Yoga forces us to be aware and offers us a path back to our truth. But in being aware of our minds and our bodies, we are also given a space to reflect. And I find, when we reflect, we get back to the core of what really matters, and how we treat ourselves, each other, and the bodies we inhabit.
So, to reflect might mean we bring some of our darkness to light and I challenge people to not just reflect as a source of “taking inventory” but as a means to question our actions, thoughts, and even internal dialogue by asking, not just what, but Why.
Yoga is a moving meditation. While performing the asanas (poses) and paying attention to the breath through controlled breathing, such as ujjayi breathing, we are given a chance to slow down, center ourselves, and find a place of reflection.
The sequence below combines balancing and opening poses with some energizing ones, but all allow for a space to reflect. Before your yoga practice, make sure you’re in a comfortable space that is warm with space to move freely.
Easy Pose: A time to begin to focus on your breathing, deep in and out of the nose, all the way to fill up your belly. Allow the ribs to go wide, as you fill your body with air. Exhale fully.
*Sit on a block or find a variation that allows you to relax here. Starting in an uncomfortable tense position will not help you get into a peaceful meditative state for yoga*
Mountain Pose: Full body pose, that grounds and stabilizes you. Feel free to close the eyes, as you open the palms and keep the entire body strong.
* Slightly tuck the tailbone under, as you keep the ribs down, shoulders back, neck long, and core right.*
Crescent Pose: Stretches the thighs, hip flexors, hamstrings, hips, waist, chest, and shoulders, while opening the heart.
*With the back knee down, you can find more stability and open the chest/heart towards the sky*
Warrior 1: For strengthening and focus. Integrates the upper and lower body, builds strength in the legs, knees, and ankles.
* Image modified. Keep the back foot at a 45degree angle, and the front knee stacked over the front ankle*
Humble Warrior: Stretches the hips deeply while opening the chest and shoulders, requires focus.
*Interlace the fingers at the tailbone or behind the back, lift the chest and widen the collarbones. Maintain your balance and you fold forward and allow the arms to come overhead or lift as much as comfortably possible. Release your head and neck. Come out of this pose the same way you got into it with strength and balance*
Camel: Stretches the chest, abdomen, and shoulders; a heart opener. Said to illuminate our insights.
* Keep the toes tucked under and the hands on the low back to modify, pushing your hips forward as you lift up and then start to open the chest/heart*
Hare/Rabbit: Balancing and calming. Creates an opposite stretch for camel through the upper back, shoulders, and neck.
* Keep the gaze inward as you start inc holds pose and grab the heels with the hands. Bring the forehead as close the knees as able. Roll forward onto the crown of the head as the hips come off the heels*
Hero Pose: Another moment for breath awareness and stillness, as it quiets the sensations of the body.
*Rotate the meat of the calves to the side as you sit in between the calves. Protect you knees if you have even slight discomfort. Sit with blocks or a thick blanket under the bum to elevate the hips.*
Reclining Hero Pose *optional, take corpse pose / shavasana if you have sensitive knees*
Stretches the hips, thighs and ankles while calming the body and relaxing the neck and back.
* Stay in hero pose. Lengthen thru the spine as you start to lay back. Lay on blocks or a thick blanket under the bum and entire back for a more restorative pose*
1. Find a comfortable seated position, easy pose, and take a moment to close the eyes and move the attention back to the breath. Breathing in and out, focus on breathing into the belly and pressing all the stale air. Find an intention or a moment of reflection. Spend 1-5 minutes here.
**Go through 2-3 sun salutations to warm the body up. Finish at the front of the mat in mountain pose **
2. Standing in mountain pose. Taking 3-5 deep breathes here. Inhale the arms overhead and back to heart center. Repeat this 3-5 times, Inhaling up with the arms and exhaling as the arms come down. Find a soothing rhythm as you coordinate the movement with the breath.
3. Take a vinyasa flow or find your way to downward dog. Step the right-left forward, back foot at 45 degrees coming into warrior 1. Inhaling the arms overhead as you root and affirm the position. Take 3 breaths here. Interlace the fingers at the tailbone and fold forwards as you lift and intend out for humble warrior.
4. Inhaling back up, releasing the arms and finding your way back to downward dog.
5. Repeat warrior 1 and humble warrior stepping the front foot forward. Again, ending in downward dog.
6. Dropping the knees down, bring the hands to the lower back. Inhale up, looking up, and start to lean back as you find camel pose. Breath here 3-5 breathes. Finish in childs pose.
7. From childs pose, come into hare. Breath here 3-5 breathes. Finish in childs pose.
8. Find your way to your variation of hero pose, with or without blocks or a blanket. Close the eyes if you would like, be here with intention and attention. Continue to breathe deeply.
9. Finish with reclined hero OR shavasana. Breathe. Reflect.