Yoga For Every Body: 15 Minute Gentle Flow
Yoga is For Every Body
Begin With Your Breath
Yoga is more than just stretching and balancing. It is a way of life. Yoga embraces the whole person to lead you on a path of well being; physically, mentally, and spiritually.
You do not need to embrace a specific religion to enjoy the benefits of yoga. The spirit of yoga welcomes all. What you do need is a desire to grow and a desire to love yourself beyond where you are today. Yoga is appropriate for all age and skill levels, and it's benefits are far reaching.
This series of articles is written for people who have not yet explored yoga, but would like to. It is also designed to help people who don't have time for a traditional yoga class.
This series covers some basic poses for beginners, and also the philosophy behind yoga. If you want to be more flexible, read on. If you want more balance, then continue. It only takes five minutes a day.
The most important part of a yoga practice is breathing. Becoming aware of the breath is the basis for all poses. Before you begin this or any yoga practice, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus on your breath.
Breathe deeply and check in with your body. Listen to your breath. Notice how you feel, physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to notice and observe your body, your breath and your emotions.
Before you begin your practice, continue breathing deeply for a few more moments. Allow your mind to connect to your body. Now, you are in a place to begin.
When practicing yoga, learning poses typically comes before practicing philosophy. It is important to find out that you can do a pose. The struggle with self to overcome fear, hesitation and embarrassment will lead you on a path of growth and increased body awareness.
We all start at the beginning. Not knowing any yoga poses. Not understanding the seemingly complex thought system embraced by the enlightened gurus. At the beginning, we learn. We begin our yoga practice exactly where we are today. We don't worry about where we were yesterday, or where we want to be tomorrow. Today, we begin where we are. We breathe deeply and begin.
Start with a beginners mind. We begin as an empty vessel, waiting to be filled. We begin with nothing to bring, but ourselves and our desire to practice. Nothing else matters.
As we learn simple poses, our mind slowly overcomes the ego which tears us down at every opportunity. Our true self learns that we are strong, capable, and smart. As we work through each pose, our true self is lifted. There is no perfect pose in yoga. The perfection is found in the practice. The practice of breathing, connecting the mind, body and soul, and the practice of moving through the poses leads us to find perfection in each moment. We forget about being "perfect" and we meet ourselves exactly where we are.
The boost in confidence that follows creates a desire to improve our lives in other areas, and this juncture is where yoga philosophy comes in. The philosophy embraces breath, connection and life. It leads us to a higher place of acceptance and confidence, as we learn that where we are is exactly where we need to be.
15 Minute Gentle Practice
Gentle Yoga For Connection
This practice moves the body gently and serves to remind us of our connection to ourselves, to our community, and to something greater.
1. Begin in Mountain Pose. Feet press into the earth, hands at heart center. Breathe deeply, noticing how you feel physically and emotionally. Listen to your body and emotions as you move through the practice. Offer yourself love and compassion as you connect to your body and to the earth.
2. Breathe deeply, looking left and right. After several repetitions, hold the gaze over the right shoulder, stretching the left side. Now switch sides, looking left, stretching the right neck.
3. Lower right ear to right shoulder, gently bring the head forward and rotate left ear to left shoulder. Come back to center and repeat, holding for a few breaths on the final round. Repeat the sequence in the opposite direction, moving from left to right.
3. Inhale arms overhead. On the exhale, bring hands behind the back, opening the chest and shoulders. Inhaling, lift and open chest and shoulders. Release.
4. Roll shoulders forward and back.
5. Bring hands to thighs for Standing Cow/Cat. Inhale, lifting chin, lengthening neck and pressing chest and stomach toward the floor. On the exhale, drop the tailbone and arch the back into cat pose. Repeat 3-5 times.
4. Inhale back to Mountain Pose. Prepare for Mountain/Chair/Forward Fold flow.
5. Exhale into Chair Pose. Knees are bent, arms reach overhead. Arms can also be at shoulder height or hands can be on the hips. As you inhale, return to Mountain Pose. Repeat this series 3-5 times. Inhale into Mountain Pose. On the next exhale, hinge forward at the hips and come into a gentle Forward Fold. Inhale back to Mountain. Exhale into Chair. Inhale into Mountain. Exhale to Forward Fold. Repeat this series several times to warm the body and get the blood flowing.
6. Step back to Mountain Pose and prepare for Bird Flow.
7. From Mountain Pose, inhale, stepping the right leg back, arms open wide like the wings of a bird. Exhale, stepping the right leg forward. Arms come together and the back curves forward. Attenuate the spine as you step forward and back, alternating legs. Stepping back, arms open wide, back arches and the chest lifts forward. Stepping forward, arms come together, the back curves, stretching the low back. Repeat this flow 3-5 times.
8. Return to Mountain Pose. Prepare for Warrior Flow.
9. Step left leg back into Warrior One. Right knee is bent. Left leg is back, with the heel touching the mat. Arms reach overhead. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.
10. Shift weight and open hips into Warrior Two. Right arm reaches forward, over bent right knee. Left leg is straight and strong. Left arm is reaching back. Hold pose for 10-15 seconds.
11. Left arm slides down the left leg. Right palm turns up, toward the sky, right arm reaches overhead into Reverse Warrior. Hold pose for 10-15 breaths.
12. On the inhale, bring the right hand or right elbow to the right knee for Side Angle Pose. Left arm reaches overhead. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.
13. Bring both hands to the floor. Step the right leg back into Downward Facing Dog. Hold pose for 10-15 seconds.
14. Step the left leg forward and repeat entire sequence on the opposite side.
15. From Downward Facing Dog, walk feet toward the hands to Forward Fold.
16. Inhale and return to Mountain Pose.
17. From Mountain Pose, bring the hands to the heart. Bring the left foot alongside the right leg for Tree Pose. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths and switch sides.
18. Return to Mountain Pose. Feel the connection between your feet and the earth. Breathing deeply, lift through the chest and imagine the connection of energy from the top of your head to something bigger than yourself. From the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, feel the connection to heaven and earth.
I am a certified yoga instructor, massage therapist, and life coach. I want to help everyone achieve their best life, today. Using the tools I've learned in yoga, massage and life coaching, I want to help you improve your life from the inside out.
Yoga is an important component of a complete life, as it combines the essence of breath, movement and feeling. Practicing yoga daily will help with your peace of mind, as well as balance and flexibility.
As I get older, I realize that some things that I used to do are no longer comfortable, so I have adjusted my yoga practice to be realistic for every body type, regardless of age, size, fitness level or experience.
Join me on the journey, as we explore yoga and the benefits of breathing and feeling.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Deborah Demander Reno