Good morning! I’ve got a really great post for you today- something you don’t see much of on this blog: Yoga! My cousin in law, Malinda, is a yoga instructor and the creator behind and author of Yogamoto. I recently saw Malinda at a family wedding and we had so much fun talking fitness and health and sharing our passions with each other. On top of teaching yoga in Maine, Malinda and her husband are super active with outdoorsy things and traveling all over the place. I hope you enjoy this post and learn something and are able to maybe get a little at-home practice in. I know I could use some of this a few times of week!
Thanks to Monique for letting me share some yoga goodies with you all! I’m Malinda, and I created a practice called Yogamoto. Yogamoto is all about being present and living your path. Aside from teaching yoga, I love travel and adventure. I ride motorcycles, scuba dive, ski, sing. Yoga helps me get the most out of life… afterall the present is life! So let’s live there… right?! That’s what Yogamoto is all about – living life to the fullest.
I have been doing yoga since I was a kid, playing around with poses on the livingroom floor with my mom. I had NO IDEA we were doing yoga – acroyoga even – I just loved it! I started taking classes in high school. I got my 200 hour certification last year and have been having so much fun sharing yoga with my students!
Here’s a short sequence that strengthens, arms, core and legs, while increasing your range of motion. The sequence closes with a grounding balance pose. Here’s a misnomer – yoga isn’t all about flexibility! It’s about strength, balance, range of motion, and mental clarity. These are powerful poses that you’ll find in many beginner-intermediate yoga classes. While they look simple, they are challenging! Take time to do a little every day to build up your strength and stamina.
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Stand with feet hip width apart, spine straight, palms facing front, rib cage lifted, shoulder blades back and down. Hold for 3 breaths. (see the top left photo in the image under #2 for this pose)
2. Swan Dive to Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Inhale arms up overhead, exhale arms to the sides while hinging at the hips to bend forward. Back remains straight while bending forward. Bend forward as far as you can comfortably. Though legs are straight, keep the knees soft with a micro bend. (Bend knees if you have lower-back issues.) Hang like a rag doll, relaxing arms, neck, back. If you like, grab your elbows to create a window for your head. Hold for 5 breaths.
3. High Lunge. Bend your knees, bring palms to the mat, and step the right foot back on your inhale. Step back far enough so the left knee is over the ankle. The right leg is straight, right heel is raised, resting on the ball of the foot. Press back through the right heel. Tent fingertips to lift the heart forward so the spine and neck are held in a straight line. Place hands on blocks if this is more comfortable. Hold for 5 breaths.
4. Plank. Place palms on the mat. On the inhale, step the left foot back to meet the right, resting on balls of the feet. Hands are directly under shoulders. Shoulder blades are flush across the back (not sinking down through shoulders or pressing up to round shoulders). Create a straight line from crown of the head to the heels. Think about holding the core strong to stabilize you. Hold for 5 breaths.
5. Side Plank (Vasisthasana). Place the left hand to the center of the mat, and start to pivot the feet so you are balancing on the outside of the left foot. Right foot stacks on top of the left. Bring the right hand to right hip as you turn the torso to the right. Inhale right arm up to the sky. Create a straight diagonal line from the head to the feet. Hug core in to stabilize. If this version is too intense for you right now, start by placing the left knee on the mat. If you are up for more of a challenge, lift the right leg up to be parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale bringing right hand back to mat to plank.
6. Chaturanga Dandasana. Starting in plank, align shoulders slightly ahead of the wrists. Inhale, press back through the heels, engage the core, draw shoulders back. Exhale, slowly begin to bend elbows, hugging elbows to sides. Lower body keeping the plank position of a straight line from head to heels. Lower slowly taking about 3 seconds. Continue to lower until your shoulders are at the same height as the elbows at 90 degrees. Hold for 3 breaths.
7. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Exhale, press through the hands, lift the pelvis, press down through the heels. The heels may not touch the floor. Tip the pelvis up, draw inner thighs back. Focus weight in the hands in the fingers/finger base, not in the base of the wrist. Spin elbow creases forward. Elongate the spine, keeping neck neutral between the arms. Hold for 5 breaths.
Repeat 1-7 on the other side.
8. Tree Pose (Vrksasana). Start in Tadasana. Slowly shift weight to the left foot, peeling the right foot off the mat heel to toe. With the hand, help bring the right foot to the inner thigh of the left leg. Press the foot into the thigh. Open the knee out to the side. (If this isn’t in your range of motion, rest the foot on the inside calf. Just don’t place foot on the knee.) Find one point of focus in front of you. Inhale hands to Anjali Mudra. Hold for 3 breaths. With the next inhale, raise hands above head. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Bring palms together, exhale to heart center, Anjali Mudra. Exhale foot to floor. Repeat on other side.
Have fun with this sequence as you get stronger and stronger.
Time to Shine!
Thanks so much for sharing these poses with us, Malinda! I can’t wait to try this sequence… preferably when my head isn’t so congested! ;)
Questions for you: Do you do yoga? How often do you practice? What is your favorite pose?