3 Vinyasas to Suit Any Mind-Body Wellness Program - dummies

3 Vinyasas to Suit Any Mind-Body Wellness Program

By Therese Iknoian

Sometimes deciding on a theme of a sequence for your mind-body program — for example, stretching or balance — can help you decide which postures to string together. These vinyasas are either classic, such as the Sun Salutation, or a series of postures put together for you to try. Use them as your own vinyasas, or use them as templates to put together your own sequences.

Vinyasa #1: Flex with the Stretch Sequence

Of course, every Yoga asana works on your flexibility, but this one focuses even more strongly on it.

Be sure to warm up with some basic postures before starting this sequence. Also, be sure to do this sequence at least two times, so you can do each side.

  1. Mountain Posture.

    Always a great way to start and balance your mind and body.

  2. Standing Forward Bend.

    Works the backs of your legs and allows you to breathe fully.

  3. Warrior.

    Place one foot behind you and lift your torso to get into this posture.

  4. Low Lunge.

    Add an extra hamstring stretch here by placing your back knee on the ground and reaching your hips backward until you feel a stretch behind your forward leg. Bend and straighten the leg gently several times. Return to a Low Lunge, if you do this option, before moving on.

  5. Triangle.

  6. Mountain Posture.

    If it’s good enough to start, it’s good enough to finish.

Vinyasa #2: Honoring the sun with a salutation

The Sun Salutation is certainly the most classic of all sequences of flowing movements, or vinyasas. Do the postures in the order presented, rolling through them as smoothly as possible, rather than jerking.

  1. Mountain Posture (Tadasana): Start with your arms at your sides, then bring your hands slowly in front of you to a namaste mudra, which is the position where your palms are held together in front of your breastbone.

  2. Standing Backward Bend: From namaste, extend your hands up and overhead, extending your body slightly into a backward arch, but only as far as is comfortable. Look up at the ceiling without crunching the back of your neck.

  3. Standing Forward Bend: Exhale and lower your arms to the floor as you fold forward from the hips.

  4. Low Lunge, Right: Inhale and bend your right knee while stepping back with your left foot as far as possible. Keep your hands on the floor.

    This looks something like a Warrior posture but with your torso leaning forward over your right leg from the hips rather then held upright. If you do any traditional exercise, you may hear this called a “runner’s lunge.”

  5. Plank: Exhale and step back with your right foot, placing it softly on the floor behind you, beside your left foot.

  6. Caterpillar: Lower your chest, chin, and nose, but keep your buttocks up.

  7. Cobra: Inhale and lengthen your chest down onto the ground and lower your buttocks. Then arch up into the Cobra.

    After this step is a good time to insert a restful Child’s Posture if you need to.

  8. Downward Facing Dog: Curl your toes under you as you exhale and push your hips back and up into the Down Dog, modifying the position by bending your knees as best suits your body.

    You may want to rest with a Child’s Posture after this move also.

  9. Low Lunge, Left: Inhale and step forward with your left foot to return to the Low Lunge.

  10. Standing Forward Bend: Exhale and bring your right foot forward and next to your left foot, bending your knees to ease your hamstrings and back.

  11. Standing Backward Bend: As you inhale, lift your torso upright, bringing your arms overhead, and bend backward slightly from the hips. Look upward at the ceiling.

  12. Mountain Posture with Namaste: Exhale and return to a standing tall position, using your abdominal muscles. Bring your hands calmly forward in front of your breastbone.

  13. Repeat the entire routine 2–6 times (even more as you get stronger), being sure to alternate the leg that comes forward first and the leg that comes forward second in the two Low Lunges.

Vinyasa #3: Centering with the Strength Sequence

Repeat this sequence several times, trying some of the less intense or most intense modifications. Remember, as a vinyasa, you want to feel the flow!

Be sure to warm up with some basic postures before starting this sequence.

  1. Downward Facing Dog.

    You may want to start from standing then lower into this posture.

  2. Plank.

    Try a full or modified position.

  3. Caterpillar.

    A great way to insert a bit of a rest.

  4. Downward Facing Dog.

    Pull your hips back up.

    You can repeat Steps 2–4 several times if you’d like before moving onto Step 5.

  5. Warrior.

    Settle into Warrior for some mindful breathwork.

    For extra strength work, try The Tree for balance after the Warrior.

  6. Downward Facing Dog.

    You may find this posture to be a popular and important transition to the next posture.

  7. Child’s Posture.

    This pose is the big “aaaahh” at the end!