Yoga Sequences

Powered Practice: A Sequence for Keeping Hope Alive

Criminal justice reform activist and amputee Steven Medeiros shares 12 poses that help him relax.

This restorative, hip-centric sequence will help create space in the lower back, shoulders, and chest. It was designed by activist and amputee Steven Medeiros to empower you to move forward despite life’s challenges.

Powered Practice

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

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Winni Wintermeyer

Start comfortably on your sitting bones. Hold a strap with both hands, then bend forward at your hips while maintaining a straight back. You should feel a nice stretch in the hamstrings and lower back.

see also Seated Forward Bend

Listen to Steven talk about healing from complex trauma on YJ’s The Yoga Show podcast.

Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend) Variation

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Winni Wintermeyer

Stretch your legs out wide, and press your palms together. Bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. If your back rounds, try sitting on a yoga block or folded blanket.

see also Forward Bend Yoga Poses

Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend) Variation

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Winni Wintermeyer

Now, widen the stretch, extending your arms out to your ankles. If you can’t reach your ankles with a straight back, lean forward and reach for your shins or somewhere closer to your body.

see also Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Parsva Upavistha Konasana (Side Seated Wide Angle Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

Sit up tall, then bend at the waist, reaching up and over toward your left foot with your right arm. Focus your breath on the right side of your body where you feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side.

see also Set All Ego Aside in This Seated Forward Bend

Bhekasana (Frog Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

From Tabletop, lower your elbows to the ground, and slowly spread your knees out wide for a nice comfortable stretch. Keep your hips in line with or behind your knees.

see also 4 Yoga Poses to Prep for Frog 

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

From kneeling, lean back to grab your heel or the palm of your foot. Use a block for extra stability. Repeat on the other side.

see also Camel Pose

Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

From Tabletop, walk your hands in front of you and allow your chest to melt toward the floor as you release your forehead to the mat. Spread your fingers wide and press them into the mat—or bend your elbows to raise them behind your head.

see also Extended Puppy Pose

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

Come up onto your elbows and stretch your legs behind you. Explore which feels better—legs together or spread apart. Breathe into the area where you most feel the stretch and visualize the muscles and fascia releasing.

see also Cobra Pose

Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

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Winni Wintermeyer

Lie flat on your back, bringing your knees up toward your chest with your legs and feet together. Let your legs fall to the right with both arms out to the side, head facing the opposite direction of your legs. Stay for as long as is comfortable, then repeat on the other side.

see also Looking for a Refresh? Try a Reclining Twist

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

Place two yoga blocks horizontally at the top of your mat, one to support your shoulders and one for your head. Lie back with your shoulders making contact first followed by your head. Adjust to get comfortable.

see also Fish Pose

Apanasana (Knees-to-Chest Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

Lie flat on your back and pull your knees to your chest. This helps stretch the lower back. If you’re not able to do both legs at the same time, try one leg at a time, keeping your straight leg flat on the ground.

see also 20-Minute Sequence to Ease Back Pain

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

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Winni Wintermeyer

With your back flat on the ground, bring your knees up and together with feet flat on the ground. With soles of your feet together, open your legs wide, letting gravity do the work. Try putting a block between your feet if that’s more comfortable.

see also Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Read our cover story: Criminal Justice Advocate and Yogi Steven Medeiros is Taking Life’s Challenges in Stride.