Hi Love! Welcome to today’s solo episode. I am going to take you through a yoga practice called the Vinyasa flow, and it is especially ideal for beginners. But what is so special about this particular form of yoga?
The Sanskrit word “Vinyasa” translates to, “to place in a special way.” When further broken down, it refers to the physical placement of the body, and it is a seamless transition from one posture to the next. These transitions are made possible by bringing consciousness into each movement.
The reason why this 5000-year-old yoga style is so popular is that the physical movements are a reflection of how we think and feel. Each transition is connected to the next using the breath and is thought of as linking or flowing from one posture to the next. This is why it is also referred to as ‘flow yoga,’ where your breath acts as the main pivot for the transitions, and its strength lies in diversity.
This yoga style is known for increasing the overall blood circulation in the body, and it will challenge you physically and improve your endurance. It introduces you to a flow state where everything feels easy and connected and also serves as a metaphor for our own lives where we move from one situation to the next.
Vinyasa yoga is a great way to improve your energy levels and is a great practice to begin your day. So grab a mat or a towel, take a couple of deep breaths, think about your intention for doing this practice, and jump right into it with me.
It All Starts with the Child Pose
The child’s pose is my favorite pose to start a practice with. To begin, you must spread out your mat and get down on your knees, with your upper torso upright. Open your knees a little bit wider than your hips, take a deep breath, and exhale while walking your hands out in front of you on the mat. Just go as far as you can, you don’t have to force it — just relax and take a deep inhale, and on exhale relax down even further.
Remain in the same position, bring your palms together in front of you, and then raise them to the back of your neck. Keep your shoulders down toward the ground, engage your core, and remain in this position for a couple of minutes before slowly bringing your hands down and stretching them back in front of you. Take a deep inhale and then round up.
Do it For Your Back
Now get into the tabletop position — bring your knees in line with your hips, tuck your toes under in the back, and spread your fingers wide on the mat. You want to ground down through the knuckles and fingertips, such that you can lift your palms off the ground.
If you put too much weight on your palms, you can really hurt your wrists. If you feel pressure on your wrists, turn each one around in a circular motion to ease the tension before placing your hands back to the ground. Make sure your elbows are rotating forward, engage your stomach, and inhale for the cat pose by pulling your stomach inwards, and arch as you exhale for the cow pose by relaxing your stomach and keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Repeat this about 2-3 times.
Without shifting your position, start rotating your head and hips around in circles. Shift your weight from one side to another and then reverse directions, and just allow your body to freely express itself. Allow your body to take you as you exhale, bring your knees together, and return to the child pose by moving your arms down to the side and sweeping them to the back with your palms facing up. Bend your head down toward the mat, allowing your shoulders to round around your thighs. This will release any tension in your back.
Do It For Your Balance
Next we are going to work on our balance. Exhale and slowly bring your body back to the table top position. Raise your right leg and stretch it back parallel to your torso, while raising and stretching your left hand forward at the same time,.each as far as you can, and hold it there. Once you feel balanced, exhale and bring your raised knee and elbow closer till they touch, then inhale and stretch them back out again. Do this 4-5 times. Don’t think too much — if you need the support of the ground the first few tries, that’s okay, but just make sure that your effort doesn’t stop.
Move back into the child’s pose; inhale and bend your knees under you, stretching your arms out. Hold your palms together again and bring them to the back of your neck. Take deep breaths, allowing your mind to empty out and pour out into the mat. Come back into the tabletop position, and repeat the entire process with your left leg and right arm.
Stretching Your Hip Flex
Move back into the tabletop position, and this time, move your right foot forward, keeping your left knee back. Make sure your right knee doesn’t go out over your toe, and get ready for a low lunge. This is going to stretch our hip flex where we usually have a lot of tightness. Just walk out your right foot enough so that when you lean forward, your knee is not over your chest. Put your hands on your hips or your right knee for support and inhale, then exhale while leaning forward, feeling the stretch in your hips and breathing into that space as it opens up.
Close your eyes so that you can really feel because life is all about those tough and tight situations and breathing through those moments. Once you learn how to breathe on your mat, you will start finding it easy to breathe into your life.
Now slowly come out of it and shift your weight back by balancing on your right heel and keeping a nice bend in your knee. Lunge your upper torso forward, rest over your knee, and place your hands down on the mat on either side of your right leg. Inhale and exhale deeply, and then on the next exhale, just flex your toe toward your face. Make sure to straighten your leg with each exhale. After a few seconds, bring your right knee back, get back into the tabletop position, and switch sides.
Getting into the Flow With Downward Dog
Moving on in the flow, we will shake things up a little with the downward dog pose. We’ll start by standing and bending forward on our toes to rest our hands on the mat, raising our hips to the sky. Take deep breaths sinking down as much as you can. Feel the balance and that awareness and just keep breathing. Bend your knees, and come down to the floor with your arms stretched in front, moving back to the downward dog pose after a few seconds.
Take a couple of breaths, then slowly walk your way to the front of the mat where your hands meet the base, still bent over. Bend your knees generously, lift your hands from the mat and bring them in front of your knees, and hold your right elbow with your left hand and vice versa. With your feet firmly on the ground, rock from side to side while bending, and then slowly release your elbows and stand upright.
Moving Up From the Cobra Move to The Chair Pose
Proceed by lifting your arms above your head from the side, palm to palm, fingers touching and spread out, and bring your hands to your chest resting in front of it. Inhale and exhale for a moment here feeling the energy around you. Relax your hands by the side, and then lift them again over the head, palms together. Exhale, then bend your knees, placing your hands on the ground, step backward bringing your knees to the ground, followed by your chest and chin, going all the way for the cobra pose.
Inhale as you lift your chest and chin up with the weight of your arms, not lifting the lower part of your body. Exhale as you slowly move your chest and chin back to the floor. Repeat this 3-4 times, and then lift your hips back up from the ground, bringing yourself to the downward dog position. Gently shift your weight from one toe to another a few times, and then slowly bring your feet together to touch.
The next step might be a lot, but do give it a try. Begin by raising your right leg off the ground as high as it can reach, then bringing it back down, and following it up with the left leg. Then, slowly walk to the front of the mat, bend your knees, grab the opposite elbows, and wind back up until you’re standing upright with your hands raised above you joined together. Bring your hands down in front of your chest while bending your knees slightly as if sitting in a chair, sinking down as much as you can. Remember to breathe through all this. Stay in the flow by twisting your upper body to the right, facing outwards, coming back to the center with arms raised, and then repeating the move on the left side. Exhale as you slowly move back to bending over and touching the ground.
Lunge In With a Crescent Pose
Next, love, bend your knees and move your right foot backward. You can then bring your right knee down for a low lunge, lift your arms from the side, and raise them above your head. In case you have knee problems, you can place a towel underneath for support. If this feels good, you can come into the crescent pose by lifting your right knee off the ground and maintaining posture.
Slowly bring your hands to your chest, palm to palm and fingers to fingers, and lower your back heel to the ground turned slightly toward the right side. Raise your arms bringing them in line with your shoulders, continue breathing, and settle into the warrior position. Now bend backwards such that your right hand either touches your right thigh or calf while your left hand is raised up in the air. Allow the blood to circulate and move — that’s how the healing happens. Just blood flow promotes healing to joints, ligaments, and other parts of the body. Inhale and exhale a few times, and then slowly find your way back to the warrior position.
After a couple more breaths, it’s time to bend forward and hold your left shin with your left hand and raise your right hand above your head. Finish it up with the warrior pose and follow it up by bringing your hands down to the ground, shifting your left foot to meet your right, and slowly getting down into the cobra position. Inhale and exhale a few times while moving. Transition into the downward facing dog move, and start with the crescent move for the left side of your body.
Conclude the Flow With Your Back on the Mat
It’s now time to work on our core. For this, you have to sit on the mat and bring your hips to your heels, slowly lying down on your back with your arms on either side. Inhale, and as you exhale just place your hands behind your head. Inhale again, and with the next exhale raise your head supported by your hands, with your back still on the floor. By this time, you should feel your abs clenching a little, and that’s exactly what you want. Do this slowly a few times, inhaling as you lengthen, and exhaling as you contract. When your movements are slow and steady, more muscles work to support you, so be mindful of this.
Next up, bring your knees up to your chest as you are lying on your back, hold them in place, and gently rock from side to side. You must remember to listen to your body, know when you need to keep pushing forward, and when you need to back off and relax. That comes from practice.
Now, gently place your feet back on the floor, your heels close to your hips with arms on the side and get ready for the bridge pose. Inhale as you slowly lift your hips off the floor, remain like this for 4-5 seconds, and then exhale as you lower your body. Take a few breaths, and then if you can, repeat it again.
Before the next move, bring your knees to your chest with your legs raised high and grab your feet or ankles as you rock from side to side. Breathe in and out to release and let go whatever you need to become lighter and less burdened in life.
You can then bring your left leg down, foot touching the mat and knees raised up. Place your right ankle across your left knee, making the perfect figure 4. Lift your left foot off the ground now bringing your knee up to your chest, and hold your shin, rocking from side to side as you breathe. After a couple of deep breaths, slowly bring your left foot to the ground and shift sides.
As you near the end, place your feet back on the ground, heels close to your hips and just lie back. Relax as you keep your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abs. Breathe in to open yourself up, and breathe out to let go.
Remain in this position for a few more seconds, then slowly bring your right knee to your chest and allow your left leg to go long on the mat. Hold your right knee and then just circle your ankle clockwise and counter-clockwise a couple of times. If you often twist your ankles, then this movement is perfect for you. Straighten that right leg towards the sky, grabbing onto the back of your thigh or calf. Try reaching for your foot, pulling it closer, feeling your thigh muscles stretch.
Slowly raise your head above the ground once, then gently turn to your left, placing your right knee across on the floor. Take a deep inhale and raise your right up to the sky, and with the next exhale, just place it slowly on the right side of the mat. This move is great for your spine and lower back as it stretches and moves those tight muscles. Close your eyes and remain in this position for a while before repeating the same on the other side.
Once this is done, bring both your knees up to your chest, hold them, and gently rock forward and backward on your back. This too is really good for your spine. After a few seconds, you can sit upright on the mat again and give yourself a pat on the back.
Use the Mat to Instill the Power of Yoga in You Today!
Guys, you did it! I hope you are feeling relaxed and energized at the same time. Bring your hands to your third eye for clarity of thought. Bring your hands to your lips for clarity of speech and bring your hands to your heart for clarity of action. The divine in me sees, honors, and recognizes the divine in you. I would be beyond glad if you check out the video and practice the Vinyasa Flow with me, and together we will progress toward a life of improved mental health.
Let me know what you liked about today’s session by tagging me @koyawebb on Instagram with a screenshot and your greatest takeaways from this episode.
Just remember love — this is just the beginning. Be open to newness in every part of your life, and come to the mat everyday to release what doesn’t serve you and step more and more into your power.