This week I've been working out the kinks of a little personalized flow to build some heat in the body, open the hips, strengthen the ankles, work on balance (vestibular orientation as well as we change directions), and in general have a little fun.
Time the inhales and exhales as they suit you, one pose, one 1/2 breath cycle OR take multiple breaths in each pose and use a single inhale or exhale to transition with focus to the next:
- Start at the top of the mat.
- Lift arms overhead for urdva hastasana (arms overhead mountain pose)
- Forward Fold (uttanasana)
- 1/2 lift (ardha uttanasana)
- Step back right leg to Ajenayasana (Lunge pose), Back foot on the toe, front knee aligned with with front toe, no further forward than the ankle. Hips face forward.
- Swing right arm overhead, keep left knee as is, drop the right heel behind the right pinky toe and peel the body open into Warrior 2.
- Sweep the right arm down and to the front, left the right heel and turn the hips forward returning to Lunge pose.
- Repeat the Lunge pose/Warrior 2 transition two more times, staying aware of the foot position, the gentle pressing open of the hips, the lowering of the shoulders while the lower arms lift to the upper arms.
- Pause the sequence in Warrior 2.
- Turns the left toes to face the same directoin as the right, having the body come to "star pose" or prep for Prasarita Padatonasan (wide legged fold, but no fold).
- Bend into the knees gently, and then step the left leg to the right then hover the left leg off the ground (or knee at 90 degrees) for Eka Pada Tadasana (one legged mountain pose).
- Slowly turn the left knee out, press the left foot into the right leg for Vrksasana (Tree pose), raising the arms if you'd like. Level out the hips, lengthen the waist, lift the crown of the head up while pressing the standing foot down and hugging core up and in to the midline.
- Disconnect the left foot from the right leg, turn the knee back to the front, and gingerly step forward into a lunge again (you will be partly off the mat).
- Repeat the sequence: Lunge pose, warrior 2 transitions 3x.
- Pause in warrior 2
- Turn the left foot to the same direction as the right.
- Step the left leg to the right and hover the leg.
- Turn the left leg open for tree pose
- Take the left leg off the right this time and step back with the left leg starting back in lunge pose with the right leg in front.
- Repeat this sequence twice with the right leg in front, eventually turning 90 degrees toward the side again then 90 degrees back to the front. When you step to hover one leg it will be right leg stepping to the left this time.
- From here, you can repeat the 1/2 sun salute (arm lift, forward fold, 1/2 left) and this time step back LEFT FOOT, repeating this same sequence with the left leg in back 2x, then switching once you have turned 1/2 way around to step the right foot back to bring you back to the front of the mat.
At this it's up to you if you want to do a few sun salutations that include Chaturangas and down Dogs, building more heat for deeper or stronger poses like backbends, or other arm balances, or just pause, smoothing out the ragged edges of the breath, and preparing to slow down your practice.