Written by Alison Elizabeth
Photography by Jennifer Biswas
We all know incorporating a yoga class or two into our weekly work-out routines can be transformative – body, mind and soul! Not only does it promote serious flexibility and muscle tone, but yoga also quiets the mind and reconnects the individual with themself. In short, yoga helps make us more powerful from the inside, out!
Unfortunately, life happens and sometimes our schedules can get in the way of setting and maintaining a weekly yoga class regiment. BUT that is no reason to miss out on the amazing benefits yoga has to offer! For those extra crazy weeks or as a way to bring the benefits of yoga home with you between classes, give this basic Vinyasa Flow sequence a try:
Vinyasa Flow, also known as Flow Yoga, is one of many, many kinds of yoga practices. Flow Yoga focuses on "flowing" from one pose to the next while synchronizing the breath with each movement.
Before we begin the sequence, take a moment to stand at the top of your mat, feet firmly planted on the ground, shoulder width apart. Pay attention to your posture, center yourself and focus on your breathing. Take a couple of deep breathes. Inhale and reach your arms above your head, Exhale, fly your arms out to the side and all the way down to your toes as fold forward over your knees. Repeat a couple of times until you feel connected and ready to get started.
1. Once you are ready, enter into Downward-Facing Dog. Take a couple of deep breaths here. Feel and stretch into the pose.
2. Inhale and lift your left leg behind you. Hold for a couple of breaths, pushing down through your hands and your right leg while reaching your toes to the sky.
3. With your exhale bring your left leg down between your hand into Forward Lunge. Take a couple deep breaths to feel the stretch.
4. Inhale and lift up into Warrior II – keeping your feet on the ground, bring your chest up and open your hips and chest to the right while cartwheeling your right arm back to point directly behind you. Set your gaze over your left hand pointed in front of you. Take a couple of deep breaths in this empowering pose!
5. Inhale and lean back into Reverse Warrior - bring your right arm down to right leg and keep your gaze with your left hand as it reaches to the sky. Feel the stretch on your sides as you hold for a couple of breaths.
6. Inhale and shift your weight forward into Modified Triangle Pose - cartwheel your left arm down to your left foot and switch your gaze to your right hand as it reaches to the sky. If you feel like it you can, straighten the front leg into full Triangle Pose on the next inhale.
7. As you exhale place your hands on either side of your front leg, shoulder width apart and bring your left foot back to meet your right to enter Plank Pose.
8. Inhale into Plank Pose and take a couple deeps breaths - make sure your shoulders are away from ears and that your hips are aligned with your back and legs.
9. Take a big inhale, drop your hips and lift your chest into Cobra Pose. As you exhale put your pubic bone into the ground while stretching your back and neck into the pose.
10. Inhale back to Downward-Facing Dog - lift your hips to the sky and bring your heels towards the ground while pushing down through your hands.
Then, repeat the sequence on the right side.
Try to do this sequence at least three or four times in a row. Each time try to stretch out your inhales and exhales, while moving more fluidly from one pose to another. As a general rule, your inhales should link up with entering a pose and your exhales with transitioning between and relaxing into a pose - even if your holding the pose for just one exhale. Work at it and over time you will find your optimal "flow"!
Do this a couple of times a week and whether you make it to yoga class or not, you will be amazed at how much more empowered, balanced and aligned you feel just from utilizing this simple sequence.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helps! Namaste, my friends!