To me, yoga can be like meditating: a thing I feel like I should be doing more of, and be better at. But at it’s core, yoga is a practice of breathing. So hey, I’m all for breathing!
I’d like to share an easy series that takes about five minutes - it’s a no-tight-clothes, no-mat, no-sanskrit needed greeting to my body and breath. And a pause to my thinking, thinking mind, which is really nice too. The older we get, the more important it is to take our spine and limbs in directions they don’t usually go. Feel the blood flow - it’s so good.
There’s only one rule here: let your body go where it goes. And not go where it doesn’t. Your expectations and opinions aren’t invited to this party. Your arms go over your head the way they go over your head - no need to fret. Your plank pose is on your toes or knees and wobbly or wonky - and that’s what it is - it’s perfect. Let it be. And even if you’re a yoga pro, there’s a lot of action in this simple series. Don’t poo-poo it as too beginner - it can be as advanced as you invite it to be.
1. Stand up tall, hands at your sides, feet a little bit apart. Tuck your butt a little, tuck your chin a little. Feel your shoulder blades slide back and down as your inhale opens the front of your chest. And again: inhale, exhale.
2. Inhale as you lift your arms straight up over your head, shoulders down, hands open. If your shoulder says hi, say hi back. If it says thank you but that’s as far as I can go, say okay, but trust me and stay here for a second, it’ll be worth it.
3. Exhale and inhale again in that position.
4. On your next exhale, fold forward, bend your knees, and put your forearms on your knees, keeping your back long and straight. Feel your long spine, tailbone to head. Inhale and exhale here.
5. Inhale and put your hands on the floor right under your shoulders and walk your feet back, so you’re a plank on your hands and toes. Or knees work well here too, and so do forearms - don’t judge or get all bossy, just go where your body leads. Either way, you’re a straight line, head to knees or feet, no sticking up or drooping down butt.
6. Exhale and inhale in this plank position - once, twice, three times if you’re feeling it. Heck, ten times if you want. Hello: arms locked from your shoulders straight to the floor. Hello: torso and abs.
7. Inhale, keeping your hands on the floor, and walk back, keeping bent knees, putting your forearms back on your thighs, straight back like before. Exhale.
8. Inhale as you rise back up to standing, straight legs, arms go all the way up above your head, hands open. Exhale and inhale here.
9. Exhale your arms down. Inhale, exhale. Feel all the parts of beautiful you, and the effects of what you just did. Awesome.
10. Say thanks to your body for letting you run it around now for the rest of the day.