In this week’s yoga flow, we’re taking it back to basics. When starting a yoga practice, it can be tempting to throw yourself right into elaborate and fast paced flows, but doing this before you are ready can lead to injury and strain in the body. Creating a solid foundation in your yoga practice is extremely important as you continue to advance and build on what you already know. Understanding the basics and how to properly align and engage your body allows you to continue to progress in your practice with more safety and ease. This yoga sequence is perfect for beginners and those looking to get back to the foundations of a vinyasa sequence. Follow along for a simple vinyasa flow with emphasis on proper alignment and anatomy.
Separate your knees hips width distance apart on the mat. Sit back onto your heels as you extend the arms forward, coming into balasana, child’s pose. Allow your chest to be heavy and keep your palms and forehead planted on the mat. Feel the connection of your body on the earth, and breathe into that grounding sensation. Hold this posture for 10 breaths, allowing the body to soften deeper with every exhale.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
From Child's pose, press into the palms as you tuck your toes under. Press firmly through your palms and extend your legs as you bring your hips toward the ceiling, creating an inverted “V” shape with your body. You can keep your knees bent if necessary to maintain a long spine. Invite in any gentle movements to the body before finding stillness. Hold for 5 breaths.
Step your right foot between your hands followed by your left. Inhale extend the spine, lifting halfway and then on an exhale fold forward over the legs. On an inhale come up to stand extending the arms overhead and then bring your palms together in a prayer at heart center. Stay for a moment, connecting with yourself, your breath, and your heartbeat. Inhale extend the arms overhead and fold forward on an exhale. Step back into a plank and lower down your knees, chest and then chin. Inhale peel the chest off the mat, pressing into the palms and coming into cobra pose. Exhale, release the chest to the mat, press back to downward facing dog and repeat for 3-5 rounds.
On an exhale, step your right foot between your hands. Pivot your left foot to plant down on the mat at a 45 degree angle, pressing through the blade edge of the foot as you come up, extending the arms by the ears. Keep a 90 degree bend in your right leg and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Hold and breathe for five breaths.
From WI, interlace your hands at the base of your spine. Press the arms away from the body to open up through the chest and on an exhale, fold to the inside of your right leg. Scoot the right foot to the right side of the mat a few inches if you need space to fold. Hold and surrender for 5-10 breaths, slowly coming up and taking a vinyasa, doing the same cycle on the left side.
High lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From downward facing dog, on an inhale, extend the right leg long behind you, stepping it between your hands on an exhale. On an inhale come up to stand, keeping your left toes tucked under and left leg engaged, right leg bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms by your ears and relax your shoulders down your back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
W II (Virabhadrasana II)
From high lunge, on an exhale, open up into warrior II. Plant your back foot down on the mat at a 45 degree angle and extend the arms out shoulder height. Gaze over your front middle finger as you keep a strong core. Hold and breathe for 3-5 counts, cartwheeling your hands to the mat and transitioning through a vinyasa to repeat high lunge and warrior II on the other side
Find a seated position, bringing the souls of the feet together coming into baddha konasana, butterfly pose. Create a diamond shape with the legs and keep the spine long as you fold forward. Breathe into the sensation in the hips and hold the posture for 10 breaths.
Bring your knees in toward the chest and wrap your arms around the legs. On an inhale, squeeze the legs and bring your forehead to the knees, starting to tense every muscle. Breathe in one more sip of air as you engage the entire body and on an exhale release your grip, coming to lie down on the mat. Extend your arms and legs out long, taking up as much space 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 resume your evening.