Child's Pose
       
     
Thread the Needle
       
     
Thread the Needle (Opposite Side)
       
     
Table Top
       
     
Cow Pose
       
     
Cat Pose
       
     
Boat Twist
       
     
Downward Facing Dog
       
     
Down Dog Twist
       
     
Down Dog Twist
       
     
Forward Fold
       
     
Standing at Attention
       
     
Mountain Pose- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Forward Fold- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Halfway Lift- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Plank- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Chaturanga- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Cobra- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Downward Facing Dog- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Child's Pose
       
     
Child's Pose

In this series of Postures Cards I'll walk you through a Warm Up.

This sequence is designed to help you bring your focus to your mat and prepare your body for deeper postures. 

We will warm up your spine, integrate the breath and warm your core to get your circulation moving. 

Child's Pose

Come on to your mat.

Bring your big toes to touch and widen your knees to the corners of your mat. 

Sit back on your heels, rest your forehead on the mat and stretch your arms forward, palms down. 

Relax your shoulders, jaw and forehead.

Take 10 breaths in and out through your nose. 

This posture allows you to touch base with your mental state, it calms the nervous system and gives you an opportunity to pay attention to your breath. This is an excellent resting posture- you can always take this posture if you find yourself losing your breath or needing rest. 

Thread the Needle
       
     
Thread the Needle

From Child's Pose:

TRANSITION: Inhale, shift onto your palms allowing your hips to sit directly over your knees. (knees hips width distance apart).

Exhale, thread your left arm under your body and over to the right side of your mat. As you twist, rest your left arm and part of your left shoulder on your mat. (Your left ear and cheek will also rest on the mat) Allow your gaze to follow the left fingertips. 

Take your right hand and wrap it across your low back. You can bind the arm by slipping it into your left hip crease. Option to keep your right hand on the mat as a stabilizer.

Once in position, twist from your middle spine. 

On your inhale envision space and as you exhale twist a little deeper. 

Take 5-8 breaths in this posture.

This posture encourages deeper breathing, it warms and strengthens the muscles along your spine. The twist massages and compresses your internal organs which supports blood flow and organ detoxification. 

 

 

 

Thread the Needle (Opposite Side)
       
     
Thread the Needle (Opposite Side)

From 1st side of Thread the Needle:

TRANSITION: From the previous posture, inhale, unthread your arm and shift onto your palms allowing your hips to sit directly over your knees. (knees hips width distance apart).

Exhale, thread your right arm under your body and over to the left side of your mat. As you twist, rest your right arm and part of your right shoulder on your mat. (Your right ear and cheek will also rest on the mat) Allow your gaze to follow the right fingertips. 

Take your left hand and wrap it across your low back. You can bind the arm by slipping it into your right hip crease. Option to keep your left hand on the mat as a stabilizer.

Once in position, twist from your middle spine. 

On your inhale envision space and as you exhale find a deeper twist. 

Take 5-8 breaths in this posture.

This posture encourages deeper breathing, it warms and strengthens the muscles along your spine. The twist massages and compresses your internal organs which supports blood flow and organ detoxification. 

 

Table Top
       
     
Table Top

From Child's Pose Twist:

TRANSITION: Inhale, unthread your arm and bring both palms to the mat.

Allow your palms to sit directly under your shoulders, spread your fingers.

Allow your hips to sit directly over your knees (This would make your knees hips width distance)

Draw your gaze down to create a long line from your tailbone all the way up to the crown of your head. Your neck is long, jaw is relaxed. 

Engage your core by pulling your belly button up and in, like you're sucking in your belly, and then flex your core by drawing your ribs toward each other and firming your stomach. 

Press down through your palms. 

Take 4-6 breaths in this posture. 

This posture awakens your core strength and helps you to lengthen and realign spine. 

 

 

Cow Pose
       
     
Cow Pose

From Table Top:

(Keeping shoulders over wrists and hips over knees)

Inhale, press down through your palms and broaden through your chest and collarbones, as you drop your belly and lift your tailbone up towards the ceiling. 

Stretch through the front of your throat as you draw your chin upwards (careful not to crunch the neck here, use just enough lift to stretch the throat).

Take 3-5 breaths in this position before flowing to the Cat Pose (the following posture) and then alternate the two postures: INHALE, COW POSE, EXHALE, CAT POSE (5-10 ROUNDS)

This posture stimulates your organs including your gastrointestinal tract. It strengthens spine and core and increases spinal mobility. 

Cat Pose
       
     
Cat Pose

From Cow Pose:

(Keeping shoulders over wrists and hips over knees)

Exhale, press through your palms as you round your back and draw your tailbone downward. Pull your belly button up and in to engage your core. 

Draw your chin towards your chest. 

Take 3-5 breaths in this position before flowing back to Cow Pose (the previous posture) and then alternate the two postures: INHALE, COW POSE, EXHALE, CAT POSE (5-10 ROUNDS)

TRANSITION: After 5-10 rounds, return back to Table Top to find a neutral spine and then sit back on your heels. Find a comfortable seat to prepare for the next posture, Boat Pose.

This posture stimulates your organs including your gastrointestinal tract. It strengthens spine and core and increases spinal mobility. 

Boat Twist
       
     
Boat Twist

From a comfortable seat:

Find boat pose: Sitting with a tall spine, extend your legs out in front of you and begin to lean back to find balance on your sitting bones. Modification: Option to try keeping the legs bent and lifted or bent with toes touching the ground rather than fully extending the legs. (sometimes these options help with balance). 

Extend arms forward so they are parallel to the ground with palms facing each other.

Inhale, engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine. Find length by sitting up nice and tall. 

Exhale, using your abdominal muscles, twist from your middle spine to bring both arms to the right side of your body. (Just your torso and arms will move- hips and legs remain stationary)

Inhale, bring both arms back to center (finding Center Boat Pose) 

Exhale, twist from middle spine to the opposite side. 

15 repetitions

Boat Twist strengthens and activates the abdominal wall. It strengthens your legs and psoas muscles. The twist compresses the abdominal cavity allowing for fresh, new blood to flush out toxins when the twist is released. Great posture for the liver, kidneys and digestive tract. 

TRANSITION: After 15 repetitions, come to Table Top and take a few Cat/Cow Postures and then find Child's Pose. 

 

 

 

 

Downward Facing Dog
       
     
Downward Facing Dog

From Boat Twist (Resting in Child's Pose):

TRANSITION: From Child's Pose- Inhale, shift onto your palms and knees to find Table Top.

Exhale, Tuck your toes and send your hips straight up to the sky by straightening both your legs and your arms. Work your heels toward your mat (they may not touch but keep that downward motion)

Bring your feet to hips width distance apart. Palms are shoulders width distance apart with spread fingers. (Note: Press evenly throughout the entire surface of your hand and especially work to seal your pointer finger and thumb down to your mat- This may be challenging at first but will become more accessible over time!)

Allow your gaze to come in-between your feet behind you so that your ears are in-between your biceps.

Lift your knee caps to activate your thigh muscles (quadriceps).

Engage your core by pulling belly button inwards while simultaneously knitting ribs towards each other. 

(Note: You might feel this desire to really arch your low back in this posture and as you do this, you will notice that your core disengages. I would rather see you engage your core and draw your tailbone long rather than upwards.)

Soften your eyebrows and jaw.

Take 8-10 breaths in this posture. 

Downward Facing Dog is a multi-faceted posture that works nearly every muscle in your body if activated correctly. This is considered an active resting posture. This posture places a great deal of weight on the arms which helps to build upper body strength as well as preserve bone density. Downward Facing Dog is an inversion. Anytime the heart is above the head, it can help to improve circulation and wake up the nervous system. Downward Facing Dog can also act  as a blood pressure regulator and the slight compression of the abdomen through the core engagement helps improve the digestive function of the kidneys, spleen and liver. 

 

Down Dog Twist
       
     
Down Dog Twist

From Downward Facing Dog:

TRANSITION: Walk your feet forward about 6 inches to shorten your stance. Widen your feet a little wider than hips width distance. 

Reach back with your right arm and grab the outside of your left ankle. Allow your gaze to turn upwards towards your right armpit. 

Press your chest back towards your thighs and root your heels down towards the earth. 

Down Dog Twist provides all of the benefits of an inversion, including circulatory support with the added benefit of the twist. This posture strengthens your spine, massages your internal organs and builds upper body strength. 

Take 3 breaths in this posture. 

TRANSITION: After your three breaths, return to your shortened Downward Facing Dog stance. 

 

Down Dog Twist
       
     
Down Dog Twist

From Shortened Downward Facing Dog:

Reach back with your left arm and grab the outside of your right ankle. Allow your gaze to turn upwards towards your left armpit. 

Press your chest back towards your thighs and root your heels down towards the earth. 

Down Dog Twist provides all of the benefits of an inversion, including circulatory support with the added benefit of the twist. This posture strengthens your spine, massages your internal organs and builds upper body strength. 

Take 3 breaths in this posture. 

TRANSITION: After your three breaths, return to your shortened Downward Facing Dog stance. 

Forward Fold
       
     
Forward Fold

From Downward Facing Dog:

TRANSITION: Walk your feet up towards your hands.

Bring your feet to hips width distance and allow your ribs to drape over your thighs. 

Relax your neck and shoulders and allow the crown of your head to relax towards the ground. 

Take a micro bend in your knees to keep from locking your legs. 

Feel free to shift your weight back towards the balls of your feet and then back into your heels to find an increased hamstring opening and balance challenge. 

This posture is calming for your nervous system and it lengthens your hamstrings. 

Standing at Attention
       
     
Standing at Attention

From Forward Fold: 

TRANSITION: Bring your big toes to touch, take a small bend in your legs and with your core engaged, (inhale) slowly roll up to standing. 

Bring your big toes to touch with a slight sliver in the back of your heels. 

Lift your knee caps to engage your thighs. 

Engage your core.

Draw your shoulders away from your ears. 

Envision a long spine as you lengthen the crown of your head upwards. 

Bring your palms to touch at your heart. Bring your awareness to your breath- in and out through your nose.

Take 5 breaths in this posture. Option to set an intention or think of something you are grateful for. 

Standing at Attention is a great grounding posture. This posture calms your nervous system and allows you to center and slow your breath with helps to bring mental calmness and focus. 

Mountain Pose- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Mountain Pose- Sun Salutation A

Mountain Pose is the first posture in a series of movements called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Standing at Attention:

Inhale, stretch up, draw your arms up towards the sky, look up.

Draw your shoulders away from your ears.

Mountain Pose stretches the front side of the body and increases mobility in the shoulder girdle. Sun Salutation A is a heat building series that increases blood flow, neutralizes the spine and builds strength and mobility. 

Forward Fold- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Forward Fold- Sun Salutation A

Forward Fold is the second posture in a series of movements called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Mountain Pose:

 

Exhale, Forward Fold, allow your ribs to drape over your thighs. 

Relax your neck and shoulders and allow the crown of your head to relax towards the ground. 

Take a micro bend in your knees to keep from locking your legs. 

This posture is calming for your nervous system and it lengthens your hamstrings. Sun Salutation A is a heat building series that increases blood flow, neutralizes the spine and builds strength and mobility. 

Halfway Lift- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Halfway Lift- Sun Salutation A

Halfway Lift is the third posture in a series of movements called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Forward Fold:

Inhale, Halfway Lift. Using the strength of your core, come up on to your fingertips (or bring your hands to your shins) and extend your torso in a forward motion.

Keep a long spine and lengthen your neck by drawing your shouldering down your back. 

Keep your gaze down at your mat. 

Halfway Lift is a lengthening posture that strengthens both your core and your spine. Sun Salutation A is a heat building series that increases blood flow, neutralizes the spine and builds strength and mobility. 

 

Plank- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Plank- Sun Salutation A

Plank is the first part of the following posture, Chaturanga. This series of movements are called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Halfway Lift:

TRANSITION: Exhale, Plank. Plant your palms on the mat and step your feet back to that your body is parallel with the mat. 

Shift your weight so that your are on the balls of your feet. 

Stack your shoulders over your wrists. 

Press down through your palms and engage your thighs. 

Allow your gaze to come in-between your hands. 

(MODIFICATION: Option to drop down to your knees and/or down to your forearms)

Take 5 breaths in Plank. 

Plank strengthens nearly every muscle in your body. It builds internal heat, strengthens bone density and sculpts the muscle fibers. It is particularly strengthening for the back and core. Sun Salutation A is a heat building series that increases blood flow, neutralizes the spine and builds strength and mobility. 

 

 

 

 

Chaturanga- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Chaturanga- Sun Salutation A

Chaturanga is the fourth posture in a series of movements called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Plank: Technically Plank and Chaturanga are one movement and occur on the same exhale in the Sun Salutation A. Since we held plank to build additional strength, You will take an inhale in plank and as you exhale you will lower to Chaturanga. 

Exhale, Chaturanga, shift forward onto the balls of your feet or your toes.

Keeping a strong core, (think of your body as a board- moving in one movement) bend your elbows to about a 90 degree angle. 

Squeeze your elbows into your ribs. 

Draw your shoulders down your back and away from your ears. 

This movement is incredibly challenging and takes a great deal of strength to lower the body down with the arms (you want to primarily be utilizing your triceps (the back of your arms) rather than your traps (the muscles that sit on top of your shoulders.) Try to keep the work in the arms and core, not in the shoulders. 

Modification: Once in Plank, option to drop to your knees (Table Top) Shift forward slightly and then bend the elbows half way keep the knees on the ground.

Chaturanga strengthens your core, thighs and back. Sun Salutation A is a heat building series that increases blood flow, neutralizes the spine and builds strength and mobility. 

Cobra- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Cobra- Sun Salutation A

Cobra is the fifth posture in a series of movements called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Chaturanga:

TRANSITION: Lower slowly onto your belly. Your can bring your feet to touch behind you or for lower back sensitivity widen your legs. Draw your hands back by your ribs and press your palms firmly into the mat. 

Inhale, Cobra. Press the tops of your feet into the mat and lit your chest using the muscles in your back. 

Option to continue pressing the palms firmly into the mat or to hover the palms from the mat for a different challenge. 

Broaden through your chest and soften your glutes. 

This posture is an alternative to Upward Facing Dog, the traditional posture in Salutation A. I find that Cobra is often times more accessible that upward facing dog and also protects the lower back while still providing a chest opening. 

Cobra Pose strengthens your back and opens your chest for deeper lung capacity. This posture can help alleviate Sciatica and also helps relieve constipation. 

 

Downward Facing Dog- Sun Salutation A
       
     
Downward Facing Dog- Sun Salutation A

Downward Facing Dog is the Sixth posture in a series of movements called Sun Salutation A. The postures in Sun A are often used to link additional postures together or to separate and reset the body in-between opposite sides of a posture in a sequence.  

From Cobra: 

Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. TRANSITION: Engage your core, tuck your toes under and press through your palms to lift your hips up towards the sky.  

Work your heels toward your mat (they may not touch but keep that downward motion)

Bring your feet to hips width distance apart. Palms are shoulders width distance apart with spread fingers. (Note: Press evenly throughout the entire surface of your hand and especially work to seal your pointer finger and thumb down to your mat- This may be challenging at first but will become more accessible over time!)

Allow your gaze to come in-between your feet behind you so that your ears are in-between your biceps.

Lift your knee caps to activate your thigh muscles (quadriceps).

Engage your core by pulling belly button inwards while simultaneously knitting ribs towards each other. 

Take 5 breaths in this posture and then repeat the full Sun Salutation A using one breath for each of the postures: 

Inhale, Mountain

Exhale, Forward Fold

Inhale, Halfway Lift

Exhale, Plank/Chaturanga

Inhale, Cobra

Exhale, Downdog (Take 5 breaths here) (walk your feet to your hands)

Inhale, Halfway Lift

Exhale, Forward Fold

Inhale, Mountain Pose

Exhale, Standing at Attention with Hands at Heart's Center

Then Repeat!

Downward Facing Dog is a multi-faceted posture that works nearly every muscle in your body if activated correctly. This is considered an active resting posture. This posture places a great deal of weight on the arms which helps to build upper body strength as well as preserve bone density. Downward Facing Dog is an inversion. Anytime the heart is above the head, it can help to improve circulation and wake up the nervous system. Downward Facing Dog can also act  as a blood pressure regulator and the slight compression of the abdomen through the core engagement helps improve the digestive function of the kidneys, spleen and liver.  Sun Salutation A is a heat building series that increases blood flow, neutralizes the spine and builds strength and mobility.