Thursday, November 25, 2010

Morning Yoga Routine 1

Good Morning! 

Below are a few pictures with brief explanations of only some of the great morning yoga poses you can do.  This has been designed to only take 10-15 minutes, so you don't feel rushed in the morning.

Seated Meditation - Sit cross-legged on a block or bolster for a few minutes to begin your yoga practice...even if it is a short practice.  Release the shoulders down the back, away from the ears.  Let the knees release from the hips and keep the chest lifting up towards the ceiling.  You can use the strap crossed at the back and then coming around the front to help keep the shoulders releasing back and down.  Focus on the breath.
 Seated Twist - place a block behind you and rolling the left shoulder back bring the hand onto the block with fingers cupped.  Keep the tailbone descending and spine ascending up towards the ceiling.  On the exhalation begin turning from the lower back towards the left, sweeping the right hand to the outside of the left knee.  On each exhalation keep moving up the back twisting a bit further until you reach the shoulders and head.  Return back to centre and repeat on the other side.
 Back Release - Come to lying on your back.  Lengthen the spine on the mat and hug the knees into the chest.  Keep the abdomen, throat and eyes soft and the shoulders releasing.
 Lying Twist - Spread the arms out in line with the shoulders and cross the right leg over the left.  Exhale and release the knees to the left side.  Keep the abdomen soft and moving to the right as the knees release to the left.  Inhale to bring the legs back up.  Uncross the legs and repeat on the other side.
 Modified Bridge - Lying on your back bring your arms to your sides, palms facing the floor, knees bent and feet close to the body and hip width apart.  Keep shoulders releasing from the ears.  Inhale and bring the arms over head to the floor.  If your shoulders are really tight and the arms don't press into the floor keep your arms at your sides.  Then see picture below.
 Inhale and press into your feet and arms and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, drawing the tailbone up and compact the outer hips in.  Exhale, release back down.  Do two or three more times using your breath to help warm up and gently massage the spine.
 Cat - From the previous pose, roll over and up onto your hands and knees.  Bring your hands under your shoulders, spreading your fingers to distribute the weight.  Keep your knees under your hips with your shins hip width apart and parallel.  Press firmly into the floor with your hands and shins, lengthen your spine and inhale arch your abdomen towards the floor, tailbone up towards the ceiling, chest open and looking up.  If you have lower back issues keep your back flat.
 Cow - Exhale, tucking your tailbone under and your chin to your chest.  Draw the abdomen up towards the spine.  Release the head between the shoulders and keep the shoulders moving down the back.
Puppy - Keep pressing into your hands and shins and on the exhalation turn the head to look towards your hips (or your tail!).  Repeat on the other side.
 Urdhva Hasta Tadasana - Stand with the feet together or slightly apart and parallel.  Press firmly into the big toe mound, little toe mound and heel.  Distribute your weight evenly front to back and side to side.  Press the thigh bones back and lift the kneecaps towards the hips to engage the quadriceps muscles.  Inhale, raise the arms up overhead, keep arms parallel, palms facing each other.  Make sure the shoulders release down the back and the collarbones broaden towards the shoulders.

 Ardha Uttanasana - Exhale, bending at the hips placing hands on blocks.  Keep the legs active, the spine concave, thighs pressing back, shoulders releasing back and down.
Uttanasana - on your next exhalation soften the abdomen and release down to a full forward bend.  Keep the knees bent if you have lower back issues or if you bend more from the waist then the hips.  The forward bend should be from the hips.
Lunge - Inhale looking up and step the left leg back.  Keep the front knee over the front ankle.  Press out through the back heel and lift the back thigh up towards the ceiling (back leg should be straight).  The hands are on the blocks to help keep the chest open and the shoulders moving back and down.
Step the back leg forward and repeat ardha uttanasana, uttanasana and then lunge on the opposite leg.  Come up to Tadasana (standing mountain pose).  You can repeat this sequence many times to warm the body up even more.
Adho Mukha Svanasana with chair - Downward Facing Dog with chair - Press your palms into the seat of the chair, keeping hands shoulder width apart.  Step feet back so you can lengthen spine completely.  Bend the knees at first to get the length to the spine.  Keep the shoulders moving away from the ears and lift the hips up towards the ceiling.  Straighten the legs if you can and press into the feet.  The tailbone should be in line with the back of the heels.  The feet are hip width apart and parallel.  Press the thighs back, lift the kneecaps up.  The abdomen should be soft.

Inhale back up to Tadasana - Mountain Pose with arms at your sides. 
Stay for a few breaths and enjoy the new vitality you have brought to you day.

Namaste!

Pam Nelson

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