Have you heard it said, “If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family”? While joyful, holidays can also be an enormously stressful time because of family, friends, gifts, work deadlines, ect. Maintaining a yoga practice is critical in ensuring your sanity. This Power Flow practice is designed to get you a little sweaty and enable you to better handle stress in just 15 minutes. I love doing this practice after work to release the frustrations of the day.
Watch this space for more holiday flows in the coming weeks!
Stand in Tadasana. Feel grounded in your feet, spreading toes wide. Engage your mulabhanda and uddiyana bhanda, keeping your ears in line with your neck. Roll shoulders back.
Flow through a vinyasa. Raise your arms overhead and dive forward on the exhale into standing Forward Bend.
On the inhale rise into Flat Back, with the exhale taking you through Chaturanga Dandasana.
Upward Facing Dog
Inhale to Upward Facing Dog. Lift thighs off the floor as you press all ten toes firmly into the matt. Don’t clench your butt, but rather lift from the area right below your navel as you extend the top of your head towards the ceiling.
Exhale back into Downward Dog. Stay here for 5 breaths.
Travel to the top of your mat. Inhale Flat Back, and exhale Standing Forward Bend. Inhale as you rise up and exhale as you sink into Chair Pose. Feet can be together or separate them for better balance. Bring sitting bones into pelvis and lower until thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure you can see your toes! Send knees back if you can’t. Lift them to engage quads. Take 3 breaths here. Let your legs burn! It means you’re getting stronger.
Chair Twist Right
On the inhale, bring your hands to heart center and twist to the right, bringing your left elbow over your right knee. Keep your knees together, making sure your left isn’t poking out. Concentrate on twisting from your upper back, shoulders, and neck. Stay for 3 breaths.
Lower your hands towards the right and try Side Crow. Brace left elbow against right knee, firm against the upper arm. Lean to the right and try to lift one foot off the floor. Maybe both, but keep your knees together. I am demonstrating a Modified Crow Pose. Stay here for 3 breaths, letting your body shake out all that stress. Lower your feet and fall into Forward Bend.
Rise up and then sink back into Chair. Stay for 3 breaths, bringing your arms by your ears, but not crunching your neck. Repeat the twist on the left side, staying in each position for 3 breaths. Try Crow on this side.
Either take a vinyasa or go directly into Downward Facing Dog. From Down Dog, lift right heel high to the sky. Keep your hips square. Bend your elbows and left leg. Using the support of the floor, swing your right knee forward into your nose, rounding up through the spine and engaging your core. On the inhale, bring your right heel back up and bring your right knee to your right arm on the exhale. Swing it back on the inhale, and the twist towards the left on the exhale.
Bring your right foot forward and rise into Warrior I, grounding through your back heel. Stay for 3 breaths, making sure your hips are square with the front of the mat by bringing your right hip back and left hip forward.
Transition into Warrior 2, feeling strong in this pose, for 3 breaths.
Side Angle twist
From Warrior 2, turn your chest and hips towards the front of the matt and bring your hands to heart center. Keeping your left foot firmly grounded, twist your left arm over your right thigh. Use the strength of your hands to create space between your bottom ribs and leg. Don’t dump into your hips–remember the twist comes from your upper back, not the lumbar spine. Stay for at least 3 breaths.
Repeat on Left
Spin the back heel up and flow through a vinyasa. Repeat on the left side, raising left heel up. Flow through Core Plank, Warrior I and II, and Twisted Warrior. Vinyasa or come immediately to sit on the floor in Seated Forward Bend. Catch your breath.
Upward Facing Bridge
Come to sit at the back of your matt, your fingers pointing towards your feet and your wrists underneath your shoulders and in line with the edge of the matt. I am demonstrating with blocks, but you could also use a couple of books for some lift. Bend your knees and engage your core as you lift the legs and butt, pressing the sides of the feet down. Keep head lifted. Stay for a couple of breaths.
Begin to round forward keeping your sitting bones off the floor. Use your core as you lift from your hands. Flow from Upward Facing Bridge 3-5 times.
Rest in Seated Forward Fold then transition into a twist. Bring your right foot into your left thigh, bending the knee. Twist towards the right and grab the knee with the left hand. Raise the right arm up and fall over your left arm, grabbing the left foot. Twist your chest up towards the ceiling. Repeat on the other side.
Rest, Breathe, Celebrate
You can either complete the practice here or take a couple of inversions to really flush out that stress. When you are finished, rest for 5 minutes in Savasana.
Also by Caitlyn: Ethical Sex – 4 Ways to Reclaim Your Power
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Photo: Caitlyn Gibson