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Yoga workout

Recharge your mind and body with this flowing yoga sequence.

Side view of woman practicing yoga at beach.

Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen the body, build mind-body connection and slow down or stop the mindless chatter to create a blissful state of relaxation.

This yoga sequence builds on basic sun salutations to warm up and awaken the entire body. Each movement is paired with a breath to focus the mind and help you remain present.

Why it’s good for you

This sequence is beneficial to the whole body and mind. The physical poses warm up the body, softening the muscles and lubricating the joints. Slow, deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen flowing to the brain and engages the para-sympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.

The pairing of one breath per movement initiates conscious awareness.  Deep breathing helps you feel more connected to your body, and brings awareness away from the worries in the head, quieting the mind.

Who should try it?

Everyone can benefit from yoga. The purpose of yoga is not flexibility – that comes with continued practice.  Every level from beginner to advanced can enjoy this practice, and modifications are given so you can work with your body instead of against it, making your practice as challenging or as relaxing as you need that day.

Tips

Take it one breath at a time. Go at your own pace, listen to your body and do what you can.  Use your breath to explore and create space in your body, focusing on the feeling you get during each pose, instead of the ‘shape’ the pose is making.  Try not to compare yourself or your poses to anyone else.

The workout

This routine is made up of a sequence of 11 flowing poses.

1. Tall mountain

2. Forward fold

3. Low lunge

4. High plank

5. Low plank

6. Upward facing dog

7. Downward facing dog

8. Warrior 1

9. Warrior 2

10. Reverse warrior

11. Double pigeon

Keep scrolling to see how each move is done.


1. Tall mountain

  • Stand with your feet grounded evenly and lift from the arches of the feet, as if you are drawing energy upwards. Send that energy up through your entire body, to the crown of your head.
  • Keep your knees soft, your core engaged and the sides of your waist lengthened. Draw your shoulder blades back and down, so your shoulders are away from your ears.
  • Inhale and reach your arms up high, palms facing.

2. Forward fold

  • Exhale and fold your body forward over the legs. Keep your knees soft and your feet hip-width apart and the outside edges parallel.
  • Let your head hang heavily.

3. Low lunge

  • Place your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Step one foot back into a low lunge, with your bent knee in line with the ankle.
  • Hold for a few breaths to lengthen the legs and create space through the hips. Stabilise your pelvis by drawing the knees towards each other, imagining you are magnetising the front of the hips to the lower ribs.

4. High plank

  • Set up in a push up position, hands shoulder width apart, shoulders over wrists.
  • Engage your core by drawing your hips and ribs toward each other.  Keep your gaze on the floor to maintain a long neck.

5. Low plank/knees

  • Keep the core engaged and lower your body halfway down as you exhale.

  • Your elbows should stay stacked above wrists, while your shoulders travel forward until they are in line with your elbows.

Variation: If this is too challenging, lower to your knees before bending your elbows.

6. Upward facing dog 

  • Press the tops of your feet and your hands down into the mat.
  • With an inhale, lengthen your spine like a cobra rising to strike, drawing your shoulder blades down your back.
  • To prevent lower back pain and compression throughout your spine, keep your core engaged. Focus on drawing your tail bone towards your pubic bone, and your pubic bone to your navel.

7. Downward facing dog 

  • Tuck your toes under and with an exhale, lift your hips up and back to make a pyramid shape, with a small arch in your lower back. Visualise a dog stretching after waking up from a nap.
  • Lengthen your tail bone and draw it towards your pubic bone. Engage your quadriceps to stretch the backs of your legs and press your heels towards the floor.
  • Ground down into your index finger knuckles and finger tips to take the pressure out of your wrists.  Draw your shoulder blades down your back and lengthen the sides of your waist.

8. Warrior 1

  • From low lunge position, ground your back heel so your toes are turned forward at 45 degrees.
  • Square your hips to the front, energetically draw your feet towards each other and lengthen from the arches of your feet up.
  • Inhale as you reach your arms to the sky, palms facing.  Relax your shoulders away from your ears.  Squeeze your shoulder blades softly in and down the back.
  • Engage your core and imagine you are magnetising the front ribs towards the top of the hips.

9. Warrior 2  

  • From warrior 1, exhale and open your chest to the side and outstretch your arms with the palms facing down.
  • Feel your hips and chest open to the side, and turn just your neck to focus your gaze over your front fingers.
  • Your ankles should be as wide apart as your wrists, your front knee bent pointing in the same direction as your toes, in line with or behind your ankle. Extend through your back thigh and heel.
  • Ground your weight evenly through both feet and lengthen your torso.  Draw your tail bone towards your pubic bone feel the crown of your head rise to the sky.

10. Reverse warrior

  • With your legs still in warrior 2, flip your front palm and inhale as you reach up and back like you’re painting the sky.
  • Your back fingertips touch your back thigh softly, without sinking any weight down.
  • Breathe and enjoy the stretch from your armpit to your hip.

11. Double pigeon

  • Place your right ankle on top of your left knee, so that your left ankle is under your right knee.
  • The soles of your feet will be just wider than your knees, feet flexed and soles of feet parallel.
  • Stay in double pigeon for five breaths or up to five minutes before swapping your legs around.

This yoga workout was provided by Carla Raleigh from Pure Health Clubs, with moves demonstrated by Marina Perry. 

Exercise safelySee your doctor for advice before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any existing health concerns or you are just starting out. Find out more about exercise safety from the Better Health Channel.

 

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