In Tadasana at the beginning of my practice, the arms raise up to the side on the inhale and the hands lock together with the palms turning to face upwards, push up with the hands to get the full stretch. They release and drop back on the exhale and this is repeated three to six times. The final time you hold the pose while taking three to six breaths.
The next hand variations start the same, arms up, locking, turning palms upwards but on the exhale the alms bend at the elbow and the hands come to rest in their new position (see pictures). You can then raise them again on the inhale and then drop them to the
sides and repeat or hold in position for three to six breaths. Obviously each hand position is activating the stretch in a different part of your body and the variations keep you interested in this seemingly basic stretch.
The last three are interesting in that they can be used in back bending. With the arms behind your back this way they draw the shoulders back and your chest wants to lift up allowing you to lean back into them. Best of all they give your back some support, blogger wont seem to let me rearrange the pictures but I tend to do picture five next, followed by seven and then the hands in anjali / reverse prayer, picture six.
With my back prepared in this supported way I then move on into Purna-Uttanasana (complete forward stretch) beginning in the hand raised back bend (last picture) and folding on over to the familliar Uttanasana. In the book, Ramaswami recommends doing this three to six times, the final time you would hold for a 'considerable' time (say five minutes or ten long slow breaths) engaging your bandhas at the end of the exhale. You could do the hand behind the back variations three, four and five in Uttanasana as well. Another sub-routine that comes to mind where you may employ these variations is Paschimotasana in the seated sequence.
Hope this makes sense, obviously your better off getting Srivatsa Ramaswami's book ' The complete book of Vinyasa Yoga ' where you'll get a much better and fuller description of these variations.
I do just a part of the 'On your feet' sequence each day as a warm up and the full sequence on Saturday
The full Sequence and sub-routines of the 'On your feet' are..
Lateral side movements Parsva Bhaga
Frontal stretch Purva bhaga
Sweeping movement Prasarana
Hands on Shoulder blades vinyasas
Hands locked behind vinyasas
Back salute Prishtanjali
Shoulder rotation Vinyasas
SIDE POSES Pasva Bhangi
Side bending Pasva Bhanai I
Side twist Parva bhangi II
Twisting hasta vinyasa Parsva Bhangi Vinyasa
Twisting arm in back salute Parsva Bhangi-Prishtanjali
THE FORWARD BEND Uttanasana
Half forward stretch Ardha-Uttanasana
Complete forward stretch Purna-Uttanasana
FORWARD BEND FURTHER VINYASAS
Hand-feet posture Pada Hasatasana
Forward stretch without support Niralamba Uttanasana
Straight forward stretch Parsva Bhaga Uttanasana
Standing turtle Kurmanasana Vinyasa
Standing complete back stretch Tiryang-Murkha-Uttanasana
HIP STRETCH OR HIP SQUAT Utkatasana
Half squat Hasta vinyasas Ardha-Utkatasana
Full hip stretch Purna Utkatasana
Turtle Squat Poses Kurmasana
Golden belt pose Kanchyasana
Noose pose Pasana
THE COMPLETE HILL POSE Tadasana
CORPSE POSE Savasana