Thursday, December 22, 2011

Under the Weather Gentle Yoga Sequence

I have been feeling super crummy lately which means my vinyasa practice has hit the backburner. I mean, who really craves vigorous movement (and sweating) when they feel sick? Not this lady.  The sequence I’m sharing with you today is the type of yoga I love when life asks me to slow down. Enjoy!

P.S. Please excuse a few of the weird figures below - some of the positions in this sequence are not very stick figure friendly!


Begin in a comfy seated position. I like to sit with my legs crossed, but feel free to sit however is most comfortable for you. Take a few deep inhales and long, slow exhales allowing yourself to relax.
  • *inhale* bring both arms up toward the sky, lengthen through your spine, and get a nice stretch all the way from the base of your tailbone up to the tips of your fingers. Relax through your shoulders trying not to let them rise up by your ears. Make sure your tailbone/hip bones remain firmly grounded on the floor. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • *exhale* lower your right palm down to the floor and stretch over toward your right side, feeling a good stretch through your left ribcage. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • *inhale* return to center by bringing both arms up and lengthening through the spine.
  • *exhale* lower your left palm down to the floor and stretch over toward your left side, feeling a nice stretch through your right ribcage.  Hold for 3-4 deep breaths.
  • *inhale* return back to center, bringing both arms up and lengthening through the spine.
  • *Exhale* clasp your hands together above your head (turning the palms outward), tuck your chin to your chest, and round through your spine (pushing outward) bring your palms out in front of you and extend all the way through as if you are pushing on an imaginary wall. Focus on pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine and making both your upper and lower back as round as you can. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • *inhale* return to center by slowly rolling up through your spine, bringing both arms up and lengthening through your spine.
  • *Exhale* lower both palms down to the floor just slightly behind your hip bones. Roll your shoulders backward, pull your shoulder blades together, and arch your upper back/heart up toward the sky. Allow your head to gently release back if it’s comfortable. Be sure to hold the abdominal muscles tight to avoid putting stress on the lower back. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  •  Return to center by gently rolling through your spine. Move into Gentle Seated Twist (Bharadvaja's Twist)  by bringing your legs straight out in front of you, shifting over onto your right hip, bending both your knees, and bringing your feet outside your left hip. Twist your torso to the right, keeping your left hip firmly planted on the floor. This is an open twist that won’t compress your abdomen as much as a closed twist yet provides many of the same benefits for your digestive tract.  Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • Move into a wide stance Childs Pose by bringing your big toes together, sitting back onto your heels, and allowing your upper body to relax down toward the mat. Separate your knees a bit further than you would in regular child’s pose, opening more space in between your thighs for your belly and chest to relax deeply.  Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • Come onto all fours and Thread the Needle by sliding your right hand between your left arm and left knee, extending it all the way out so that the right shoulder and side of the head release down to the floor. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • Move into Cow Face Pose by sitting back and bringing your legs straight out in front of you. Slide your left foot under your right knee to the outside of your right hip. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking your knees and bringing your right foot to the outside of the left hip. Make sure your weight is distributed evenly between both sitting bones. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
*Repeat the gentle seated twist, wide stance Childs pose, and Thread the needle, and cowface pose on the opposite side*

  • Release your legs, bring your palms down to the mat and shift your weight onto all fours. Move into One-Legged King Pigeon by sliding your right knee forward, placing your right foot at the front of your left knee, and resting your right shin on the floor. Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Make sure you weight is evenly situated between both hips. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • Move into Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend by shifting your weight onto your right hip and extending through your right leg. Turn your shoulders and hips forward so that both legs are fully extended out to each side. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • Move into One-Legged King Pigeon on the opposite side by shifting your weight onto your left hip, bending your left knee, pulling your left foot inward, and shifting your hips toward that bent left knee. Make sure your left foot is at the front of your right knee, your left shin is resting on the floor, and your right leg is extended back behind you. Again, your weight should be evenly distributed between both hips. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
  • Slowly bring your feet straight out in front of you. move into Reclining Bound Angle Pose by releasing your back down to the ground one vertebrae at a time, bringing the bottoms of the feet together once you’ve reached a laying down position, and allowing the knees to relax outward. This is a lovely restorative pose that can be used in place of Savasana. Hold for as long as you like.

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