A Vinyasa for Balance

I really enjoy teaching yoga Vinyasa sequences.  They challenge both me and my students, tuning our minds to remember a sequence of complimentary yoga postures.  When teaching Vinyasa, I always use the breath to help the mind connect with the postures.  The Vinyasa will begin with an inhale, with the body moving into the first posture, on the exhale the body gently transitions to the next posture.  This flowing movement will continue sequentially with each breath, progressing from one posture to the next, until the Vinyasa is complete.

I feel that co-ordinating the mind and breath in this way makes it easier to become completely present, focused on the combined acts of breathing and moving.  This ‘mindful movement’ leaves little room for the imagination to wander off on its own journey, offering an often much needed break for an overactive mind.

I’ve recently been working on a Vinyasa sequence that incorporates a balancing posture, in this case Warrior III.  Adding a balancing posture to a Vinyasa sequence adds another layer of complexity, something else for the mind to concentrate on and further increasing the minds connection to the body. I was really happy with how this Vinyasa turned out when we tried it out in class.  Initially I was slightly concerned that the transitions between some of the postures would be too much but we took it slowly to begin with, carefully flowing from one posture to the next.   After a few rounds some students had memorised the sequence and started to flow at their own pace, while the rest of the group just continued to move at the same time, creating an amazing sense of calm within our surroundings.  The details of the Vinyasa are shown below but in short the sequence begins with standing tall in Tadasana, folding into Uttanasana, coming up into Warrior I, folding forward again to come into Warrior III, unfolding back into Warrior I, folding again into Uttanasana before finishing in Tadasana.  The first time we did this in class six rounds on each side was enough – it’s quite strong on the balancing leg and this sequence really highlights your weaker side! You can either alternate between legs or stick to one side before changing legs.  As always be careful of any health problems and listen to your body, taking it easy to start with before increasing the number of times you complete the Vinyasa.  The Vinyasa can be used this as a stand-alone practice or incorporated it into a longer sequence as I have done in my yoga classes.  Because Warrior III can be quite a strong posture, it’s a good practice to include at the peak part of a yoga class.

Stand tall with the feet hips distance apart.  Inhale and raise the arms and hands to the sky.

Exhale and fold forward, bending from the hip joints, into Uttanasana, keeping a soft bend in the knees.

Inhale and step the left foot back, unfolding the body and raising the arms above the head to come in to Warrior I.

Exhale and move from Warrior I to Warrior III by strengthening and straightening your right leg, folding forward from your hip joints, lifting your left leg so it is parallel with the floor.  Make sure your toes are pointing downwards.

As you inhale transition back to Warrior I, unfolding at the hip joints, bringing your left foot back down to the ground, bending at the left knee.  Reach your arms for the sky.

Exhale and step forward with your left foot so both feet are hips distance apart, fold forward at the hips keeping a soft bend in the knees and come into Uttanasana.

Inhale and unfold, reach your arms for the sky, standing in upward salute.  Repeat the entire sequence for the right side, beginning with an exhale into Uttanasana.

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