One of the best things about yoga (there are so many!) is how certain poses are complementary – they work opposite sets of muscles so you end up feeling balanced and stretched just enough. It reminds you that two seemingly opposing things can work so well together, in all areas of life. Here are a few of my favorite pose pairs, along with some complementary natural elements that inspire them.
In Goddess pose you squat your legs, then in Star Pose you stretch them out – ideally, on your tip toes. Go up and down a few times and you’ll be dancing, and engaging in the up and down of our emotional lives as well, from dark and the moon to light and the sun.
Head to Knee/Stargazer
Bend down in Head to Knee pose and stretch out your bottom, then shift just your upper body up into Stargazer and suddenly you are stretching your top – shifting your perspective from inward to outward at the same time. You are bound like a rock and then open like the clouds.
Warrior 3/Warrior 2/Forward Lunge/Revolved Crescent Lunge
This flow flips you up down and around in a completely balanced way. Balance in Warrior 2 then just plop your back foot down into Warrior 2. Bend that front foot into a Lunge and then twist down into another more grounded balance. Each motion is subtle but in the end you feel like you’ve twisted all around – from the stars in the universe to neurons in the mind.
Shoulder Stand/Fish Pose
Shoulder Stand gets you straight up in the air then Fish Pose takes you right back down. In addition to the grounding you need after being upside down, Fish Pose will carefully adjust your neck muscles back to normal. You might say Shoulder Stand builds heat, like sand, like Fish Pose cools you down, like snow.
Triangle Pose/Reverse Warrior
Triangle Pose bends you one way and down, Reverse Warrior bends you the other and up. Together you get a balance between your two sides – like the sides of the planet, both ocean and land.
Half Lord of the Fishes/Counter Twist
These staples of yoga class help your body cool down and prepare for savasana. It is always amazing how good a deeper and deeper twist can feel, and then how perfectly matched it is to do a counter twist afterwards. There are similarities in opposite forces in nature too, like trees that stretch up and stalactites that stretch down right below them.
Dolphin Plank/Locust Pose
Dolphin plank is *tough* but you feel all that effort balanced out nicely when you follow it up with a low locust pose.