If you can breathe, you can do yoga. Because yoga means union—connection of your awareness to what is happening right now—you don’t have to lift a finger to do it. This may come as a relief to those who quake at the idea of bending a knee into lotus pose or twisting arms into a full bind. But practicing a little bit of yoga most days, whether through poses, mediation or breathing, will vastly improve the experience you have in the body and mind.
The routines here—which are especially good for runners—include modification cues to make a pose sweeter or spicier. Choosing the sweeter variation will most often yield less intensity; going spicier will likely heat things up. But depending on your own experience and physical makeup, what feels spicy to me may be mild to you; simply think of these modification cues as giving your practice a menu of choices.
As you adjust each routine according to your taste, you might also choose to modify by pulsing dynamically from pose to pose before holding a pose for several breaths or by flowing back and forth between poses. How many times you flow and how long you hold each pose is up to you. Five to 10 breaths is a rough range for flowing, while 10 to 25 breaths is a rough range for holding. In challenging poses, you might like to move along more quickly to the next pose; in relaxing poses, you might stay longer.
Generally, when you move dynamically, inhale as you lift and exhale as you lower. For pulses, exhale as you execute the challenging movement. This helps engage your core muscles to support and stabilize the pelvis and spine. Listen to your body and your breath, and you’ll find the best approach to every move.
Get Your Yogi On
The routines start with a home-base pose: mountain pose (standing tall) or table pose (on hands and knees). Before you move your body into any other shape, remember the principles of good alignment: level pelvis, long spine, relaxed upper body. They will inform every pose you do—and good alignment will protect your spine and hips.
Republished with permission of VeloPress from Everyday Yoga by Sage Rountree. Learn more at sagerountree.com.
Photography by Seth K. Hughes