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Yoga Day 8

WARM-UP

1. Toe Flexion/Extension

  1. Start in a seated position with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Curl your toes forward, then raise them up so that the tips of your toes point toward you.
  3. Repeat this movement for 30 seconds, taking it nice and slow, then relax your toes.

2. Ankle Rotations

  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 15 seconds, then counterclockwise for 15 seconds.
  3. Return your right leg to the mat, then repeat on the left.

3. Seated Knee Rotations

  1. Lie face down on the ground, toes pointed, ankles touching the ground. Extend your arms forward like Superman in flight, palms down, touching the ground.
  2. Pull one arm and the opposite leg off the ground by engaging your glutes, shoulders, core, and back. They should raise up 
2-3 inches.
  3. Ensure that your arms are also fully contracted.
  4. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower your arm and leg back 
to the starting position. Repeat, using 
the other arm and opposite leg.
  6. Perform 10-15 repetitions on each 
side for a total of 20-30 repetitions.

 

4. 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 30-45 seconds, release your right leg back to the mat, then repeat with the left leg.

 

5. Seated Hip Rotations

  1. Bring your right ankle to the top of your left thigh.
  2. Start by gently pushing down on your right knee just enough to feel a stretch in the hips, then use your hand to gently pull the knee back up, repeating 4-5 times.
  3. Draw small circles in the air with your right knee 5 times, reverse the circles 5 times, and return to starting position.
  4. Finally, repeat on the left side.

 

6. Seated Butterfly Wings (Baddha Konasana)

  1. Bend your legs at the knee, bringing the soles of your feet together in front of you.
  2. Inhale and grab onto your feet with both hands. If possible, gently try to pull your heels in a bit closer toward the groin.
  3. Your arms and shoulders should remain relaxed, but your spine should be long and straight. Don’t force the stretch beyond what feels right!
  4. Pretend that your legs are butterfly wings, gently flapping the knees up and down. This gets your blood circulating and generates warmth in the muscles.
  5. Continue this movement for 30-60 seconds.
  6. To release, stop the movements, let go of your feet, and stretch one leg at a time straight in front of you.

 

7. Finger Abduction/Adduction

  1. With your hands raised or palms resting flat on your lap, alternate spreading and closing your fingers for 30 seconds.

 

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Elbow Flexion/Extension

  1. Keeping your arms outstretched, rotate your palms to face the ceiling.
  2. Slowly bend your elbows, bringing your right hand to your right shoulder and your left hand to your left shoulder.
  3. Hold for a moment or two, then slowly straighten your arms back out.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times (or 30 seconds).

 

11. Shoulder Socket Rotations

  1. Bring your right hand to your right shoulder, and your left hand to your left shoulder.
  2. Start by drawing the elbows inward to touch each other.
  3. Next, bring your elbows up next to your head so that they point to the ceiling.
  4. Then, bring the elbows back down and open them outward so that they point to either side of you.
  5. Repeat this movement for 30-60 seconds.

 

12. Seated Neck Rolls

  1. Relax your arms, placing the hands either on your lap or the floor. You can stay seated the way you are or bend your knees to sit cross-legged.
  2. Tuck your chin and slowly relax your head forward, feeling a stretch along the back of your neck and the base of your skull.
  3. Gently roll your head in a clockwise circle 4-5 times, then counterclockwise 4-5 times.

 

13. Easy Pose Upward Salute (Sukhasana Variation)

  1. Come into Easy Pose (Sukhasana) by sitting cross-legged, keeping your spine tall and chin parallel to the floor.
  2. Bring the palms of your hands together in front of your chest as if to pray, taking a moment to center yourself and breathe deep.
  3. Next, keeping your palms together, straighten your arms out in front of you with your fingertips pointing ahead of you.
  4. Take a deep breath, then bring them back to your chest for another deep breath.
  5. Finally, raise your joined hands above your head, fingertips pointing skyward.
  6. Remain here for 2-3 deep breaths, then bring your hands back in front of your chest. (30-60 seconds)

 

14. Easy Pose Side Bend w/ Fingers Interlocked (Parsva Sukhasana)

  1. Interlock your fingers with your palms facing away from you.
  2. Start by stretching your arms out straight ahead of you, feeling the stretch in your arms and shoulders as you take a deep breath.
  3. Then, with your fingers still interlocked, raise your arms above your head.
  4. Take 1-2 deep breaths here, then change the interlocking of your fingers so that the index finger of the opposite hand is now on top of the other and repeat.

 

15. Revolved Easy Pose (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

  1. Still in Easy Pose (Sukhasana), place your right hand on the ground next to you and bring your left hand to your right knee.
  2. Using that knee as leverage, slowly twist your torso toward the right, shifting your gaze out over the right shoulder.
  3. Take 1-2 deep breaths here, then slowly release the twist and bring your left hand to the ground next to you.
  4. Repeat on the left side.

 

16. Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakasana)

  1. Slowly uncross your legs and rock forward onto your hands and knees.
  2. Inhale and arch your back downward, pushing your tailbone up and outward. Tilt your head back slightly, keeping your shoulders engaged and opening the chest. (Cow)
  3. On your exhale, tuck your chin and tailbone inward, pull your shoulder blades apart, and round your spine like a cat that’s stretching or startled. (Cat)
  4. Repeat this movement for 30-60 seconds.


 

 

PEAK FLOW

1. Plank to Downward Dog Pose Flow

Transition: Remain on your hands and knees.

  1. Plant your hands firmly on the ground, then step or jump your feet back, coming onto the toes and balls of the feet and creating a long, straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  2. Inhale and lift the tailbone back and up until your arms and legs are fully extended, creating an upside-down V shape with your body.
  3. Remain here for 1-2 full breaths.

2. Three-Legged Downward Dog to Tiger Curl Flow

Transition: From Downward Facing Dog, flow through some Tiger Pose curls.

  1. Begin in Downward Facing Dog Pose.
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg, extending it up and out.
  3. As you exhale, really draw your core in and round your back slightly to bring your right knee to your elbow or nose.
  4. Repeat this motion for 30 seconds.

 

3. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Transition: Return to Downward Facing Dog Pose, and prepare to flow into Lizard Pose.

  1. Begin in Downward Facing Dog.
  2. Inhale and float your right leg up, then exhale it forward to the outside of your right arm. Stack your right knee above the ankle. Adjust your foot ever so slightly to point outward at a ~45-degree angle. Keep your left leg straight, toes tucked, and left thighbone pushing away from the floor.
  3. Take a deep breath, then exhale and bring your forearms to the floor. Keep your neck neutral, and your spine long and straight.
  4. Breathe here for 30 seconds.

4. Sleeping Swan Pose (Kapotasana II)

Transition: From Lizard Pose, exhale the outer side of your right leg down onto the mat. Your right knee should be aligned with your right hip and your pelvis facing squarely forward. Lay the top of your left foot on the mat/floor, and keep your front foot flexed.

  1. Begin in Pigeon Pose. Inhale and lengthen your spine, sitting up tall and broadening through the chest.
  2. Exhale and hinge forward at the hips, using your hands to slowly walk your torso forward to find a comfortable forward fold stretch over your right leg. Keep the spine long and avoid rounding it. Once you’ve lowered all the way into the forward fold, extend your arms forward, palms on the floor.
  3. Breathe deeply here for 30 seconds.

Repeat poses 1-4, switching to the opposite side as necessary for asymmetrical poses.


5. Plank to Downward Dog Pose Flow

  1. Plant your hands firmly on the ground, then step or jump your feet back, coming onto the toes and balls of the feet and creating a long, straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  2. Inhale and lift the tailbone back and up until your arms and legs are fully extended, creating an upside-down V shape with your body.
  3. Remain here for 1-2 full breaths.

6. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)

Transition: From Downward Dog, walk your feet toward your hands to come into a forward fold.

  1. 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, allowing gravity to pull you deeper into the stretch.
 

7. Extended Mountain Pose Backbend (Utthita Tadasana)

Transition: From Standing Forward Fold Flow, inhale and slowly lift your upper body to come into Mountain Pose.

  1. In Mountain Pose, raise your arms above your head with your palms together or parallel to each other.
  2. Inhale, your chest broadening upwards as you slowly lean your arms backward. Stay steadily grounded, and don’t overexaggerate the backbend — keep it subtle and sweet. Let your neck relax comfortably back.
  3. Breathe here for 30 seconds.

8. Mountain Pose Backbend w/ Cactus Arms (Utthita Tadasana)

Transition: From Extended Mountain Pose Backbend, bring your upper arms out to the sides at shoulder height with forearms up and palms out (Cactus Arms).

  1. In Mountain Pose, inhale your upper arms to shoulder height with your forearms up and palms facing away from you (Cactus Arms)
  2. On your next inhale, take a very slight backbend up the upper back, allowing the neck to relax back slightly in a continuation of the curve.
  3. Breathe here for 30 seconds.

9. Garland Pose w/ Hands Forward (Malasana)

Transition: Return to Mountain Pose, then flow your way down to Garland Pose.

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Bring your feet slightly wider than hip-distance and angle the feet outward a bit.
  3. 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.
  4. Inhale and reach your hands forward so that you can comfortably rest your fingertips on the floor in front of you.
  5. Breathe deeply here for 30 seconds.
 

10. Staff Pose (Dandasana)

Transition: From Garland Pose w/ Hands Forward, lean backward to come into a seated position and situate yourself in Staff Pose.

  1. Come to a seated position with your sit bones grounded and your spine straight and tall.
  2. Stretch your legs straight out in front of you, toes pointing up toward the ceiling.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe deeply here for 30 seconds.

11. Bridge Pose w/ Arm Flow

Transition: From Staff Pose, lie back on your mat in a supine position with your feet flat on the floor.

  1. Take a moment to completely relax the spine and bring awareness to your breath.
  2. Inhale and swing your arms up into the air with palms parallel and facing each other. Engage your back, core, glutes, and quads to lift your body up, keeping your shoulder blades planted.
  3. At the height of the pose, your arms will come all the way to the ground, fingertips pointing away from you. There should be a straight line running along your chest all the way out to your knees, and your knees should be stacked above your ankles.
  4. Hold this position and breathe for 30-60 seconds.

12. Half Plow Pose Flow (Ardha Halasana)

Transition: Release from Bridge Pose, laying your back and head flat on the floor with your arms to your sides and palms down on the ground. Plant the bottoms of your feet on the mat, then move through Half Plow Pose Flow.

  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. Slowly exhale your legs back down to the mat as far as you can without flattening or rounding the small of your back, keeping them extended straight.
  5. Repeat this flow for 30-60 seconds.

13. Shoulderstand Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Transition: Release from Half Plow Pose Flow to lie supine on your mat/floor and get ready for a shoulder stand inversion.

  1. Begin by lying supine on the mat/floor.
  2. Exhale and engage your core, pulling the tailbone forward, knitting the low ribs in, and pulling the belly button up and inward. Make sure your upper back is broad and flat with your shoulder blades rooted down away from the ears.
  3. Inhale and swing your legs up into the air and overhead, using that momentum to raise your hips and lower-to-middle back. Use your hands for support, either by placing your palms down on the mat next to you or supporting yourself on the upper arms with your hands holding up the small of your back. Make sure your elbows are drawn close to you, keeping your arms parallel.
  4. Remain here for 30-60 seconds.

14. Wind Release Pose (Pavanmuktasana)

Transition: Slowly bend your legs and roll your spine down to return to lying supine on your mat, then hug your knees in for Wind Release Pose.

  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 60 seconds. With each exhalation, hug your knees a bit tighter and closer to your chest, then relax your grip slightly with each inhale.

 

COOL DOWN

1. Staff Pose (Dandasana)

Transition: From Wide Child’s Pose (Prasarita Balasana), walk your hands back toward you and slowly raise your torso back up. Lean your body to one side and swing your legs forward.

  1. Come to a seated position with your sit bones grounded and your spine straight and tall.
  2. Stretch your legs straight out in front of you, toes pointing up toward the ceiling.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe deeply here for 30-60 seconds.

2. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

  1. Begin in Staff Pose (Dandasana) with your sit bones grounded and your spine straight and tall.
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg, bringing it over the left leg and planting your foot on the mat beside your left outer thigh.
  3. Exhale and bend the left knee, bringing the heel of your left foot toward your right sit bone OR keep your left leg straight.
  4. Inhale and broaden your chest, keeping the shoulder blades strong and down away from the ears.
  5. Exhale and slowly twist your upper body to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outer side of your right knee. Your left palm should be facing out to the right. Shift your gaze out past your right shoulder.
  6. Breathe here for 30 seconds, gently pressing your elbow against your knee to deepen the twist with each exhale.
  7. Slowly release the twist and return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.

3. Staff Pose w/ Feet Movements (Dandasana)

Transition: Release from Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), bringing your legs together in front of you and relaxing your arms.

  1. Come to a seated position with your sit bones grounded and your spine straight and tall.
  2. Stretch your legs straight out in front of you, toes pointing up toward the ceiling.
  3. Spend 30 seconds alternating rolling your feet/legs inward and outward.

 

4. Fish Pose Backbend Flow (Matsyasana)

  1. Begin in Staff Pose (Dandasana).
  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. Take 1-2 deep breaths here
  6. Bring your head back up and forward while rounding your upper back slightly. Take another 1-2 breaths.
  7. Repeat both movements once more, then release from the pose.

5. Caterpillar Pose

Transition: Release from Fish Pose Backbend Flow (Matsyasana) and raise your torso back up.

  1. Start in a seated position with your sit bones grounded and your legs extended in front of you. Your legs should be together or hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale and bend your knees slightly, keeping the heels on the ground. Engage the feet so that your toes point upward.
  3. Exhale and hinge at the hips to bring your torso forward to meet the thighs.
  4. On your next inhale, extend your arms forward to grab the outer sides of your feet.
  5. Spend 30 seconds here, breathing deeply.

6. Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)

Transition: Release from Caterpillar Pose by straightening your legs and raising your torso to sit up tall.

  1. Begin with your legs out in front of you, sit bones grounded and spine tall.
  2. Push your heels away from your body, engaging the feet and toes. Your arms should be by your side with your palms or fingertips pressing down into the floor.
  3. Inhale and keep the front of your torso long as you hinge forward at the hips and reach for your toes/feet.
  4. Remain and breathe here for 30-60 seconds, lengthening your torso forward and walking your hands forward with each exhalation until you can grasp the outer sides of your feet.

7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Transition: Release from Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) and lower your torso to the ground so that you’re lying supine.

  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 seconds, then lower your body back to the mat to release from the pose.

8. Half Wind Release Pose (Ardha Pavanmuktasana)

Transition: Lower yourself back down to the ground so that you’re lying supine again.

  1. Start out lying supine on your mat with your legs hip-width apart. Engage your feet, pushing your heels away from you.
  2. Inhale and raise your right leg, bending the knee and bringing the thigh toward your chest. Support your leg by grabbing behind the knee or on the shin and hug your leg tighter.
  3. Breathe here for 30 seconds, then release to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.

 

9. Wind Release Pose w/ Knee-to-Nose (Pavanmuktasana)

Transition: Release from Half Wind Release Pose (Ardha Pavanmuktasana) and remain supine.

  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. As you exhale, lift your head up and bring your head to your knees (or as close as you can).
  4. Breathe deeply here for 30-60 seconds. With each exhalation, hug your knees a bit tighter and closer to your chest, then relax your grip slightly with each inhale.
 

10. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Transition: From Wind Release Pose w/ Knee-to-Nose (Pavanmuktasana), relax your head back to the ground, and extend your legs forward.

  1. Start lying supine on your mat.
  2. On an exhale, bring your legs back up toward your chest.
  3. Inhale and grab onto the outer sides of your feet, widening your legs slightly and trying to bring your knees to your armpits.
  4. Spend 30-60 seconds here, gently pulling your feet downward with your hands. Try to very gently rock your body from side to side, just like a happy baby!

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

Transition: Release your arms and legs from Happy Baby Pose.

  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.

 

12. Banana Pose (Bananasana)

  1. Begin in a supine position on the floor/mat.
  2. Clasp your hands together and, trying to keep your shoulders on the ground, take a gentle side bend in the upper body.
  3. Keeping your legs tucked together, start to bend your legs to the same side that your arms are going toward.
  4. Inhale, breathing deep into your rib cage. Focus on the stretch, relaxing wherever you feel lingering tightness. Breathe here for 30 seconds.
  5. Exhale and relax back into a neutral position, then repeat on the other side.

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

Transition: Return your legs to center from Banana Pose.

  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.

14. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Transition: Release from Supine Spinal Twist II for Savasana, or end your practice for the day.

  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!