Last week I talked about how having a plan (knowing where, when and what) helps me to keep up my home practice.
Thank you for sharing your tips on what works for you! For many, it seems morning is the ideal time. It’s then or never!
My own plan looks like this: my kitchen, first thing in the morning, prepared sequence in hand. Today I would like to share the sequence that I am using. I do the same practice each day for a couple of weeks. When I get out of bed, I don’t have to think about what to do.
I don’t always do the exact sequence every single day. It varies a bit depending upon how I feel. Sometimes I hold each pose for awhile (5 breaths), other times I do the sequence in more of a flow/vinyasa style. I may throw a pose or two in depending on how much time I have and what my body is craving. But I like having a default to go to and am quite happy if I do it exactly as is – I get my practice in!
This posture sequence usually takes me 15-20 minutes depending upon how long I hold each pose, whether or not I throw something extra in and how long I rest in Savasana. It is gentle enough for first thing in the morning (my body needs gentle at that time…) but also wakes up my muscles and gets my energy moving. I look forward to it and hope you enjoy it too. Let me know how it goes if you do give it a try!
The sequence is described in words below. I have also created a visual version using my stick figures that you can download here to print out and keep by your mat.
Sweet and Simple Wake Up Yoga (approximately 20 minutes)
Easy Pose: Start with your legs crossed and eyes gently closed. Take a moment to relax and tune in to your breath.
Kundalini Circles: Open your eyes and begin circling your torso. Start with small circles and increase the size. When you feel ready, change directions.
Deep Breath: Come back to stillness. Lengthen your spine relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath in. Suspend your breath for a brief moment. Exhale patiently.
Cat/Cow: Come onto your hands and knees. Drop your belly. Inhale. Bring your chest and gaze forward. Exhale. Round your spine towards the ceiling tucking your chin. Move at your own pace repeating 3 to 5 times.
Downward Dog: Curl your toes under and press up into downward facing dog. Start with knees bent. Walk your dog, lifting each heel. Come to stillness and hold for 3-5 breaths. You may start to take the bend out of your knees.
Rag Doll: From down dog, walk your feet to the front of your mat. Fold your torso over your legs. Keep knees slightly bent. Tuck fists into opposite elbows. Allow your spine to lengthen. Feel grounded in your legs. Option: Sway side to side.
Mountain Pose: Slowly curl up to standing, hands in prayer position, crown of the head reaching towards ceiling, shoulders relaxed. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
Mountain Breathing (or half sun salutation): Inhale and extend your arms up towards the ceiling. Exhale and swan-dive forward. Inhale back up to mountain pose bringing hands though your heart in prayer position and then extending them towards the ceiling. Repeat 3-5 times.
Standing forward bend with a twist: Step feet mat-width apart (or wider) and fold forward at the hips. Twist: Place your right hand on the floor under your shoulders. Open up to the left extending your left hand towards the ceiling. Keep your spine long and hold for 3-5 breaths. Lower to center and repeat on the other side (left hand down, opening to the right and extending right hand up
Mountain Pose: Come to centre and curl up to standing.
Standing Side Bend: Stand with legs hip width apart. Inhale your arms up and exhale gently to the right in a side bend. The movement is lateral – imagine your body is between two panes of glass. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Inhale to center and exhale to the left. holding for 3-5 breaths. Inhale to standing. Think of keeping your spine long throughout.
Plank: From standing, swan-dive forward. Plant your hands on either side of your feet and step back into plank position. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, slowly bend at the elbows and lower to your stomach (knees may be up or on the mat).
Sphinx: – Set your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Lift your chest and torso forward to move into a gentle backbend. Hold for 5 breaths.
Rest: Lower and rest with forehead on your hands.
Downward Dog: Press up into downward dog. Notice if it feels any different than the first. Is your body a bit more open.
Mountain Pose: Take a deep breath in. Exhale and walk your feet to the front of your mat. Rise up to standing. Feel grounded and stable in your feet.
Tree: Bring bottom of your right foot to your left ankle, shin or inner thigh. Gently open your right knee and hip. Bring your hands to prayer position or extended to the sky. Steady your gaze on one spot. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Gently lower the foot and move to the other side.
Downward Dog to lying on your back: Step back into down dog. Hold for a moment and then come to a seated position. Put your feet flat on floor, knees bent. Extend your arms to either side, palms turned in. Slowly lower down onto your back to the count of 5.
Figure Four: Put your feet flat on floor, knees bent. Bring your right ankle to your left knee. Thread your hands through the hole to take hold of your left thigh or shin. Gently pull towards you. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on other side.
Reclined Twist: Put your feet flat on floor, knees bent. Let your knees gently fall to one side. Shoulders intend towards the floor. You can look in the opposite direction if it is comfortable for your neck. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Back to center and repeat on the other side.
Sweet Savasana! Stretch your legs out and let your feet fall open. For some extra sweetness put a pillow or bolster under your knees.Bring your ams by your side, palms up. Relax and sink into your mat. Give yourself a few minutes to integrate your practice. Smile and enjoy your day!