A little yoga can go a long way. We love this simple yoga flow sequence from Aussie-born plant-based yoga and health coach, Claire Grieve, who thinks that yoga should be – above all – fun!
These playful poses will give your muscles a delicious stretch, send oxygen and energy coursing throughout your body, and maybe even yield a lit-from-within glow. Not everyone has time to drop into a studio every week, but that shouldn’t stop you from building up your personal yoga practice at home. Clear a space, light up some palo santo, and give yourself the treat of this sweet, flowing sequence…
This sequence will get your heart pumping and the oxygen flowing. It will help you bring a new vitality to your day. I like to start my morning with an energizing yoga flow to get my day started on a high note. You can also use this flow as a midday pick-me-up. Refresh with a green juice after your flow, and you will have pure, vibrant energy that will surpass that from a cup of coffee.
As you move through the poses, be sure to focus on maintaining deep, rhythmic inhalations and exhalations to receive the full benefits of this yoga flow sequence.
This pose energizes the body by circulating fresh blood to the head and heart.
How to: Starting on your hands and knees, bring your forearms to the ground and your shoulders directly over your elbows and hands. Face your fingers forwards. Tuck your toes and lift your hips and belly towards the sky. Relax your head and neck.
Knee To Nose
This pose has all of the strengthening benefits of a plank pose and also digs deeper into your abdomen, helping to tone muscles that you may not be hitting when you do crunches.
How to: Starting from a Downward Dog Split, shift your shoulders over your wrists and draw your knee into your nose. Try to kiss your knee — this motion will activate your core.
This pose can help you strengthen your lower body (quadriceps, glutes) while lengthening your hip and spine muscles. As you sit deeper into the pose, lift your arms, lengthening them up to the ceiling and beyond.
How to: Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Step you right foot between your hands with your knee aligned over the ankle at 90 degrees. Your back leg will be strong and straight, your hips will be square. Inhale raising your torso and sweeping your arms up to the sky. Relax your shoulders, tuck your tailbone and engage your core to balance.
Crescent Lunge With A Twist
Adding a twist to your lunge is like giving your internal organs a mini massage. This move can help stimulate your systems, adding a detoxifying quality to the pose. Twists also help to lengthen and strengthen the muscles along your spine.
How to: Starting from Crescent Lunge, place your hands in prayer at heart center and gently twist the torso open towards the right leg. Hook your left elbow over your right knee, using it as lever to open your torso. To take the twist deeper, reach your right arm towards the sky, gazing up towards your fingertips. Hold this pose for five breaths. Repeat this pose equally on both sides.
This is the ultimate lengthening pose. In order to balance in this challenging pose, you must extend throughout your entire body, especially in the muscles that extend along your spine. This movement helps to clear energy blockages and opens up the body for a flow of revitalized energy.
How to: Square your hips and start in Crescent Lunge. Engage the core as you begin to lean forward. Keep extending your arms parallel and actively reach as you lift your back leg. Flex your foot as if pressing into an imaginary wall. Extend through your whole body and keep your gaze a few feet in front of you. Remember to breathe. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
Practicing crow pose is an effective way to tone your upper arm muscles and core. Holding this pose for up to 60 seconds can help you tone your trapezius, deltoids, triceps, biceps and more. Plus, in order to balance you really need to engage your abs.
How to: Bend your knees and lower down into a squat. Place your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart with your fingers spread wide. Keeping your feet close together, place your knees on your upper arms. Keep your gaze forward as you activate your core and begin to lean forward lifting one foot at a time toward your buttocks. Touch your toes together, draw your belly in, breathe and hold for 30 – 60 seconds.
This is a fiery, strengthening pose that energizes the whole body. It promotes balance, concentration and focus while lengthening the spine. It also stimulates oxygen and blood flow to increase vitality.
How to: Start in Mountain Pose. Step your feet wide and point your toes to the corner of your mat. As you exhale, bend your knees over your toes coming into a squat. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Extend your arms to the side. Your elbows will be in line with your shoulders, palms facing out at a 90 degree angle. Tuck your tailbone and engage your core. Hold this pose for 10 breaths.
This is an amazing pose for strength and energy. Your feet are grounded firmly into the earth, but you are energetically reaching through your hands. By lengthening your upper body and opening up your chest and heart, you can tone your triceps, deltoids, abs, spine muscles, glutes, hamstrings and lower legs.
How to: Inhale and raise your arms up to the sky, allowing your shoulders to relax away from your ears. As you exhale, start to bend your knees and lower your hips down as if you are sitting in a chair. Sit down even lower, shift your weight into your heels as you lengthen your lower back. Lift up through your heart. Hold for up to one minute.
Strengthening your core is the most important component of lengthening your muscles. If your core is strong, it allows you to lengthen your limbs making them appear longer and leaner. Boat pose is a great posture to use as an instant pick-me-up!
How to: Begin seated, feet and hands on the floor. Inhale, on the exhale, activate your core lifting your legs up into a 45 degree angle and extend your arms straight out in front of you. Balance on your sit bones keeping your spine straight and your chest lifted. Hold for 10 breaths and release.
This pose will open up the entire front body, increase back flexibility and stimulate your internal organs. This encourages new energy to move throughout the body.
How to: Lie flat on your stomach. Grab the outsides of your ankle and kick them away from your body. Your chest will lift off the ground like the bow in a bow and arrow.