Tofino Yoga: Simple Standing Sequence
by Natalie Rousseau, Tofino
This sequence of standing poses can be done on its own after a walk on the beach, or in addition to the 15 Minute Yoga series from May's Tofino Time issue. (Aren't you glad you keep them around?)
Standing poses warm and loosen legs and spine, while strengthening postural alignment. I demonstrate these poses with blocks, an option for those less flexible. If you don't have blocks use a stack of hardcover books. Be creative. Enjoy.
Align your feet hip width apart facing the long edge of the mat. Gazing past the tip of the nose with a level chin, connect to a smooth, unrushed breath, drawn through the back of the throat. As you inhale press down evenly through the soles of your feet and draw the rebound force up the legs and through the spine to the crown. Be supported.
As you exhale relax your shoulders from your ears and soften all the skin on your face. Be calm. Maintain this sense of pressing down outwardly and lifting internally as you follow your breath through all the standing poses. Hold Tadasana 4-6 breaths.
Step your feet wide (about one legs length apart) and place a block behind your right heel. Angle the toes slightly in, the heels out. Inhale as you lift your arms to shoulder height radiating from fingertip to fingertip, shoulders relaxed. Stay 3-5 long breaths.
Trikonosana (Triangle Pose)
On your next inhale breath turn your right toes out 90 degrees and gazing right lengthen out through your right fingertips tipping your pelvis towards your thigh. Reach as far as you can keeping both legs straight. Now tip your arms like the hands of a clock resting your right palm on the block. Gently rotate heart and navel away from the floor so that you can gaze up towards the left palm without straining the neck. Press the mat apart between your feet and draw the breath up your legs, through your pelvis to your spine. Hold as long as feels comfortable without creating tension. Stand up tall on an inhale breath when you are ready to exit the pose, keeping right toes at 90 degrees. Pause and breathe, relaxing your arms to your sides.
(Warrior 2 pose)
On an inhale lift your arms to shoulder height again, and as you exhale bend your right knee over your right ankle, keeping shoulders over hips. Continue to spread the mat apart between your feet and now add an external spiral through the front foot (rotate from big toe to pinky), to keep your knee tracking forward over your 3rd toe. Gaze past your right middle finger with a soft gaze, jaw and shoulders relaxed, heart and navel open to the long side of your mat. Continue to breath deep, holding Virabadrasana as long as feels comfortable without strain.
(Side angle pose)
From Virabadrasana on an exhale breath lower your right hand to your block. Gazing back over your left shoulder, lengthen your arm out past your ear. Keep heart and navel lifting away from the floor and maintain a long strong line from you left heel through to your left fingertips. Continue to press the mat apart between your feet, spiraling externally through your right foot. Breathe deep. When you're ready come all the way back up on an inhale breath to Legs Wide. Turn your right toes in again and relax your arms to your sides.
Prasarita Padotonasana 1
(Wide leg intense stretch)
Place two blocks in front of you on the floor, between your feet. On an exhale breath hinge from the hips, hands on your waist, and fold towards the floor. If your legs are very tight bend your knees slightly as you fold forward to help release the pelvis. Place your hands on the blocks beneath your shoulders, gaze past the tip of the nose drawing the shoulders away from your heart, and press your thighs back to get an even stretch through the backs of your legs. Lengthen from crown to tail, maintaining your smooth and even breath. Hold 3-5 breaths.
Prasarita Padotonasa 2
Sliding the blocks back between your feet, fold deep at your hips and allow the crown of your head to drop towards the floor. Push down and back through your feet and legs, keeping the weight even over your toe mounds as well as your heels. Roll your tailbone up and breath deep, without locking your knees. Relax your neck and gently draw your shoulders away from your ears. Hold 3-5 breaths. To come out move the blocks back beneath your shoulders, look forward, bring your weight into your heels, softening your knees, bring your hands to your waist, and lift up on inhale with strong legs, navel supporting spine. Pause here, continuing to breath deep, and then move one block behind your left heel, the other block off the mat.
Lifting your arms to shoulder height, lengthen from fingertip to fingertip. When you are ready look towards your left fingertips and repeat Trikonasana, Virabadrasana 2, and Parsvakonasa on the left side. Come back to Legs Wide position when done, breathing deep, arms extended.
From Legs Wide step back to Tadasana for 3-5 slow deep breaths. Close your eyes, noticing how you feel. Open your eyes and continue with your day when you are ready. Namaste!
Natalie Rousseau, eryt.
For questions or info, call Natalie at 725-8363 or email firstname.lastname@example.org