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Yoga Sequences

A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence to Help You Recharge

Constantly helping others can be energizing and exhausting all at once. This calming practice reminds you how to help yourself.

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Whether you serve as a volunteer, teacher, parent, or yoga instructor, helping others can be energizing and exhausting all at once. It’s important to practice techniques that help you refuel and take care of yourself—as well as those you serve. This balancing, restorative 20-minute yoga sequence encourages you to do exactly that. Seated meditative poses and simple standing poses support you as you drink in and recharge.

A 20-minute yoga sequence to help you recharge

Prep work

Come to a comfortable seated position. close your eyes, and fold the sides of your tongue inward for Sitali Pranayama (Cooling Breath). Inhale through your curled tongue like a straw. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose, creating a “ha” sound in the back of your throat. If your tongue doesn’t curl, practice with a flat tongue. Repeat this cycle for several minutes.

Seated Cat-Cow Pose

1 minute, 8–10 breaths

Come to Sukhasana (Easy Pose), close your eyes, and ground through your sitting bones. Place your hands on your knees. Deeply inhale to lean forward, rolling your shoulders back and bringing your heart forward. Then exhale to softly press your chin into your throat and roll your spine into gentle flexion, engaging your abdominal muscles. Drink in through an open heart on the inhalation, and pour out by engaging muscular energy as you exhale.

Seated Half Moon Pose

1 minute, 8–10 breaths, each side

Open your eyes and place your right fingertips beside your right hip. Walk the fingers out, pressing the right shoulder blade into your back by externally rotating the shoulder. Inhale to extend your left arm up and exhale to reach it to the right, rotating your left shoulder back and expanding your left rib cage. Inhale, shift your gaze skyward; exhale, rotate your head and gaze at the ground. Exhale to release and switch sides, including the cross of your legs.

Spine Twist

Seated Spinal Twist

1 minute, 8–10 breaths, each side

With a long spine and grounded hips, bring your hands to Anjali Mudra at the center of your chest. On an inhalation, extend both arms up. On an exhalation, place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on the ground behind you. Inhale to imagine your breath traveling up your spine and extending through the crown of your head. Exhale to press your navel toward your spine, externally rotate your right shoulder, and lift through the heart. Inhale back to center and switch sides.

Seated Forward Fold with Mudra

1 minute, 8–10 breaths

From Anjali Mudra, inhale to again extend both arms skyward, staying grounded through your hips. Exhale to reach both arms behind your lower back. Interlace your fingers. Gently press your shoulder blades into your back. Drinking in the breath, lift the chest upward. As you pour the breath out, bow forward and stretch your arms toward your head, releasing your forehead to the ground.

See also What’s the Right Chin Position in Forward Folds?

Cat-Cow Pose

2 minutes, 16–20 breaths

Come to all fours, placing your wrists beneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Curl your toes under and spread your fingers wide, with your index and middle fingers pointing forward. Inhale deeply to lift your heart and hips and arch your back in Cow Pose. Exhale to round the spine, engaging your abdominal muscles and curling your chin to your throat in Cat Pose.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

1 minute, 8–10 breaths

From Table Top, curl your toes under and press through all four corners of both palms to lift your hips, coming into Down Dog. Press through your heels, internally rotate your thighs, and press your heart toward your legs. Practice expanding your chest with every inhalation, drinking in, and with every exhalation, pouring out as the body stretches.

See also 17 Cues for Downward-Facing Dog You’ve Probably Never Heard Before

Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose

30 seconds, 4–5 breaths, each side

From Down Dog, inhale to extend your right leg back, keeping the quadriceps engaged and pressing through the heel of your right foot. Ground through your left foot, pressing into the big-toe mound. Allow your shoulders and hips to remain level, without opening your body to the right.

See also Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog: The Ultimate Hip Opener

Low Lunge

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

1 minute, 8–10 breaths, each side

Step your right foot forward between your hands, stacking your right knee over your right ankle. Engage your inner thighs, curl the left toes under, press into the big-toe mound of your left foot, and lift onto your fingertips. As you inhale and drink in, roll your shoulders back and open your heart. As you exhale and pour out, surrender deeply into the hip stretch. Release your leg back to Down Dog and repeat on the other side.

End here with Savasana. Before you go back to your day—and even during your day—take time to pause, close your eyes, and come back to this feeling whenever you need.

About our contributor

Chelsea Jackson, PhD, has a 200-hour hatha yoga training from Kashi Atlanta Urban Yoga Ashram. Jackson is also certified by Yoga Ed to teach yoga to children, and earned her PhD from the Division of Educational Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. She founded chelsealovesyoga.com, a platform for discussion on yoga, race, and diversity; is a member of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition; and created the Yoga, Literature & Art Camp for teen girls. Practice more sequences with Chelsea and learn more about her work.

This article has been updated. Originally published May 5, 2015.