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Beginners' Yoga Sequences

A Sequence to Help You Dance Away Your Stress

These poses will help you prep for your next Zoom dance party (who doesn't need a good energetic release right now?)

Dancing is a great way to lighten things up and maintain mobility, especially after sitting at a desk all day. Here, enjoy two sequences: one for loosening up your body so you can comfortably flow with the music when you do take a dance break, and another sequence that can help you ground yourself after your funky dance sesh. COVID-19 has us all cooped up and on edge, so take this moment to have fun and let your body radiate joy.

Use this sequence below to warm up before dancing:

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)

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1. Begin on your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees. 2. Inhale. Lift your tailbone to arch your back, letting your stomach hang towards the floor, drawing your shoulders away from your ears and lifting your head. This is Cow. 3. Exhale. Tuck in your tailbone to round your spine, pushing your mid-back to the sky, broadening your shoulder blades and tucking in your chin. This is Cat. 4. Repeat this flow 5–10 times, deepening each inhalation and lengthening each exhalation, and matching your movement with your breath.

See also Yoga Sequence for Scoliosis

Tabletop Twists

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1. Begin on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees. 2. Take the weight onto your left hand and bring your right fingers to rest just behind your right ear. 3. Inhale. Rotate your chest open, bringing your right elbow to point towards the sky. 4. Exhale. Rotate your chest back downwards, bringing your right elbow to point towards your left arm. 5. Practice the whole sequence 10 times, then repeat on the other side.

See also Give Your Back a Treat with this Series of Twists

Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

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1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart so the outside edges of your feet are parallel. 2. Bring your hands to your hips, inhale deeply and lengthen your spine. 3. As you exhale, hinge from your hips to fold forwards. 4 Once you start feeling a stretch, release your hands down to the floor, or take hold of your shins, ankles or big toes. On each inhale, lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, fold deeper into the pose to intensify the stretch. 5. Hold 10 breaths.

See also More Forward Bend Poses

Ankle Rotations

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1. Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. 2. Begin rotating your right ankle clockwise. Imagine that you are drawing a large circle with your big toe. After 5–10 circles, do the same counterclockwise. 3. Repeat on your left ankle. 4. Rotate both ankles together. First, take them both clockwise, then counterclockwise; then move them at the same time but in opposite directions – one clockwise and the other counterclockwise.

See also 4 Poses to Keep Your Ankles Healthy

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

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1. Begin in Mountain and use your right hand to bring your right foot up to rest against your left inner thigh. 2. Bring your palms to your heart and focus on something still in front of you. 3. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

See also The Truth of Tree Pose

Tadasana Pavanmuktasana (Standing Knee-to-Chest Pose)

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1. Begin in Mountain and draw your left knee towards your chest, clasping your hands around your shin, just below the knee. 2. Use your arms to help you hug the knee as high and as close to your chest as you can. 3. Hold for 10 breaths. 4. Repeat on the other side.

Now that your muscles have gotten nice and loose, it’s time to start dancing! Turn on your favorite upbeat music, clear some space on your floor, and let your body wiggle and groove. Tip: If you get out of breath when you dance, practicing Square Breathing will help develop your lung capacity to cope with fast-paced movement. 

See also Yoga For Weak Knees

Great job on letting your body flow! We can all use a reminder to find happiness when everything else feels stressful and overwhelming. Try this next sequence to balance and find your center after that rapturous moment.

See also YJ Tried It: Ecstatic Dance

Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

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1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart so the outside edges of your feet are parallel. 2. Bring your hands to your hips, inhale deeply and lengthen your spine. 3. As you exhale, hinge from your hips to fold forwards. 4 Once you start feeling a stretch, release your hands down to the floor, or take hold of your shins, ankles or big toes. On each inhale, lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, fold deeper into the pose to intensify the stretch. 5. Hold 10 breaths.

See also More Forward Bend Poses

Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose)

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1. Step your left foot back about 1 meter. Turn the toes of your back foot out slightly but keep both hips facing forwards. 2. Bring your hands to your hips and inhale deeply as you lengthen your spine. 3. As you exhale, fold forwards, hinging from your hips to bring your chest towards your front thigh. 4. Release your fingers to rest on your right shin, ankle or on the floor either side of your foot. 5. Lengthen your spine with each inhale and fold deeper into the pose with each exhale. 6. Hold for 10 breaths, then exit slowly by softening the back knee and lifting your chest. Repeat on the other side.

See also 6 Steps to Master Intense Side Stretch

Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend)

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1. Begin in a wide stance. Spread your arms out wide and position your ankles beneath your wrists. 2. Bring your hands to your hips and as you inhale, lengthen your spine. As you exhale, hinge from your hips to fold forwards. 3. Bring your fingertips down to the floor underneath your shoulders, in line with your toes. With each inhalation, lengthen your spine and as you exhale, fold deeper into the pose, drawing the crown of your head towards the ground. 4. Hold for 10 breaths.

See also 11 Deep Hip Openers

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

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1. Begin by sitting with your legs outstretched in front of you. 2. On an inhale, reach your fingertips to the sky. 3. As you exhale, hinge from your hips to fold forward. Keep your hands overhead for as long as possible to avoid rounding your spine and once you start feeling a stretch in your hamstrings, bring your hands down to take hold of your shins, ankles or big toes. 4. On each inhale lengthen your spine and as you exhale actively fold forwards using your core muscles and arm strength to pull you deeper into the pose. 5. Hold for 10 breaths.

See also The Truth About Forward Bends

Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)

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1. Begin in a wide seated stance. Spread your arms out wide and position your ankles beneath your wrists. 2. Bring your hands to your hips and as you inhale, lengthen your spine. As you exhale, hinge from your hips to fold forwards. 3. Bring your fingertips down to the floor underneath your shoulders, in line with your toes. With each inhalation, lengthen your spine and as you exhale, fold deeper into the pose, drawing the crown of your head towards the ground. 4. Hold for 10 breaths.

See also Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

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1. Sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together with your heels about 30cm in front of your groin. 2. Drop your chin to your chest, let your spine round and fold your upper body forwards. Rest your hands in front of you with your palms facing the sky. 3. Hold for 3–5 minutes, allowing your knees to release closer to the floor as your body relaxes. Exit slowly.

See also Hips Too Tight? Try This Fluid Yoga Sequence

See also Find Your Inner Cosmic Dancer

This excerpt is reprinted with permission by: Green Tree; Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; Bedford Square, London, UK; First published in Great Britain 2020; Text copyright © Nicola Jane Hobbs 2020; Original photography © Glen Burrows, 2020; Illustrations by Matt Windsor

This excerpt of Stay Young With Yoga is reprinted with permission by: Green Tree; Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; Bedford Square, London, UK; First published in Great Britain 2020; Text copyright © Nicola Jane Hobbs 2020; Original photography © Glen Burrows, 2020; Illustrations by Matt Windsor