1 – VIRASANA (HERO POSTURE WITH HEAD & NECK RELEASE)
1. Begin in an all 4’s position with your knees close together; sit your hips back in between your feet, keeping your thigh bones parallel to one another, press evenly into the tops of both your feet. If you have any knee conditions, place a block underneath your sitting bones or you can also use a blanket or bolster in between your calves and thighs. Create an elegant tall spine, chest open, tailbone anchoring south and crown rising up.
2. Interlace your fingers behind your back, reach for the floor behind you to stretch and open through the front of your chest, take 3- 5 full breaths here.
3. Take a full breath in and on your exhale take your interlaced fingers to your RIGHT side of your waist, dropping your right ear to your right shoulder. Stay here for 5 full breath cycles.
4. Return your hands behind your back and swap the interlaced fingers so your opposite thumb is on top now and repeat step 3 to the LEFT side.
5. Once you have completed the right & left side return to center with your palms resting on your thighs. On an exhale drop your chin to your chest, inhale roll right ear to right shoulder, exhale back to center, inhale roll left ear to left shoulder. Continue on your own from side to side and pausing in any areas of resistance, breathing consciously.
Benefits – Stretches the quadriceps, knees, ankles and feet, it is also an alternative to Padmasana OR Sukhasana for seated meditation.
2 – ALL FOURS WITH HANDS IN REVERSE POSITION (FINGERS FACING YOUR KNEES & TOES TUCKED UNDER)
1. Begin in an ALL 4s position, knees under you hips, hands under your shoulders, front ribs knitting towards the back of your rib rage & your toes curled under.
2. Turn your fingers towards your knees, so your thumbs are parallel to the long edges of your mat.
3. Take one breath in and on your exhale draw your hips towards your toes until you feel a sweet stretch in your forearms, maintaining your lower front ribs to back rib connection.
4. Stay here for 5 – 10 breaths.
5. After you have completed breathing here, release your hands & sit back onto your toes that are tucked under.
6. Breathe here for 5 – 10 breaths, you can also add any shoulder opener here ie: Gomukhasana arms (in between the Right & Left side, you can tap your toes out).
7. Once you have completed here, walk your hands forward, release your toes by tapping the tops of the feet onto your mat.
Benefits – Stretches the forearms and the wrists,
also stretching the backs of the feet, which aid
in opening the whole back line of the body.
3 – ANAHATASANA (ANAHATA – HEART ASANA)
1. From an all 4’s position; hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, rest the tops of your feet on the mat.
2. Take one full breath in and on your exhale begin to walk your hands forward at arms length, until you can rest your third eye center on the mat OR use a block for extra support. Keep your hips over your knees.
3. Begin to melt your heart space to the earth, keeping your fingers spread and activating hasta bandha (hand lock) by pressing into all your finger pads and creating a lifting action from the center of your palm. Create space around your shoulders by rolling the upper arm bones away from your mid line and keep your arms charged with energy. Maintain the drawing in of your floating ribs, towards the back line to protect & support your lower back.
4. Breathe here for 5 – 10 full cycles of breath.
5. When you are ready to release, exhale into your palms and inhale lift your head & exhale begin to walk your hands back towards all 4’s again.
Benefits – Relieves tension in the shoulders, stretches the upper back & spine.
4 – PARSVA BALASANA| THREAD THE NEEDLE (SPINAL TWIST IN ALL 4’S)
1. From an all 4’s position, walk your hands a few centimeters forward of your shoulders (so you are not directly underneath the shoulders)
2. Inhale and lift your right arm up to the sky, opening up through the chest and exhale thread the arm underneath and across to the left, resting your right check on your mat, your left palm is under the left elbow (beside your face)
3. You can stay here with your left palm where it is OR walk the left arm forward to the front
4. Stay here for 5 – 10 breath cycles
5. To leave the posture, return your left palm beside your face, press down into left palm and release the right arm, take a couple of breaths at center before you repeat these steps to the left side
Benefits – Stretches the shoulders and gentle twist of the spine
5 – ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA – DOWNWARD FACING DOG
1. Begin in all 4’s, curling your toes under and extending your arms out in front of you, with your hands shoulder distance apart.
2. Roll the spine forward into a plank position, shoulders over the wrists, fingers spread, feet hip distance apart.
3. Keep your heart, hips and heels all in one line of integrity, take one breath in and on your exhale lift your hips up and back, by pressing firmly into your hands .
4. Visualise your body in the shape of an inverted V.
5. With the fingers spread, hug the forearms towards one another as if you had a block in between them & roll the inner biceps up and away from each other, keeping broadness across the shoulders & back of the heart.
6. If you have any restrictions in the hamstrings or lower back sensitivity, bend the knees slightly and just work on creating length through the spine.
7. With your thighs pressing back, heels reaching for the earth, be aware to hug the lower ribs towards the spine to avoid lower back arching.
8. Soft gaze towards the space between your feet or towards your navel.
9. Breathe here for 5 – 10 breaths.
Benefits – A mild inversion as the head is below the heart, increasing blood flow to the brain, which serves to calm the mind and relieve stress. It elongates and relieves the spine, opening and strengthens the whole body, especially the legs and arms.
6 – UTTANASANA – INTENSE STRETCH/FORWARD FOLD
1. From your downward dog, take 1 full breath in & on your exhale begin to walk your hands towards your feet.
2. If you have any lower back issues Or restrictions in your hamstrings, put a soft bend into your knees.
3. Press evenly into all four corners of your feet, keeping an awareness of lifting the inner arches of the feet, as you ground into your heels engage & activate your thighs. Draw your inner thighs in towards one another
4. Option to let your arms be free or hold opposite elbows
5. Breathe here for 5 – 10 breath cycles
6. To exit the posture, bend your knees and slowly begin to roll up one vertebra at a time
Benefits – Stretches the whole back line of the body & relieves tension in the spine, neck and back. It strengthens the legs, while bringing a sense of calmness and ease into the mind, also improving digestion
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