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Seated & Floor: Thread The Needle Peak Pose
Image Pose Description
yoga pose Bound AngleSit with legs straight out in front. Bend knees. Pull heels toward the pelvis. Drop knees to sides. Press soles of feet together. Bring heels close to the pelvis. Grasp the big toe of each foot. Release thighs to the floor.
Alternatives: Easy pose. Hero pose. Lotus pose. Half lotus pose.
Benefits: Engages core. Stretches inner thighs, groins and knees.
Modifications: A) Blanket below buttocks (give spine height to support hip). B) Blocks below knees. C) Hold ankles or shins. D) Back against a wall.
Precautions : Groin or knee injury.
yoga pose Ankle BendingPart I Toe Wiggles: Sit with legs extended. Both ankles together. Place both hands behind pelvis. Lean back. Look at feet. Wiggle toes back and forth. Part II Ankle Bending: Move ankles back and forth. Part III Ankle Rotations: Rotate right foot clockwise several times & then anticlockwise. Repeat with left foot.
Benefits: Improve circulation through ankles and feet.
yoga pose Ankle RotationSit with legs extended. Circle left foot one way, then the other. Circle right foot one way, then the other.
Benefits: Ankle stretch.
Modifications: A) Sit on a folded blanket to lift pelvis. B) Back against a wall.
Precautions : Any lower back injury.
yoga pose ArcherSit with both legs stretched out (Staff Pose). Keep your back straight. Bend your right knee and hold your left big toe with your left hand. Hold the right big toe with interlocked fingers of the right hand, and lift the right foot towards the ear. Look at the left foot like you're an archer aiming at a target. Hold the pose and then switch sides and repeat.
Benefits: Hip mobility. Arm strength. Stretches arms and legs. Core strength.
Modifications: A) Use a strap to hold onto your foot. B) Stand with your back against a wall. C) Stand with one hand on the back of a chair and perform the pose. D) Add a twist to the torso towards the front leg and hold the pose, taking the gaze towards the opposite hand. E) Come into the pose and hinge forward at the hips and fold over the front leg, keeping the back straight and the chest open.
Precautions : Pregnancy. Menstruation. Shoulder, spine, or hamstring injury.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose ConfidenceSit legs crossed. Bring hands as far as you comfortably can behind back. Fingers touching floor.
Alternatives: Lotus. Hero.
Benefits: Counter to seated poses.
yoga pose Butterfly TwistSit with legs outstretched. Bend knees. Bring soles of feet together. Keep heels close to body. Relax inner thighs. Twist to right. Hold. Repeat on left.
Alternatives: Butterfly.
Benefits: Improve digestion. Detox. Flexible spinal muscles. Reduce back pain.
Modifications: Folded blanket under buttocks
Precautions : Groin or knee injury.
yoga pose Cow FaceSit with legs crossed. Stretch right arm up and sweep arm behind torso. Reach right hand with left hand. Hook right and left fingers. Lift top elbow toward ceiling and lift chest. Keep left arm beside left side of head.
Alternatives: Use a strap.
Benefits: Stretches ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, triceps, and chest.
Modifications: A) Use folded blanket to lift sitting bones off the floor. B) If the fingertips don’t meet, use a strap. C) Fold forward.
Precautions : Shoulder injury.
yoga pose Bound LotusSit crossed legs. Place right foot on left thigh. Place left foot on right thigh. Sit tall. Bring right hand behind back toward left hip to hold right big toe in right palm or index finger. Bring left hand behind back toward right hip to hold left big toe in left palm or index finger. Hold. Release. Repeat with right foot placed on left thigh and left foot placed on right thigh.
Alternatives: Easy pose (legs crossed). Hero pose (sitting on knees).
Benefits: Stimulates pelvis, spine, abs. Stretches ankles. Strengthens leg joints.
Modifications: Use blankets below buttocks. Half Lotus (one foot on thigh).
Precautions : Ankle or Knee injury.
yoga pose Cradle BabySit with legs crossed. Keep left leg crossed. Hold right foot with both hands. Draw right shin into chest and cradle knee in elbow of right arm. Gently rock back and forth as if cradling a baby.
Benefits: Hip opener. Stretches hams and calves.
Modifications: A) Cradle Baby with a straight leg. B) Seated Knee Rotations (hold thigh and rotate your knee).
Precautions : Hip injury.
yoga pose Bharadvajasana TwistSit on floor. Legs straight. Shift onto right buttock. Bend knees. Swing legs to left, so feet are on the mat outside of left hip. Left ankle rests in your right arch. Keep left buttock on floor. Tuck left hand under right knee and right hand to floor beside right buttock. Inhale, grow tall. Exhale, twist to the right. Keep inhaling to grow and exhaling to twist. Switch sides.
Benefits: Stretches spine, shoulders, and hips. Relieves lower backache.
Modifications: A) Sit with your legs extended and twist (Revolved Staff pose) B) Sit on a chair and twist. C) Sit with legs crossed and twist.
yoga pose Bharadvajasana IBegin in Staff Pose (seated with both legs extended and elongate through spine). Bend both knees. Swing heels to outside of right hip as knees allow gravity to guide them towards the ground (as if bringing left leg into Easy Pose and right leg nearly into Hero Pose). Lengthen from tailbone up through crown of head. On exhale, start to twist torso to left. Hook back of right hand around front of left knee. Inhale and lengthen. Exhale, walk left finger tips behind back and around to right. Wrap left arm around back. Grasp right bicep with left hand. Gaze to left side.
Alternatives: Bharadvajasana II. Bharadvajasana Twist. Revolved Staff. Sit On Chair Twist. Seated Twist.
Benefits: Stretches spine, shoulders, hips. Relieves lower backache.
Modifications: Tuck right fingers underneath grounded left knee.
Precautions : Knee, hip, or spinal issues.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Book OpeningLie on right side with both arms fully extended, and resting on floor. Right leg straight. Bend left hip and knee 90 degrees, with left knee resting on mat. Reach left arm up, bringing back of left hand towards mat behind your head (look at left hand). Hold. Return to start. Repeat. Switch sides.
Alternatives: Banana pose. Revolved abdomen twist pose.
Benefits: Twist. Hip Opener.
Modifications: Supine twist with crossed legs.
Precautions : Knee injury.
yoga pose Cat Pulling TailLie on right side. Use right arm as a pillow. Stack hips, knees and feet. Bend bottom knee and reach top hand to take hold of foot. Roll top shoulder back. Draw top leg out in front of you. Drop top shoulder towards mat. Hold. Roll onto opposite side and repeat.
Benefits: Counterpose to forward bends. Compresses lower back. Opens quads and upper thighs.
Modifications: A) Use a strap. B) Cat pulling tail with strap. C) Cat pose with leg raised. D) Bananasa pose E) Dancer pose. F) Lunge pose.
yoga pose BananasanaLie on back with legs together and straight. Reach arms overhead. Clasp hands or elbows. With buttocks firmly glued to the earth, move feet and upper body to the right. Arch like a ripe banana. Don't twist or roll hips off the floor. When your body opens more, move both feet further to the right and pull upper body further to the right. Swap sides.
Benefits: Stretch whole side of body.
Modifications: A) Savasana. B) Supine With Arms Raised. C) Supine With Knees Bent. D) Supine With Arms Behind Head.
Precautions : Back pain.
yoga pose BridgeLie supine. Bend knees. Set feet on floor. Heels close to sitting bones. Press inner feet and arms into floor. Push tailbone up. Lift buttocks. Clasp hands below pelvis.
Benefits: Chest, neck, spine stretch. Reduces backache.
Modifications: A) Baby Bridge (raise up to a comfortable position). B) Bridge with a blanket under shoulders. C) Bridge with leg up. D) Clasp hands around ankles. E) Block below shoulders. F) Block, or bolster, below the lower back. G) Feet close to a wall to prevent slipping.
Precautions : Knee or neck injury.
yoga pose Knees To ChestLie on back. Legs and arms extended. Both knees to chest. Clasp hands around knees. Wrap forearms over shins. Clasp each elbow with opposite hand. Keep back flat on mat. Release shoulder blades down toward waist. Draw tailbone and sacrum down. Lengthening spine. Softly rock backward and forward or side-to-side for a spinal massage. Tuck chin slightly. Gaze down. Hold. Release.
Benefits: Massages spin. Lower back stretch. Good for posture. Relieves tired legs. Strengthens back. Firms abdominals. Strengthens legs and hips. Cures joint pains. Improves blood circulation in legs.
Modifications: Knee to chest.
yoga pose Knees To HeadLie on back. Extend arms beside body, palms facing down. Bend knees. Bring knees to chest. Hold legs slightly below knees. Press knees into upper chest. Raise head, shoulders and upper chest to knees. Hold.
Benefits: Reduces abdominal bloating and backache.
Modifications: Knee to chest.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose ChildSit on heels. Walk hands forward until forehead touches floor. Arms alongside legs.
Benefits: Stretches hips, thighs, ankles. Relieves back pain.
Modifications: Interlock fingers behind back.
Precautions : Pregnancy. Knee injury.
yoga pose Extended ChildOn all fours. Wrists below shoulders. Knees under hips. Use hands to walk forward and lower chest to floor. Drop buttocks until they reach halfway to feet. Arms straight. Forehead touches floor. Push hips back and stretch spine.
Benefits: Stretches arms, shoulders, spine, hips.
Modifications: A) Interlock fingers behind back. B) Knees together (instead of separated). C) Curl the toes under (instead of flat). D) Place a rolled towel under your shins (take the stress off of your ankles). E) Place a yoga blanket underneath the knees for padding. F) Place a folded towel underneath the knees for padding. G) Place a bolster or pillow under your stomach or chest and stay for up 10 minutes. H) Go deeper into the hip stretch by spreading your knees wider.
Precautions : Knee injury.
yoga pose Thread The NeedleStart in Child pose (kneel with arms out stretched, forehead on mat). Bring right arm underneath body with palm facing up. Drop right shoulder to mat and gaze at left hand. Hold. Switch sides.
Alternatives: Extended Puppy.
Benefits: Stretches shoulders, arms, upper back, neck.
Modifications: Folded blanket under knees.
Precautions : Knees, shoulders, or neck injury.
yoga pose Thread The Needle Arm UpGet on hands and knees. Slide right hand between left hand and left knee. Slide arm out to left (right shoulder and side of head rest on floor). Reach left hand up. Reach out through the fingers. Hold. Switch sides.
Alternatives: Extended Puppy.
Benefits: Stretches shoulders, arms, upper back, neck.
Modifications: Folded blanket under knees.
Precautions : Knees, shoulders, or neck injury.
yoga pose CatStart in neutral position. Wrists under shoulders. Arms shoulder width. Pull navel into small of back. Arch backwards. Tuck chin to chest. Move slowing back & forth. Modifications include: Cat pose with forehead to knee. Cat pose with leg raised. Cat pose with arm raised. Cat pose with rib cage circles. Cat pose with feet to the side.
Benefits: Stretches lower back. Concentration. Decompress spine.
Modifications: Forehead to knee. Raise leg or arm.
Precautions : Neck injury.
yoga pose CowStart on hands and knees. Knees below hips and wrists. Centre head in a neutral position. Eyes gaze at floor.
Benefits: Stretches torso, neck. Massages spine, core.
Modifications: Paired with Cat Pose. Cow with arm extended.
Precautions : Neck or wrist injury.
yoga pose CamelKneel. Rest hands on back of pelvis. Point fingers down. Lean back. Chin near sternum. Press palms against heels. Elbow creases face forward. To exit bring one hand at a time to hips. Lift head and torso by pushing hip points down.
Alternatives: Half Camel Pose (one hand on heel).
Benefits: Stretches ankles, thighs, groin, abs, chest, throat, psoas.
Modifications: Palms against soles.
Precautions : High or low blood pressure. Back or neck injury.
yoga pose CobraLie face down. Feet together. Toes pointing behind. Hands flat on the floor by the rib cage. Lift chest. Gaze forward.
Alternatives: Sphinx. Crocodile.
Benefits: Supple spine. Strengthen palms, wrists, toes.
Modifications: A) Cobra with a folded blanket under hips. B) Cobra with one leg raised. C) Cobra with two legs raised. D) Cobra with one arm raised in front. E) Cobra with two arms raised in front. F) Cobra with one arm raised to the side. G) Cobra with two arms raised to the side. H) Cobra on elbows. I) Cobra with both hands behind the head. J) Revolved cobra. K) Striking cobra (extended child to cobra). L) Chair cobra (seated backbend). M) Baby cobra (don’t lift chest all the way up).
Precautions : Pregnancy. CTS. Back injury.
yoga pose CrocodileRelax on stomach. Arms folded on floor above head. Widen legs. Roll feet so heels point in. Squeeze buttocks. Press pelvis into floor. Rest forehead on arms.
Alternatives: Leg or arm lift.
Benefits: Stretches back, legs, buttocks. Reduce stress. Improve posture.
Modifications: Place forehead in Yoni Mudra.
Precautions : Pregnancy.
yoga pose Crocodile Side TurnLie on stomach. Bend elbows. Right wrist under left elbow. Left wrist under right elbow. Bend right leg to same side without lifting thighs. Line right heel with knee, shin parallel to left leg. Hold. Switch sides.
Alternatives: Crocodile pose.
Benefits: Opens hips. Relieves groin area.
Modifications: Folded blanket under hips and/or extended knee.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose StaffSit with legs crossed. Elongate through spine. Straighten legs. Press into heels. Toes point towards face. Palms on tops of thighs (help draw thighs down). Tops of thighs draw in to engage legs. Lift chest up (open heart). Draw belly button towards spine.
Alternatives: A) Arms overhead. B) Staff with a twist. C) Sit on a folded blanket. D) Sit with back against a wall. E) Sandbags across tops of thighs. F). Staff with arms up. G) Staff with backend.
Benefits: Strengthens back muscles. Stretches shoulders and chest.
Modifications: A) Arms overhead. B) Staff with a twist. C) Sit on a folded blanket. D) Sit with back against a wall. E) Sandbags across tops of thighs.
Precautions : Any lower back injury.
yoga pose Staff Knee Bend CirclesPart 1 Knee Bending: Sit. Extend legs. Bend right knee. Interlock figures around right thigh. Bring right knee close to chest. Extend right leg without touching foot on the ground. Repeat. Switch legs. Part 2 Knee Circling: Interlock figures around right thigh. Bring right knee close to chest. Make clockwise circles with lower leg with pointed toes. Begin with small circles and gradually increase the circle size. Change directions (counter-clockwise). Switch legs.
Benefits: Improve leg circulation.
yoga pose Half BoatSit with straight legs. Press hands on floor behind hips. Fingers point to feet. Lift legs with knees bent.
Alternatives: Boat pose.
Benefits: Strengthens abs, hip flexors, spine.
Modifications: A) Boat Pose On Chair. B) Boat Pose With Strap (around upper back and feet). C) Double Boat Pose (partner yoga). D) Half Boat With Eagle Arms.
Precautions : Pregnancy. Neck injury.
yoga pose BoatSit with legs straight. Press hands on floor behind hips. Fingers point to feet. Bend knees. Lift feet up. Straighten knees. Keep hands on floor beside hips.
Alternatives: Half boat pose.
Benefits: Strengthens abs, hip flexors, & spine.
Modifications: A) Feet stay on the mat. B) Raise one leg. C) Use a strap. D) Double Boat Pose (partner). E) Boat with eagle arms.
Precautions : Asthma. LBP. Pregnancy.
yoga pose Both Big ToeSit with legs wide apart. Bend legs, so you can grab toes with thumb, index finger and middle finger (can also grab hold of outer edges of feet). Engage core. Lift heels. Find your balance on sit bones. Stretch legs. Keep core engaged. Draw shoulder blades towards each other. Open your chest. Push heels away from you.
Benefits: Stretches hips, back of body and groins. Balance. Engage core.
Modifications: Blanket under buttocks and/or knees. Use a strap.
Precautions : Back or knee injury. Pregnancy. Sacroiliac joint pain
yoga pose Rocking And RollingSlit on edge of mat. Wrap arms around legs. Engage core. Round back. Tuck chin toward belly button. Roll back and forth without touching toes to floor (imagine there are hot coals on the floor).
Alternatives: knee to chest.
Benefits: Stretches inner groin, spine.
Precautions : Pregnant. Knee injury.
yoga pose Rock And Roll SquatsSquat. Interlock finger and clasp them around shins (just below knees). Rock body backwards (don't hit head on mat). Try come into squat on feet when rocking forward.
Benefits: Massages back, buttocks & hips.
Modifications: Hold side of thighs adjacent to knees.
Precautions : Back pain.
yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose SavasanaLie on back with legs and arms apart. Feet to side, palms up. Release lower back to floor. Close eyes. Abdomen rises on inhale and falls on exhale. Feel heavy with each exhalation.
Alternatives: Crocodile. Child.
Benefits: Tune into body. Calm. Tranquil. Inner Peace. Clarity.
Modifications: Knees bent. Blanket under knees. Blanket under head. Supine star (legs & arms spread out).


This is a Yin seated and floor themed lesson plan with thread the needle as the peak pose. Thread the Needle Pose is a shoulder-releasing yoga posture that is suitable for all students, including beginners. If you have stiffness and pain in your back, shoulders, or neck, this pose can provide relief. Thread the Needle offers variations to suit your level of flexibility.

Benefits of Thread The Needle Pose

Thread the needle pose, while complicated to get into, can give you a great stretch through the chest and shoulders. It also requires a gentle twisting motion that can help stretch and loosen the muscles in the low back. If you are dealing with chronic shoulder or back pain, this posture can help gently loosen the muscles and relieve tension.

It stretches and opens the shoulders, chest, arms, upper back, and neck.

It releases the tension that is commonly held in the upper back and between the shoulder blades. 

It provides a mild twist to the spine, which further reduces tension.

Practicing the pose with hips on heels will stretch hips, thighs, and lower back.

Modifications & Variations

Since Thread the Needle is a calming position, it’s important to make whatever modifications you need to feel comfortable, safe, and supported in the pose.

To lighten or deepen the intensity of the pose, try these simple changes:

If knee caps hurt, fold mat or place a firm blanket under knees.

If your wrists hurt in the starting position, place forearms on floor.

Place forearms on a bolster or stack of firm blankets to lift torso more upright. This variation is useful for women who are pregnant. Rest ear on bolster and let your threaded arm drop toward the floor.

For a deeper shoulder stretch, come into the full pose. Then, bring the lower arm of the elbow that is bent (the arm that is not doing the "threading") behind your body and rest the back of that hand on your low back. Your lower arm should remain on the floor with your palm facing up.

Those with larger chests or stomachs, and women who are pregnant, can practice this pose at a wall, while standing:

  1. Face wall standing arm's distance away.
  2. Press palms flat against the wall.
  3. Slide right arm beneath left arm.
  4. Bring right shoulder and ear to the wall.
  5. Hold for up to one minute.
  6. Repeat on opposite side.