My Breakfast Yoga

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.

Move from this short meditation into a childs pose. Hush Yoga, Sinead in Childs Pose

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.

Hush Yoga, Adho Mukha SvanasanaMove into downward dog, keeping knees bent at first, with heals lifting high up off the floor.

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)


Hush Yoga, Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana

Plank Pose, Hush Yoga From downward dog move into plank pose holding for a few breaths and then lower through chataranga to the floor.



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.

Hush Yoga, Baby Cobra

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.Sinead, Hush Yoga

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.

Peace,

Sinead.







Be Kind To Your Yoga Body, Warm Up!

Sinead, Hush YogaMost of my regular yoga students may well be familiar with the style of warm up I lead in a yoga class.  My own practice usually includes the same postures, and depending on the nature of the class, I have learned to vary how the warm up sequence can be delivered, with some new additions, and others only used on occasion. Sometimes I encourage students to move in ways that I learned from my dance experience, incorporating soft, gentle, easy positions I have taken from different styles of movement.

The main postures I use for my warm up are:

Childs Pose  (Balasana): stretching the spine and becoming in tune with breath;

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): stretching whole body backside; deepens bhanda awareness;

Plank Pose (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana): strengthen legs, core centre and arms;

Baby Cobra Pose  & Cobra (Bhungasana): warms up spine, opens chest, strengthens core centre.

My warm up is the most important part of the practice for me.  It brings me in tune with my breath and body.  It’s like the appetizer before the entrée.  It’s the lead into the bigger – if not always necessarily better – serving. It’s the most precious time on my yoga mat, setting the mood lighting for what is to come.

I like to be kind to my hamstrings, my back and my breath, allowing them space to enjoy their starter before throwing them into dynamic shapes. All too often, one of my dislikes of going to other yoga classes is being thrown into Uttanasana (standing forward bend) as the first move, and shortly thereafter feeling like my hamstrings are about to rip in two.

I may get away with folding into this standing forward bend in the warmer, summer months; however, with the hint of winter and the cold weather now setting in, I would not even consider forcing my body into that pose at the start of my practice; at most, I’d fold down with knees bent, and keeping them that way for quite a while.

When I do get the opportunity to participate in other yoga classes and workshops, I arrive a few minutes earlier, giving myself enough time to warm up in the way that my body prefers, just in case the class begins in a way that is counterproductive.

Om Peace, peace, peace,

Sinead.