For additional information about each pose please check in the forums. Drink plenty of water when doing any exercise - particularly afterwards.
As with any exercise program you should consult with a doctor prior to starting any new activity
Seated Meditation, Shoulder Rolls, Neck Stretch, Wrist Stretches, Cat Stretch, Mountain Pose, Standing Forward Bend, Warrior I Pose, Upward Facing Dog, Downward Facing Dog, Child Pose, Seated Twist, Bound Angle Pose, Corpse Pose.
Seated Meditation: Sit comfortably (crossed legged is okay) at the edge of your folded blanket and take a few minutes to relax using "proper" Yoga Breath. Expand the lungs and stomach when breathing in and to allow the stomach and lungs to deflate (gently pull in) when exhaling. Lengthen the body upward when inhaling, relax when exhaling. This is a time for letting go of your day...you can go back to it later. For now just concentrate on your breathing until you are ready to move on to the next phase.
WARM UP PHASE
Nice and slow, alternately roll each shoulder up, back, and down - 5 or so times on each side. Then alternate each one up, forward, and down - 5 or so times. Keep relaxed as you roll your shoulders and practice inhaling when you move a shoulder up, and exhale when you relax the shoulder down. Then roll the shoulders simultaneously up, back, and down - 5 times and then up, forward, and down. Continue to use your breathing technique of inhaling when the shoulders go up and exhaling when the shoulders go down.
Bend your arm (start with right or left) and place it behind you and allow it to rest straight across your back so that the top of your hand is touching the opposite side of your back. Gently stretch your neck toward the opposite shoulder (toward the shoulder of the arm that is not bent). Do not over stretch.
Holding the position - inhale and continue to lengthen your body upward. As you exhale allow your neck to relax. Inhale and exhale a few times in this position. You can continue breathing in this manner - and turn your head slightly upward. Breath a few times in this position. You can turn your head slightly down and continue your breathing. Take a last deep inhale and lift head/neck up. Switch to the other side and do it all again.
hint: You should not feel pain in your neck while doing this warm up. If you do - back off on the stretch.
Wrist Stretches: First of these two stretches is to bring your palms together in prayer position in front of the chest. Gently push the palms (keeping them together) downward while simultaneously trying to raise the elbows upward. Breath in and out 4 - 5 times. Second stretch is to bring the backs of your hands together in front of the chest. Gently push the back of the hands together and slightly upward while moving the elbows downward. Breath in and out 4 - 5 times. Do not be forceful with these stretches.
Cat Stretch: Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and directly beneath your shoulders. Fingers should be spread out to evenly distribute your weight on them. Your knees should be on the floor directly beneath your hips. Allow your spine to relax as you hold it in horizontal position. Breath in and out - when you are ready take a big inhale and then as you exhale gently pull in the lower stomach and curve the middle back upward like a stretching cat. As you inhale allow the spine to relax back down into horizontal position. Do this stretch 5 or more times. You may hold the pose in the curved back position or horizontal position and breath several times. Just make sure to exhale when you are going into the curved back position and inhale when going into the horizontal position.
YOGA POSES PHASE (VINYASA)
For an additional cardio work out you can do this phase 3 times. Move gently and purposefully from one pose to the next to maintain proper technique and alignment.
Stand with your legs hip-width apart and your feet parallel, not pointing inward or outward. Your toes should be relaxed, not clenched or digging into the floor. Pay attention to how your weight is distributed on your feet. You want your weight to be evenly distributed from your toes to your heels, and from side to side. This will give you a good foundation to start with.
Now that you have your feet planted lets move up the legs to the knees. Make sure that your knees have a slight natural bend in them, not locked back as this will cause strain or tension. Move your awareness up to the tailbone and slightly tuck it under, this is the beginning place of a properly aligned spine. Allow your hands and arms to hang loosely by your sides. Next allow your shoulders to relax downward and then lift your head up and out of your shoulders - while keeping your shoulders relaxed down.
You are tall and erect. Inhale slowly and deeply. As you are inhaling feel your vertebrate lifting upward and lengthening. Exhale slowly, allow your body to relax but maintain the length in your spine. Take a few slow inhales and exhales. Keep your mind calm.
Standing Forward Bend:
(Your own personal flexibility will determine whether you should use a chair)
Inhale and place your hands on your hips. As you bend forward from the hips, not the waist - exhale. Bend just to the point that your upper body is parallel with the floor. Keep your chest and ribs up and out of the stomach and torso area. Move your hands to your thighs (or a chair) and lengthen your upper body outward. The difficulty of this pose is to not allow your back to round - this means you should only bend as far as you are able while maintaining a straight spine. Using a chair or block will allow you to work on your spinal alignment with less chance of straining leg or back muscles. Take a deep breath and then allow your body to relax as you exhale. Slowly inhale and exhale in this position. If you are able, allow the arms to hang down toward the floor. With each inhale be mindful to lengthen your upper body. As you exhale allow the body to relax into the pose. Only bend forward to the point you are comfortable with - no pain.
hint: your neck and head should stay in alignment with your spine during this pose. No looking "up". When you are parallel to the floor you should be looking straight down at the floor. As you go deeper into the pose you should be looking at the calf or knee area.
Warrior I Pose
Stand in Mountain Pose. On your next exhale, take one foot back about 4 feet. The back foot may be at a slight angle. If your hips are flexible and you are in good physical condition the back foot can be straight forward (there should be no pain). Your hips should remain pointing forward. Inhale then exhale and bend the front knee. Your knee should be over your foot - not extended past it. Turn your palms slightly upward and while inhaling slowly raise your arms about your head. Exhale and relax your shoulders downward. Inhale and lengthen your spine upward. Exhale and allow the shoulders to relax down while maintaining the length in your spine. Stay in this position and breath 3-4 times. When you are done - inhale and step back into Mountain Pose. Step back with the opposite leg and do it again.
hint: protect your low back in this position by tucking your tailbone slightly under and raising the pelvis slightly upward.
Upward Facing Dog
Lie facing downward on the floor, legs stretched back with tops of feet flat on the floor. Place your palms on the floor on each side of the mid-range of the ribcage. Your fingers should be spread out and pointed forward. Simultaneously inhale and straighten your arms pushing your chest upward and bringing the legs a few inches off the floor. Do a pelvis tilt with your hips to protect the low back. Look straight forward. Exhale and relax into the pose. Chest should be lifted high in this pose, collar bones pointed upward - with shoulders up, back, and relaxed down. Take few breaths in this pose. When you inhale lengthen from the legs through the spine to the top of the head. When you exhale relax into the pose. Listen to your body - is there pain? - ease off if there is. When finished relax down onto the floor.
hint: This pose can be challenging and place too much strain on the wrists and over-bend the lower back - leading to injury. If you are a beginner you may want to do this pose without lifting the legs off the floor. Build up your wrist and back strength before going into the full pose.
Downward Facing Dog:
from Upward Facing Dog, inhale, tuck your toes under and exhale as you bend then straighten your legs and push yourself up into a downward "v" shape. Your knees should be straight (but not locked back) or slightly bent. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet. Your heels may be up in the air. Your head and neck should be relaxed and looking downward between the feet. The weight of your upper body should be supported with slightly bent elbows and fingers spread out to help distribute the weight. In this position slowly inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and relax the spine into the pose. Hold this pose and continue your breathing 4-5 times (or more if you wish). As you continue to lengthen the spine on inhales, and relax on exhales you may gradually lower your heels toward the floor. It is not necessary to get your heels to the floor in this pose.
hint: do not look upward in this pose as it will put undue pressure on your neck.
Seated Twist and Bound Angle can be vigorous poses. For this restorative phase I am asking you to be gentle and show restraint - do not go fully into these two poses.
Kneel on the floor. Sit with your thighs on your calves with legs slightly apart. Bending from the hips fold your upper body onto your knees. Rest your forehead soundly on the floor. Reach out your arms over your head and allow them to relax onto the floor. Breath in slowly and deeply and allow the belly and chest to expand. Exhale and allow your belly and chest to relax down onto your legs. Continue your breathing being mindful of how your body feels. Do you feel any tense spots? If so focus on the area that is tense, as you inhale feel this area of your body expanding or stretching. As you exhale allow the tense area to let go and relax.
Sit on the edge of your blanket, legs together with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Fold the right leg down so that the knee is pointing straight ahead and the heel is near the outer-side of the buttock of the opposite leg. Place your right elbow on the outside of the left knee. Inhale and lift the ribcage upwards. Exhale as you gently twist towards your left leg. Place the fingertips of your left hand on the floor towards your hip. Continue to inhale and exhale. As you inhale continue to extend the spine upward. As you exhale relax further into the twist. Do not force the twist, relax into it on each exhale. When you are ready take a big inhale and untwist. Move to the other side and repeat the twist.
Use your folded blanket to sit on, tailbone near the edge to aid in posture. Bend your knees and bring your heels towards your pelvis to the point that is comfortable for you. Do not pull on the ankles or toes to pull force your heels closer to your pelvis. The outer sides of your ankles will be on the floor, your knees slightly up in the air, the bottoms of your feet touching. Inhale and lengthen your torso and spine upward. Roll the shoulders upward and back to relax them into position. Place your hands on your toes or ankles and hold this position for several breaths. When you inhale expand the stomach and lungs. When you exhale allow the legs and knees to relax downward, do not force the knees down.
To get more stretch in this pose you may bend forward. When bending forward maintain your posture, your back should not be rounded. Be gentle, go the place of resistance. Be mindful of how your body feels - your back, your inner thighs, your knees. Continue your breathing technique.
As you practice this pose more on a regular basis, you will gradually bring the heels closer to the pelvic region, your knees will be closer to the floor and you will be able to bend forward more deeply.
hint: If you feel that your inner thighs are too tight to comfortably relax downward place a pillow on the outside of each buttock - prop up your thighs as high as needed for them to be comfortable. As you work more on the pose you can lower or remove the pillows altogether.
Lie flat on your back. Allow your legs to relax - about a foot apart - with knees and feet turned slightly outward. Tuck your tailbone under slightly so that there is not a large gap between your lower back and the floor, it is natural for there to be some space. Lay your arms by your side - but not touching your body - with palms up.
Inhale slowly and deeply several times. Each time you exhale allow the body to relax into the floor. Relax this way at least 5 minutes. Allow the mind to remain alert while you concentrate on your breathing, the movement of your chest and belly as you breath, and the way they relax at each exhale. You can return to normal breathing when you wish, do make sure to return to normal breathing before you come out of this pose.
To come out of the pose turn on to your side in a slightly curled position. Gently breath in and out a few times before sitting up.
hint: For deeper relaxation you can relax each part of the body separately starting at the feet and working up to the ankles, calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, pelvis, stomach and mid back, ribs and upper back, shoulders, arms, neck, and head. Inhale as you go to each area and exhale as you allow that body part to relax down onto the floor. You can do a few breaths at each body part that seems to be more tense until it is relaxed.