Warm Up

Use this sequence first thing in the morning on its own, or before any of the Basic, Intermediate or Advanced sequences to warm up your joints, spine and deepen your attention and breath.  This is a very gentle progression meant to move every major joint in your body, connect you to the rhythm of inhale and exhale and begin to experience alignment.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat

Step 1: Easy Pose
Duration: One long breath, repeat 6-10 times
Pose Review: Easy Pose

Find a comfortable sitting position, one that supports you sitting tall with your ribcage floating over your pelvis and your breastbone lifting towards the sky. Allow your head to sit gently and lightly at the top of your supported spine. Experiment with sitting cross-legged or on your knees. Feel the steadiness and support of your seat, and appreciate all the ways you are supported in your life. Inhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and up overhead, bringing your palms together above your head as you gaze toward them. Draw your hands down to your heart, eyes gently following as you exhale. Repeat this action 3-5 times, imagining that you gather sustenance and take it in gratefully with each breath. At the end of your last round, reverse the action and on your next inhalation, keeping your palms together, watch your hands rise up above your head, and exhaling open your arms out to the side and sweep your palms down and back to your heart as you lower your chin and watch your palms come together. Repeat this 3-5 times and imagine your breath forming a healing circle of light all around you.

Step 2: Cat-Cow Stretch
Duration: 1 breath, repeat 3-10 times
Pose Review: Cat-Cow Stretch Pose

Reach forward toward the ground in front of you and come to a tabletop position on all fours. Tap the tops of your feet on the ground, shaking off any sense of constriction and feeling the nourishment rush into your feet and legs. We’ll start with cat-cow pose and add some movement to warm up your entire spine and all the major joints of your body. From neutral, inhale and allow your tailbone to curl up as your belly and chest descend toward the floor and your head reaches gently up. Feel the stretch all along your spine as your breath expands your torso in every direction. Exhale, turn your tailbone under and follow the wave up your spine, lifting your belly strongly, letting your shoulder blades slide around the sides of your ribcage as it rises follows and your head descends. Press the floor away. Feel your torso press the breath up and out of your body. Inhaling, begin the cycle again from your tailbone turning up, all along your spine as you expand your body and accept the breath. Complete this cycle by exhaling as you turn your tailbone to the ground and compress the body upwards and the breath out. Repeat another 3 times.

Step 3: Cat pose, variation
Duration: 1 breath, 3-10 times
Pose Review: Cat Pose

Now we’re going to add movement and get the whole body involved.  On your next inhalation, reach your tailbone back toward your heels as you drop your breastbone down and back coming to child’s pose with your arms out in front of you and your thigh bones moving toward your heels. Without stopping, as you begin to exhale, turn your tailbone under and arch your back to the sky, bringing your shoulders over your wrists and back to a table top position. Feel your entire spine wave through your body as you allow the breath to move you. Repeat 9 more times.

At the end of your 10th cat-cow wave, come back to a neutral table top position and just breathe. Feel the stability of your limbs, the support of your belly and the openness of your chest and heart.

Step 4: Table Pose

Duration: 5 breaths

Turn your toes under and press your heels back. This may be quite intense already, and if it is simply stay here and breathe and notice how the intense feelings change as you stay with them. Even intensity moves and undulates and eventually dissolves. If you’re enjoying the stretch of the bottoms of your feet, move your hips back, stopping anywhere along the way you want to explore or you feel you’ve reached your optimal stretch for today. If you make it until you’re sitting on your heels, then stay here for 5 full breaths, enjoying the stretch in your ankles, feet and toes.

At the end of 5 breaths, reach your hands out in front of you and come back to your table top position. Tap your feet out once more, enjoying the feeling of nourishment rushing into the tissues you’ve wrung out with your movement.

Step 5: Easy Pose

Duration: 5 or more breaths
Pose Review: Easy Pose

Sit back in your comfortable seat and set an intention for your practice: perhaps a word or a quality you’d like to cultivate, like balance or alertness or relaxation. Or perhaps you’d like to explore that feeling in your right quad, or maybe you’re doing yoga to loose weight. Whatever your intention for being here right now, give it your full attention for one breath, and on the exhalation, allow it to fall to the ground in front of you and become planted, like a seed in the soil of your practice.

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