“Step One: Show up. Nothing more, nothing less. Just turn up on your mat every single day, even if only to sit there for a minute or two.”
Today, practice was the last thing I wanted to do. I returned home yesterday from the most amazing vacations in the Midwest (yes, you read that correctly – an amazing vacation in the Midwest) and all I wanted to do was sulk and withdraw and reminisce on my trip. I wanted to lay in my bed and wallow in thoughts of how badly I wanted to be back on the beach of Lake Michigan, sipping gin and tonics and playing cards. BUT, alas, after I forced myself out of bed and was going about my morning a yoga sequence began making it’s way into my head (this happens quite frequently lately) and I figured I should get out my mat and start playing around. It’s a guarantee that as soon as I dive into practice my mood will be lifted and even though it felt like the last thing I wanted to be doing on this particular morning, I knew it was what I needed. So I started bending and twisting and extending and, per the usual, my spirits were SO lifted after only a few minutes (and, believe me, that’s all I lasted)! I decided that, because there might be someone out there feeling the same way I was this morning, I needed to share.
When it comes to posting videos, Instagram’s 15 second rule is a bit of a pain, isn’t it? Earlier I posted the short sequence I came up with but due to the time restraints on the ‘gram, I had to put the clip on turbo speed. Not easy to follow! Below is a link to a slower video of my flow, followed by cues to get into the poses and some tips for settling in once you’re there:
Start in Downward Facing Dog – weight distributed evenly between your hands and feet, heels pressing down towards the mat, sit bones reaching towards the ceiling.
(Inhale) Lift your right leg up behind you towards the ceiling
(Exhale) Step through in-between your hands
(Inhale) Up to Warrior I – right knee bent, left leg straight with foot pressed into the mat at a 45 degree angle, arms up overhead. Tuck your tailbone, pull your belly into your spine, knit your inner ribs down and in. Pull shoulder blades down your back and expand through your chest.
(Exhale) Open up to the left side of the room into Warrior II – arms parallel to your mat. Square your chest off to the side of the room, hips will be slightly angled. Bend as deeply as you can into that right leg, grounding down through the outer edge of your left foot keeping that back leg straight.
(Inhale) Flip your front palm up and bring it overhead to reverse your warrior – left hand resting on your left thigh or shin. You should feel a deep side stretch in your right side. Lift up and out of the left side of your body, pulling up through your ribs. Exhale here.
(Inhale) Rise back up to Warrior II.
(Exhale) Hinge forward at your hips into Extended Side Angle – bring your right hand to the mat just outside of your right foot or, to make it a bit easier, place your right elbow to rest on your right knee . Left arm comes up and overhead. Pull your shoulder down and away from your ear, chest should be facing the left side of the room. You should feel a stretch now through your left side.
(Inhale) Bring yourself back up to Warrior II.
(Exhale) Rotate on your left foot so that you’re on your toes and they are facing the front of your mat, bringing yourself into High Lunge – bring your arm up and overhead, torso facing the front of your mat, chest and hips square. If necessary, bend your left knee so that you can tuck your tailbone down and straighten out your spine. Belly should be in and upper ribs knit down and in. Shoulders down your back. Inhale here.
(Exhale) Ground down through your right foot, bending at the knee. Hinge forward at your hips and lift your left leg up behind you to come into Warrior III. Straighten out your right leg, chest and hips should be square over your mat. Arms can be by your side, in prayer at heart center, or overhead (most extreme). Press up with your left thigh to lift your left leg higher behind you. Inhale here.
(Exhale) Fold forward over your right leg, brining your hands to the mat to come into Standing Splits. Hands should frame your right foot, let your head hang heavy.
(Inhale) Bend your right knee, bring hands to heart center and step back into High Lunge bringing your arms back up overhead.
(Exhale) Open up to the left side of the room into Star – arms overhead, feet parallel to the sides of your mat, legs spread wide. Inhale here.
(Exhale) Hinge forward at the hips and fold deeply into Wide Leg Forward Fold – let your head hang heavy, hands come into Chatarunga arms with elbows bent and hands under shoulders. Try to walk your hands further back in-between your feet, pulling the crown of your head closer to the floor.
(Inhale) Bring your right arm up and overhead, twisting at your rib cage. Look up towards your right hand. Exhale to bring your hand back down to the mat, Inhale and switch sides.
(Inhale) back up to standing.
(Exhale) Rotate on your feet to face the front of your mat. Bend your left leg so that your knee, shin and all 10 toes are flat on the mat coming into Low Lunge. Inhale here.
(Exhale) Pull your hips back and straighten your right leg into Runners Lunge – right toes should be flexed towards the front of your mat and your hips should be hovering over your left heel. Keeping a flat back, start to fold over your right leg.
(Inhale) Back up to Low Lunge. Scoot your right foot out to the right edge of your mat, bringing your hands to the mat on the inside of your foot.
(Exhale) Tuck your left toes and lift your shin off the mat coming into Lizard Pose – right knee should be bent deeply, left leg straight pressing through your left heel. To deepen the pose you can come down to your forearms. In my practice, I tucked my right shoulder underneath my right knee and brought my right forearm outside of my right foot. This is a deeper form of the pose.
(Inhale) Come back up onto your hands if you’re on your forearms. Step your right leg back to meet your left, coming into Plank Pose – spine should be straight, tailbones tucked, ribs lifted, belly tight. Wrists should be under shoulders.
(Exhale) Hinge forward so that your shoulders are just past your wrist and, keeping your elbows in tight, lower down halfway into Chaturanga Dandasana.
(Inhale) Roll over your toes and pull your chest through into Upward Facing Dog – legs should be active, thighs engaged and lifted off the floor. Press down evenly through the tops of the feet and all 10 toes.
(Exhale) Flip your toes, pull your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog.
**Repeat on left side.
You can go through it one time slowly, really feeling out the poses, and then a few times breath per movement. Try it out and let me know if you have any questions! I hope you enjoy it. And, if you’re not following me on Instagram already, please do so – @yogawins – I promise you’ll like what you find. 🙂