As we just saw, at the start of our practice we want to ease into the body. There are a few excellent beginning postures that we can use to help us open the body gently. These are:
Butterfly – loosens up the spine for deeper forward bends
Caterpillar – loosens up the spine for deeper forward bends
Child Pose – grounding and soothing
Dangling – loosens up the spine for deeper forward bends
Frog (aka Tadpole) – loosens up the hips and upper back
Sphinx – loosens up the spine for deeper back bends
Each of these postures begins to work a specific area of the body and prepares it for the deeper postures to come. A very flexible student could start her practice with almost any postures if she remembers the first tattva of Yin Yoga: play your edges appropriately. However, there are a few asanas that definitely need preparation before attempting. Even the most flexible students will want to work up to asanas like Snail, the full Seal or the winged Dragon. Before the Snail, loosen up the neck. Before the deepest back bend like the Seal, do a gentler back bend. Before the deepest hip openers, start with milder versions.