Vinyasas are a great way to get the whole body moving and warmed up. But it is easy to fall into the same routine between vinyasas, and get bored.
These five poses will give you inspiration to spice up your next vinyasa flow and keep things fresh on your mat.
I also encourage you today to set an intention for your practice. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but simply answer the question, “Why am I doing yoga right now?” One intention that may work really nicely when moving through these suggested poses, is to stay present with your breath. Every inhale and exhale.
Have a strap and set of two blocks handy. If you don’t have props, a couple of cushion/pillows and a belt will easily do the trick.
Are you looking to strengthen and stretch your whole body, while keeping the energy levels low? The full 45 minute video Slow Flow Yoga Class might just be exactly what you are looking for!
Let’s get moving!
1. Bridge – Come down onto your back with knees bent and soles of the feet on the ground. Place a block (or cushion) between your knees. Let your arms rest gently at your sides. Pressing the feet into the floor, start to curl the tailbone up until hips, low back and mid back rise off the mat. Stay here, or if you want to fire the legs up a bit more lift the right leg up and point the toes. Return your right foot to the mat and switch to the left. All the while pressing firmly with the grounded foot, squeezing the block, and lifting the hips.
2. Reclined pigeon – Lay on the back with bent knees and planted feet. Lifting the left leg, set the ankle on the right thigh by the knee. Drop your left knee to the side. Stay here, focusing on the breath. If you want a deeper stretch, lift the right foot and gently pull the knee towards your belly. Switch sides whenever you are ready.
3. Side plank variations – From a standard plank, bring your right knee to the floor and then roll to the inner edge of your left foot. Hold yourself steady with the right arm, as the left hand reaches towards the sky. Stack your shoulders one over the other. Again you may stay here, or if you choose float the left leg off the mat. Reach into the heel to flex the foot of the hovering leg. Repeat these actions on the reverse side.
4. Gate pose – For this one we will flow through a short series of a few postures. First make your way into a low lunge with your left leg behind you, knee to the ground. Bring your hands to your hips. Shift your hips back as you straighten out the right leg. Leaving your left knee on the ground, cross your left foot over to the right side of the mat. Your body will now be facing towards the long edge of the mat, on what was the left side. Turn the toes of your straightened leg parallel to the short edge of the mat (your left shin should be parallel at the opposite end). Lower your palms to the floor in front of you, directly below your shoulders. Now float your right leg up off of the mat, squeeze the glutes and flex the foot to lift higher. This is a similar action to what we did in the side plank variation above. Place the foot back on the mat, bringing your right hand to the extended leg. Reach up and over with the left hand, taking a side bend. Work through this sequence on the opposite side.
5. Reclined leg stretches – To close out your practice (or before taking Savasana at least) use a strap to give your legs a final set of stretches. Coming to lay on the mat, hook a strap (or belt) over the ball of your right foot. Reach the right foot upwards, working the leg towards straight, while keeping the left leg extended on the mat. Flex the right foot by pushing into the heel. When ready to transition, bring both sides of the strap into the right hand. Reach the left arm out, keeping the shoulder on this side pinned to the floor, as you lower the right leg away from you. Stay comfortably here, return to your breath. Returning the right leg to the mid-line in the air, switch the strap to the left hand. Cross your leg across the body, working towards the floor. This time keep the right shoulder on the mat, as you take a sweet spinal twist. Return your right leg to the mat, hook the strap over the left foot and repeat these stretches on this leg.
Not quite sure how to work these into your vinyasa flow on your own? Practice with me! The full 45 minute class is free online below.
Did you know you can now take a bunch of my classes with you wherever you go? Find the list of all of my downloadable classes here and practice without an internet connection (yoga in the park anyone?)
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.