1-Hour Beginner Yoga Class
Good morning! I thought I’d share a yoga class I taught recently, appropriate for all levels. For those of you looking for a nice, easy daily practice, part or all of this sequence may work well. I’ll go into more detail on what I feel needs more explaining, but for other poses/sequences listed, you can easily find more information online and on other posts on this blog. If you want more explanation, feel free to ask!
Consistency is much more important than practicing for long periods of time. Ten minutes a day vastly outweighs one 90-minute practice a week. So if you only have time for some sun salutations, take a few minutes to go through the sequence. You’ll be working your entire body while calming your mind, and everyone can find an extra ten minutes! It’s very simple. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’d love to do yoga at home but cannot seem to find the time. Even if you’re only doing one pose or a quick breathing exercise, it’s very valuable. With practice, it’s easy to find ways to fit yoga into your day.
1-Hour Beginner Yoga Class
Movements of Prana Meditation
Begin in Tadasana, Mountain pose. Close your eyes, search throughout the body for tension and consciously release the tension with your breath. Deepen the breath, breathing only through your nostrils if possible. Feel the breath filling you up from the belly to the chest and lungs all the way up to the top of your head. Exhale and imagine the breath traveling back down, emptying from the head to the tailbone. Circulating life-giving oxygen to every cell of the body. Become immersed in your breath. Connect with your body and your state of mind.
Try a simple movement meditation – embodying the movements of Prana. Bend your elbows, palms open to the sky and on an inhale, lift the arms up slowly with the breath. At the top of the inhale turn the palms to face down and exhale the hands slowly down, feeling the grounding force of gravity, bending your knees slightly to accentuate the downward movement. Continue this practice for several breaths, closing your eyes, immersed in breath. Next, on an inhale, bring the hands to the heart and feel the inward, contracting forces of nature/Prana. Pull the belly in. Feel your core strength. On an exhale, expand the hands out to your sides, radiating energy in all directions. Imagine (if it’s easy for you to visualize) beams of light shining from your fingers. Or just feel that you are sending energy out. Breathe deeply, feeling the opposite forces – the inward moving, contracting, coiling in energy and then the outward, expansive, radiating energy. Imagining the energy this way helps you get in touch with your body and the space around you. Coordinate the breath with the movement – beginning, middle, end of the breath is the beginning, middle, end of the movement. Take your time! About five minutes of this meditation can create a shift of consciousness; tranquility will envelop you.
From Tadasana, dive forward into Uttanasana (standing forward bend), hinging at your hips (not your waist). Come into a “flat back,” palms to shins lengthening the spine tailbone and crown reaching in opposite directions. Come back into Uttanasana and then up to a flat back three times. Take it slow.
Step back into plank, high push up pose, strong core, radiating energy back through your heels, forward through your heart, shoulders wide, hold for a few breaths bringing the knees down if you must.
Bend the knees (or with straight legs), come down into low pushup (chatturanga), bending the elbows and keeping them close to the ribs, hands beneath shoulders, strong core
Inhale up into cobra pose (bhujangasana), lifting the hands for a moment, make sure you’re lifting from your back and stomach muscles, not just pushing yourself up with your hands. Lengthen the spine looking down to the floor ahead of you – long neck.
Exhale back into downward dog (ahdo mukha svanasana), bend the knees deep and lift the tailbone high, pull the belly in, shoulders wide – maintaining these actions, slowly reach the heels toward the floor by straightening the legs
From downward dog, inhale and lift the right leg high, then, slowly, with control, bring the knee toward the naval, then the right foot forward into lunge. Feel the four movements of lunge: You’re not noticeably moving, but you’re energetically/isometrically working the muscles. This is very subtle. The front knee is pulling forward, the front thigh grounded down. The back thigh is lifted and strong, and the back heel is pressing back. Pull the belly in, lengthen the spine and enjoy some breaths in this strengthening pose. Come back into downward dog and then lift the left leg and lunge on that side. Take the time to feel those four movements.
Sun salutation x3 on each side
Vinyasa (Downward Dog – Plank – Chatturanga – Cobra or Upward Dog – Downward Dog)
Lunge on the right, back knee down, bring the hands to the inside of the right foot and either stay there or come down to your forearms. You can straighten the leg to increase the challenge. You can also come onto the side of your front foot to increase the stretch. Do what feels good!
Next lengthen the front leg out in front of you and flex the foot. Stretch the arms long and bring the hands to the sides of your lengthened leg. Inhale, stretching the spine long. Fold forward over the extended leg for a nice hamstring stretch, a counter pose for the lunge.
Come back into lunge and try grabbing a hold of the inside of your back foot with the opposite hand (if this is too much, just stay with the basic lunge or any variation that feels right). Ground down by pressing the opposite palm flat on the floor. Press the foot into the hand and look over your shoulder of the outstretched arm if that’s comfortable.
Vinyasa ~ then repeat from lunge on the left side
Pigeon pose on your back – lie down and bend both knees – bring the right foot/ankle over the left knee. To deepen the stretch grab a hold of your left shin with both hands and hug it in toward you. For an even deeper stretch, cradle the lower leg – foot in one elbow and knee in the other. Deeper yet, grab the right foot and slowly guide that bent leg toward your heart. Repeat with the left leg.
Wheel pose (or another Bridge with the option of leg lifts)
You can end however you like; sometimes a short meditation is nice or some Pranayama (breath work).
I hope you try the practice and enjoy it! And any feedback is welcome – I think some people benefit a lot from reading about yoga and these descriptions of sequences, but for some people seeing pictures or hearing someone speak the words is easier. I want to do whatever I can to help people maintain a daily yoga practice! So please feel free to let me know what works or not. Have a wonderful day.