Brain Boost: Standing

This 23 step sequence of standing yoga postures was designed to invigorate the mind and promote focus and concentration. Level: Beginner to Intermediate.

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Contraindication: Recent or chronic injury to the back, knees, hips or unmedicated high blood pressure.

1. Start in Mountain with the palms together

yoga poseA. Have the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, facing forward.

B. Palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders down and back and the chest pressing in towards the thumbs.

C. Crown of the head lifts up, chin is parallel to the floor.

Optional: use Kapalabhati Pranayama while standing in Mountain pose.

2. Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together

yoga pose A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

3. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

4. Inhale and lift into Upward Forward Fold

yoga posture A. Lift half way up with the arms, legs and back straight.

B. The fingertips are touching the floor or you can place the palms on the shins or knees.

C. Lift the chest and look up as high as comfortable.

5. Inhale and step the right foot back into High Lunge

yoga poseA. Make sure the left knee is directly over the ankle.

B. Shoulders are down and back, chest presses forward, crown lifts up and the back leg is straight.

6. Turn the back foot out and inhale into Warrior II

yoga posture A. Turn the left toes slightly in towards center with the foot flat on the floor. Keep the right knee directly over the ankle into a deep lunge. Inhale the arms parallel to the floor.

B. Turn the hips and chest to face the side wall and look at the right middle finger.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

7. Inhale and straighten the legs, exhale into Triangle

yoga pose A. Keep the toes facing where they are and straighten both legs. Press the left hip out and slide the arms to the right. Rotate just the arms, resting the back of the right hand against the inside of the right leg.

B. Press down through the feet and out through the fingers and crown.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths. Exhale and release the left hand down to the floor.

8. Inhale and lift into Half Moon

yoga posture A. Bend the right knee to place the right fingertips to the floor. Bend the left elbow to place the left hand on the left hip

B. Straighten the right leg and lift the left leg up paraelle to the floor. Reach the left fingers up towards the ceiling. Stare at a point on the floor or side wall for balance.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

9. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

10. Repeat # 4 through #9 on the other side

11. Inhale into Mountain

yoga poseA. Have the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, facing forward.

B. Palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders down and back and the chest pressing in towards the thumbs. Crown of the head lifts up, chin is parallel to the floor.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

12. Exhale into Standing Back Bend

yoga pose A. Place the palms on the low back with the fingers pointed down. Press down into the feet, engage the legs and core body.

B. Exhale and press the hips forward and use the arms to support you as you arch back. Look up or carefully drop the head back.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

D. Inhale and slowly roll back up to Mountain.

13. From Mountain, exhale into Standing Yoga Seal

yoga pose A. Interlace the fingers behind your back, squeeze the shoulders together and open the chest.

B. Exhale and hinge at the hips rounding forward. Let the head hang from the neck and press the arms forward over the head.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

D. Inhale and slowly roll back up to Mountain.

14. Inhale into Tree

yoga pose A. Stare at a point on the floor, shift the weight into the left leg and inhale the right foot up to the inside of the leg with the knee bent towards the side wall.

B. Bring the arms out to the sides, palms together in front of the chest or over the head.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

15. Inhale into Standing Hand to Toe

yoga pose A. Interlace the left middle and index finger around the left big toe. Bring the right hand to the right hip.

B. Straighten the left leg forward. Kick out through the left heel and pull back on the big toe. Stare at a point on the floor for balance.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

D. Release back into Mountain.

16. Repeat # 14 and #15 on the other side

17. Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together

yoga pose A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

18. Exhale into Utkatasana

yoga pose A. Bend the knees and press the hips back.

B. Inhale and sweep the arms out and up with the palms together.

C. Arch the spine, press the chest forward and look up at the thumbs.The knees should track directly over the feet, not splaying in or out.

D. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

19. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor and lift the hips up by straightening the legs, if necessary keep the knees slightly bent.

B. Use the arms to press the forehead in towards the legs, use the legs to lift the hips up towards the ceiling.

C. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

20. Bend the knees, lower the hips to the floor and roll back into Plow

yoga postureA. Roll the hips and spine off the floor to bring the legs over the head. Have the arms alongside of the torso or over your head.

B. Press out through the heels with the legs straight.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

21. Inhale and roll up into Boat

yoga postureA. Bend the knees with the feet flat on the floor. Bring the arms parallel to the floor. Inhale and lean back to lift the heels and inch or two off the floor.

B. Stare at a point for balance. Press out through the heels to straighten the legs

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

22. Release the hands behind you and inhale into Crab Pose

yoga postureA. Bring the hands behind your hips with the fingers pointed towards the back wall and point the toes forward. Inhale and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, look up or drop the head back.

B. Press into the hands and feet using strong arms and legs to lift the hips and chest up.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

23. Exhale and release into Shavasana

yoga postureA. Let the arms and legs flop out to the sides. The arms are 6-8 inches from the sides of your body and the palms are facing up.

B. Close the eyes and consciously relax the body from the toes to the crown of the head.

C. Breathe deeply through the nose into the belly and hold for 10-15 minutes.

24. End in Easy Pose

yoga postureA. Bend the knees and slowly roll over to one side. Press up into a seated position.

B. Inhale and press the hips down and reach the crown up to lengthen the spine. Roll the shoulders down and back to open the chest. Relax the face and rest the tongue on the roof of the mouth.

C. Lengthen the inhalation and exhalation by breathing deeply into the belly through the nose. Release any thoughts or distractions and let the mind be focused on the breath.

D. Breathe and hold for 10-30 breaths.

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