Prone Yoga Poses
As with any exercise, it is always a good idea to begin a series of poses with some easy, warm up positions. The single leg raise is a good way to start the session and prepare yourself for the following asanas. Leg raises are great for improving the tonus of your back and abdominal muscles. In order to effectively do this movement you should keep your back "glued" to the floor and not allow your spine to bend and your shoulders to help in the lifting motion. With palms resting on the floor, try to raise your legs slowly, while keeping control. The neck should remain relaxed during this motion and your lungs should be allowed to breathe freely.
The leg-pull is an exercise aimed at improving your leg muscle strength and flexibility. This is great for a complete stretch of the leg muscles, which, in time, will grant you the ability to perform advanced yoga postures. While down on the floor try to catch your foot, while your leg is sitting straight above your head. If reaching your foot is a problem try using a belt to help you out. With the leg kept constantly straight, try to point your heel towards the ceiling. Gently pull the leg closer to your body while keeping your back straight and your shoulders close to the floor. Now slide your other leg on the floor, keeping it straightened and roll your thigh until your kneecap is directed towards the ceiling. With your shoulders still flat press your feet away from you, spreading them while you are pulling the raised leg towards you.
As in all other yoga poses, breath and movement control is essential for proper perfomance, and the Bidalasana is a great exercise to help you get ready. Also known as the Cat Pose, this prone pose improves coordination and balance. The alignment of the center of your body is closely related to the position of your central area (the pelvic area) in relation with the rest of your body. The central balance point in all poses should be considered your hip area because it is the one dictating the movement and direction of your spine - your central energy line. In the cat tilt pose your hip is bent forward making your spine arch backward. Most yoga poses require you to use either the dog tilt (bending backward) or the cat tilt. Some require you to be neutral while others need a combination of all choices.
The aim of most prone yoga poses is to prepare the body muscles in areas such as strength and flexibility. Muscle stretches not only improve the way you perform other yoga poses, but also help you increase your blood circulation. They also stimulate the nerve endings, keeping every portion of your body alive and energetic. Another characteristic of the prone poses is that they require and teach you how to have a straight back and a good posture. Certain poses, such as the leg pull, for example, may seem a bit demanding at first, so you should not get discouraged if you are unable to follow the instructions all the way from the first attempt.