Daily Practice Challenge: Foundation-Strengthening Hip Openers + Twists

Use this sequence by Benjamin Sears to set the tone for a strong, daily home practice. Take our daily practice challenge in honor of national yoga month, right here.
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Use this sequence by Benjamin Sears to set the tone for a strong, daily home practice. Take our daily practice challenge in honor of national yoga month, right here.

In honor of National Yoga Month, we're recommitting to a daily practice—one of the best ways to build balance, mobility, and strength to use both on and off the mat—and challenging you to join us. This week, international yoga teacher and LUXYOGA founder, Benjamin Sears, gives us a twisting, lunging, heat-building sequence andpractice plan. Use it as a foundation to take your home practice to the next level. Follow along on Facebook @YogaJournal and #practicedaily.

Freedom is crucial to establishing a home practice. By freedom, I'm talking about the feeling that comes from discipline, which helps you walk the long road toward skillful intuition. Building your intuition will help you practice in a way that serves the moment. Knowing yourself is the first step to knowing how to serve yourself and others.

While establishing a home practice isn't easy, I stick by three things that make it more accessible. First, start out with a plan or a set sequence to follow. This will help you establish a routine. To really reap the benefits of a constant yoga practice, keep at it for a sustained, long period of time. (It may take weeks and months for you to build a strong home practice that you can draw on, in all areas of your life.) Second, fire up your breath. It's pretty simple: life force helps keep you grounded and in the moment. And finally, set a time to practice and stick to it as best you can. I know life is busy and things come up, but practicing around the same time each day should help reinforce your routine.

This sequence is well-rounded, in that you get small backbends, lunges, twists, and warming flow, without taking you too far in any one direction. You can do it in a limited amount of time without needing counterposes or a long unwinding practice at the end. The Pigeon Pose at the end of each practice down-regulates your nervous system to prepare you for Savasana. Or, keep going on your own and build into more hip openers, forward folds and twists, or carve your way into backbends—then unwind. This sequence will be a good base for pretty much any yoga practice. Make it more challenging with the lunge variations as the week progresses and you'll see how easy it is to vary your routine with simple tweaks.

See also Daily Practice Challenge Week 1: Yoga for Inner Peace with Colleen Saidman Yee