Easy Does It

In this routine, you’ll practice some of the basic poses, slowly, with attention to breath and form, or alignment.  We’ll explore the principle of “Least Effort” by creating your stable foundation and then relaxing into the form you’ve created with your attention and muscular engagement. Working with the least effort possible to create what you intend assumes that we have a strong, clear intention. What is your intention for your practice? What state of body and mind are you cultivating? What quality would you like your practice to infuse into the rest of your day. Take a moment before we begin to imagine your intention as a present moment reality. Feel the feelings you associate with realizing your intention and deepest desire as you breathe deeply in your comfortable seat.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Bolster, Blankets

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this routine.


Step 1: Starting Position, Easy Pose
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review: Easy Pose

Set up: Consider elevating your hips on a blanket or block, so that your pelvis comfortably rests in a neutral position, tilted neither backward nor forward.  With your sitting bones - the “feet” at the bottom of your pelvis - pressing into the surface beneath you, draw one heel toward your body and allow the outside of that leg to rest on the floor. Repeat with the other heel. Are your knees resting on the floor? If not, either support your knees or elevate your hips further so that your legs are fully supported. Relax your arms and shoulders at your sides and rest your hands lightly on your thighs  wherever they fall.

Pose: For 5 breaths, simply witness how your body moves as the breath moves into your body on the inhale and out on the exhale. Feel how your belly, back, chest and shoulders move to accept the breath, and settle as it is released. Notice how this motion ripples through your body.


Step 2: Table Pose
Duration: 1 breath

As you exhale, reach forward on the mat. Inhaling, extend your feet behind your knees and bring your knees beneath your hips.  Support your back by drawing your belly button in toward your spine.


Step 3: Garland Pose
Duration: 3-5 breaths
Pose Review: Garland Pose

Set up: Turning your toes under, walk your hands back towards your feet as you drop your hips as your knees come up from the floor and join your hands in front of your heart, with your elbows resting on the inside of your knees. If a low squat isn’t comfortable for you, rest your hips on a stack of blankets, blocks or a chair, and gradually, kindly cultivate ease in this luxurious stretch of your legs and joints of the lower body.

Pose: Inhaling, lift your heart. Exhaling, allow your shoulders and hips to settle toward the ground. Draw your belly button toward your spine and gently hug your elbows with your knees. Explore the natural lifting through your belly and chest, deeply supported by heaviness of your limbs.


Step 4: Forward Bend
Duration: 3-5 breaths
Pose Review: Forward Bend

Set up: Inhaling, press your feet into the ground and reach your fingers forward onto the floor. Exhale and raise your hips as far as you can keep your belly in contact with your thighs. When your belly leaves your thighs, your low back has started to arch, and is no longer supported by your belly. Continue supporting your back by drawing your low belly toward your spine. It’s okay if your knees are bent; over time, your hamstrings will lengthen and allow you to extend your legs. This pose isn’t about straight legs, but about supported stretching of the back side of your body.

Pose: Inhale and feel the breath wave through your spine, reaching the top of your head forward and your chest toward the ground. On each exhale, feel your body soften and settle into your foundation.


Step 5: Chair Pose
Duration: 2 breaths
Pose Review: Chair Pose

Exhaling, drop your hips until you feel like you’re sitting in a chair, shifting your weight back over your heels, maybe even so far your can freely wiggle your toes with all four corners of each foot on the ground.

Inhaling, lift your ribcage forward and away from your pelvis and look forward.

Exhale and press your belly strongly back and up, bringing your arms along your ears and cheeks. Your torso will be parallel to your shins, at roughly a 45 degree angle to plumb.

Inhale reaching up toward the ceiling and pressing your feet into the ground as you come to a full standing position with your arms extended.
 


Step 6: Mountain Pose

Duration: 1 breath
Pose Review: Mountain Pose

Exhale and draw your hands together above your head and down to your heart. Your feet are hip width apart with your shins hugging in while your inner thighs press away from one another.

Inhale, draw your tailbone down as you lift the arches of your feet as well as your sternum.

Exhale, feeling your shoulders, arms and jaw relax as you bring your intention for practice to mind.


Step 7: High Lunge, Right
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review: High Lunge

Inhale, place your hands on your hips and feel them level.

Exhale and step back 4-5 feet with your left foot, landing on the ball of your foot, bending your right knee to about 90 degrees over your ankle, and keeping your hips level and pointing forward. Lift your inner left thigh toward the sky.

Inhale; if you are steady, open your arms out to your sides and reach up toward the sky. Whether you keep your hands on your hips, bring them together in front of your heart or extend your arms above your head, feel your pelvis and lower body moving toward the ground even as your rib cage, chest, belly and spine lift up to the sky.

Continue to breathe steadily and observe the sensations of strength and stretch in your legs.
 


Step 8: Downward Facing Dog

Duration: 3 breaths
Pose Review: Downward Facing Dog

On an exhalation, reach your chest forward and down, and bring your hands to the ground on either side of your right foot.

Inhale and lengthen your spine.

Exhale and step your right foot back next to your left foot, drawing your hips up and back toward the top of the wall behind you.

Inhale, press your hands into the ground and draw your shoulder blades together on your back.

Exhale, pressing your hips back and feel the support of your belly. Notice how your breath supports your pose and reduce effort in your arms.

Inhale and look forward, bending your knees slightly.


Step 9: High Lunge, Left

Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review: High Lunge

Exhaling, step forward with your left foot. If your foot doesn’t come all the way to your left hand, that’s okay: help it forward with your hand behind your calf. Rather than lift your leg, draw up through your pelvis and low belly.

Inhale, bringing hands onto left knee with the torso still leaning forward.  Create stability by lifting your right inner thigh and reaching your right heel back while engaging your left inner thigh to keep your knee over your ankle and toward the little toe side of your foot.

Exhaling, draw your tailbone down like a plumb line to the Earth and your belly back and up under your rib cage.

Inhale and follow the wave of your breath as your heart opens, elongating your spine and lifting you up. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, you can rest your hands on your hips, in front of your heart our reach toward the sky.

Continue to breathe naturally and deeply, settling into the strong foundation you’ve created in your lower body.


Step 10: Downward Facing Dog
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review: Downward Facing Dog

Exhale and gently lower your torso and place your hands on the ground under your shoulders.

Inhale and lengthen your spine, looking forward.

Exhale and step your left foot back to join your right, as you reach your sitting bones to the top of the wall behind you.

With each of your next breaths, feel the strength of your belly and your legs reaching back, of your shoulder blades supporting the openness of your heart and find easy in the shoulders between your ears, neck and arms.


Step 11: Child’s Pose

Duration 5 breaths
Pose review: Child's Pose

On your final exhalation, bend your knees and lower your hips to your heels. Allow your forehead to rest on the ground and relax all effort as you let the breath breathe you. Feel your breath expand the back of your body, and feel your body settle toward the ground with every exhalation.

 

Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.


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