We’ve had this lingering intention…the intention of rising with the sun and doing yoga to get the day started right. This intention turns into slapping the snooze button for 30 minutes and then grumbling out of bed. As the sun’s coming out a little more these days, we thought we’d seek some expert advice on a sequence that might give us the structure we need to make daily yoga a habit! Enter Sarah Ezrin, a Los Angeles based yoga teacher, Lululemon brand ambassador, purveyor of joy, and our guest yogi! Sarah also teaches for YogaWorks and the online MyYogaWorks platform which offers over 500 online classes and 24 hour access so you can get that at home yoga guidance.
Sarah offers 5 starter poses to help us and you build your home practice! Pictures are courtesy of photographer, Julia Heredia, are were taken during Sarah’s Costa Rica retreat (jealous….).
5 Yoga Poses for Jump-starting a Home Practice Sequence by Sarah Ezrin
- Child’s Pose – Child’s pose is no child’s play. A great posture for grounding one’s energy, it creates a conscious shift inward as one is literally folded in upon themselves. Come to kneeling on the floor big toes together, knees slightly apart and sink the hips back toward the heels, laying your belly over the top thighs. This pose can be restful with the arms relaxed by your sides or made more active with arms forward reaching energetically. Elevate the head with a block or even stacked fists is as it will align the spine and create space for the neck and shoulders. Feel free to repeat throughout the sequence as needed.
- Cat/Cow Breath – Open the heart and awaken the core with this pair of postures. Practiced dynamically (meaning moving with breath) this set warms up the spine. Start in a table top position, aligning wrists under and shoulders and knees below hips. On an inhalation, create a backbend by lifting the chest bone up towards the ceiling and gently taking the gaze up, back of the neck long. Exhale round the back tremendously by pushing the palms into the floor and hollowing the bellybutton. Gaze toward the naval. Repeat five times (with an inhale/exhale counting as a single rep) following the natural flow of breath.
- Downward Facing Dog – Probably the most notorious of yoga poses, no practice is complete without a down dog! Lengthen the spine and release the entire back body, which gets stiff from hunching over those iPhones. Start in a table top position, pressing the hands evenly into the floor. Tighter shoulders will benefit from having the hands slightly wider than shoulder’s width. Curl the toes underneath and begin to lift the knees off the floor while extending the hips up and back. Start with the knees slightly bent and work lengthening the spine. Straighten the legs and press the heels toward the floor. You are looking to create an inverted “V” with your body. If the spine feels rounded, the lower back or hamstrings (muscles at the back of the legs) may be tight, so keep the knees slightly bent to get more length. Make a long spine priority over straight legs. Beginners may experience wrist pain. Be sure the entire hand is pressed into the floor at the knuckles and fingers lengthen forward actively.
- Reverse Warrior – Feel both beautiful and strong with this expansive standing pose. Tone the outer hips and lengthen the inner legs, while the added side stretch expands the lateral body improving breath. Start in a wide stance, arms out shoulder’s height and feet as wide as the wrist (about a leg’s distance). Turn the right leg out from deep within the hip and the back leg and hip facing inward slightly. Bend the front knee until the thigh is level to the floor, tracking the front knee and ankle. This is Warrior 2. On an inhalation, lean back placing the left hand lightly outside the left leg and stretching the top arm overhead. Hold for eight full breaths or play with the pose dynamically moving in and out from Warrior 2 with breath.
- Supta Baddha Konasana – Often, the most potent poses in yoga are the quietest. Soothe the mind and nervous system, while also releasing the hips. Start lying on the back with the knees bent and feet flat onto the floor. Allow the inner knees to fall open like the wings of a butterfly and gently place the soles of the feet together. Pulling the heels inward toward the groin will create a stronger release of the inner thigh. Rest one hand on the heart and the second on the belly for more grounding or take the arms overhead and grab elbows to stretch the side body.
Just for the record, #5 is a Chi Organic Girls go-to pose for relaxation. Check out this sequence to find your zen (and maybe find a reason to get out of bed earlier) or share your favorite yoga sequence with us.