The routine described and illustrated in this section is a nice general-conditioning routine for midlifers and even younger folks who want to ease back into physical activity. This user-friendly sequence strings together a series of safe postures that work each side of the body separately, helping to achieve greater balance.
You can find detailed instructions for each of these various poses or their variations in Chapters 4, 7, 8, and 15. Choose a breathing technique from Chapter 5. Hold each posture and its variation for six to eight breaths, with the exception of warrior I (described in Steps 2 and 3) and revolved triangle variation (Steps 9 and 10). For each of these, move into and out of the postures three times and then hold for six to eight breaths. This routine should take about 30 to 35 minutes.
1. Start in the mountain posture shown in Figure 18-1a.
Initiate the Yoga breathing style of your choice for six to eight breaths (see Chapter 5).
2. As you exhale, step forward with the right foot about 3 to 3V2 feet (or the length of one leg).
Your left foot will turn out naturally. (Turn it out more to increase stability). Place your hands on the tops of your hips and square the front of your pelvis; release your hands and hang your arms (see Figure 18-1b).
3. As you inhale, raise your arms from the front up and overhead and bend your right leg into a right angle for warrior I as Figure 18-1c illustrates.
4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 three times and then stay in warrior I for six to eight breaths.
5. As you exhale, bend both arms downward and draw your elbows back as you turn your palms up and lift your chest as shown in Figure 18-1d; hold this proud warrior posture for six to eight breaths.
6. As you inhale, keep your right leg bent; join your palms together in front of you and bring them up and overhead as you look up and back as in Figure 18-1e.
Stay in the exalted warrior posture for six to eight breaths.
7. As you exhale, come down over your bent right leg and place your hands on the floor for the standing asymmetrical forward bend as Figure 18-1f indicates; stay in the posture for six to eight breaths.
Work on straightening your right leg based on your flexibility in the moment. A soft or bent leg is okay.
If you want to feel the stretch more, square your hips by pulling the right hip back and the left hip forward. A more challenging option is to rotate the back foot inward, called paralleling the feet.
8. As you inhale roll your body up vertebra by vertebra and then step your feet together back into the mountain posture from Step 1.
10. From the mountain posture, step out with your right foot about 3 to 3'/2 feet (or the length of one leg); as you exhale, bend forward from the hips, hang down, and place the palms of both hands on the floor directly below your shoulders as shown in Figure 18-1g.
11. As you inhale, raise your right arm up towards the ceiling and look up at your right hand for the reverse triangle posture as Figure 18-1h illustrates.
12. Repeat Steps 10 and 11 three times and then remain with your right arm up for six to eight breaths.
Soften your knees and arms. Turn your head down if your neck gets sore. Repeat on your left side.
13. As you exhale, hang your torso, head, and arms down, holding your bent elbows with opposite-side hands for the standing spread-legged forward bend (see Figure 18-1i); stay for six to eight breaths.
14. Transition to your hands and knees and slide your right hand forward and your left leg back as you exhale, keeping your hand and your toes on the floor; as you inhale, raise your right arm and left leg to a comfortable height for the balancing cat posture as shown in Figure 18-1j.
Stay up for four to eight breaths then and then repeat with opposite pairs, lifting your left hand and your right leg.
If you want a bigger challenge in this posture, raise your bottom foot just off the floor.
15. As you exhale, come back to all fours and fold down into the child's posture variation (with your arms in front of you) in Figure 18-1k; hold for six to eight breaths.
16. Lie flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your torso, your palms up, and your eyes closed for the corpse posture as in Figure 18-1l.
17. To finish, use belly breathing from Chapter 5 or a relaxation technique from Chapter 4 for three to five minutes.
Prime of Life Yoga routine: Level I.
Prime of Life Yoga routine: Level I.
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