In this sequence, Brooklyn-based yoga teacher Sarah Girard guides you through asana that focus on the sides of the torso, inner legs, and head and neck alignment. These poses can be practiced in a limited amount of space and will maximally amplify your body’s ability to detoxify, aiding your natural immune response.
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
While comfortably seated, fold the index and middle fingers of your right hand back onto your palm. Breathe through both nostrils. With your right ring finger, close your left nostril. Inhale through your right nostril. Pause. Close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through your left nostril. Pause. Inhale through your left nostril. Pause. Close your left nostril with your ring finger and breathe out through your right. Continue in this manner: inhaling through the nostril you just breathed out of, adding a slight pause at the top and the bottom of the breath. After 10 rounds, remove your hand and feel the cool ease, when stagnation is released, of breathing through both nostrils.
Ardha Savasana (Half Corpse Pose), or Constructive Rest
Laying on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor, fold your hands onto your body. Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths. Rest is one of the most important tools for our bodies to find healing. Take a few moments here.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)
Standing, separate your arms out to your sides in a “t” shape. Step your feet wide so that they are underneath your wrists. Rotate your palms to the ceiling to lift your chest. Keeping your chest lifted, curl your thumbs into your palm, wrapping your fingers around your thumbs. Slowly tilt your knuckles away from you and slightly downward, extending the whole length of your arm from your thumb up through the inner bicep and chest. This is a great reliever from texting on our phones all day long!
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) Variation
Step your left leg back and lower the knee to the floor. Feel free to use padding under your kneecap. Lift your chest and left arm over head. Slightly bend to your right, exposing your left rib cage. Breathe. Release your hands to the floor. Step the left foot forward and repeat on the second side.
See also Low Lunge
Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) Variation
Place your right hand under your shoulder. Continue spinning your bicep toward your midline so that your shoulder snuggles onto your back. Extend your right leg behind you, placing the pinky edge of your right foot on the floor at a sharp angle. Bend your left knee and place your foot on the floor in front of your body. Lift your hips, creating a side bend of your body. Reach your left arm over your head. Repeat on the second side.
See also Side Plank
Malasana (Garland Pose) Variation
Separate your feet a little wider than your hips. Bend your knees and lower your hips into a squat. You could use a block under your hips for support. If your heels come off the floor, place a small towel or blanket underneath them for support. Bring your elbows in between your legs and keep your chest lifted. Elongate your right arm and place your right hand down on the floor or a prop. Root down into your feet as you elongate your left side body and lean your torso to the right. Repeat on the other side.
See also Garland Pose
High Lunge Variation
This is my favorite counter pose of sitting on the couch all day long! The forward movement of our heads depresses our chests and weighs on our internal organs. So bring your hands behind your head, as if you’re doing a sit up. Lengthen the back of your neck, folding your chin to your chest. Keeping that, softly press your head back into your palms. Step your left leg back, keeping your knee lifted. Keep your stance short so that you have maximal support to lift your chest. As your chest lifts, keep moving your head back into your palms lengthening the front of your body. Repeat on the other side.
See also: Yoga For Neck Pain
Release your hands down to the floor and step your left leg back. Frame your right foot with your hands. Keep your back leg energized and your left knee lifted. Press your palms together at the center of your chest. Begin to lean your chest back away from your front leg as you turn your torso toward your bent knee. Repeat on the other side.
See also Twisting Lunge
Laying on your stomach, bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor so that they’re very close to your low ribs. Roll your shoulders onto your back to broaden your chest. Stretch your legs back behind you and point your toes. On an inhale and lift your chest up off the floor maintaining the bend of your elbows. Exhale return to the floor.
See also Cobra Pose
Matsyasana (Supported Fish Pose) Variation
Set up your two blocks behind you; one on the medium facet, one on the high facet. Lay down over the blocks so that the first block lands right between your shoulder blades and the second block supports the back of your head. Keep your hips and feet on the floor with your knees bent. Bend your elbows out to the side. Close your eyes and take several breathes.
See also Fish Pose Variations