Monday, February 17, 2014

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Restorative Flow

Find a little reprieve in the day with a mini-yoga sequence including the postures Child’s Pose, Table-Top, and Downward Facing Dog. Try this restorative simple flow.

To start the mini-sequence: Come into Child’s Pose. Come to the floor on the hands and knees. Open the knees wide and bring the big toes to touch or as close as it is comfortable. Sink the hips over the heels and walk the palms forward, lowering the forehead to the ground. Stretch the arms out long and feel the natural opening in the shoulders and in the hips. The armpits and the hips will descend downwards and open-up with the help of gravity. Take a moment and rock the forehead from side to side in order to massage the space in between the eyebrows. Exhale all of your breath creating space, and take a deep and long inhalation followed by another exhale, open mouth. Take one more long and spacious inhale and open-mouthed exhale. Stay in Child’s Pose the first round for a few more focused rounds of breath, inhales and exhales.

Seal the lips and breathe in and out through the nose, or Ujjayi Pranayama, creating a slight constriction at the back of the throat. The sound of Ujjayi breath mimics the sound of when “Darth Vader” breathes. The breath with sealed lips is powerful and concentrated. It helps to heat the body from the inside-out as well as it helps to keep the mind present. It also helps to initiate the movement into the next posture.

To move into the next pose, Table-Top: On an inhale breath, rise up to the hands and knees and come into a Table-Top. Align the hands directly under the shoulders and align the knees directly under the hips. Notice the spine is extended and long and gaze down in between the palms. Spread the fingers nice and wide apart. The back of the neck is long and spacious. Take a few breaths here.

To move into Downward Facing Dog: On an exhale, begin to straighten the knees and extend the hips and tailbone up and back. Shift the weight towards the legs and feel the shoulders and chest open and expand. The hands stay planted at shoulder-width distance and the feet stay spread open hip-width distance. Relax the head and neck. Option to gently shake the head yes and no to completely release tension. Keep breathing long and smooth. Option to take a little movement by peddling the feet and shifting the hips from side-to-side. Find stillness and engage the quadriceps (front-side of the thighs) and allow time for the hamstrings (back-sides of the thighs) to open.
Notice the spine is extended and open.

Downward Facing Dog allow the spine to decompress. We create an opening in-between each vertebrae in order to allow the nerves some reprieve from compression. Stay in downward dog for 3-5 rounds of breath.

To flow with the breath: on an inhale, drop to the knees into a Table-top, and on an exhale sink the hips over the heels back into Child’s Pose. For the first round of the postures, we stayed in the pose for 3-5 breaths. For the second and third rounds there is an option to move one breath per one movement. The following poses are initiated with the following breath or option to move with your own preference of inhales and exhales.

Child’s Pose: Exhale
Table-Top: Inhale
Downward Facing Dog: Exhale
Moving one breath per movement allows for a powerful meditative experience.

Continue to move through the postures with the breath for 3-5 more rounds of breathing and end in Child’s Pose. Notice how you feel and let go of the Ujjayi Breath or “sealed-lips” and conscious breathing. Come back to a natural breath and notice how the body and the mind feel after taking a reprieve from the day. The mind may feel a little more clear and focused and the body may feel a little more light and open.

 When we practice yoga with movement or Vinyasa Style Yoga, we empower our “presence practice” by focusing solely on our postures and our breath. The action of “doing” consists of maneuvering our body into postures and the nature of our “being” is focused on producing a smooth, refined breath to keep us balanced and calm.

Namaste,
Christi Ianoco

Christi is a certified yoga instructor at the 500 hour level that focuses on teaching adults, private lessons, and kids. She is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont, an intimate space in located in the Mount streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact christi@inrhythmsyoga.com for more info. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the class schedule and instructors.

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