Yoga builds strength, flexibility, and balance, both physically and mentally. It’s also a great practice for fusing together movement and breathwork. The more we practice this on the mat, the more we’ll find ourself breathing fully and deeply in our day-to-day life as well.
Start out by standing with your feet hips’ width apart at the top of your mat. From there, step your left foot back about 3 feet. Bend your right knee as close to 90 degrees as possible, trying to get your right thigh parallel to the mat. Turn your left foot out slightly at a 45-degree angle, so that your toes are pointed toward the top left corner of your yoga mat. Staying strong in your stance, on an inhale, lift your arms up toward the sky, palms facing in toward each other, as you continue to draw your shoulder blades down to maintain a long neck. Continue breathing for five long, fluid breaths as you hold this pose. As you settle into the posture, see whether you can point your tailbone down toward the mat a little more, keeping your abs firm and strong.
At the top of your sixth exhale, we will shift into Warrior 2. As you inhale, windmill your arms and pivot your body so that your arms are in a T shape, right arm pointed in front of you, left arm behind you. Adjust your feet slightly so that the back of your right heel bisects the arch of your left foot. Draw your shoulders down, finding that long neck once again. Make sure you are maintaining that 90-degree bend in your front knee, and that your right knee is not collapsing in toward the left. Your torso should be positioned directly above your hips so that your chest is facing the wall to your left. Hold this pose for five more deep breaths, continuing to ground your feet down for a solid foundation, while keeping your upper body as light as possible. At the end of your fifth exhale, gently step your left foot up to join your right and return to your beginning position at the top of the mat. Repeat on the other side, again for five full breaths on each side.
Warrior Series Photos
Click to Photo for Next Images of Warrior Series
Ballet is so elegant, so graceful. Chances are you took at least a class or two when you were a little girl. Time to get back in touch with those days. Ballet is all about grace, fluidity, and strength. Positions one through five are easy to do and have great benefits to the body, like improving posture, strengthening the inner core, and toning the arms and thighs.
To enjoy the fluidity of these movements, each position should flow into the one that follows. Try ten sets in sequence, moving from first position through fifth position.
Stand with your heels together, toes apart, comfortable and balanced. Relax your hands and place them in front of your thighs (but not quite touching them), apart by approximately the width of your face, as if you were holding a beach ball.
With a sliding motion, move one foot the length of your foot and a half apart from the other foot. Raise your arms in a smooth transition from first position, until they are almost at the height of your shoulders. Then open them up into a straight line at your sides with your hands relaxed.
Slide the heel of your foot and place it in front of the arch of your back foot. Leave one arm in second position and bring the other arm in front of you.
Slide your front foot approximately one foot size in front of you. Raise the arm that is opposite the foot and keep your other arm in second position.
Slide the heel of your front foot toward the big toe of your back foot and place it in front of the big toe. Raise your other arm above your head so that both arms are lifted, elbows and arms relaxed, not pointing but not drooping, either.