I find it infinitely easier to rise early and unroll my mat for morning practice when the days are longer. Getting up before long before the sun can be a drag and I’m ever grateful to know while that will happen every year, I’ll experience long days of spring and summer sunshine as well, every year of my life.
For those of us in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, this was the winter with no end in sight, and it makes the final arrival of spring weather all the more sweet.
In the winter and in the wee morning hours, I find most students are on their backs before the start of class, so we’ll often start there, rather than in balasana. Here’s the approximate flow from Wednesday morning’s hour-long Power Yoga class:
- Lay on back, hug knees to chest and take a few rocks side to side.
- Supine Pigeon-right ankle over left thigh, roll right hip away from you. Thread the needle by grabbing for the right hamstring and relax your shoulders onto the mat.
- Eagle legs-Cross legs at the thighs, grab shins or pinkie edges of feet, pull knees in and elbows down.
- Supine Twist with Eagle legs
- Legs straight up, flex feet.
- Pick shoulders, interlace hands behind head.
- Take care that your face, jaw, and neck are not clenching to be here–soften those parts of the body and focus on engaging belly to spine.
- Inhale-lower one leg half way to the ground, exhale, pick it back up. Careful not to “kick” but to move with engagement. [s] x3
- Lower both legs half way, hold 5 breaths. Lower both legs to a hover, hold 5 breaths. Hug knees to chest and take a huge sigh of relief!
- Roll to the side, press to a table top
- Extend right leg, left arm
- Release left arm, tuck left toes and lift to DDS (Down Dog Split)
- Bend knee and open hip
- Step to LL, twist
- LL, drop back knee, lengthen lunge. Heart forward and hips low to stretch front hip flexor
- Plank, Knees Chest Chin, Low Cobra, DD
- Three cleansing breaths, return to ujayi breath
- DD, Plank, Knees Chest Chin, Low Cobra, DD
- Forward Fold Ragdoll at top of mat
- Roll to stand, Tadasana
- Sun As x 4
- Chair [v]
- DDS (inhale), W1 (Warrior 1) to [v] [s]
- Chair [v]
- DDS (inhale), W1 to [v] [s]
- Chair [v]
Warrior and Balancing
- DDS (inhale), W1, press palms overhead, drop thumbs to base of skull. Continue to lunge and begin to open heart up with a baby back-bend, hugging elbows towards one another, relaxing shoulders
- Release directly into (SP) Side Plank
- Plank to DDS, step to Crescent Lunge
- Hover back knee
- Stretch left arm fwd and right arm back to an open arm twist with spine upright
- Open up to W2; RW; ESA
- DDS, Step foot between hands, spin down back heel. Straighten front leg, open to Triangle.
- Turn top hand to face back, bend elbow and take a half bind. Look down, bend front knee, move into Balancing Half Moon with a wrap. Unbind arms and extend like a star.
- Bend standing knee to land for W2
- Hands to feet for FF at back of mat
- Roll to stand
- Standing Half Moon [s]
- Standing Leg Raise
- Step to W3 with arms stretching forward
- Standing Split
- Forearm Plank
- Dolphin–practice walking feet way close to elbows to prepare body to forearm standing (offer to students familiar with it)
Back and Closing
- Thread the needle for shoulder stretch [s]
- Lower over the count of 5
- Low Cobra
- Flip to back
- Supine Spinal Twist (long hold) [s]
- [v]=vinyasa of choice
- [s]=repeat sequence on other side
- DD= Downward Facing Dog
- DDS= Downward Facing Dog Split/ 3-Leg Dog
- FF= Forward Fold
- K2N= Knee to Nose/ Core Plank
- LL= Low Lunge
- SP= Side Plank
- W1= Warrior I
- W2= Warrior II
- W3= Warrior III
- RW= Reverse Warrior
- ESA= Extended Side Angle