Ever feel so tired and strapped for time that nothing but a bottomless pot of coffee could save you? Cue superhero yoga sequence! This simple (and short) flow of poses is geared to save you time, perk you up, and remind you that you possess all the energy (and pizzazz) of your favorite hero. Go get ’em, tiger!
ANAHATASANA (HEART CHAKRA POSE)
Begin on all fours, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Keep your hands shoulder width apart and your knees hip width apart. Keep your hips over your knees as you walk your hands forward. Bow your belly and throat down toward the ground until your arms are straight and engaged, fully extended. Keep your hips high, as if you’re a puppy wagging its playful tail. Gaze slightly forward as you melt your throat and heart toward the ground.
ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (DOWNWARD-FACING DOG) WITH REVOLVED TWIST
5 BREATHS PER SIDE
Come back onto all fours. Keep your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Curl your toes under, straighten your legs, and lift your hips up and back into the pose. Firm your upper outer arms in; relax all four sides of your neck. Reach your right hand to the outer edge of your left leg (shin, ankle, or foot, whatever you can reach). If you can’t find the leg, shorten your stance. Revolve your rib cage to the left, keeping your left arm straight. Breathe, switch sides, and repeat.
UTTANASANA (STANDING FORWARD BEND) WITH TWIST
5 BREATHS PER SIDE
Walk your hands back to meet your feet, keeping them hip width apart. Place your right palm down onto the mat or a block so that your arm is straight, with the shoulder stacking over the wrist. Bend your right knee slightly as you push the ground away and extend your left arm up to the sky. Keep your hips square and relax your neck. Breathe, switch sides, and repeat.
UTKATASANA (CHAIR POSE)
Bend both of your knees, drop your hips, and lift your torso upright. Keep the weight in your heels as you press the shinbones back. You should be able to see your toes when you gaze down. Keep your pelvis neutral, lift your lower belly up, and keep your front ribs in. Extend your arms up shoulder width apart with the palms turned in to relax the base of your neck.
PARIVRTTA UTKATASANA (CHAIR POSE TWIST)
8 BREATHS PER SIDE
From Chair, draw your palms in to your heart. Exhale, and swing your left elbow onto your right thigh. Place your palms together and press down to revolve your chest open to the right. Keep your hips square. Release the twist, returning into Chair. Repeat the twist on the second side, then place your palms on the ground and step back into . . .
CRESCENT + CRESCENT WITH HAND DOWN TWIST
Step your right foot forward in between your hands. Stay on the ball of your back foot with your feet hip width apart. Lift your arms and torso upright. Draw your tailbone down as you lift your lower belly up. Bend the back knee as much as you need to in order to achieve this. Stretch your arms overhead shoulder width apart. Breathe.
Drop your left hand down onto the mat, keeping your hips square. Press into your base hand to revolve your chest open to the right, extending your top arm up directly above your left arm. Breathe.
Repeat Crescent + Crescent with hand down twist on the second side.
USTRASANA (CAMEL POSE)
3 ROUNDS OF 8 BREATHS EACH
Hop to your shins. Stand on your knees with even weight throughout your shinbones, keeping them hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips, encouraging your tailbone down and your lower belly up. Shift your hands to your rib cage, inviting it to press forward to create a wheel sensation in your chest. Continue to curl your upper body open as you lift your heart straight up. Release your arms back to clasp your heels. Surrender your neck and head. Breathe, rolling up one vertebra at a time. Repeat.
PASCHIMOTTANASANA (SEATED FORWARD BEND)
Swing your legs out in front of you. Sit tall with your legs straight and together. Flex your feet. Inhale as you lift your chest up. Exhale, keeping the length as you reach forward to grab the outer edges of your feet. Avoid rounding in the upper back. Keep the legs active and the neck soft.
Finish the sequence with a Seated Meditation (page 68) and Savasana (page 68). Clear your mind, absorb your practice, and invite energy and renewal into your attitude and body.
This post is excerpted from Kathryn’s new book, Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance!
Kathryn Budig is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and author known for her accessibility, humor, and ability to empower her students through her message, “aim true.” She is a warrior for self-acceptance, honesty, and helping her students and readers find true balance. The Kansas native graduated from the University of Virginia with a double degree in English and Drama before moving to Los Angeles, where she trained under the tutelage of Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller. With over a decade of experience in her field, she served as the yoga contributor to Women’s Health magazine for 5 years, writes weekly for Yoga Journal, and served on the Yahoo! Health advisory board as well as contributing regular recipes. She’s a sponsored athlete in Under Armour’s “I WILL WHAT I WANT” campaign, and the founder of her animal project, Poses for Paws. She is the creator of the Aim True Yoga DVD and author of The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga. Her second book, Aim True, was recently published through William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins.
Feeling inspired? Practice with Kathryn on YogaGlo today.