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Yoga Day 56

WARM-UP

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

Starting position: Begin by coming into a comfortable seated position.

  1. Find somewhere comfortable to sit. Keep your spine straight and tall, and your chest open.
  2. Relax your left hand in your lap, and bring your right hand in front of your face.
  3. Rest the index and middle fingers of your right hand gently in the space between your eyebrows. There’s no need to apply any pressure, just lightly anchor them there.
  4. Take a deep breath through your nose, taking a moment to prepare yourself.
  5. With your right thumb, close your right nostril. Take a slow, steady inhale, and at the top of the inhale, use your ring finger to close your left nostril as well.
  6. Hold the breath with both nostrils closed for a few moments, then open your right nostril for a steady exhale.
  7. Inhale again through the right nostril and hold it for a few moments, plugging both nostrils, then open your left nostril and exhale slowly.
  8. Inhale once more through your left nostril, plugging both at the top, then exhale through the right nostril.
  9. Repeat this breathing technique for 1-2 minutes.

2. Alternating Shoulder Shrugs

  1. Exhale and fully relax any tension in your shoulders. Let gravity pull down on your arms, pulling the tightness away.
  2. Keeping your neck straight, inhale, and shrug your right shoulder upward.
  3. Exhale and relax your right shoulder again.
  4. Repeat with the left shoulder, then continue alternating shoulders for 30 seconds.

 

3. Alternating Elbow Flapping

  1. Bring your hands in front of your chest with your right hand hovering above your left. Your left hand should be palm-up, and your right should be palm-down.
  2. Bend the fingers of both hands and hook them together.
  3. Alternate flapping your elbows up and down for 30 seconds.

 

4. Deltoid Stretch

  1. In Easy Pose (Sukhasana), inhale your right arm straight out in front of you, palm facing to the left.
  2. Exhale as you bring your extended right arm across your chest, keeping your shoulder blades down. Bring your left arm up with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and use it to push your right arm closer to your chest.
  3. Breathe here for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.

 

5. Wrist Flexion/Extension

  1. Hold your arms in front of you; parallel to the ground with palms facing down and fingertips pointing straight ahead.
  2. Without moving anything but your wrists, slowly raise your fingertips to point skyward.
  3. Return to neutral, then bend your wrists so that your fingertips point to the ground.
  4. Repeat for 30 seconds.

 

6. Wrist Rotations

  1. With your arms still held out in front of you, move your thumbs to the center of your palm and close your fists around them.
  2. Rotate your hands at the wrist joint, first inward toward each other for 15-30 seconds, then outward for 15-30 seconds.

7. Seated Torso Circles (Sufi Grinds)

  1. In Easy Pose (Sukhasana), place your hands on your knees.
  2. Inhale and open your chest as your lean forward, keeping your sit bones grounded.
  3. Rotate your torso in a clockwise circular motion for 30 seconds, keeping it slow and controlled, then repeat for 30 seconds counterclockwise.

8. Easy Pose Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana)

  1. Begin in Easy Pose.
  2. Inhale, raise your right arm above your head, and bring your left hand to your right knee.
  3. Exhale and lean your upper body to the left, bringing your right arm up and over.
  4. Breathe here for 30 seconds, then inhale back to center and repeat on the opposite side.

 

9. Revolved Easy Pose Salute Flow (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

  1. Still in Easy Pose (Sukhasana), inhale and raise your arms, joining palms overhead.
  2. Exhale and lower your arms, bringing your right hand to the ground next to you and your left hand to your right knee. Using that knee as leverage, slowly twist your torso toward the right, shifting your gaze out over the right shoulder.
  3. Inhale your arms back overhead, then exhale your arms back down and twist the opposite direction.
  4. Repeat for 30-60 seconds, alternating sides.

10. Seated Knee Rotation

Transition: From Easy Pose, release your legs straight in front of you to come into Staff Pose.

  1. Lift your right leg, placing both hands on the back of your right thigh to support it, and bring the knee up near your chest.
  2. Keeping the right foot off the ground, rotate your lower leg clockwise in a circular motion for 30 seconds, then counterclockwise for 30 seconds.
  3. Return your right leg to the mat, then repeat on the left.

 

11. Cradle Pose (Hindolasana)

  1. Raise your right leg, bringing the knee up to your chest and keeping your right foot flexed. You can keep your left leg straight, or bring it inward as if you’re going to sit cross-legged.
  2. Bring your right knee to rest in the crook of your right elbow, rotate the shin to run parallel to your chest, and rest the bottom of your foot in the crook of your left elbow.
  3. Remain here for 30 seconds, release your right leg back to the mat, then repeat with the left leg.

12. Staff Pose w/ Alternating Knee & Hand Lifts (Dandasana)

  1. Beginning in Staff Pose, extend your arms directly in front of you, aligning your hands over your knees.
  2. Imagine that there’s an invisible string attaching your right knee to your right palm, and your left knee to your left palm. Inhale your right hand up a few inches, lifting the right knee with it. Keep the back of your right heel grounded.
  3. Exhale and release your right knee and hand back to starting position, then inhale and lift the left leg and hand.
  4. Continue alternating these movements 5-10 times on each side.

 

13. Boat to Half Boat Pose Flow (Navasana)

  1. Beginning in Staff Pose, extend your arms directly in front of you, aligning your hands over your knees.
  2. Imagine that there’s an invisible string attaching your right knee to your right palm, and your left knee to your left palm. Inhale your right hand up a few inches, lifting the right knee with it. Keep the back of your right heel grounded.
  3. Exhale and release your right knee and hand back to starting position, then inhale and lift the left leg and hand.
  4. Continue alternating these movements 5-10 times on each side.

 

14. Half Plow Rollover Flow (Ardha Halasana)

Transition: From Boat Pose, release your hands and legs to the ground, then lie down in a supine position.

    1. Begin in a supine position with your feet flat on the ground.
    2. Inhale and bend the knees 90 degrees, thighs raised straight up and stacking your knees above your hips. Keep your feet engaged.
    3. On your next inhale, straighten your legs into Half Plow Pose. Now your ankles, knees, and hips should be stacked.
    4. Bring your arms and palms to the floor for support, then inhale your hips and lower back away from the floor as you bring your legs above your face, parallel to the floor.
    5. Exhale your back and hips back down, keeping your legs straight up in Half Plow Pose.
    6. Repeat this flow 4-5 times.   

       

      15. Spinal Rock Pose (Jhulana Lurhakanasana)

      Transition: From Half Plow Pose, hug your knees toward your chest.

      1. Round your back, tucking your head between your knees.
      2. Spend 60 seconds here, rocking front to back and side to side.

       

      16. Wind Release to Mountain Pose Flow

      1. On an exhale, rock your body back and forth until you can roll forward enough to plant your feet underneath you.
      2. Inhale and rise to a standing position. Stand with your feet parallel a few inches apart (or, if you need to widen your stance for better support and stability, hip-width apart).
      3. Lifting one foot at a time, spread the toes and ball of the foot, then return them strong and flat to the floor with your weight evenly distributed.
      4. Lift your sternum up, creating a strong, open upper chest without drawing the lower ribs forward.
      5. Draw your shoulder blades slightly inward toward each other, and down away from your neck and ears. Stack and center the crown of your head over your pelvis with your bottom jaw parallel to the floor.

       

      PEAK FLOW

      1. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

      1. Beginning in Mountain Pose, make sure you have a firm base of support through your feet.
      2. Bend the knees and slowly lower your tailbone as if you’re about to sit in an invisible chair, leaning the upper body very slightly. Try to make your thighs as parallel to the ground as you can.
      3. Breathe here for 30 seconds.

      2. Straight-Legged Warrior I Salute Flow (Virabhadrasana I)

      Transition: Release from Chair Pose back into Mountain Pose, then step your right foot forward and left foot back, coming into Warrior I Pose.

      1. Inhale your arms straight out to the sides in a T-shape.
      2. On your next inhale, straighten your legs and sweep your hands up overhead, joining palms or holding them parallel to each other. Shift your gaze skyward.
      3. Exhale and return to Warrior I pose, bringing your arms back into a T-shape and bending your right knee.
      4. Repeat 1-2 more times.

      3. Warrior II Intense Leg Stretch Flow (Virabhadrasana II)

      Transition: With your right foot forward and your left foot rotated outward a bit, pivot your body to face the left (Warrior II).

      1. Stretch your arms straight out to the side in a T shape and shift your gaze out to your right hand. Breathe here for 20-30 seconds.
      2. On an exhale, slide your right arm down your right leg and bring the left elbow overhead, your left hand reaching up and behind you. Gently shift your gaze up toward your elbow. Breath here for 20-30 seconds.
      3. Inhale and extend your reach to the right, bringing your upper body over the right leg. Shift your hips back slightly.
      4. Exhale your right arm down, bringing the right hand to either your ankle, a block, or the floor. Rotate the front of your ribcage toward the ceiling, reaching your left arm straight up.
      5. Lengthen through the sides of the neck, keeping the neck aligned neutrally with the spine. Shift the gaze straight ahead or up toward your left hand.
      6. On an exhale, bring your left hand down to the mat on the inner side of your leg, lengthening your spine and neck into a neutral position.
      7. Ground down into the floor with all 4 corners of your feet and bring both hands to the floor (or on blocks). Take a breath or two here.
      8. Inhale and walk your hands to the center, lengthen your spine down toward the floor now, being careful not to round the back. Keep your spine and neck nice and straight as much as possible.
      9. Breathe here for 20-30 seconds.

       

      4. Revolved Wide-Legged Forward Fold Pose (Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana)

      1. Begin in Intense Leg Stretch Pose.
      2. Inhale and lift your upper body so that it is parallel to the floor. Extend both arms straight out to the sides in a T-shape.
      3. On an exhale, gently twist so that you’re facing to the right. The fingertips of your left hand should graze the floor/mat, while the right arm extends skyward.
      4. Breathe here for 30 seconds, then release from the twist and step or jump your legs back together.

       

      5. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

      Transition: Inhale yourself back up from Revolved Wide-Legged Forward Fold, remaining in a wide stance.

      1. Start out facing the left side of your mat with your feet roughly 3 ft. apart from each other.
      2. Rotate the right foot to face the upper right corner of your mat, and the left foot to face the upper left corner of your mat.
      3. Exhale and bend your knees, sinking into a squat. Try to get the bottom of your thighs parallel to the floor.
      4. Draw the shoulder blades down and bring your arms up into a T shape. Bend your elbows so that your fingers are pointing skyward with your palms facing away from you.
      5. Maintain this pose for 30-45 seconds, breathing deeply.

       

      6. Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)

      1. Remaining in a wide stance, point your right foot toward the front of your mat. Bend the right knee roughly 90 degrees as you straighten the left leg, angling your left foot inward a bit.
      2. Stretch your arms straight out to the side in a T shape and shift your gaze out to your right hand.
      3. Breathe here for 30 seconds.

      7. Reverse Warrior Pose (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

      1. Begin in Warrior II Pose.
      2. On an exhale, slide your right arm down your right leg and bring the left elbow overhead, your left hand reaching up and behind you. Gently shift your gaze up toward your elbow.
      3. Breath here for 30 seconds, then release back to Warrior II Pose.

      8. Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana)

      Transition: Inhale your torso back up, returning to Warrior II Pose.

      1. Inhale your arms up, extending them straight ahead of you or straight out to each side. Feel the energy flowing through your arms as you lengthen your side body.
      2. Slowly begin to shift your weight onto your right leg, firming the inner thighs and engaging the core.
      3. Inhale and lift your left leg, extending it straight and pressing through the heel. If you can, try to lift your leg so that it creates a straight line from the crown of your head to the heel of your left leg. Keep the right leg engaged.
      4. Challenge yourself to remain here for 30 seconds, keeping your breaths slow and deep.

       

      9. Sugarcane Pose (Ardha Chandra Chapasana)

      1. From Warrior III Pose, rotate your upper body and pelvis outward to the left and bring your right hand to the floor (or a block).
      2. Inhale and bend your left knee. Roll your chest open as you grasp the top of your left foot with your left hand.
      3. Shift your gaze skyward and hold this pose for 30 seconds.

      10. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

      1. Beginning in Sugarcane Pose, inhale, extend your left leg straight, and reach your left arm straight up toward the ceiling.
      2. Remain here for 30 seconds, keeping the core engaged and right leg strong.

       

      11. Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

      Transition: Release from Dancer Pose, take a breath or two, then prepare to find your balance again.

      1. Bend your right knee slightly and begin to shift your weight onto your right leg. Float your right arm forward.
      2. When you’ve gathered your balance, begin to lift the left leg up behind you and reach back to grab the top of your foot with your left hand. Keep your neck neutral by gazing forward.
      3. Breathe here for 30 seconds, trying to deepen the pose with each exhale.

      12. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)

      Transition: Release from Dancer Pose and come to the top of your mat, bringing your legs together hip-width apart in Mountain Pose.

      1. Beginning in Mountain Pose, exhale and take a very slight bend in the knee, folding your upper body forward and bringing the hands to the ankles, feet, or ground (or as close as you can comfortably reach!).
      2. Take a deep inhale into your chest, lengthening the spine.
      3. On the exhale, try to take that slight bend in the knee a bit straighter, making sure not to hyper-extend or lock your knees.
      4. Take another inhale, and as you exhale, feel your spine lengthening further down toward the ground. Lengthen and stretch the neck, keeping your shoulders pulled away from your ears.
      5. Remain here for 30-60 seconds.

       

      Repeat poses 1-12, switching to the opposite side as necessary for asymmetrical poses.

       

      13. Garland Pose (Malasana)

      Transition: Release from Standing Forward Fold Pose, inhaling your torso up.

      1. Beginning in Mountain Pose, bring your feet slightly wider than hip width apart and angle your feet outward a bit.
      2. Exhale and bend your knees all the way, coming down into a deep squat. Bring your thighs slightly wider than your torso and lean your torso forward slightly.
      3. Bring your palms together in the center with your elbows tucked against your inner thighs.
      4. Breathe deeply here for 30 seconds.

       

      14. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

      Transition: From Garland Pose, sink all the way down to the floor to come into a seated position on your mat/floor.

      1. Start in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you.
      2. Bend your legs at the knee, bringing the soles of your feet together in front of you.
      3. Inhale and grab onto your feet with both hands. If possible, gently try to pull your heels in a bit closer toward the groin. Your arms and shoulders should remain relaxed, but your spine should be long and straight.
      4. On the exhale, slowly allow gravity to pull your legs apart and open until both legs have relaxed all the way to the ground. 
      5. Remain here for 30 seconds. Keep breathing and with every exhale try to lower the knees a little further. Just don’t try to force the stretch beyond what feels right!
      6. When you’re ready to release, let go of your feet and stretch one leg at a time out straight in front of you and return to starting position.


       

      Repeat poses 1-12, switching to the opposite side as necessary for asymmetrical poses.


      COOL DOWN

      1. Easy Pose w/ Elbows on Floor (Sukhasana)

      Transition: Remain in a seated position, crossing your legs to come into Easy Pose.

      1. Sit cross-legged with your sit bones firmly planted, your spine tall and straight, and your neck neutral. Hinge forward at the hips, bringing your forearms to the ground in front of you.
      2. Take some time to gather your thoughts and take deep breaths.
      3. Remain here for 30-60 seconds (or longer if you’d like to).

      2. Seated Straddle Forward Fold Pose (Upavistha Konasana)

      Transition: Inhale up out of Easy Pose, uncrossing your legs and extending them in front of you.

      1. Bring your legs apart to create a ~90-degree angle with your legs. Make sure your sit bones are grounded and your spine stays long.
      2. Take a deep inhale, then exhale as you bring your forearms to the ground in front of you and hinge forward to rest your forehead on them.
      3. Breathe here for 30-60 seconds.

      3. Sitting Swan Pose

      Transition: Release from Seated Straddle Forward Fold and bring your legs together.

      1. Start in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you.
      2. Place your hands on the floor behind you and lean your torso back, shifting your upper body weight to your palms.
      3. Bring your right ankle to your left thigh, just above the left knee.
      4. Take a deep breath, then exhale as you bend your left knee and walk your left foot closer to your torso. Move it around until you find a satisfying stretch.
      5. Your muscles might resist at first, but hold the pose and stay still for 30 seconds.
      6. Release from the pose, then repeat on the other side.

      4. Seated Wind Release Pose (Upavistha Pavanmuktasana)

      1. Begin in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you.
      2. Take a deep breath, then exhale and bend both knees, bringing your thighs in toward your chest. Keep your spine nice and tall.
      3. Inhale and wrap your arms around your legs, hugging them tightly.
      4. Remain here for 30-60 seconds, breathing deeply.
       

      5. Easy Boat Pose (Navasana)

      1. Bend your legs at the knees, resting the feet flat on the floor/mat close to your body. Raise your arms straight in front of you, parallel to the floor with palms facing inward toward each other.
      2. Now, engage your core and lean back slightly as you inhale.
      3. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, then exhale and return to the starting position.

      6. Boat Pose B (Navasana B)

      Transition: Release from Easy Boat Pose to begin in a seated position with legs straight in front of you.

      1. Bend your legs at the knee to bring them close to your chest. Place your hands behind your knees for support.
      2. Leaning back slightly as you engage your core, come to balance on your sit bones.
      3. Once you’ve reached that balance, bring the tops of the thighs a little further from the belly and lift the lower legs so that they’re parallel to the ground.
      4. When you’re feeling stable enough to do so, let go of the backs of your legs, bringing the arms parallel to the floor with palms facing inward toward each other.
      5. Remain here for 30 seconds, keeping your core engaged.
       

      7. Full-Body Stretch Pose (Supta Utthita Tadasana)

      Transition: Release from Boat Pose B and lower yourself down to the ground in a supine position.

      1. Begin by lying supine on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Engage your feet, pushing your heels away from you. Lengthen the back of the neck.
      2. Inhale and sweep your arms overhead, keeping them flat on the floor with palms facing upward. Extend them fully, feeling an energizing stretch all the way from your fingertips to your heels.
      3. Remain here and breathe deeply for 30 seconds.
       

      8. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

      Transition: Straighten your legs in front of you and raise your torso up to Staff Pose.

      1. Begin in Staff Pose.
      2. Lean your torso back, bringing your forearms to the floor and tucking them close to your torso. Pinch your shoulder blades together to broaden the chest.
      3. Inhale and lift your pelvis slightly, tuck your hands underneath your buttocks, then lower back down. Your buttocks should rest on the back of your hands.
      4. On your next inhale, relax your head and neck, touching the crown of your head to the floor.
      5. Breathe deeply here for 60 seconds.
       

      9. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

      Transition: Release back to the ground in a supine position.

      1. Take a moment to completely relax the spine and bring awareness to your breath.
      2. Engage your back, core, glutes, and quads to lift your body up, keeping your shoulder blades planted. Use your arms for support - you can either have them palm-down beside you, or you can clasp your hands together underneath you.
      3. Hold this position and breathe here for 30-60, then lower your body back to the mat to release from the pose.

       

      10. Supine Spinal Twist II Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana II)

      1. Start out lying supine on your mat.
      2. Extend your arms out to each side of you like you’re making a T shape.
      3. Inhale and lift your right leg, bending at the knee ~90 degrees.
      4. Exhale and bring the inner side of your right knee or foot to the floor on the other side of your left leg, taking a gentle twist in the spine. Shift your gaze to your right fingertips.
      5. Stay here for 30 seconds. Close your eyes and really relax into this posture, allowing gravity to pull your right knee closer to the ground.
      6. On an inhale, roll your right hip back down to the ground, then exhale and release your leg back to the floor.
      7. Repeat on your left side.

      11. Wind Release Pose Flow (Pavanmuktasana)

      1. Begin lying supine on the ground with your feet together and arms relaxed beside you.
      2. Inhale, then exhale and bring the knees in toward the chest, thighs pressing against your abdomen. Wrap your arms around your knees, hugging them close and clasping your hands or grabbing your elbows.
      3. Breathe deeply here for 30-60 seconds. With each inhale, bring your hands to your knees, allowing them to lift away from the abdomen, and with each exhalation, hug your knees back in.

      12. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

      Transition: Remain supine and exhale your legs and arms back to the ground for the best part - Savasana!

      1. Begin by lying supine on the floor or mat.
      2. Inhale and widen your legs, bringing your feet to the sides of your mat (or a bit further than hip-width apart). Rotate the feet outward so that the toes point away from each other.
      3. Lift your pelvis slightly to tuck your tailbone, then release back to the floor and soften the lower back without flattening your back. Lengthen the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
      4. Extend your arms straight up toward the ceiling and broaden your back by rocking your upper back from side to side slightly and pulling the shoulder blades away from each other. Then, relax your arms back down to the floor next to you, palms up and fingers relaxed.
      5. Focus on relaxing your face and neck muscles. Close your eyes, completely relax them deeper into your skull, then rotate them down as if to gaze directly at your heart.
      6. Stay here for as long as you’d like, letting your mind enter a meditative state while you progressively relax your muscles.
      7. When you’re ready to exit the pose, exhale and roll onto one side. Take a breath or two here, then exhale and slowly press your palms to the floor and lift your upper body to come to a seated position.

       

      Namaste!