Gentle Yoga Poses

A morning yoga practice composed of the following poses can counter the fiery energy of the hot summer season. On its own or as part of our Ayurvedic weekend retreat, this series is designed to energize without overheating and can be done at home in as little as 30 minutes.

Morning Yoga Poses

1.  Bow (Dhanurasana) Lie face down, hands by your sides, palms facing up, legs together. Bending at the knees, bring your heels as close to your buttocks as possible. Raise your head, keeping your chin on the floor, then reach back with your hands and grasp your ankles firmly. Pull with your legs and arms, raising your head, chest, knees, and thighs off the floor. Raise your clasped legs as high as possible, keeping the spine relaxed. Rest your entire body weight on your navel. Breathe in and slowly exhale. Hold for five to10 breaths, then release. Repeat the pose two times.

2. Thunderbolt (Vajrasana) Start by positioning yourself on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels and look forward. Keep your spine straight and place your palms on your thighs. Breathe in and then slowly exhale. Hold the position for five to 10 breaths, then exhale completely.

3. Spinal Twist (Vakrasana) Sit on the floor with your legs together and outstretched, hands flat on the floor behind you. Bring your palms near your buttocks. Bend your left knee and place your left foot by the inside of your right knee. Twist from the center of your torso, bringing your right shoulder toward your left knee. Place your elbow outside the knee, keeping your torso lifted up. Keep your left hand on the floor behind you. Twist your neck and body as far as is comfortable toward your left hand. Breathe in and then slowly exhale. Hold the position for five to 10 breaths, then slowly release. Repeat on the other side. Repeat the entire sequence two to four times.

4. Leg Lift (Viparitakarani) Lie on your back and raise your legs above you at a 90-degree angle. Hold the pose for five to10 breaths, then bend your knees to release. Repeat the sequence two to four times.

5. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) Lie face down, arms bent and palms flat on the floor at each side of your chest, fingers pointing toward your head. Tuck your toes under and lift up to your hands and knees. Exhaling, press your feet and hands into the floor and raise your buttocks, straightening your knees and pulling your thighs back. Keep your spine straight. Extend your chest back toward your thighs. Keeping your elbows and knees straight but not locked, press heels into the floor, push your hips up, and pull your shoulders down. Breathe in and exhale. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then return to your hands and knees. Repeat two to four times.

6. Corpse (Savasana) Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, palms up, and your feet spread apart. Focus on your breath. Become aware of each part of your body and consciously relax it. Start with your right leg, working part by part from toes to groin, then relax your left leg in the same way. One at a time, relax your hands and arms, working from fingers to shoulders. Then relax your lower abdomen, upper abdomen, chest, and throat. Then relax your back, from lumbar region to mid-back, neck, face, and head. Aim to spend one-fourth to one-third of your practice in Savasana.

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