tofino yoga - lighten up!

Tofino Yoga: Lighten Up!

by Natalie Rousseau, Tofino


This intermediate sequence helps to lift heavy moods and get your energy flowing.

Warm up first with 4-6 rounds of Sun Salutations or the Simple Standing Sequence in July’s Tofino Time magazine. Aim to run through this entire sequence twice holding each pose anywhere from 5- 20 deep slow breaths.

Finish with a few minutes laying on your back to relax and soak up the benefits of all your effort.


tofino yoga: mountain pose

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Facing the short end of your mat step your feet hip distance apart. Press your thighs back anchoring your tail downwards and lift up through your sternum softening your shoulders from your ears. Keep your chin level and your gaze steady, face relaxed.

This basic standing pose teaches us good posture and helps focus the mind.

tofino yoga: warrior pose

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1 Pose)

From Tadasana step your left leg back about one legs length, stretching the mat apart between your feet to energize your inner legs. On an inhale breath sweep your arms overhead. As you exhale bend your right knee over your right ankle. Keep weight in your back heel allowing the front knee to be light. Repeat on the other side.

Warming and invigorating pose that lengthens the muscles through the front of the pelvis while strengthening the upper back.

tofino yoga: revolved side pose

Parvrita Parsvakonasana
(Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Starting from Tadasana again step your right leg back one legs length and stretch the mat apart between your feet. Placing your left hand on your left hip, inhale and raise your right arm overhead. As you exhale bend your left knee over your ankle and stretch your right side body as you hook your right arm over your outer left leg. Place your right hand on a block (shown here) or the floor and spiral the left arm past your ear to get a nice twist through you're upper spine. Gaze up under your inner left arm. Repeat on the other side.

This deep twist stretches out the spine and inner legs while massaging the internal organs, which improves digestion.

tofino yoga: plark pose

Plank Pose

From Tadasana place your hands on the floor shoulder width apart and step your feet back until your body is parallel to the floor and your heart is in between your hands. Lengthen from crown to tail pressing your thigh muscles into your bones.

This weight bearing pose strengthens the shoulders, chest, upper back and core line of the body.

tofino yoga: downward facing dog pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

From Plank pose lift your hips on an inhale breath and press them back on an exhale. Press your thighs back and allow your heels to release towards the floor. Keep pushing the floor away through strong arms maintaining a broad upper back. Relax your face and keep your fingers spread wide.

Down Dog stretches out the spine and legs while strengthening the upper back, arms and chest.

tofino yoga: gate pose

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Come down onto your knees and send your right leg out to the side, foot flat, big toe turned in. Place your right hand on your thigh, and on an inhale breath send your left hand to the ceiling. As you exhale slide your right hand down your leg tipping your torso to the side and gazing up under your extended left arm. Spiral your heart towards the ceiling. Repeat on the other side.

This energizing side stretch lengthens and tones the sides of the torso while creating more space for breath in the body.

tofino yoga: camel pose

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

This is a challenging backbend, move with awareness to avoid compression in the low back. Come up on your knees, feet hip width apart and flat behind you. Place your hands on your hips and begin to reach up and out through the top of your head keeping your chin tucked to your chest. Press your tailbone forward and begin to move your shoulders back as you exhale, continue lifting upwards as you begin to arch back. Pause here a breath or two before going deeper. If you are comfortable come into the full pose by bringing your hands onto your heels and then releasing the head back, opening the rib cage to the ceiling. Press your thighs back firmly keeping the tail long and the buttocks relaxed. When you come out of the posture Rest in Child's Pose a few moments before continuing on.

This energizing back bend opens the chest and upper back, lengthens the thighs and groin muscles, and strengthens the back body.

tofino yoga: intense west stretch

Paschimottanasana (Intense West Stretch)

Set yourself up on your mat, sit bones(bottom of your pelvis) elevated on a folded blanket and legs stretched out in front of you inner ankles touching. As you inhale reach your arms overhead pressing your sit bones down and back, as you exhale roll your sit bones farther back to hinge at the hips and fold forward over your legs with a long spine. Take hold of your feet, ankles, or a strap (shown here) and maintaining relaxed shoulders extend your heart towards your big toes to stretch out your legs and spine.

This soothing forward bend provides a deep stretch to the legs and back.

Natalie Rousseau E-RYT teaches drop in and private classes in Tofino. If you have any questions about this or other articles, or yoga in general, please email her at

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Tofino yoga lesson: Lighten Up! This intermediate Tofino yoga sequence helps to lift heavy moods and get your energy flowing.

tofino time january 2007

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