These are pulled from a full 35 minute intermediate/advanced class Rise & Shine Power Yoga Flow practice over on my YouTube channel.
I would recommend having a set of blocks handy. If you don’t have these props, sturdy cushions or large books will do.
1. Neck Release – Sit on your mat however you find is naturally comfortable, that may be cross legged, legs stretched, on your knees, or butterfly. Reach your hands behind your back, clasping the fingers together. Reach the clasped palms all the way over to the left hip, or as far to the left waist as you can. Gently bring the left ear down towards the shoulder (don’t hike the shoulder to the ear). Play with the angle of your chin, you may want to tilt it up or down. Shut the eyes and allow the jaw to relax. Through the nose, breathe in and out softly. After a decent amount of time here, slowly switch to the other side.
2. Wrist Stretches – Make your way into a table top pose, with your hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. From here, turn the fingers to point towards the knees. Palms flat on the mat, fingers spread wide and not buckling at the knuckles. You may be able to gently shift the weight back slightly, for me staying in table top here is plenty. Keeping your fingers and knuckles down to the mat, begin to lift the palms up and try to bend the elbows. Shifting the hips back a bit may help in this. Return back to a neutral table top with fingers pointing forward. Lift the right hand, and flip onto the back, the fingers on this hand will once again point towards you. As before, leave the fingers pinned to the mat and start to lift the back of the palm from the mat as you shift your weight back. Repeat these last steps on the left hand.
3. Downward Dog Sequence – Make your way into a downward dog (hands shoulder distance apart, feet hip distance, shift hips up and back). Kick the right leg up, taking a bend in the knee and opening the hips up to the right. In order to wake up the hip joint, make big circles with your knee here. Shift forward into a plank bringing the knee to the right shoulder, left shoulder and finally the center.
4. Low Lunge Sequence – Continuing from the last sequence, step your right foot between the hands at the front of the mat. Drop the left knee to the mat, and untuck the toes. Grab the set of blocks, taking them below the hands in your low lunge. From here, do some pulses. Inhale, chest rises, as the low lunge deepens. As you exhale, shift the hips back, straighten the leg and fold forward over the extended leg. Repeat this a handful of times. Return to low lunge, tuck the toes under and set the blocks aside. Reach your arms up over head, clap the palms together, bend the elbows and bring the thumbs to rest on the back of the head. Start to push the head back into the thumbs.
5. Warrior 2 Sequence – From your low lunge, bring the hands down to the mat and lift the back knee. Spin your back foot down so the toes point to the left. Lift the torso upright, and open it towards the left, as you extend the arms out front and back, taking a deep bend in the front knee. Ensure the knee isn’t past the ankle and not buckling out or in. Reverse your warrior, taking the left hand to the left leg and reaching the right hand skyward. Finding a nice side bend. Return to Warrior 2 briefly. Rock the hips back and lean your chest forward. Let the front hand rest on the front shin, a block, or the ground. While in Triangle pose, make some big circles with the lifted arm.
Repeat 3 through 5 on the opposite side.
6. Optional Supported Headstand – As I said at the top, only take this inversion if it is part of your normal practice. Otherwise simply take a child’s pose, or if you are looking for a similar sensation to the inversion, lay on your back with the legs up the wall. If headstands are something you want in your practice, check out my headstand tutorial for a more detailed walk through. Interlace your fingers on the mat, plant the knuckles down and make a triangle shape with your elbows. Bring the crown of the head down inside the hands. Tuck your toes under and lift the hips up. Gradually walk your toes in. When you can’t walk any further, either lift the feet one at a time, kick up or use your core to life the legs up. This inversion will certainly give you a morning boost of energy that can rival coffee, and turning upside down might not just change your perspective for the moment but may even switch your outlook on the day ahead.
For even more morning inspiration, practice along with me in the full 35 minute practice below.
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