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The element of air connects to our hearts and our minds. It is associated with the ability to stay alert, to move, to connect to other living beings. We all breathe the same air.
In these dynamic Vinyasa sequences, and passive Yin poses, you will open the area around your lungs and heart with back bends, breathing, and balancing poses.
Roll out your mat and have 2 blocks at the ready.
1. Ground Work – Start in child’s pose, bringing the big toes together and knees wide. Take a thread the needle variation, sliding the right arm under. Coming down on to the ear and shoulder. Extending the left arm to the front, pushing in to the fingers. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose a few times here. Repeat to the left. Bring the hips over the knees, walking the hands forward until the forehead rests down in Puppy pose. Soften the belly and allow the breath to be full for a moment here. Then slide forward on to the belly, taking 3 baby cobras. Inhale to lift the hands and forearms up in cactus shape each time. Exhale to lower. Push in to the hands to sit back on the heels. Bringing the hands down behind you. Lift your heart up to the sky, bending the elbows and squeezing them towards one another.
2. Side Bends – Come to standing at the top of the mat. Take a forward fold, clasping hold of opposite elbows and swaying side to side. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Rise back to standing. Inhale the hands up overhead. Clasping hold of opposite elbows. Exhale to take in to a side bend, pushing into the hip. Repeat to other side. Cactus the arms, squeezing the shoulder blades back behind you. Inhale, to open up through the chest. Exhale to fold down and take a vinyasa flow.
3. Back Bends – From down dog, kick the right leg up to the sky. Bend your right knee and open the hip up. To challenge the balance, come up on to the right fingertips. Perhaps, take a peek under the right shoulder as you twist and take a big side body stretch. Then step the right foot through between the hands. Spin the back toes out to 45 degrees as the heel comes down. Inhale, reaching the arms overhead. Interlace the fingers behind the head. Squeeze the elbows forward as you press the head back and lift the heart up. Bending deeply in to the front knee to be strong and stable.
Release and step forward, taking a vinyasa flow. Repeat on the other leg.
4. Balance – From standing, bring the arms out front and bend the elbows at 90 degrees. Loop the right arm under, binding once or twice. Bend the knees and shift the weight into the right foot. Cross the left thigh over, maybe looping the toes behind the standing leg. Find some added stability by pressing the arms together, squeezing the thighs and bending the knees deeply. Keep the eagle arms as you unwind the legs. Stretch the left leg back and hinge forward into Warrior 3. Release the hands down to the mat and kick the left foot up as high as you can without opening the hip in Standing Splits. Lower the left toes and step back to down dog.
Take a vinyasa flow and repeat on the other side.
5. Bow Pose – Lower down on to the belly. Bend your knees and clasp hold of the outer ankles. Keep your thighs and knees hip width apart. Rotate the shoulders back and down, lifting the chest up in to Bow Pose. Press the feet in to the hands to lift higher. Broaden the chest. When ready, release down. Take an easy child’s pose, sinking hips to heels, leaving knees together, rounding the spine and bringing arms back at the sides.
6. Laying Chest Stretch – Laying on the belly, bring the right arm out to the side and bend it at 90 degrees. Roll on to the right ear, shoulder, and hip. Bend your knees if you like. The left hand can press in to the floor or on to the low back. Open and stretch the chest, pecs, and bicep. After a few minutes here, ease back to the belly. Then take it on the other side.
7. Supported Fish – Take the two blocks and arrange them to support you in this pose. One will be long ways between the shoulders blades and the other will be width ways to support the head. Lower down on to the blocks. Either extend the legs out long, bend the knees, or bring the soles together and knees out to the sides for a hip opener. Release the arms down where comfortable. Take deep breaths as you relax in to the props here. Hold for 2-5 minutes at least.
Prefer to be taken through a full 40 minute practice? Check out the class below.
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
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