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Rhythm & Poses

Move to the music with this energizing practice set to a happy beat.

By Diane Anderson

For yoga teachers Nicki Doane and Eddie Modestini, music and yoga are two great tastes that taste great together. "They go together. Yoga can open up the physical body. And music keeps you engaged vibrationally. It's uplifting and inspiring," says Doane. The teachers are so enamored of the combination that they frequently use music when they practice to recharge from their busy schedule of parenting, traveling, and teaching. Naturally, they select fun tunes to enrich and enliven the yoga classes they teach. The duo encourages you to practice to music you enjoy.

To get you started, they created the sequence on the following pages and infused it with some of their favorite songs to make you feel alive and connected to your true nature. The pace and feel of the songs match the tone of the sequence. When you start the accompanying playlist, warm up with Sun Salutations. The musical wave will carry you through the asanas: standing poses to ground you, backbends to open your heart, and a twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) and supine poses (Supta Padangusthasana and Supta Gomukhasana) to bring your spine back to neutral. When you hear the song "One Step Closer to You" picking up speed, start to emerge from Savasana and notice the world around you. You're sure to feel elevated.

To begin: Close your eyes, and notice the silence. Sit quietly for 5 minutes. Turn the music on and warm up with three repetitions of A-series Sun Salutations to get started.

Balasana (Child's Pose)

Come into Child's Pose with your knees shoulder-width apart and your big toes touching each other. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Round your back. The weight on the forehead should be closer to the hairline than the nose. Breathe gently through your nose for 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

Place your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs. Press the "inner triads" of your hands—the base of your index finger knuckle, the base of your thumb knuckle, and the inner wrist7mdash;down toward the floor. Lift your sitting bones. Breathe here for 2 minutes.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Step your feet about four feet apart. Turn your right foot to the right and your left heel slightly to the left. Inhale and lift your arms to shoulder height. Exhale and reach through your right arm and place your hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor. Raise your left arm straight to the ceiling and turn your gaze to it. Stay for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Turn the right leg to the right, left heel to the left. Inhale; extend your arms. Exhale, bend your right leg, and place your right hand on your right ankle. Extend your left arm up and over your ear. Press your right knee back slightly with your right arm. Hold for 1 minute. Switch sides.

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)

Lower your arms and turn your torso to the right. Place your hands on your hips, inhale, and lift your chest and head. Exhale as you bend over the right leg. Inhale and extend your torso. As you exhale, bend forward. If possible, reach your hands behind your torso and straighten your arms. Breathe slowly for 1 minute before switching sides.

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)

Step your feet apart and turn to face your right leg. Inhale, raise both arms overhead, and join the palms together. Exhale, bend the right leg, and make sure your right sitting bone is the height of your right knee. Draw the lower abdomen in and up. As you reach up, keep the knee bent. Look up and breathe deeply for 1 minute. Switch sides.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Lie down, bend both knees, and place your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Exhale. As you inhale, press the thighs toward the knees and lift your pelvis up. Breathe freely. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute; repeat three times.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Sit up, bend your left knee so that the thigh and calf are touching, and place your shin on the floor. Sit on your left foot. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the floor just outside your left knee. Turn the torso to the right and press your left elbow against your outer right knee. Inhale and extend your spine up and exhale to twist. Turn to the right and breathe freely. Stay for 1 minute before you switch sides.

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)

Lie on your back and straighten both legs. Bend the right leg and place a belt across the bottom of the foot. Inhale and straighten the right leg. Keep the sitting bones together by reaching the right hip toward the left foot. Relax your arms and soften the front of your throat as you breathe freely. Stay for 2 minutes on each side.

Supta Gomukhasana (Reclining Cow Face Pose)

Lie on your back and straighten both legs to the ceiling. Cross the right thigh over the left thigh. Bend both knees and hold just above the ankles. Draw both heels toward the hips. Bring your thighs close to the torso and breathe. Stay for 1 minute on each side.

To end Rest in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for 10 minutes.

May 2009

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