by Claire Grieve: Yoga is so much more than solely a means of rest and relaxation…
With so many ways to practice, you can easily switch up from one day to the next. Your body may desire an energizing flow one day, a strengthening flow the next, and the following a restorative. That’s the beauty of yoga—it’s your practice, and you can make it what you want.
When I’m not able to get in another workout, I love doing a high-octane flow first thing in the morning to get my heart pumping. The great thing about this challenging flow is that it will not only help you work up a sweat, but it’ll boost your metabolism, too.
And the best part is that this strength-building, high-intensity flow can be done in just about 10 minutes!
Warm up with five sun salutations.
Start in mountain pose, grounding down with your feet together and arms straight by your sides. Breathe in and sweep your arms up to the sky into an upward salute. Exhale and bend forward into a forward bend. Inhale and lengthen your chest to the sky into a half standing forward bend. Fold forward back to the floor, and step or jump your feet back into chaturanga, a plank pose with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Inhale, roll over to the top of your feet and lift your chest to the sky into an upward-facing dog. Exhale and send your hips back into a downward-facing dog. Press your heels firmly toward the ground. Relax your head and neck, and gaze back toward your feet. Stay in this pose for 5 deep breaths and begin the flow again.
Downward-facing dog moving into knee-to-nose.
Place your feet hip-width apart, and place your hands about 3 feet ahead of your feet. Pull your hips into the sky, and lengthen your lower back. Take one deep breath. Release one leg high into the air into a three-legged dog. Pull your knee in and try to touch your nose. Kick back into three-legged dog. Repeat this sequence 10 times on each leg, moving quickly to get your heart rate up.
High plank to chaturanga.
Start in a plank position with your arms strong and your core activated. Lower down slowly with your arms hugging your body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Pause here in chaturanga and hold the position for 10 seconds. Push yourself back up to plank pose. Perform this sequence slower and more thoughtfully than you would a pushup. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
Chair pose to boat pose.
Start in mountain pose. Bring your arms up to the sky so that they are next to your ears. Sit your hips back and down as though you are sitting in a chair. Hold chair pose for 30 seconds. Rock back and thoughtfully place your hip bones on the floor lifting your legs into a 45-degree angle toward the sky. Hold boat pose for 30 seconds. Use your core to bring yourself back up to your feet and return to chair pose. Move slowly enough that you’re using strength, not momentum, to move between the poses. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
Find an empty wall and face it. Place your hands about a foot away from the wall. Kick one leg toward the wall, allowing your hips to come over your shoulders. Let the momentum from the kick bring the other leg into the sky, and rest that leg on the wall as well. Work up to bringing your legs away from the wall and balancing on your own.
This yoga flow can be done anywhere and is a great tool if you’re looking to get your heart pumping and your metabolism running in a pinch.