Preparatory poses are what you practice as a warm up, to help you achieve your climax pose. For example, half lift is prepping you for your forward fold (which could be your climax posture for the day); and your forward fold is preparation for climax postures such as: press-up handstand. standing split, and tittibhasana (firefly pose). As you can see in the picture, it is pretty obvious the difference in poor form and proper form, but I'll here's a little bit more elaboration...
1. Do have all four corners of your feet planted (Yes, there are four corners to your feet. Two at the top on the ball of your foot, and two at the bottom on your heel).
2. Do distribute weight in feet evenly. If you feel a lot of your weight is in your heels, then bring your weight more forward. Weight in your heels causes your hips to rock/lean back.
3. Do stack your hips over legs.
4. Do bring your hands to your chins or to blocks. If on blocks, make sure they are on the highest placement so it brings your torso level/parallel with the ground.
5. Do lift pelvic floor up and pull your navel in.
6. Do lift chest, sternum reaching forward. I like to think of myself as a non-creepy marionette doll in certain postures, and this is one of them. I pretend that there is a string on my chest and someone is gently pulling my chest forward and through my arms.
7. Do relax shoulders back, gently allowing the shoulder blades to squeeze together, lengthening your neck.
8. Do have your gaze looking ahead, but in line with your neck's position.
9. Do try to keep your legs straight, with a micro-bend.
10. Do inhale when you rise to your half lift.
1. Unless you are about to go through a standing cat-cow rotation, don't "cat" a.k.a. puff up in your upper back while in half lift. If anything, cow in your half lift.
2. Don't rock your weight back to your heels.
3. Don't tuck your chin in towards your chest.
4. Don't lock your legs. Instead think of Tadasana (Mountain pose) legs.
5. Don't shrug your shoulders by your ears.
Main thing to take away from this is chest high humans. Be proud of yourself and where you are in your practice.
Grow With Your Flow,