For the past six weeks, I illustrated different mini inversion sequences intended to open you to the benefits of turning upside down. Most specifically, the focus was to relieve the depression and anxiety that creeps in when we are under prolonged stress or attack. If you missed out on practising any of these sequences, here they are:
Invert Your Way Out of Depression and Anxiety: Part I
Invert Your Way Out of Depression and Anxiety: Part II
Invert Your Way Out of Depression and Anxiety: Part III
Invert Your Way Out of Depression and Anxiety: Part IV
Invert Your Way Out of Depression and Anxiety: Part V
Invert Your Way Out of Depression and Anxiety: Part VI
This week’s vinyasa or flow sequence was designed as a mini stand alone practice, but works equally well when preceding either inversions or backbends. Not only are the muscles and bones warmed and strengthened through the vinyasa flow, but our organs are engaged and purified allowing greater ease when moving into more challenging poses and life situations.
Fortunately, yoga offers us many paths to approach each of our challenges. Even in the asana path, there are many methods one can utilize in our progression toward wholeness and integration. For instance, Iyengar yoga uses “linking” of similar poses to gradually warm up the body as one approaches increasingly greater challenges. Ashtanga yoga, a form of vinyasa flow, warms the body up from the inside out by engaging Ujjayi Pranayama during the entire practice. Yin yoga focuses on returning healthy capacity to the protective sheath of connective tissue found everywhere in our body. Kaiut yoga simplifies the poses in order to focus attention and action on the joints — hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists, elbows, etc.
Although there are more yoga systems than I mentioned above, those four approaches complemented by Yoga Actions have been my primary practices for over 20 years. Yoga Actions, as my cohort Candace Propp and I termed it, was gifted to us through Donald Moyer and Jan Debenham. It uses muscular, skeletal, organic and breath actions to reveal what restrictions and fluctuations inhibit our depth of movement. These Yoga Actions then aid in re-establishing the capacity for achieving greater depth into our practice and ultimately ourselves and our life experiences. Of course, we always begin with awareness in order for healing and then expansion and enlightenment to occur.
Your Yoga Actions for today’s sequence follow. It will help you to begin by sitting quietly for 3 to 5 minutes in order to practice these actions.
1. Initiate Ujjayi Pranayama and maintain it through each of the poses. Gently, deep, even inhales to lengthen the spine. Gentle, deep, even exhales to move into each pose.
2. Stay in each pose for 3 full breaths. Use your awareness to find the sensation triggered in each pose. Hold your awareness in that location until you move to the next pose.
3. Repeat the entire sequence 2 to 4 times.
BALASANA (Child Pose) 3 Breaths each
– sit bones stay on heels; arms extend forward
ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward-facing Dog)
– release forearms to floor into
CHATURANGA DANDASANA (4-limbed Staff Pose)
– lower front body to floor
BHUJANGASANA (Cobra Pose)
– walk hands under shoulders & press up to
URDHVA MUKHA SVANSASANA (Upward-facing Dog)
VASISTHASANA (Side Plank) and/or to
VASISTHASANA VRKSASANA (Tree)
CAMATKARASANA (Wild Thing)
– release Tree foot to floor & arm overhead; lift pelvis
– to come out, rotate torso toward mat into PLANK & step forward into
UTTANASANA (Forward Bend)
– clasp elbows; rib cage & head release with gravity
BALASANA (Child Pose)
– sit bones stay on heels; arms extend backwards
* Repeat the entire sequence to the opposite side for asymmetrical poses
May your inner experience reveal your way forward. Namaste.