Basic Yoga Routine

Videos are great - but sometimes you want a quick, written set of instructions to bring with you to the airport, to your back yard, to a friend's house to do a quick yoga routine with. Even if you only have fifteen minutes, you can stretch and relax and renew your spirit. You probably watch 15 minutes worth of commercials in a given TV show! Rather than wasting the time on commercials, DVR the show, skip the commercials and dedicate your 15 minutes towards a better you!

Simply hit PRINT and tuck this in your purse or bag. Be prepared!

Begin and Relax
Start by simply sitting down on the ground, cross-legged. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let yourself slow down. If your mind wanders, refocus on the breath. You will probably feel your body begin to relax naturally. Your breathing will probably start to slow down and lengthen. Try to give yourself a good two minutes in this section, so you unwind and prepare.

Cat and Cow
Move forward and get on your hands and knees. Position your shoulders directly over your hands, and your rear directly over your knees.

Inhale, lifting your chest towards the ceiling, your stomach will sink towards the floor. Your back is arching "down". This is cow position, or Bitilasana. Look forward as you do this. Hold for a few seconds.

Exhale, arching your back up in the traditional "hissing cat" type of pose. This is Marjaryasana - cat pose. You want to look down in this pose.

Move betweeen these two poses slowly, breathing in deeply, breathing out deeply. This is not a race - it is a stretching of the spine and shoulders. Repeat this ten times.

Sky and Earth
Slowly rise to your feet. Settle yourself comfortably with your feet slightly apart, your hands at your sides. This is basic mountain pose, or Tadasana. Bring your hands together at your chest - I like to have the fingers interlaced and the pointer fingers stretched out against each other. Breathe in and raise your arms high towards the sky then lean back slightly, stretching your hands a bit behind you. Look towards your hands.

Breathe out and slowly bend down until your fingers are near the floor or touching the floor (depending on your bendiness). Do not strain yourself, but stretch well through your spine.

Breathe in and stand slowly, sweeping your arms out at your sides in a circular motion (right hand to the right, left hand to the left). Bring them in to meet in the center of your chest as you are standing fully upright, and breathe out again.

Now raise your hands again as you breathe in, starting this cycle against. Each time you go down towards the floor, you should be able to go slightly further as your body begins to stretch out. Repeat this ten times.

Buy at Dog and Cobra
Get back down into a hands and knees position. Position your shoulders directly over your hands, and your rear directly over your knees. Lift your rear until it is pointing at the sky and you form a triangle with your body. This is the classic downward facing dog pose - it is shown to the left of this instruction. The aim here is to stretch out your spine and your legs. The pose is also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana. Hold this for ten seconds (adjust to your strength).

From here, slide your shoulders forward into plank pose. Plank pose is the classic "starting a push-up pose". You have your shoulders directly over your hands, and your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. Again, hold for 10 seconds, more or less based on your strength.

Now lower your legs and pelvis down to the ground, but still keep your arms mostly straight and your head upright and looking forward. Your toes should be stretched out, so the top of your feet are laying on the mat. This is cobra pose - Bhujangasana. Hold for 10 seconds, again adjust to your strength.

Push your rear up into the air into downward facing dog pose again, and go through this cycle three times in total.

After the third loop of cobra pose, slide your butt backwards to rest on your heels, and lay your chest on the floor. Lay your arms down along your sides. This is child pose, Balasana, a great way to rest and recuperate. Stay in this pose for 20 seconds, to gain some strength back. Then start another set of 3 cycles of the Dog - Plank - Cobra. Child pose to rest. A final set of 3 cycles of Dog - Plank - Cobra. End with Child pose.

The pose that most people love - corpse pose - laying flat on your back with your arms at your side. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let your body relax. Take in the gratitude of the life you have, appreciate all of the blessings of your world.


Yoga for Forgiveness Yoga for Forgiveness
Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness provides a step by step recipe for calm and healing. Author Lisa Shea has been following this practice for a decade and over time has tweaked and polished the steps until each one resonates with serenity.
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