I’m a BIG fan of yoga. It’s a great way to stayed toned, increase flexibility, and improve your posture. I’ve also found it helps when you need to de-stress and/or relax. I will do my best to explain the poses throughout the sequence, as well as posting a figure for the poses.
So dim the lights, kick off your shoes, and turn on some relaxing meditation music (Pandora has a great calm relaxation station, by the way)
Complete the following sequence all the way through on the right side, and then repeat once more on the left. I will highlight the beginning and ending poses in bold, followed by a description (if you are unfamiliar). Each end move is going to be held for 5 breaths. Remember to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Downward Facing Dog to Quarter Dog: Begin in downward facing dog with your arms and legs straight, butt lifted straight up into the air (your body should make an upside down V). Spread fingers wide and lower forearms to the mat. Make sure there’s a straight line between elbows and middle fingers. Try to straighten your legs and press heels to floor, flaring heels slightly wider than toes. Relax your head between your arms and direct gaze through elbows to belly button. Hold in Quarter dog for 5 breaths.
(Downward Facing Dog) (Quarter Dog)
Quarter Dog to Balancing Star (via downward facing dog): From quarter dog, lift elbows and press back to downward dog. Step both feet so big toes are touching. Move right hand over to the left six inches so its at the upper center of your mat. Step right foot forward 2 inches and plant the sole of your right foot firmly so toes are pointing left. Roll up to your right side and lift you left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air. Stay here, balancing on right hand and foot (left for 2nd sequence). Keep shoulders, spine and hips in one straight line. Gaze toward left hand. Hold for 5 breaths, keeping core strong and pose steady.
Balalncing Star to Knee Up Plank: From balancing star, lower left hand and left foot to mat, coming into full plank. Be sure that shoulders are over wrists. Bend right knee and squeeze it toward chest. Hold in knee up plank for 5 breaths.
(Knee Up Plank)
Knee Up Plank to Burning Low Lunge: From knee up plank, step right foot all the way forward between your hands, coming into a low lunge. Lower the torso and reach the right arm underneath your bent right knee. Interlace both hands in front of right ankle. Keep all of the weight in your legs, resisting the urge to lean into hands. Breath deeply in burning low lunge for 5 breaths.
(Burning Low Lunge)
Burning Low Lunge to Side Fierce (via Vinyasa): From burning low lunge, lower hands to the floor, step your right foot back and take vinyasa (plank, lower to upward facing dog to downward facing dog). Inhale to step or hop both feet forward between hands and exhale into forward fold. Inhale to rise up to standing. Make sure your feet are together, and as you inhale bend knees and squat down raising arms into air. Exhale to cross your right elbow over to your outer left knee. Press palms together and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up, increasing the twist. Pull your right hip back, making sure both knees are parallel. Stay in side fierce for 5 breaths.
(Vinyasa flow) (Side Fierce)
Side Fierce to Extended Standing Straddle: From side fierce, rotate torso back to the center and stand up. Take a step open to the right, so your feet are parallel and about 3-4 feet apart. Inhale to extend your arms straight above you. With strong legs, exhale as you hinge at your hips, holding your torso parallel to the floor. Focus on drawing your belly in and shift your weight forward toward your toes. Stay in extended standing straddle for 5 breaths.
Extended Standing Straddle to Goddess Pose: From extended straddle, lift your torso all the way up. Point heels in and toes out, bend knees and squat down so your quads are parallel with the floor. Tuck your tailbone in, keeping shoulders stacked over hips. Raise your arms in the air, bending your elbows so they are at 90 degrees, opening palms forward. Keep weight back in your heels and hold in goddess pose for 5 breaths.
Goddess Pose to Warrior 3: From goddess, straighten your legs and step right foot to the front of your mat so the feet are together. Shift weight into your right foot and extend arms overhead. As you lift your left leg straight behind you, lower chest so your torso and left leg are parallel to the floor. Draw belly in, and balance in warrior 3 for 5 breaths.
Warrior 3 to Crescent Moon (via Warrior 1 and Warrior 2): From warrior 3, step left leg toward the back of the mat, rising up into warrior 1. Open the hips, arms and chest, coming into warrior 2. From here, gently arch back, resting left hand on the back of your left leg. Raise right arm overhead, feeling the stretch through the right side of the body. Make sure you continue to lower your hips and press your front knee forward so it’s directly over right ankle. Remain in crescent moon for 5 breaths.
(Warrior 1) (Warrior 2) (Crescent Moon)
Crescent Moon to Crow Pose (via vinyasa): From crescent moon, lower hands to the floor, step right foot back and take vinyasa (plank to upward dog to downward dog). Inhale to step or hop both feet forward between hands. Bend your knees, squat down and place hands shoulder-width apart on mat. Spread fingers as wide as your can, creating a strong, stable base. Straighten your legs slightly, placing your knees as high up on your triceps as possible. Slowly shift your weight into your palms and lift your feet off the floor. Pressing your feet together and squeezing your knees inward will help you feel more stable and give a sense of lightness. Stay in crow pose for 5 breaths, gazing at the floor in front of you.
Crow to Intense East: From crow, lower your feet to the floor. Sit down between your hands, extending your legs out in front of you. With big toes touching, place your hands six to eight inches behind you so your fingers point forward toward hips. As you inhale, press into your hands and feet, lifting your hips as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Lower your head behind you, pressing into the outside edges of your feet to engage your inner thighs. Hold intense east for 5 breaths.
Intense East to Wheel Pose: From intense east, lower your hips to the floor. Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground with heels as close to butt as possible. Bend your elbows and place palms flat on the ground above your shoulders, fingers facing feet. Inhale and press into your palms and lift your head, shoulders and hips into the air, coming into wheel pose. Try to walk your hands and feet closer. Stay here for 5 breaths.
Wheel Pose to Seated Forward Bend: From wheel pose, slowly lower body down. Hug knees into chest to release your lower back. Then roll up into a sitting position with your legs extended in front of you and do a seated forward bend as a counter-pose. Hold for 5 breaths.
Return to Downward Facing Dog and repeat the sequence on the opposite side.