To move into Child's Pose, also known as Balasana or Child's Resting Pose, we're going to bring the knees wide towards the edges of your mat, with the big toes meeting in the middle and tops of the feet resting on the mat. Stretch your arms in front of you and sink the hips back into the space between your legs, and let your head rest towards the mat. As you relax into this pose, you can walk your hands a little further out in front of you and sink the hips back further to deepen the stretch. Check you are aligned by drawing an imaginary line through the center of your hands, head, chest, between the legs and down between the middle of your big toes.
From Child's Pose you can slide forward on to your stomach. With the tops of your feet flat on the mat, hands placed around the middle of your chest and elbows tucked in to sides, gently press into your hands to lift your chest, whilst keeping everything else on the mat. You should feel a gentle stretch through the lower back and once you roll your shoulders back and down, you should feel the stretch in your upper back too. To increase the stretch and difficulty, you can start to lift the hands slightly from the mat to use the muscles in your back. There should be no pain or discomfort, this is a very relaxed and gentle pose.
Upward Facing Dog
Similar to Cobra, you're going to keep the tops of your feet flat on the mat and hands by the chest. Then, you're going to press down through the hands to lift the chest, lock the elbows straight whilst pressing down into the tops of the feet to also lift the quads and hips off the mat. Make sure your shoulders are aligned over wrists and you want to roll your shoulders down and away from the ears to create that opening in the chest.
Downward Facing Dog
To transition from upward facing dog, lower the chest, quads and hips back down to the mat. Keeping your hands by your chest, tuck your toes and push the hips up and back. You want to make sure you're pressing through the fingertips, the meat behind the knuckles and the palm of the hand. With your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart, keep the elbows gently tucked inwards to create space between your shoulders and ears, and allow your head to hang heavy. Push your chest back towards your thighs and stay rooted through the heels with your hips pointing back and up towards the sky. If your hamstrings are feeling tight, you can bend the knees slightly whilst lifting through the hips to maintain a flat back. We're aiming to make an upside down 'V' shape, so you may need to adjust your feet in or out during this pose.
Keeping one foot back where it was in downward facing dog and lowering that knee to the mat, bring the opposite foot up between your hands and this should be roughly the right distance for your kneeling lunge. Lower the top of the back foot flat on the mat with a straight line from the ankle to the knee, and make sure your hips are square to the front of the mat. With your front knee stacked over your ankle and shoulders over hips, sweep the arms up by the ears with a very slight back bend. With the breath you can sink the hips lower into the front leg to increase the stretch.
Maintaining the same alignment and positioning as low lunge, lift the back knee with the toes pushed down into the mat and the heel lifted tall. Make sure your front knee is still stacked over the ankle.
These 6 key poses will help build the foundations of your practice and help you to flow with confidence for yogis of all levels. It's important to note that you should not feel any discomfort in any of these poses. With the breath you can deepen the stretch as much as your body feels comfortable with.