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Are you feeling a little bit caught up in the chaos? Feeling like you are floating or being pulled in all different directions? Do you feel the need to pull it all back in and find some grounding? Well then you have come to the right place.
I have for you here a few flows that will bring you back, and leave you with a firm foundation. Here I will walk you through Sun Salutation A, Sun Salutation B and one more series that begins to play off of those.
These make up the first section of an hour long practice I did over on my YouTube channel. If you are new to these flows, feel free to watch along to Sun Salutations & Standing Poses instead. Or if you want a longer practice head there to see the rest.
These flows are a great way to step up your yoga practice, easing you from beginner to intermediate. No props are necessary, but you may want to have blocks handy to support your growth in these poses.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing – To ease in to the practice and assist you in looking inward before we get moving I have started with a beginner breathing exercise. Using your right hand, fold in the middle three fingers, leaving your thumb and pinky extended. With your thumb, block your right nostril and fully exhale out of the left. Inhale through your left nostril (choosing a count of 4, 5 or 6). Then seal off the left nostril with pinky, release the thumb and exhale through the right for the same count. Inhale through the right and continue alternating back and forth ending with a full exhale. Take a moment following this to return to normal breathing and set an intention for the practice.
2. Cat and Cow – From table top, inhale dropping the belly, lifting the gaze, curling the tailbone up. Find an openness in the chest and the heart. As you exhale, round and contract. Dropping the chest and tailbone down. Keep your arms straight. If you want to take a cat/cow variation, lift the right leg up with the knee still bent. The leg lifts upward on cow and hugs in with cat.
3. Ragdoll Fold – Standing at the front of your mat, hinge at the hips coming into a forward fold. Let the head go, releasing any tension in the neck. I recommend taking a small or comfortable bend in the knees here as you warm up. Clasp opposite elbows with your hands as you sway from side to side or front to back.
The next three descriptions are of a series of poses. I walk you through them here, but if you are unfamiliar with the individual poses please do watch this video.
4. Sun Salutation A – Inhale your arms up overhead, exhale hinging at the waist into a forward fold. Inhale lifting halfway up, flat back, fingertips may rest on the legs. Exhale plant the palms on the mat, step the feet back coming into plank. Exhale to lower to the belly, inhale lifting the chest as your hips and tops of the feet stay grounded in cobra. Exhale making your way into downward facing dog. At the end of the exhale, look forward and step or hop towards the front of the mat. Find your forward fold here, inhaling to flat back halfway up, exhaling to fold and soften forward. Inhale to rise up as your arms reach overhead and the palms come together. Exhale, bringing your hands to the heart.
5. Sun Salutation B – Standing at the front of the mat in mountain pose, bend the knees and drop your hips, coming into chair pose. Exhale, folding the belly over the thighs and straightening the legs into forward fold. Inhale halfway lift, exhale to plant the palms and step or hop back to chaturanga. Inhale forward to upward facing dog (hips and thighs lifted off the mat). Exhale to find downward facing dog. Step the right foot forward between the hands, turning the left toes out about 45 degrees. Arms reach up as you bend into the right knee, coming into Warrior 1. Exhale palms to the mat and step the right leg back. Breathe through chaturanga, upward dog, downward dog and then repeat Warrior 1 on the left side. Work through another round of chaturanga, upward dog, downward dog. From down dog look forward and hop or step to the front of the mat, coming into forward fold. Halfway lift, full forward fold, rise up into chair, straighten the legs to end standing tall in mountain pose.
6. Standing Flow – Take your feet hip width, and bring your hands to the heart. Bend your knees coming into chair pose. Keep your chest lifted and your knees squeezing in, as you drop your hips a little bit lower. Shift weight into the right leg, as you lift your left knee up towards the chest. Keeping your left leg lifted, slowly extend it back behind you, hinging the torso forward for Warrior 3. Slowly bend the right leg, to set the left toes down behind you. Bring your arms overhead and bend deep into the right knee for a crescent lunge. To take the twist above, bring your left hand to the heart, and open right arm behind you. Take it from the top to repeat these poses on the other side.
As I said earlier, if you would prefer to see me demonstrating each step of the way, click through to the YouTube video below.
Looking for a shorter full body flow at this intermediate level? Give this 20 minute practice a try.
If you enjoyed these poses or this practice, please subscribe to my YouTube channel for new videos every week.
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