Yoga was traditionally practiced as a way to prepare for meditation in ancient India. The movement of the body coinciding with the breath helps clear and calm the mind, preparing for meditation. Yoga in and of itself is a very meditative practice when treated with full present moment awareness. I find my yoga practice to be a form of meditation in motion, especially when I incorporate repetition and fluid movement into my sequences. This sequence is designed to be deeply meditative and ground you deeply into the present moment. Follow along when you are needing to clear the mind and ground into the body.
Come into table top position by stacking your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Maintain a long neutral spine and in an inhale, drop your belly and gaze toward the ceiling. On an exhale, press the mat away and create a c curve with your spine, gazing at your navel. Continue this pattern at your own pace, linking breath to movement. Continue for up to 20 rounds.
Downward facing dog
Front a table top position, press into the palms and straighten your legs, directing your hips toward the sky and creating an inverted V shape with your body. Straighten out through the spine and extend the hips toward the ceiling. Invite in gentle movement, straightening one leg and then the other. Find stillness and hold for five breaths.
To warm up the body, from a downward facing dog, shift forward into high plank. On an exhale lower all the way to the ground. Inhale place the palms underneath the shoulders and peel the chest off the mat, coming into cobra pose. Exhale shift back through a child's pose and back into downward facing dog.
Look between your hands and step or jump up to a forward fold. Inhale reach the arms overhead and come up to stand. Exhale fold over the legs once more. Inhale place the palms on the shins and straighten out the spine and then exhale plant the hands and step back to plank, lowering all the way to the ground and repeating your vinyasa, meeting back in a downward facing dog and completing 3-5 rounds of sun salutations at your own pace, coming back to a downward facing dog when you are finished.
Low lunge/ Half splits
From downward facing dog, step your right foot forward in between your hands, bending it at a 90 degree angle and drop your back knee down to the mat. Place your hands on either side of your right foot on the mat or blocks. Extend the spine long and breathe into the right hip for a few moments. Take a deep breath in and exhale, straighten out the right leg and fold over the knee, coming into half splits. Inhale come back upright into a low lunge, bending into the right leg deeply, then exhale, extend the leg and fold. Continue in this pattern, flowing between the postures as you breathe. Maybe close down the eyes, becoming deeply present with the breath and sensations in the body. Continue for about 15 rounds.
WII / Star
Transition from low lunge through high lunge and open up into a warrior II. Bend the front knee at a 90 degree angle and gaze over the front middle finger. Hold and settle here for about five breaths. From warrior II, on an inhale straighten the arms and legs coming into star pose, then exhale, bend the front knee and come back into warrior II. Inhale, extend, exhale and sink deep into your warrior. Continue for 10-15 rounds.
From star pose, turn and face the long edge of your mat and point your toes out and your heels in. Take a deep breath in and on an exhale sink your hips into a squatting position. Bring your hands to your thighs and settle here for a moment. On an inhale extend the spine, then on an exhale press into the left arm to dip the left shoulder as you bend the right arm and look over the right shoulder, coming into a twist. Inhale come through the center, exhale to switch sides. Oscillate between twisting to the right and left for around 10 rounds before coming back to center.
From bridge pose, transition into waterfall pose by simply extending the legs up toward the sky. You may need to adjust the prop underneath you to feel supported. Keep a slight bend in the knees and allow your legs to be soft. Relax deeply and hold the posture for up to 20 breaths.
Once you have finished the supine twist on both sides, bring your legs in toward the chest and reach for the outer edges of your feet, directing your knees toward your armpits. Keep your spine firmly planted on the mat as you open up through the hips. You can invite gentle movement into the posture by rocking back and forth on the spine or straightening out one leg and then the other. Hold and explore the posture for 10 breaths.
Extend your arms and legs out long, taking up as much space on your mat as you want. Let go of any breath control or attempt to control the mind and allow your body to melt into the mat, relaxing deeply. Stay here for up to 10 minutes, gently coming up when you are finished to transition into sleep.