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Are you ready to fire up your yoga practice? To take it to the next level? To get an all over toning session, and maybe sweat a bit? Give these 7 sequences a try for an intermediate Vinyasa practice.
This class will work your inner thighs, your shoulders, your upper back. You don’t need any props, but if you want to have some blocks handy, feel free to do so.
1. Reclined – Start by laying down on your back. Bend knees, bringing the soles of the feet together, drop knees out to the sides in a reclined butterfly. Bringing your knees back together, hug the right knee in to the chest and extend the left leg out. Keep your head and shoulders down, but maybe add a bit of a sway side to side. Extend the right arm out to the side, use the left hand to guide the right knee across to the left side, for a twist. Keep the right shoulder down, but the right hip can lift up. Come back to center and extend the right leg up to the sky, holding the back of the thigh or wherever is accessible. Bend and straighten your leg a few times. Curl the head and shoulders up now, bringing the head towards the knee. Maybe lift the left leg up in to a hover. To fire it up, release the hands and extend them up overhead. Hug the knees to the belly and rock gently side to side. Then repeat on the other leg.
2. Seated – Come up to a seat. Extend your right leg out to the side. Bring the left sole to the inside of the right thigh. Slide your right hand down your right leg. Reach the left hand up and over. Drawing the left shoulder back so that you’re lengthening through the left side body. Bring your left hand down beside you. Lift the hips up, while sweeping the right arm up and over for a Baby Wild Thing. Lowering down, turn your chest towards the right leg. Place the hands down on either side of the right leg. Point your toes, then try to pick up the right leg to hover. Keep from leaning back here. Feel your hip flexors working. Lift and lower the leg 5 times. Then repeat on the other side.
3. Low – Come to table top, with your hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Take a few rounds of cat cow, dropping the belly and lifting the gaze on your inhale, then exhale rounding and contracting the spine. Tuck the toes, then lift the hips up and back for down dog. Pedal out the feet by bending one knee and pushing the other heel down. Kick the right foot up to the sky, bend your right knee and open the right hip up. Then straighten the leg and square the hips. Inhale knee to chest, exhale back to three-legged dog for a few rounds. Next, step the right foot through between the hands and lower the left knee down to the ground. Melt the pelvis down and forward for low lunge. Push in to the feet and lift the arms up. Take the arms to cactus shape, squeezing the shoulder blades together and shift the gaze up in to a bit of a back bend. Bring the hands down to frame the front leg. Shift the hips back, curling the right toes up and straightening the leg, in a half split. Hinge forward towards the leg. Take a vinyasa, then repeat on the other side.
4. Kneeling – Return to downward dog, kick the right foot up, then step it through between the hands. Drop the back knee down. Inhale the hands up overhead. Reach the tailbone down and melt the pelvis forward. Open to a twist, reaching left hand forward and right hand back. To take further, bring the right hand to the left shin and reach your left hand up. Bring the left hand down to the mat, the right arm straight up. Step your right foot back to a modified side plank, with the left knee directly under the left hip. Shift the weight forward and see if you can lift the right leg up from the ground. Flex the foot and activate the glutes. Lower the right foot, and bring the right hand to the back of the head. Push in to the right foot, and try to lift the left knee off the ground. Try to bring the right elbow to the left knee. Lower down to a forearm plank. Drop hips down and untuck the toes, coming in to sphinx. Take a vinyasa, then repeat on the other side.
5. Standing – Come to a high lunge, with the right foot forward. Bend generously in to the right knee. Reaching the hands up. As you exhale, tilt forward and sweep the hands back at the sides. Inhale back up, and repeat for 3 rounds of breath. Open to Warrior 2, spinning the left toes out and the heel down. Squeeze the right knee open, so it’s tracking over the middle toe. Reach the hands out at shoulder height. Flip the palms up and reverse your Warrior, taking the left hand back and right hand up. Return to Warrior 2. Then straighten your front leg, hips tilt back. Drop the right hand to the right shin, a block, or the ground. Extend the left arm up, stacking the shoulders. Look to the floor, bring the left hand down, tuck the left toes as the heel lifts up. Reach the right arm up in an Easy Twist. Maybe step your right foot back in to full Side Plank. Take a Vinyasa, then repeat on the other side.
6. Balance – Return to high lunge, with the right foot forward. Reach hands up over head. Start to hinge forward, and lift the left toes up. Coming to Warrior 3. The chest and left leg are at most parallel to the ground. Lift back up, and bring the left knee towards the belly. Bring your right hand to the left knee, and extend the left arm back as you open the chest for a twist to the left. Keep the upper body twisted to the left. Release the leg, extending it back. Tilt towards the front of the mat, letting the right arm extend down in Half Moon. Feel your muscles working. And try to keep your right hand hovering in this balance. Release down. Take a vinyasa, and repeat on other side.
7. Stretch – Come to table top. Bring the right knee behind the right wrist. Extend your left leg out behind you. Square your hips. Then fold down in Sleeping Pigeon. Take long deep breaths, relaxing the shoulders and arms. Repeat on the other side. Then flip on to the back. Bend the knees, pressing in to the heels to lift the hips up in to Bridge. Move in to Shoulder Stand, supporting your low back with the hands and lifting the feet off the ground. Maybe transition in to plow pose if this is in your practice, by taking the feet back behind you (as pictured). Take a laying spinal twist, opening the arms out to the sides and dropping the knees to one side. Then take the knees to the other side. Be sure to take a Savasana before getting up from your mat.
If you prefer to practice along with me, press play on the 45 minute video below.
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