Ready for Liftoff
The Practice: This heat-building flow practice weaves together strong standing poses, balancing poses, and twists that lead to the peak pose, Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose).
Mind-Body Benefits: As you move through the sequence, you'll stimulate the flow of prana, or life force, throughout your body, creating a renewed sense of energy and vitality. Think of it as a detox: As heat builds and you feel your body opening, you will cleanse out old energy and allow renewed energy to emerge.
Key Focal Points: You'll move your spine through forward bending, backbending, and twisting. Allow the movements to create a feeling of fluidity, suppleness, and power along your spine. Work with your body at your own pace. If your breath becomes strained or rapid, move more slowly or come into Balasana (Child's Pose) to rest.
Watch! Practice along to a video of this Home Practice sequence online at yogajournal.com/livemag.
Power Flow: Energy and Vitality
Before You Begin: Come into Balasana (Child's Pose) for several long, deep breaths. Press back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), and then walk to the top of your mat and come to standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Complete your warm-up with 3 rounds of Surya Namaskar A and Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutations). Hold each pose in the sequence for 5 smooth breaths.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Press your hands into the mat and lift your hips to the upper-back corner of the room. Reach your sitting bones to the ceiling. Root your heels toward the earth. Press your thighs toward the wall behind you.
2. Flip Dog
From Down Dog, lift your right leg and bend your knee. With control, bring your right foot to the floor so that you flip over, landing face-up. Reach your right hand toward the wall at the front of your mat. As you inhale, flip back over into Downward Dog.
3. Downward-Facing Dog
Expand the base of this Down Dog by moving your feet toward the back of the mat and your hands toward the front of your mat. Get a sense of both stability and freedom in the pose.
4. Plank Pose
Press down through your hands, reach back through your heels, and draw your belly back toward your spine for support in this challenging pose. Stay for 2 breaths.
5. Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose)
Spin onto the outer edge of your right foot. Root your right hand down as you reach your left hand up. Return to Down Dog. Then repeat the sequence from Flip Dog through Vasisthasana on the other side.
6. Downward-Facing Dog
After you do Vasisthasana on the second side, return to Down Dog. Breathe deeply, finding length and evenness in your spine.
7. Bakasana (Crane Pose)
Move your hands back about 12 inches. Bring your feet together, bend your knees, tilt your weight forward, and rest your knees in your armpits as you lift your feet.
8. Downward-Facing Dog
From Crane, bring your feet down and walk your hands forward to Down Dog.
9. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose), variation
Step your right foot forward into a lunge. Twist your left elbow to your right knee, hands together. Inhale, extend your spine; exhale, rotate your chest toward the sky.
10. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)
Spin your back foot down and open to Warrior II. Create a wide base and power through your back leg as you bend your right knee deeply.
11. Reverse Warrior
Tilt your arms back, bringing your left hand to your left thigh and reaching your right fingertips overhead. Stay deep in your lunge with your right knee stacked over your right ankle.
12. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
Straighten your right leg. Reach your right arm forward and rest your right hand on the ground or a block. Reach your left fingertips up. Keep both sides of your torso long as you turn your heart to the ceiling.
13. Downward-Facing Dog
Step back into Downward Dog. Then repeat Parivrtta Parsvakonasana through Triangle on the second side, finishing in Downward Dog.
14. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Jump to the head of your mat, feet together. Bend your knees deeply, as though you were reaching for a chair at the back of your mat. Reach your arms forward and up, abdominals pulling in toward your spine.
15. Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose)
From Chair, twist to the right, bring your hands to the floor, bend your elbows, and rest your right knee on your left elbow. Shift your weight forward to balance. Come back to Chair and do the other side.
16. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
From Side Crane, sit on your mat with your right knee pointing toward the ceiling and your left foot outside your right hip. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Then exhale and twist. Switch sides.
To Finish: Fold into Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) for 5 breaths and then release to finish your practice in Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Watch: Practice along to a video of this Home Practice sequence online at yogajournal.com/livemag.