By popular request, this week I’m taking you through what I normally like to do in my personal practice. I do tend to do a lot of the same stuff day over day. When it works, it works!
I typically focus a lot on hip and hamstring flexibility, along with a bit of core work.
Have handy any props that you normally use in your practice.
These 7 poses/exercises come from the first half of my 30 minute YouTube video, My Home Yoga Practice for Strength & Flexibility. If you want to continue with more standing poses and get a full practice (including an optional arm balance) check it out here.
1. Knee to Chest – Start lying down on your back. Keep the left leg extended on the floor, and pull your right knee in to your belly. Either hold on to the back of the thigh, or front of the shin. Kick in to your left heel, as you draw your right shin in closer. Take a full belly breath, and then move in to a twist. Take the right knee towards the ground on your left. Reach your right arm out to the right side to ground your shoulder down. Spinal twists are a must for me everyday. If you wish to take it deeper, extend the right leg out, either holding on to the shin or the foot. Keep drawing your naval in. After holding here, gently return to your back and switch to the other side.
2. Super Slow Yoga Bicycles – While on your back, lift your feet and align your knees directly over your hips (as if sitting in a chair). Bring your shins parallel to the floor, squeezing everything in to the midline. Push your lower back down in to the floor, making sure your knees stay in line over the hips. Already you may begin to feel your core firing up. Interlace your fingers behind your head. As you inhale, lift your head and shoulders off of the mat, Don’t curl towards your thighs, but rather think of lifting towards the ceiling. As you exhale twist towards the right, lifting both shoulder blades off of the mat and extending the left leg straight. Inhale to center, exhale to twist left and extend the right leg. Repeat 5 cycles of this. Return to center and lift everything you can off the floor (i.e. head & shoulders lift, arms & legs extend up). Hold here for the count of 5 before lowering back down.
3. Bridge Pose – Staying reclined, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet to the floor. Relax the arms down. Pushing in to the feet, lift your hips, low and mid back up. Squeeze the inner thighs together, pushing against the inclination for them to rotate open. Breathe into the belly, stretching out the abdominals. Take a few breaths and then slowly release down.
4. Seated Forward Fold – Come to a seat. Stack your right shin in front of the left one on the ground. Not over crossing, or trying to do a lotus pose here. Reach your fingertips out, lift and lengthen your upper body, then walk your palms forward to fold down to the ground (or into a prop). This pose invites the right hip and glute to start opening up. Take 3 breaths here, then rise up slowly. Switch the cross of the legs before folding forward again, this time opening the left hip and glute.
5. Thread the Needle – Coming to table top, reach your right arm up to the sky. Open up the chest, and then reach the right arm underneath you until the right shoulder and ear can drop to the floor. Come up on to the left fingertips, pushing into them to twist deeper. This stretch is great for the upper and mid back. Inhale up, extending the right hand back up to the sky, before planting the palm down in table top once again. Repeat on the other side.
6. Low Lunge to Half Splits – Step your right foot through between your hands. Your right knee is aligned over the right ankle. Stay up on the finger tips or a set of blocks, as you pull your heart forward. As you exhale, shift the hips back, straightening the front leg and folding over it. Move through 3 cycles of this with your breath.
7. Plank Work – From low lunge, lift the back knee up. Then kick the right leg back and up into 3-legged dog. Straighten the right leg, turning the right hip down towards the ground. As you exhale, shift forward into a plank, tapping the right knee towards right shoulder. Trace a square here, moving right knee to left shoulder, down to left wrist, over to right wrist, and back up to right shoulder. Do this square twice.
After returning to downward dog, lift the left leg and repeat 6 and 7 on this side.
If you are just getting warmed up and want the full practice, check out the full flow below.
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