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Yoga can benefit you no matter what mood you find yourself in. Emotion is motivating when we put it into motion. Yoga will uplift you if you are feeling sluggish or down, relax you if you feel high-strung, and soften your edges if you are feeling angry. This 10-minute series is from my new book, Yogalosophy for Inner Strength.
1. Low lunge (30 seconds each side)
Step your right foot forward into a lunge. Place both hands on the floor on either side of your right foot and align the knee over the ankle at a 90-degree angle. Rest your back knee on the mat. Scoop your tailbone under slightly and find upper body extension. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Reverse warrior (30 seconds each side)
With your knee tracking over the center of your foot and still at a 90-degree angle, spin your back heel in and windmill your arms open to warrior 2, with arms reaching out in alignment with your shoulders, palm pressing down. Your back leg should be straight and firm. Flip your front palm upward and reach back as you slide your hand down your back leg. Spiral your chest up toward the ceiling. Breathe here for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Downward facing dog (1 minute)
Come down to 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 downward facing dog. Firm your upper outer arms and relax your neck. Hold for up to 1 minute.
4. Forearm plank (30 seconds)
Shift forward to Plank Pose then, one at a time, bring your forearms to the mat, parallel to each other. Align your elbows below your shoulders. Keep your hips level with your shoulders. Firm your thighs and engage your abdominals as you push into the mat with your forearms to activate your muscles. Breathe here for 30 seconds.
5. Sphinx (30 seconds)
Keep your forearms in forearm plank alignment. Lower your torso and legs to the mat. Press forearms down as you lift your chest up and extend your sternum to the sky. Take five deep breaths. Shift back to child’s pose for a few breaths and then flip over onto your back.
6. Bridge pose (30 seconds, repeat three times)
Bend your knees to bring your feet flat on the floor, parallel to one another and hip-width apart. Inhale. On an exhale, press your feet down to lift your hips up and peel your spine off the mat, keeping your arms down by your sides. Engage your inner thighs. Scoop the tailbone slightly. Clasp your hands beneath you and wriggle up onto your shoulders. After five breaths, or 30 seconds, lower your hips. Repeat this two more times.
7. Happy baby pose (1 minute)
Hug your knees in to your chest and reach for the insides or outsides of your feet. Open your knees so they are outside of your ribs on either side of your torso; aim the soles of your feet up to the ceiling. Keep your shoulders and upper back down on the floor. Breathe here for one minute.
8. One-legged seated forward bend (1 minute each side)
Come to sitting with legs extended. Draw the sole of your right foot to the inner left thigh. Take a deep inhale and reach up to lengthen your spine. On your exhale, fold forward over the left leg, perhaps clasping the foot. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Then rise back to sitting. Repeat on the opposite side.
9. Shoulderstand (2 minutes)
From a supine position with arms down by your sides, bend your knees and contract your abs. Inhale. As you exhale, bring your knees in by pressing your arms into the floor. Support and lift your back as you place your palms on your lower back and draw your elbows toward each other. There should be very little weight on your neck. Do not move your head around. Walk your hands up toward your back ribs, aligning your hips with your shoulders. With this support and the knees still bent, draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone and internally rotate your thighs. On your next inhale, straighten your legs up toward the ceiling, extending up through the balls of the feet to lengthen and strengthen your legs. Reach up! Breathe here for up to two minutes.
10. Savasana/corpse pose (3-5 minutes)
Lie with your legs outstretched and slightly apart and your feet flopping open. Relax your shoulders down, away from your ears. Get as comfortable as you can. Flip your palms upward. Be receptive and relaxed.
Enjoy this feeling in your body, after having been touched, moved, and loved up by you. Feel the sensation of total relaxation as you allow your body to sink down into the mat, simply allowing yourself to surrender completely.