Weekend Warrior Yoga Practice (Also good for weekdays.)

What do you do on the weekends to be active? And during the week for that matter?

Whatever kind of activities you enjoy, it’s important to get a good stretch in to bring balance and stay healthy. Your muscles and joints will thank you, and so will every other system in your body.

Here’s a whole body yoga practice that helps you stretch major muscle groups, bring harmony to your hormones, and replenish your body’s energy.

As always, it is your responsibility to decide what is appropriate for your body. Listen to your own inner wisdom, and modify as necessary. If in doubt, consult your health practitioner and/or yoga instructor for support.

Whole Body Yoga Practice

Center In: Start by taking a few minutes to center in. Sit beautifully, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Allow any tension or stress to melt away with your exhales. Open to receive the vital life energy (prana) in each inhale. You may like to sound three Om’s to start your practice.

Child’s Pose: If you’re tired, it’s always a kindness to start in child’s pose. Give yourself a few breaths here, and invite your body to awaken slowly, easing into your yoga practice.

Vinyasa: The flowing nature of this series of poses helps you feel energized. It also stretches many muscle groups that need to warm up before going into deeper poses. Be sure to move with your breath. As you continue the practice, feel free to insert a Vinyasa at any point that feels good.

Anjaneyasana: This lunge stretches your hip flexors and thighs. Stay strong in your legs and integrated in your pelvis, while also stretching fully out through your feet. Lift your heart and hands brightly. Breathe. Stay for 3-5 breaths, or longer if you like. Do both sides.

Parsvottanasana Variation: A wonderful stretch for your hamstrings, calves, and hips! Be sure to use blocks under your hands if necessary. There should be no strain on your lower back. Use your breath to move and release any tension you find.

Uttanasana: A standing forward bend can feel wonderful, just be sure not to strain your lower back. If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees and/or use blocks. Keep your legs strong, and extend from your pelvis through your feet, as well as from your pelvis through the crown of your head. You can pulse with your breath, inhaling to lift your chest and belly, and exhaling to fold forward. No force is necessary. Let it be a gift.

Tadasana: Inhale up to standing, and take a couple of breaths there.

Garudasana: Eagle pose helps to stretch your shoulders and hips, while cultivating core stability and balance. If you have knee injuries, you can just do the upper portion of this pose. To figure out which side goes where, here’s some help: if your right arm is under the left, then the right leg goes OVER the left. Or vice versa.

Uttanasana with Shoulder Stretch: Clasp your hands behind you, or use a strap to connect your hands if your shoulders are tight. Inhale to grow very tall, shoulders back, and then fold forward over strong legs. Keep your shoulder blades moving toward your heart and down toward your hips. Let your breath guide you to the place that is best for you today.

Virabhadrasana II to Goddess Warrior: The warrior poses help you feel strong and empowered, while creating an inner sense of grace and a nice stretch for your inner thighs and hips. Use your breath to deepen the poses. Keep your front knee right over your ankle, pointed towards your second and third toes.

Trikonasana: Triangle pose is one of the most essential yoga poses. It stretches many areas, especially in the hips. It helps to open the energy channels in your body, supporting ease and flow as well as healthy internal organs. Use a block if your hand doesn’t touch the floor. Legs are strong, knees pointing the same direction as the feet. Expand from your pelvis through your feet, stretching out through your hands and crown fully!

Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Dog is a lovely way to create symmetry in your body in between asymmetrical poses. It also comes with many health benefits, and can be a calming, soothing place to breathe.

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana Prep: I know, the Sanskrit is a mouthful, but this pose is commonly known as Pigeon. You can modify it by doing a Figure Four with your legs on your back. This is one of the best hip openers! Align yourself as best you know how, balancing integration and strength with extension as you stretch out through both feet and your torso. Breathe deeply to release any tension you find in your hips and hamstrings.

Thigh Stretch: Pick any thigh stretch that works for you. It can be on your belly or side, in Pigeon as shown here, or in a lunge. Be sure to keep your hips square, awareness and alignment. As much as you draw your legs into the pelvis, also stretch out through your feet! That part is important. As you stretch, reach your tail bone forward to lift your lower belly, and extend out through your torso as well. Transition through Downward Dog.

Dhanurasana: (Optional Backbend) This is a good place to insert a backbend. I’ve shown Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) here, but Ustrasana (Camel) and Setu Bandha Sarvanghasana (Bridge Pose) are also a great. These backbends stretch the fronts of the shoulders beautifully, open the chest and thighs, and bring a whole lot of goodness to your internal organs and endocrine system. In Bow Pose (as shown) keep your knees and feet close together, and scoop your tail bone into the earth to lengthen your lower back. Try doing this pose twice, just lying on your belly in between, and then doing child’s pose afterwards.

Uttanasana or Down Dog: Finish the standing portion of the practice in a symmetrical forward bend to create clarity in your back and body. Enjoy your breath here.

Janu Sirsasana: This seated twist opens the lower back and hips. This is an important stretch if you’ve been doing lots of walking, hiking, biking, running, skiing… just about anything really. Keep your pelvis and thighs very rooted into the floor, while lifting your lower back upwards. Twist from your lower belly, taking the opposite hand to your calf, thigh, or foot. Inhale to come out of the pose after a few breaths there.

Baddha Konasana: You may like to do this pose sitting tall and simply opening the inner thighs and hips in an upright position. If there is no tension on your back, you may also fold forward. Breathe, and turn your awareness inwards, letting your mind calm and your heart float on your breath.

Viparita Kanari: (Optional) Legs Up the Wall pose is an incredibly relaxing and healing place to be. It does wonders for your legs, especially if they’ve been working hard! It’s also excellent for your immune system (although most yoga poses are). This is a great one if you have the time for it, as you want to stay in the pose for about 5 minutes or even longer! You can lift your hips up on pillows or blankets to make it more of an inversion if you choose, but don’t lift the hips if you are menstruating or have high blood pressure – just do the pose with your back and hips on your mat and legs up the wall. While in this pose, feel the waves of your breath and let your body rest. Come out of the pose slowly, rolling to your side and giving yourself a minute or two there.

Hamstring Hug: This pose helps to clear tension in your lower back and hips by moving your femurs (thigh bones) back. Inhale to lift your leg, clasp your hands behind, and then press your thigh into your hands AWAY from your body. The thigh on the floor also tries to root back into your mat. Stretch out through your feet. After a few breaths, exhale to float your leg to the floor. Take a deep breath, and then do the other side.

Finishing Twist: You can do a twist with both knees or one leg at a time. I’ve shown both here. Inhale to lengthen your spine, exhale to twist. Breathe there for a few breaths, and then inhale to center, exhale to the other side. Inhale back to center when you are ready. Hug your legs in with your arms, and rock side to side in a soothing gesture to your body.

Savasana: Arrange your body so you’re comfortable and cover up with a blanket. Take a deep breath and let your body melt all tension on the exhale. Spend at least 5 minutes here, giving your breath full freedom and riding the waves of your breath with your mind. This pose helps you integrate all of the physical, mental, emotional, and energetic benefits of the practice. It is very important to give yourself this time to rest, heal, and recalibrate your systems. Just release and receive the nurturing of your breath.

When you’re ready to come out, do so slowly, and sit quietly for a minute or so, perhaps closing with an Om.

Yoga Brings You So Many Benefits

Doing yoga on a regular basis brings immense benefits that are very rewarding on a physical level, but which also help you on every other level.

Yoga benefits every single system in your body. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety, and bring a feeling of overall wellbeing. You may notice that your yoga practice gives you a sense of inner peace that helps in other areas of life.

I hope you enjoy this practice, and make it a part of your life. May it bring you great joy!

 

 

 

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