OK- I had this thing where all my classes had to have a theme. Whether it was west coast hip-hop, heart opening, the root chakra; there was always a theme. Themes in yoga can be an absolutely phenomenal tool for teachers to sequence and structure their class and its just as beneficial to students. They can kind of mentally and physically prepare knowing a class is "back bending for heart openers" in an instant as soon as a teacher mentions it. We can debate if good or bad for someone to have judgement or idea before their bodies are able to move, but that's not what this post is about. This is solely about the sensations in your body. Moving with intention, with liberation. Feeling how sticky our bodies can be, enjoying each back crack (relax its air bubbles in the spine), working through each knot. Breathing deeply, taking time, really not being in any sort of rush.
Attempt to rid your brain of judgement on how it's supposed to feel, or look like. Don't even worry about perfect alignment- move safely. 1000% always move to avoid injury. Ensure your knees never surpass your ankles when making angles with your low body, keep your core tight to better stabilize balancing poses, lower your knees during chatturunga/plank, avoid leading with your chin, bend your knees to avoid throwing out your lumbar spine (low back) when forward folding or during downward dog. If you have any specific questions on alignment, please click the contact button.
Allow yourself the opportunity to be in a predominantly physical state. Try and catch yourself letting your brain wander. Keep that thought, watch it, let it leave. Breathe deliberately, each breath longer, thicker and fuller. There's a playlist below- but if reading the sequence, breathing and trying to flow safely is too stimulating; JUST MOVE SLOW.
if you are unfamiliar with the poses use this to guide you.
keep water near, take rest when you want/need it.
lay down/ clear the lungs: inhale deeply through the nose, exhale push all the breath out of your body. two more times like this. draw in, you deserve to be full of life- let your lungs hollow and belly deflate as you leave yourself empty.
continue this breath.
- reclining bound angle pose x 8 breaths
- place arms in a T position and bring the knees together, soles of the feet squishing into the ground
- lift the hips up slowly, each vertebra peeling up with each inhale
- exhale lower the hips, repeat the slow rise and lower of the hips and glutes for 6 rounds, each time with more intention, moving through the sticky spinal column.
- press into the feet and keep your hips centered but lowered on to the floor, shoulders grounded- twist your legs to the left/look right, come back to center, then complete the other side.
- roll onto your favourite side and breathe there until you're ready to move.
- come onto all fours and take cat/cow x 8 times, pairing each spinal transition with an inhale to look up, exhale to look in.
- neutralize the spine- extend the left arm/right leg balancing on an inhale, as you exhale draw the arm and leg in toward center to warm up the core, repeat the same movement on the opposite side x 3/side
- come onto the knees, with your toes squishing onto the ground, reach the arms around, bringing the heels of the hands to the low spine. broaden the collar bones, softly press the hands into the lumbar as the hips push forwards maybe let the head fall backwards, let your heart radiate. when you're ready to come up, tuck the chin and take 2x rounds.
- hold child's pose for 12x breaths
- press your palms into the ground, fingers wide, each knuckle evenly bearing weight, keep your core tight, press your hips up- keep your knees bent until you're ready to fully extend into downward dog, hold here for 8x breaths.
- walk your feet to your hands, slowly allow each vertebra to take space allowing the head to come up last.
- stand loosely, relax the muscles, shake out the legs, roll the neck one way, then the other. now clench the muscles, flex everything, hold tightly. now soften. appreciate your hard edges, love your softness.
- take 4 s l o w full flows (standing, forward fold, half spine lift, plank, chatturunga, upward dog, downward dog), ending in downward dog.
- lead with the right leg: low lunge, twisted low lunge, twisted high lunge, ground the back foot, open up warrior ii, slide your arm down your back leg.
- flow, repeat leading with the left leg.
- flow, come to standing- transfer your weight to your right leg, pick the left leg up, kick back allowing the spine to tilt forwards any amount with your arms at your sides, palms flushed forwards.
- balancing x6 breaths, step back to high lunge with arms up, warrior ii, side angle, warrior ii, downward dog, right leg high- wild thing, fallen star, pigeon.
- flow, repeat with the opposite leg.
- downward dog, come to seated, then laying down.
- happy baby, bring your knees into your chest, squeeze tightly, now melt to savasanna.