16-weeks of Road Ready Yoga as a prep for Trinidad Carnival 2018. Over the next 16 weeks, roll out your mat with us for Road Ready Yoga! We will share poses and flows to combine physical and mental exercise.
week 1: Yoga is a connection of breathe and movement. To kick off this series, practice this breathing technique and consider your intention for this practice. While sitting in comfort, Inhale deeply through the nose, filling the lungs for 4 counts. Then slowly Exhale for 5 counts, releasing all the air through the mouth. Repeat 5-7 times. This will slow your mind and increase awareness of oxygen flowing through the body, which is very important to your yoga practice.
week 2: After a gym session, a stretch does the muscles good. Practice this flow to familiarize yourself with basic yoga poses (shoes not necessary), while noticing patterns of breathe in movement:
- Cat – on all 4s, raise and round the spine, Inhale
- Cow – on all 4s, lower belly and raise crown, Exhale
- Bird Dog – lift opposite arm/leg, Inhale lift, Exhale lower
- High Plank – shoulders extended above wrists, on toes or knees, Inhale
- Low Plank – arms lowered to 90°, Exhale
- Upward Dog – flat on tops of feet and strong lifted thighs, extend up, Inhale
- Downward Dog – raise waist high and back, Exhale
week 3: Bring your inner Warrior out with these 4 poses. Great for the legs, glutes, hips, core muscles, chest, shoulders, and the arms, the Warriors postures (1, 2, 3, and Reverse) work every muscle you’ve got, building strength, balance, and confidence. Add these after the downward dog in your flow, where they will increase body awareness, flexibility, and circulation
warrior 1: rotate back foot flat, keep front leg knee above ankle, square off hips, arms extended up.
warrior 2: legs remain strong, windmill arms out on either side to shoulder height, look through fingertips.
reverse warrior: flip front palm-up, extend overhead slowly, looking at hand
warrior 4: bring both arms forward for balance, bending front leg, extend back leg up until arms and legs are parallel
week 4: Add this side plank to your Vinyasa, to help build upper body and arm strength. Holding your body weight will provide resistance to tone your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Hold each of these 5 poses for 3 breaths, repeat the sequence 3-5 times. Modification: bottom knee touches the earth
Week 5: Diamond Cut Abs. Now that you have the basic moves and flow, it’s time to tone! Start on your back, and warm up the core with a 90° bent knee twist (repeat 2xs) and Boat pose or Navasana (hold for 3 breaths). Next, after downward dog, float your leg to the center, left, and right knees (hold for 5 seconds each) before moving it through to a lunge pose. Keep your core engaged by pulling your naval back to your spine. Add Triangle pose or Trikanasana, to fire up the obliques, after your Reverse Warrior (hold for 3 breaths). Repeat this flow 2 times through, and make an ab appointment again later this week.
week 6: Tone your Stems. Follow this flow as a full leg workout, repeating 3-5 times each side, or pair with other poses and a vinyasa for a complete yoga session. Chair pose, or Utkatasana, will tone your hamstrings, quads, and glute muscles, and lifting your heels in a squat position will work the calves. Remember to flow to your breath ~ don’t adjust your breath to your flow.
week 7: Power Booty. This glute toning flow will help tighten that major muscle from all angles. Do this flow on each side, creating a balance: Yin and Yang. Take time through the moves and transitions to recognize how your breathe serves you
week 8: Upper Body series ~ this week, we’re adding light weights to work the Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders and Back. Your backpack frame some fierce arms down the road. Add these 5 moves to your yoga flow, 10-15 reps each/side:
- Curls – try this on your toes
- Shoulder raise – in high lunge
- Flys – squeeze the back
- Row/Tricep Kickbacks – keep elbow close to waist
- Overhead Tricep Extension – also try these on your toes
week 9: Quad Stretches and Backbends. Your cardio sessions are likely quad-dominant. After your run, spin class, stairclimber, or weighted leg day in the gym, a deep quad stretch will help keep the muscles from tightening and shortening, and aid in muscle soreness and recovery: Low lunge quad stretch.
And because tight quads can lead to back pain, swipe for added quad and lower back stretches:
- Hero pose/Reclining Hero – Virasana/Supta Virasana
- Camel pose – Ustrasana
- Wheel pose – Chakrasana
week 10: Balance. Balancing poses require both concentration and relaxation. Improve your inner strength and your mind’s focus and attention by holding these poses, for 3 – 5 breaths each stretch/side. The goal is alert relaxation.
Tree pose: Place foot on calf or inner thigh, not on the knee. Hands can be at the sides, or lifted to or above the heart.
Standing Backbend pose: Tuck the tailbone under, drawn belly in, and open the heart. Start standing tall & extending up and slowly exhale to arch your spine back. Keep your eyes open and only go as far as feels comfortable for your body.
week 11: Twists. Twists rotate the spine and activate the back muscles, repairing spine health and posture. Hold both the Crescent pose and the Twist pose for 3-5 full breaths, with strong thighs and core. For a variation, you may also do this with the back knee rested to the earth.
week 12: Wall poses. There are many ways a wall can benefit your yoga practice. Here are some poses where you can use it for added support. Go through this flow, holding each pose for 4-5 full breaths. Do 2 complete rounds on each side of the body.
week 13: Cardio Flow. Get your heart rate up with this flow, sculpting the whole body: arms, abs, and legs. Repeat this sequence on the left & right sides, three times each and always move to your Inhale and Exhale breaths. Included poses:
- Chair pose
- Plank pose
- Plank Jacks
- Oblique Crunches
- Downward Dog
- Crescent Lunge
week 14: Go back to the wall this week, kick your legs up and let the blood flow with these Inversion variations. Keep your shoulders strong throughout this practice, and remember to take your time and breathe. You can do this! **If you have shoulder or neck pains, lay on the mat with your legs up on the wall for similar circulation benefits
week 15: Eagle pose, or Garudasana – this pose is a challenge, for the body and mind. Try these Eagle pose variations, alternating left arm/leg over right, and right arm/leg over left. Hold each pose/side for 3-5 breaths before moving to next variation. The benefits are endless ~ improved balance, lower-body strengthening, hip opening, relief for tight back and shoulders, improved circulation, mental strength and focus, and more.
week 16: Splits – Flow through these poses to open the hip flexors on each side of the body, ending in a straddle or monkey split. This is one of the most challenging Asanas, but no matter your level, my girl I know you able. Included poses:
- 3 legged Downward Dog
- Lizard Pose
- Half Split
- Straddle Split
Thank you for joining Road Ready Yoga for the past 16 weeks.