Kick off National Yoga Month with 7 tips for starting and maintaining an at home yoga practice.Read more
This summer has been a hot one for us! I’ve been starting to take my practice indoors earlier in the morning, before the sun shows her rays into our house. Not always the early morning practitioner myself, but I’ve noticed I’m ready to take charge of my day with my morning endorphin boost after a sweat session. The month of June was jam-packed with yoga, traveling, and assisting a teacher training so my body is feeling strong and I’ve carried on this month with endurance, strength, and fire. ‘Tis the season! Best way to build fire in our bodies is work our biggest muscles so July, we are keeping it fiery! This month’s heat du jour is crunches with a twist, awkward airplane balances, back-bending, plank push-ups, and forearm foreplay. Activate everything!
1. Crunches with a twist
Start by laying down on your back, bring both needs in towards your chest and take a spinal twist on each side. Allow your knees to fall to the right, while stretching your left arm out from your shoulder looking off to your left. Switch sides; knees fall to the left, tee out your right arm looking off to your right. Come back to center hugging both knees towards your chest, take your left leg and cross it over your right leg so your thighs stack on top of each other. Slowly, let your knees fall to the right. Tent your fingertips by your ears. As you inhale, lift your shoulders up off of the earth, crunching in and lowering back down on your exhale. Inhale the shoulders up, exhale down. Take great care to lift up and lower down slowly with your breath, see if you can breathe in to a 4 count and exhale out on a 4 count. 15-20 reps on each side. Switch legs; take your right leg over your left, allow the knees to fall to the left completing your reps with breath. Roll yourself into a ball and begin to rock-n-roll forward. Plant your hands and come right into a table-top position on your hands and knees.
2. Awkward Airplane & Back-bending
From table top, on your hands and knees, reach your right arm forward as though you're about to shake someone's hand, thumb facing upward. Extend your left leg long behind, extending yourself with a long, neutral spine in mind. It helps to tuck your tailbone forward slightly, bikini belly-in, and your ribs hug into your front body like they're holding on for dear life.
Hold this for about 30 seconds and then begin to extend your right hand out to the right from your shoulder and your left leg will follow suit by extending out to the left from your hips. Hence, the term awkward airplane.
It looks so simple but it's oh so fun and incredibly challenging. Stay with your breath here and hold for 1-2 minutes, switching to the second side. Round 2, extend your left arm out in front, right leg back for 30 seconds. Transition yourself into the flying core machine that you are and breathe here for 1-2 minutes.
Coming back on all-fours, extend your right arm forward, lifting your left leg once again. Bend the left leg and reach your right arm back for your left foot, pressing your foot into hand for this backbend. Drop your belly, lift your heart and breathe here for about 10-15 breaths. Switch to the second side; left hand reaches back to catch the right foot, 10-15 breaths. Make your way into high plank, wrist creases beneath the shoulders, feet extend long keeping your hips high, back and belly engaged.
3. Plank Push-ups (with a little extra in the middle!)
From high plank, lift your right let up and sweep it out from underneath your body to left. Place your the outside of your right foot on the ground (for an extra challenge, float the right foot). Inhale forward onto your left tip-toes, and exhale lower for chaturanga.
The wrists are in-line with your elbows bending at 90 degrees, shoulders and upper body working in-line with the elbows. Inhale back up, exhale lower for 5-10 reps, meeting back into high plank. Left leg lifts and sweeps to extend out to the right. Inhale forward, exhale lower for chaturanga for 5-10 reps on this second side. This is a tough cookie, take a moment in child’s pose to connect with your breath and then make your way into dolphin pose. From plank position, lower your forearms down to the earth, press your heart towards your thighs, as your hips go high making a V-shape with your body. Walk your feet forward so your shoulders come above your elbows and keep the eye of your elbows shoulder-width.
4. Forearm Foreplay
From dolphin pose, lift your right leg to the sky on an inhale. As you exhale, slowly cross your right leg underneath you to extend out from your left hip (similar to the plank push-ups).
From here, you will hold for 15-20 breaths, re-extend long behind you and switch to the left side. Extend your left leg back behind you as your breath in, exhale step through underneath your body extending out from your right hip and hold for 15-20 breaths. Switch sides for 5-10 reps. Slowly, make your way onto your back, signing off from abs and arms, coming right into Supt Buddha Konasana. The the soles of your feet connect, knees come out wide. Place one hand on your belly, one hand on your heart.
"Feel your breath, feel your heart, feel this moment, it is the only thing that exists."
Honor your body, thank your body, love your body, and feel alive in your body. Shakiness, sweat, and breath gets us right into our body. We do this work because we love our bodies. Love on from the inside-out.