I am often asked how much and how often you should practice yoga. As a yoga teacher, a mom (and a realist), I say a teeny bit everyday is better than a lot once in a while. My experience is that the more you practice and the “better” you get at it, the more you crave longer sessions on your mat. A regular practice is so beneficial to strengthen your body, calm your mind and open your heart.
So where to begin? Aspirational goals are great, but if they are unrealistic we never actually accomplish them. So I’ve created this energizer sequence for you: Busy mom, corporate executive or fitness enthusiast. Here’s a way to sneak in some yoga moves to tone, tighten, lengthen and strengthen. The hardest part of this practice is getting started. My solution? Unroll your mat and leave it somewhere visible. Hopefully it will remind you to get going!
Downward dog. Opens upper back and spine, and lengthens the back of the legs. Press hands firmly into the mat, lengthen spine and stretch heels towards the floor.
Move forward to plank pose. Keep legs, thighs and arms strong and draw the lower belly up and in. Remember to breathe!
Push back to downward dog and move from dog to plank 5 times to warm up.
Low Pushup. Bend your elbows and lean into your hands. Keep legs strong, abdominals pulled in and elbows over wrists.
Push back to downward plank. This move requires strength so keep practicing!
As you move back into downward dog you should be feeling more open in your hamstrings, hips and back. Enjoy a few breaths here and stretch deeper.
Cobra. Move through plank pose to lower into this moderate back bend, in cobra pose. Keep your legs and thighs strongly engaged and powerfully drag your hands back to lift your chest. Tilt your head back and breathe.
Move back to downward dog. Keeping your hips level take your left hand to the outer right thigh, calf or ankle and twist your spine over your thighs. Alternate sides.
Low lunge. Step your left foot forward into a low lunge. Plug the toes of your right foot firmly into the mat, engage your core and stretch your arms up and lean back slightly. Enjoy a stretch in the front of your thighs and hips.
Deeper lunge. Return your hands to the mat, bow your torso forward into this deep lunge.
Humble warrior. Press heel into the mat and keep your back leg straight — keeping back foot aligned with the back of the mat. Point front toes forward into a warrior position, clasp hands and stretch your shoulders as you bow towards the floor.
Return to downward dog. Enjoy a few breaths here.
Forward fold. Step or jump forward into a deep forward fold. Bend your knees if your fingertips cannot comfortably reach the floor.
Take a seat and move into boat pose. Focus on pulling your belly in, strengthen your legs and lift chest. Modification: bend your knees.
Seated twist. Cross right leg over left and hook left elbow over your thigh. Rotate your spine by pressing your arm into your thigh and gaze over your left shoulder. Enjoy a deep unwinding of the spine.
Lay down into bridge pose. Keep legs engaged and lift chest and hips as high as you can while keeping abdominals engaged. Opens chest and shoulders, stretches the front of the thighs.
Hug your knees into your chest and round your spine. Rock side to side to release your lower back. Lift you head and neck off the mat for a few breaths.
Finally, rest completely for two minutes.
Photographer: Darren Lebleuf
Location: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa
Model: Morgan Jane @thewelldressedworkout