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Round Out Your Practice: Flexibility

Try this series for a practice that promises to increase flexibility.

By Cyndi Lee

prac1297

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

2. BREATHING EXERCISE:

  • Sit in Easy Pose and slowly deepen your breathing.
  • Then touch your bottom ribs. Notice how they move when you are breathing.
  • Feel the space in between the bottom rib and the one above it.
  • Then touch the next rib up. Keep going all the way up.
  • Notice the solid feeling of your ribs, the texture between them, and the delicate power of your breath.


    3. WARM-UP VINYASA:

  • Mountain Pose
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Half Standing Forward Bend (with flat back)
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Upward Salute
  • Mountain
  • Repeat this sequence slowly four times.

    4. SUN SALUTATION:

  • Mountain
  • Upward Salute
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Step the right foot back into a lunge
  • Down Dog
  • Plank
  • Knees-Chest-Chin
  • Low Cobra
  • Down Dog
  • Step forward with right leg into a lunge
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Upward Salute
  • Mountain
  • On the third Sun Salutation, add warriors I and II to the right side after Down Dog. On the fourth add Warriors I and II to the left side.

    Do the following sequences four times, twice on each side.

    5. MINI STANDING VINYASA:

  • Hold Eagle Pose for five breaths with the right leg wrapped around the left, hooking the toes around the calf, and the right arm under the left.
  • Then unwind the right leg and lift it directly into Tree Pose for eight breaths.
  • Slowly lift the arms overhead, then lower them and repeat to the other side.
  • 6. FEATURED SEQUENCE:

  • Virasana (Hero Pose)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
  • Virabhadrasana I with Gomukhasana Arms (Warrior Pose I with Cow Face Pose Arms)
  • Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose with Reverse Prayer Position)
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)
  • Low Lunge
  • Runner's Lunge
  • Hanumanasana (Pose Dedicated to the Monkey God, Hanuman)
  • Ardha Dhanurasana (Half Bow Pose)
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Tarasana (Star Pose)
  • Perform the flexibility sequence twice—once leading with the right leg, then leading with the left.

    7. FORWARD BEND: Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

    8. BACKBEND: Come up into Bridge Pose and down again five times with the breath, lifting on the inhalations and lowering on the exhalations. On the fifth time, stay up and lift one leg up for three breaths, then put it down. Repeat with the other leg.

    10. TWIST: Repeat Windshield Wipers or do Revolved Abdomen Pose with the legs bent.

    11. INVERSION: Supported Shoulderstand

    12. CLOSING POSE: Do Savasana for ten minutes.

    13. MEDITATION: Sit and meditate for five to ten minutes.

    14. 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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