Exercise to Notice: Vinyasa Yoga
These are two level one yoga asanas, or poses, you can combine with the breath to practice simple vinyasa (a method of yoga in which movements form a flowing sequence in coordination with the breath).
Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward mukha = facing svana = dog
This is the ultimate all-over, rejuvenating stretch
Step 1: Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.
Step 2: As you exhale, lift your knees away from the floor. At first, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.
Step 3: As you exhale, push your top thighs back stretching your heels onto (or down toward) the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of the pelvis.
Step 4: Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Energizes the body
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
- Strengthens the arms and legs
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Improves digestion
- Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
bala = child’s pose
Step 1: Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
Step 2: Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
Step 3: Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms down, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Feel how the weight of the front shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.
Step 4: To come up, first lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses dow
- Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported