Round Out Your Practice: Health

Take charge, and create a healthy, mindful practice that suits your mood.

1. OM: Begin your practice with the chant om.

2. Breathing Exercise:

  • Find a comfortable seated position and place your palms on your thighs. Gaze restfully about five feet in front of you.
  • Breathe naturally and pay attention for 10 minutes as the breath goes in and out.
  • Whenever you notice that your mind has strayed, gently return it to the movement of the breath.

  • 3. Twisting Breathing Exercise:

  • Sit cross-legged and place your hands on your shoulders
  • Keep your spine tall and reach the elbows away from each other as you draw your shoulder blades toward each other to support the heart and lungs
  • Inhale as you twist to the right and exhale as you twist to the left.
  • You can go fast or slow. Repeat this 20 times. Then reverse it, inhaling left and exhaling right 20 times.

    4. Transition Poses:

  • Shift onto your hands and knees
  • Tuck your toes under and move into your first Down Dog of the day.
  • Notice everything: how it feels and where your breath, mind, and vision go.
  • Slowly walk your feet up to your hands, moving into Standing Forward Bend
  • 5. Warm-Up Vinyasa/b>: Each movement in the following sequence gets one slow, full inhalation or exhalation.

  • From Standing Forward Bend, inhale and lengthen your spine parallel to the floor with Standing Half-Forward Bend.
  • Place your fingertips directly below your shoulders, on blocks if necessary.
  • Exhale and twist to the right, extending your right fingers to the ceiling.
  • Inhale as you return to Standing Half-Forward Bend
  • Exhale to fold over, releasing your arms completely.
  • Inhale back to Standing Half-Forward Bend
  • Exhale and twist to the left.
  • Reach the left arm up and the right arm down. Keep the pelvis square. Inhale back to center.
  • Exhale to fold over. Inhale to Standing Half-Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana), bend your knees, and interlace your hands behind your back.
  • Exhale into Standing Forward Bend. Inhale to Standing Half-Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana) with bent knees to help deepen your groin and open your chest.
  • Exhale and fold over with straight or bent knees, your choice.
  • From there, release your arms to the floor or blocks, inhale, and lift up to Standing Half-Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana) to repeat the whole warm-up sequence.

    6. Sun Salutation: Do the following sequence three to five times:

  • Mountain
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Four-Limbed Staff
  • Upward Dog
  • Down Dog
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Upward Salute
  • Mountain
  • On the last repetition, come into Down Dog after the first side, step into Warrior I, then move into Warrior II. From there, move into Triangle and Side Angle Pose. Come back into Four-Limbed Staff, then to Down Dog, then do the standing poses on the second side. After that, move back into Four-Limbed Staff and on through the entire sequence, ending in Mountain.

    7. Seated Poses: Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, twisting to both sides.

    8. Backbends: Bridge Pose, full backbend

    9. Neutralizer: Reclining Twist

    10. Inversion: Legs-up-the-Wall Pose

    11. Closing Pose: Do Savasana for 10 minutes.

    12. OM: End your practice with the chant om.

    Cyndi Lee is the founder of OM yoga center in New York City. She is a longtime practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and has been teaching yoga for over 20 years. Cyndi is the author of OM Yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice and Yoga Body, Buddha Mind.