This weeks breakfast yoga is all about warming up the body before leading into a strong flowing Vinyasa style practice.
Last week I let you know the main postures I use to warm up the body. I tend to mix it up from time to time. Here is the first warm up sequence to get you going on your yoga mat.
I always sit and focus on my breath for a minimum of 5 minutes. Often I focus more on the exhale and a sense of my body weight dropping towards the floor with the out breath. However always keeping the the spine straight, with shoulders directly over the hips and the chin parallel to the floor. This meditation practice helps to ground the body and clear the mind.
When in Childs pose begin Ujjaya breathing. Also begin to connect to the core centre, applying Uddiyana Bhanda and Mulabhanda (drawing the navel gently back to the spine while using the pelvic floor muscles).
Stretch the arms, lifting the whole arm off the floor so only the hand is resting on the floor. Draw the head of the arm bone back and hug the arms towards each other to create strength and stability.
Move forward onto hands and knees. Place hands directly under shoulders and shoulder distance apart, knees under hips, hip width apart. Begin Cat, dropping the head and tail bone down to toward the floor while lifting the middle spine up towards the ceiling like a cat. Reverse into cow stretch lifting the head and tail bone up towards the ceiling while dropping the middle spine. Maintain a strong connection to the core centre, trying not to let go of the belly, especially in Cow stretch. (sorry no photos)
Move back into child’s pose for 2-3 breaths.
Then stretch into the full pose. You can bend one knee while stretching the opposite heal towards the floor. This helps to warm up and loosen the calf muscle and hamstring, ( great after a night in high heal shoes ladies 😉 ). Then make sure you hold a still downward dog for a while, focusing on breath and Bhandas (core centre)
Prepare for baby cobra pose. Place hands Beside shoulders and lift chest off the floor, with out using in the hands to lift the chest up, so only the back is doing the work.
It is important to use your core muscles in cobra pose and also make sure the legs are strong by stretching the thigh bone back, spreading toes wide, turning thighs in slightly and moving tailbone forward without gripping the buttox. Lower to body back to floor.
Move through baby cobra to full cobra however keep the elbows slightly bent, making sure the shoulder blades are moving in towards the spine and the shoulders are pulling down from the neck/ears at all times.
Move back to Childs pose for a few breaths.
Voila! Ther’s a simple yet very beneficial warm up.
Over the next week I will break down the above postures in more detail.
Next weeks Breakfast Yoga will be a continuation from this warm up leading through a flowing sequence towards sun salutations.
Enjoy your yoga practice. Be kind to your body, take your time and warm up properly.