Here is our last on the countdown of the top five vinyasa sequences, the moment we’ve been waiting for…and waiting… So let’s get to it! Remember, we are focusing on connecting the breath with movement to aide our mind in becoming single-pointed. In this final sequence, we will be flowing through a difficult series, thus being mindful of the breath becomes mandatory. As always, begin practicing this slowly, and then gradually speed to move one breath at a time. If you take additional breaths in the beginning, don’t worry, give yourself time and practice patience – you can do it!
From downward facing dog we inhale and exhale coming into a lunge with the right foot forward, from lunge, we inhale into Warrior I raising our arms overhead, we straighten our right leg and either placing our hands on the mat, or reverse namaste the hands for pyramid pose. Inhaling, we raise our left leg off the mat, dropping our right hand to the ground for balance and raising our left hand to the sky for half moon pose. Exhaling, stepping back for Warrior I once again, right foot forward. We inhale into Warrior I raising our arms overhead, then exhaling, straightening our right leg and exhaling once again into pyramid pose. Inhaling, we step raise our left leg off the mat, twisting and placing our left hand down, raising our right arm to the sky for revolved half moon. Exhaling, stepping back into downward dog, we then repeat on the opposite side.
On our countdown of the top five vinyasa sequences, it appears there is a balance between breath and movement. And that is with purpose! Focusing on the breath while moving helps the mind become single-pointed. Yogis become aware that the body and the breath are connected. So, too, are the body and the mind. In this next sequence, breath can become a savior of sorts because these movements really create power in the core. These poses help to strengthen in preparation for vasisthasana (side plank). The core is important to the function of the body for a number of reasons and one of those is balance. Our balance begins to weaken as we age, it is very important for us, as healthy human beings, to work on our balance. There have been numerous moments where I would have taken a fall if not for the strength of my core. Having a strong core allows us to move at a slower pace as we feel each and every one of the core muscles. Here is the strengthening core vinyasa. Namaste
From downward facing dog we inhale and exhale coming into plank pose, from plank we inhale back into downward facing dog pose raising our right leg behind us for three legged dog pose. As we exhale coming forward into plank and touching right knee to right elbow, inhaling to three legged dog, we exhale into plank touching right knee to left elbow, inhaling back into three legged dog, we exhale bring right knee to nose. Inhaling back into downward facing dog, exhaling into plank, we place our right palm in the middle of our chest and as we inhale, twist to the left coming into side plank. Holding side plank for one exhale and one inhale, we exhale pushing back into downward facing dog pose. We then repeat on the opposite side.
The second in the series, this vinyasa is a little similar to the first in that it incorporates standing poses – but it also incorporates a strong balance pose. Don’t get too caught up on this balance pose, a lot is going on here in ardha chandrasana (half moon pose). Allow yourself the time to grow into the pose, use a block, if needed, as shown here under the front hand. Also, in parsvottanasana (pyramid pose) the hands can be alongside the front leg, or in reverse namaste (prayer position) as shown in the drawing. Focus on movement with the breath, breath with movement. In the transitional phases of this vinyasa, there should be almost no breath. The breath comes after putting the body into position. But that can take time, so respect your body, go at your pace and flow with the breath. You may take more breaths throughout the sequence than are described here. You can try two to three vinyasas to begin, then as you build strength increase your sequence number. Here it is! Vinyasa number four. Namaste.
Starting in downward facing dog we inhale and as we exhale, moving our right foot forward to lunge. We inhale bringing arms overhead into warrior one, keeping our core tight and moving with the strength of the legs, we straighten the right knee and bend forward at the hips either placing hands in prayer behind the back or moving them down the straight front leg into pyramid pose. From pyramid, we bend our right knee and kick off with the power of the back leg, lifting the leg only to hip height and balancing our trunk on our right hand, inhaling into half moon pose. Stepping back with our left foot and placing a hand on either side of the foot, we exhale into downward facing dog. Repeating on the other side. Inhaling and exhaling into lunge, inhaling into warrior one, straightening the front leg and hinging from the hips, exhaling into pyramid. Bending the front leg, kicking up with our right leg to hip height, balancing our body on our left hand, inhaling to half moon pose. Stepping back with our right foot and exhaling all the way back into downward facing dog.