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Summer Morning Vinyasa

December 1, 2011

Summer Morning Vinyasa

Summer is upon us and I can’t believe how this year has flown by.  I’ve put together this Vinyasa to stretch out and invigorate the body first thing in the morning to bring “some-get -up-and-go” gusto into our mornings to prepare us for the warm and fun-filled couple of months ahead.

Warm Up

To get the body nice and warm, invoking the heat of the season, I recommend starting off with three sets of three Sun Salutations.  3 Suryanamaskara A’s followed by 3 Suryanamaskara B’s and 3 Suryanamaskara A’s again.  If your normal warm up routine involves a different variation than the Ashtanga style salutations then perform these with a few extra to ensure that you are really warm.

Uttanasana I – Forward Bend I

After the juices have begun flowing bring it down a notch with a gentle forward bend.  In this first variation, your feet may be separated slightly and your back should be held long and straight.  Fold only at your hips without rounding your back and be careful not to crane your neck backwards.  Reach into the crown of your head, with your hands on your shins, or your fingertips touching the toes or with your hands flat beside the feet.  Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

 Trikonasana – Triangle

In Forward Bend, bring your hands to your hips and inhale halfway up.  Firm your belly and exhale to return to standing.  Step your right foot out to the side and turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out all the way.  Inhale as you draw your arms out at shoulder height beside you, exhale and reach into the right hand, tucking the right hip under, lowering your hand to a comfortable position on your leg, or the mat.  Turn your head to look towards your left thumb with the palm of your hand facing forward. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Return to standing keeping your arms out at your sides.  Turn your right foot in and your left foot out to repeat Triangle pose on the left hand side.

 Parsvakonasana – Side Angle



While in Triangle, bend your left knee, watching to make sure that you can see your big toe in the corner of the knee.  Try to align the knee directly above the ankle and never beyond it.  Bring your left elbow lightly onto your knee or the fingertips to the mat, and reach the right arm over head in line with your ear.  Press the right foot down, though both legs should work equally as hard, and reach into your fingertips with your palm facing down.  Gaze at your upper arm or the ceiling just past your arm. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Bring your right hand to your hip.  Gaze down and lift your left elbow to return to standing.  Re-orientate your feet to the right and repeat Side Angle pose on the other side.

Virabhadrasana II- Warrior II

While in Side Angle, bring the left arm out in line with your shoulder, raising your torso to vertical at the same time. Extend your right arm at shoulder height as your elbow leaves your knee and gaze over your right hand in Warrior II. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Straighten your right leg and re-orientate your feet to sink into Warrior II on the other side.

Utkata Konasana – Goddess

Straighten your left leg and turn you head to centre.  Turn both feet out to 45° and bend your knees into a deep squat.  Bend your elbows to 90° with your arms still out at shoulder height.  Spread your fingers wide with your palms facing forward. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Prasaritta Padottanasana D – Wide Leg Forward Bend D

Straighten your arms out at shoulder height and straighten your knees.  Turn your feet in so that the outside edges of your feet are parallel.   Inhale to prepare and exhale to dive forwards reaching for the outsides of your shins or your big toes, if you can.  Tug on your toes, bending your elbows out to the sides to flatten your spine out and bring your crown closer to the mat.  Be careful not to over extend the back of the legs by bending your knees ever so slightly. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Bring your hands to your hips and inhale to come halfway up.  Firm your belly and exhale to return to standing.  Reach out to the sides and take a deep breath in.  Exhale as you step to the front of your mat, feet together, palms joined at the heart.

Uttanasana II – Forward bend II

Inhale raising your arms out to the sides and over head.  Arch back slightly and as you exhale fold forward.  Round your back a little and reach for the back of your legs as far down as your ankles if possible, even tucking your fingers under your heels if you can.  Press down firmly with your feet and feel as the stretch and gravity draw your head down towards your feet. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

 Parivrrta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle

In Forward Bend, bring your hands to your hips and inhale halfway up.  Firm your belly and exhale to return to standing.  Step your right foot out to the side and turn both your feet out to the right.  Keep your right hand on your hip and raise the left arm up towards your ear.  Inhale to prepare and exhale to fold with a flat back, bringing your left hand to your right shin or to the mat.  Look up past your right shoulder and raise your right arm, if possible, with your palm facing forward. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Bring your right hand to your hip and look down towards your foot.  Bring your left arm up and over, turning your feet to the left as you raise your right arm up to repeat Revolved Triangle on the left.

 Parivrrta Parsvakonasana – Revolved Side Angle

From Triangle, bring your left arm to your hip.  Look down and as you return to standing, keep the feet facing left and join your palms at your heart.  Bend your left knee so that it is directly above or slightly behind your ankle. Take care that your knee doesn’t collapse towards the centre.  Press it out to the side.  For an easier variation, you can bring your right knee down onto the mat.  Inhale to lengthen your back and exhale to turn left, placing your right elbow onto your left knee and look up past your shoulder. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Look down towards the mat as you lift your elbow.  Straighten either the one or both legs to return to standing and swivel your feet to the right. Repeat Revolved Side Angle on the right side.

Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I

From Revolved Side Angle, look down to lift the elbow and straighten the back.  Keep the right knee bent but raise the left knee if you brought it to the mat.  Take a deep breath to raise both arms out to the side and overhead.  Release your head back slowly to gaze towards your hands. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Lower your chin and straighten your right leg. Swivel your feet around to the left keeping your arms raised overhead.  Bend your left knee and lower your head back to Warrior I on the other side.

Parsvottanasana – Tight Rope

From Warrior I, lower your chin and straighten your left leg.  Sweep the arms down and back to grab hold of your elbows behind you.  Inhale to gaze up and exhale to fold over your left leg.  Keep your back long and straight.  Once you’ve reached your limit, tuck your chin to see your back big toe without rounding your back. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Inhale to come up and exhale to re-orientate your feet to the right and repeat Tight Rope.

Prasaritta Padottanasana B – Wide Leg Forward Bend B

Inhale to come up and turn to face the side of you mat. Place your feet so that the outside edges are parallel.  Place your hands on your hips and dive forward.  Tuck your chin to your chest and gaze towards your belly-button.  Press your elbows towards each other behind to keep your chest broad and open in front.  Again, be careful not to over extend the back of the legs by bending your knees ever so slightly. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Keep your hands on your hips and inhale to come halfway up.  Firm your belly and exhale to return to standing.  Reach out to the sides and take a deep breath in.  Exhale as you step to the front of your mat, feet together, palms joined at the heart.

Pasasana – Noose

Bend your knees coming down into a deep squat keeping your palms joined at your heart.  If your heels lift to high and you feel unstable, try separating the feet a bit and turning them out to the sides.  Inhale at the centre, lengthen your back and as you exhale turn to your right placing your left elbow on top of your right knee.  Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Inhale to center, lengthen and exhale turning to the left this time.  Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths. Inhale to center.

 Halasana – Plough

Bring your hands to the mat beside your hips, sit and roll backwards slowly, lifting your tailbone from the mat  as you raise your legs up and lower them behind your head.  Keep your legs straight, hovering above you if your toes don’t reach the mat and bend your elbows to bring your hands onto your back for support.  Press your hips towards the ceiling to straighten your back as much as you are able to. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Matsyasana – Fish

From Plough, bend your knees, allowing them to float past your forehead as you roll your spine down onto the mat one vertebra at a time.  As your tailbone touches down, straighten your legs out along the mat.  Lift your head and shoulders sliding your elbows in underneath your shoulders.  Press your hips forward, lift your chest and lower your head back slowly. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Pranayama (Ujjayi) – Victorious Breath

Slide your elbows towards your hips and tuck your chin to bring your back down onto the mat.  Extend your arms out in front of you, with palms joined.  Lift your head and shoulders and then use the strength of your stomach muscles to peel the spine off the mat to return to sitting.

Sit comfortably in any cross-legged position.  Lift your chest and press your hips forward to distribute your weight evenly and prevent your back from tiring.  Place your hands on your knees, palms up to receive the bounty of the season.  Lower your chin and your gaze, lengthening the back of the neck and bring your awareness to your heart, lungs and chest.  Take 25 long, deep Victorious breaths creating a sighing sound in the throat on both inhalation and exhalation.

Yoga Mudrasana – Seal of Yoga

Inhale and raise your arms out to the sides and overhead.  As you exhale sweep the arms down and back behind you to grab hold of one wrist. Fold forward tugging gently with your hands against your lower back to roll yourself into a small ball.  Hold for 3 to 5 deep breaths.

Savasana – Relaxation

Straighten your legs and gently roll down to lying flat on your back.  Rock the legs and hips and press your lower back flat.  Move your hands away from your body with your palms facing up and reach into your fingertips.  Press the back of your neck down gently.  Allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm, observing the rise and fall in your chest, using no effort to give both mind and body a few minutes to relax.

With minimal effort, make your way back to standing and if you plan on spending any time on the beach or anywhere else in the sun, always use sunscreen and re-apply it regularly.

__________________________________
Contributor: Aidan John Walsh, RYT200
Aidan teaches Ashtanga Vinyasa and completed his teacher training in September 2008 through Africa Yoga. He has been teaching full time at several venues in Blouberg, Cape Town ever since.

Website: www.sambhogayoga.co.za; Email: aidan@sambhogayoga.co.za

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