Open shoulders and discover truth – Satya

≤30 min. Yoga teaches us to be truthful to others -- and ourselves. As we practice observing specific physical actions in each asana, our enhanced understanding of the truth of our physical alignment and strength enables us to refine a truth that directs us on our spiritual path.

Hip Attitude

≤45 min. Honestly this isn’t about being a hip yogi or a how-to video on developing a hipster attitude. What you will do is progress through poses that open your hips while you express the practice with an attitude of gratitude. We start with gentle hip openers on all fours before moving into variations of parighasana, then move on to work the back side of the leg: hamstrings, calf muscles, and ankle through downward dog variations and with toes on a rolled blanket. Have a tightly rolled blanket, two blocks and a strap to enhance your virabhadrasana 1, parsvottanasana, and uttanasana, and seated poses. To balance the practice with lengthening the front body you will be practicing some actions to open the upper back. How do to find the inspiration and freshness to practice this and other sequences? Like so many others, I’ve been inspired by Viktor Frankl in his writing about how to “choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance” (from his book Man’s Search for Meaning). Anusara Yoga ® recognizes the importance of attitude through the “3 A’s” of the practice; first and most importantly, is attitude. Although the alignment and physical actions often absorb us in the asana sequence, coming to the mat with an attitude of gratitude for all the teachings enables greater flow, ease and enjoyment. Teachings of Desiree Rumbaugh, Doug Keller, and Louise Hay inspired me so for this practice and sequence enabling a sense of freedom through open hips.

Pelvic Stability/Shoulder Flexibility

≤45 min. Pelvic stability and shoulder flexibility begin in this sequence with establishing a foundation in sukhasana while incorporating a few shoulder warmups and accessible twists. This gentle yoga practice follows seated shoulder warmups with standing positions to both engage the legs for pelvic openness while continuing the upper body focus on shoulder flexibility. An easy standing balance pose explores foot and ankle stability. There are tips and work-arounds for those of us who experience knee pain and cranky ankles in seated poses. You’ll also explore a breath practice wherein extended in-breath leads to a pause before the out-breath and after the exhale breath once again, a focus on the pause before inhalation. Your legs will engage fully in order to open the hips in standing, seated and supine poses. Poses that will enable you to go deeper in stretches of your hamstrings, calf and achilles are sequenced in a way as to flow easefully. It seems like all of us love to avoid some yoga poses, and for those of you (like me) that find gomukhasana at the top of that list, consider 2 tips to enable you to deepen into that pose – here is the spoiler: take the humerus of the lifted arm back with the opposite hand and secondly squeeze and let go with the hand of the lifted arm. Check it out – worked for me!

Practice for Vagal Tone

≤30 min. Yoga practice enable us to feel calm, and the vagus nerve is a big to trigger a relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system. Once activated, the practitioner often enjoys noticeable differences in anxiety, stress, and inflammation. This practice sequence includes lunges, twists, a Virabhadrasana 1 variation wherein we focus on the trapezius, setubhanda sarvangasana, hip and shoulder openers, and seated twists such as Marichyasana wherein use of the eye gaze is used to enable deeper cervical twists. Teachings from Deepak Chopra, Desirée Rumbaugh, Doug Keller, and Beth Spindler have drawn me to a deep interest in the vagus nerve and how we as yoga practitioners can incorporate asana to assist this cranial nerve in relaying important messages from and to the brain and respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems.

Potpourri of yoga poses for shoulders and hips

≤45 min. Gain strength in your foundation and open your shoulders and heart through this hybrid practice with plenty of variety that incorporates warmup poses including standing crescent, cat cow pelvic tilts, cat variations (bird dog pose), utkatasana, salambhasana with variations, bhujangasana, and supported virabhadrasana III. Standing poses include virabhadrasana II, utthitha parsvakonasana variation, and prasarita padottanasana with fingers interlaced. Warmup and standing poses will prepare you for deeper seated and supine poses including a marichyasana III preparatory pose, stage 1 of paschimottanasana, supta padottanasana, jathara parivartanasana, setubhanda sarvangasana, and of course savasana to assimilate and rest in the actions of the practice.

Hamstrings tight? Take your legs up the wall

≤45 min. Viparita Karani or legs up the wall pose is an accessible restorative yoga asana. This practice starts with this calming pose and proceeds with approachable poses that allow for an all levels practice to build flexibility and strength. Customize the pose for you – move away from the wall and bend your knees if you are stiff, have low back concerns, tight hamstrings, etc. If you have more flexibility, have that back of the thighs closer to the wall. Sometimes you may experience tingling in the feet, if so bend your knees to bring your feet closer to your pelvis. Benefits of a regular practice of viparita karani are said to affect anxiety, headache, high and low blood pressure, insomnia, varicose veins, and menstrual cramps.

Knees don’t like pigeon pose?

≤30 min. Try these pigeon alternatives (aka eka pada raja kapotasana) variations. Tight hips require lots of "hip openers", and this is a favorite pose to lengthen the hip flexors. If you have unhappy knees in pigeon here are some standing, balancing, seated and supine poses that will give you greater freedom. A standing variation starts in chair pose to cross one ankle over the opposing knee. In seated pose you can get double the action by crossing the other leg over. This pose is known as also known as agnistambhasana or fire log pose. Lie on your back and simulate the hip opening by crossing one ankle of the knee and bring the knee toward the chest. This posture is also called thread the needle. Benefits include stretches to the gluteals and piriformis muscles, as well as extension of the psoas. Pigeon practice has shown to help urinary disorders, reduce or in some alleviate sciatic pain along with diminished lower back pain and stiffness.

Strong Neck & Shoulders

Strong Neck and Shoulders

≤15 min. As our online time increases our necks get tighter. These strengthening actions of the upper arms, shoulders and neck muscles are especially good to open the chest for a short afternoon yoga break. Through standing and supine poses as well as a twist you will be able to refresh and rejuvenate while gaining strength in areas of the upper body that we often overlook in daily yoga practice.

Open shoulders and discover truth – Satya

≤30 min. Yoga teaches us to be truthful to others -- and ourselves. As we practice observing specific physical actions in each asana, our enhanced understanding of the truth of our physical alignment and strength enables us to refine a truth that directs us on our spiritual path.

Contentment – Forward Bends

60 min. Explore standing and sitting forward bends in this practice of santosha or contentment. We twist, and work on challenging standing and seated poses to lengthen hamstrings and refine a lovely seated forward bend, upavista konasana.

Inner Cleansing – Saucha

45 min. Niyamas present a constant reminder to improve -- in the asana practice, but more importantly, off the mat. Enjoy this backbend practice where we work on drawing the heads of the arms back to open the area of the heart for a lovely bow, or dhanurasana.