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Yoga to make you smile :)

I am sharing a class this week based on chest opening and gentle backbending.  Sometimes I really do need to rest and allow myself to feel negative emotions, but when it is time for uplifting, it’s breathwork, healthy food and chest opening backbends that really lift me up!

The breath brings plenty of oxygen (life force energy or prana) into the body and especially the muscles, helping them to work more efficiently (more about that in my blog, #3 Yoga off the mat).

It is important to note our energy levels when practising, if we are in need of uplifting, keep the chest elevated as much as possible, even during forward folds and poses that ask us to go inwards (these poses are for relaxation and calm the heart rate), chest opening back bends elevate the heart rate.  So if we are needing to calm the nervous system and relax, the opposite is required.

You can try this little class if you would like an energy boost and a bit of uplifting. Play your favourite upbeat music that always cheers you up. Or try my favourite that I love to practise Sun Salutations to Xavier Rudd's Follow the Sun

Start lying on the back and (if you have them) either lie on a bolster with the base of the spine at the bottom end and the body and head resting on the length of the bolster.  Alternatively, a block laid flat just below the shoulder blades so that the chest is lifted, and a block on it’s side (so that it is taller than the other block) under the head.  This brings us into a supported fish pose (matsyendrasana) and begins the chest opening gently.

Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, noticing the belly as it rises and falls.  Maybe you would like to count, inhale for 4, and exhale for 4.

When ready, come up into a table top position on all fours and proceed with some cat and cow spine work;

Warm up the body with some hatha sun salutations (remembering to keep the chest in ardha uttanasana rather than folding fully forwards into uttanasana);

And then maybe some Sun A and Sun B’s depending on the energy levels and the time that you have;

Stand in mountain pose (see my blog post on Mountain pose for more info on this pose) at the top of the mat and bring the hands behind the back in a prayer position (or you can hold on to the elbows as a modification). Step back with the right leg into a high lunge, and hold for 3 breaths, lift the arms, put all of the weight into the front thigh, lift the back leg into Warrior 3 and hold for 3 breaths.  Either place the right foot to the floor or bring the knee into the chest as you lift to standing.  Take hold of the back of the right foot and take a little quad stretch, either stay in that position or lift the back foot as you lean forward and reach out in front of you with the left hand into standing bow (Dancer pose preparation/Natarajasana).  Fold forwards into Uttanasana and then either take a vinyasa (knees/chest/chin or chaturanga to cobra/updog, to downward dog and back to Uttanasana) or step back with the left leg and repeat on the other side.

Take another vinyasa or sit straight down onto the mat and take Janu Sirsasana on both sides , take the gaze (drushti) towards the toes rather than the forehead to the knee;

Then reclined pigeon;

And a spinal twist;

Savasana, corpse pose, lie on the back with feet as wide as the mat, hands by the sides facing up, and rest.

If you would like to practise this class along with me, then join me live on Facebook this Friday morning at 10am.  Or watch the replay whenever you like :) xxx

If you would like to come and practise with me in the Hotpod, I’m there at 9:30 on Wednesday mornings, covering Thursdays at 17:30 and now I’m delighted to be teaching at Hotpod Daventry fortnightly at 11:30 beginning the first Saturday in June :).

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