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Round Out Your Practice: Happiness

Embrace the asanas that challenge you the most, and find a more lasting sense of contentment.

By Cyndi Lee

roundoutyourpractice

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

2. BREATHING EXERCISE: With your hands on your shoulders and your elbows extended away from each other, twist to the left as you inhale and twist to the right as you exhale.

Repeat 20 times and then reverse the movement for 20 times more.

3. WARM-UP VINYASA:

  • Lie down on your back with your legs apart, toes pointing outward and arms about a foot from the sides of your body, palms up.
  • As you inhale, roll the arms and legs toward each other so the inner elbows face the floor and the toes point toward one another.
  • On an exhalation, let the arms and legs roll back out. Repeat twice.
  • On your third inhalation, come into a neutral position and draw the right knee into your chest. Exhale.
  • As you inhale, lift your nose to your knee, and as you exhale, lower the upper body and the right leg.
  • Repeat with left leg, then repeat entire sequence twice.

    4. SUN SALUTATION:

  • Mountain
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Down Dog
  • Plank
  • Four-Limbed Staff
  • Upward Dog
  • Down Dog
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Upward Salute
  • Mountain

  • Repeat this sequence twice.

    Then do it again, incorporating Warrior I and II on each side after Down Dog. When you come back to Down Dog, go through Four-Limbed Staff, Upward Dog, and Down Dog.

    Stay in your last Down Dog for 3 to 5 breaths, then jump forward and move through the entire sequence again, ending in Mountain.

    5. FEATURED SEQUENCE: Then move through the happiness sequence.

  • Tree Pose
  • Warrior II
  • Extended Side Angle
  • Extended Triangle
  • Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
  • Pigeon Preparation
  • Pigeon Variation
  • Ankle-to-Knee Pose
  • Bound Angle Pose
  • Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
  • Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose
  • Perform the sequence twice--once leading with the right leg, then leading with the left.

    6. INVERSIONS:

  • Do Headstand either against a wall or in the middle of the room.
  • Come into Child's Pose for 5 breaths.
  • 7. CHEST OPENERS/BACKBENDS:

  • Sit in Hero's Pose
  • After several breaths, twist to the right for 3 breaths
  • Unwind, and then twist to the left for 3 breaths
  • Shift forward to your hands and knees and make your way into Down Dog
  • After a few breaths, shift forward through Plank and then way down onto your tummy
  • Then do Bow Pose 3 times
  • Follow this with Up Dog and Down Dog, then jump forward, landing between your hands in a cross-legged position
  • Swing your legs forward and roll down onto your back for Bridge Pose; hold it for for 5 breaths
  • 8. NEUTRALIZERS:

  • Do Happy Baby Pose for 10 breaths
  • Draw your knees together and come into a supine twist to the left

    Repeat to the right. Slowly roll onto your back.

    9. CLOSING POSES:

  • Supported Shoulderstand
  • Plow
  • 10-minute Corpse Pose.

    11. MEDITATION: Perform a closing meditation to round out your practice.

    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.
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