiful and flowing series of movements, the Sun Salutation will loosen and energize the body. Great for beginners through advanced students of yoga it increases circulation, extends leg and arm muscles, and serves as a tonic for the body. It is done as a moving meditation in slow motion, placing the emphasis on the breath in each of the movements, with one movement per breath.
While the Sun Salutation is generally done as a warm up for other postures, it can be done in the middle or at the end of a routine.