The Basic Total Body Practice

This is the first routine I’m sharing! As I stated in the video, this is actually an abbreviated version of a full routine I’ve done before. This routine is about 25 minutes long, but the full one can take a whole hour! I might as well give you the full routine, since you have the abbreviated on in the video above. You can play with this one as you see fit! I recommend reading it first, so you know what to expect and can use it more as a guide. This is a long one typed out! Enjoy!

Anything suggested in this should also be done with any limitations in mind. If what you are doing hurts, modify it or ask of alternate options. Don’t feel like you need to push yourself. We all have our limits!

The 1 Hour Total Body Practice:

Sukhasana and Breathing: Started in a seated position, I like crossed legs like Sukhasana, but kneeling like in virasana is acceptable as well. We want to start out really comfortable. Take some time to breath deeply. Sit up nice and tall. If you struggle to keep your back straight, sit on the end of a blanket, or even a block.

Neck + Shoulder rolls: From here, alternately drop your right ear to your right shoulder, and your left ear to your left shoulder. These should be gentle drops though! We just want to loosen up the neck a little bit. After that, make big circles with your nose by dropping your chin to your chest, rolling your left ear to your left shoulder, bringing your head up slightly (without throwing the head way back), roll right ear to right shoulder, then back to chin to chest. These should also be gentle. When you’ve done them one direction, switch directions and do the same amount both ways!

Side stretch: I find this works best in a cross legged position, so if it is available to you, sit cross legged. It is still possible to do this kneeling though if cross legged is totally out for you. Start by firmly planting your right hand off your right hip. Your fingers should point out to your right. Bring your left hand, palm up, up and over head so you create a night long straight line from your left hip all the way up to your left finger tips. Lean to the right, and maybe even slide your right hand out! If you can, rest on your right elbow. If you are kneeling, you could place your hand on a block. Remember to switch sides!

Badda Konasana (Bound Angle Pose): Still sitting on the ground, if you’re kneeling you have to switch to sitting on your bottom for this one, bring the soles of your feet together in front of you. For some people your feet may be 6-12 inches in front of you, and your knees might be way in the air! Don’t worry, you can always place a blanket, books, blocks, bolsters, etc. under your knees to help support them so you can relax. If it is available to you, lean forward, first with a straight back, then relax and round the back gently. Maybe rest your elbows, or even forehead, on the ground in front of you.

Extend both your legs straight out in front of you. Keep your feet flexed in this pose. Your legs should feel like they’re doing a little bit of work. Try to sit up with a straight back, you could sit on the edge of a blanket for this one. Bring your palms straight in front of you at shoulder high, and shoulder width apart. Interlace your fingers and turn your palms out. Raise your arms up so your hands are above your head. If your shoulders don’t like this, you can add a slight bend to your elbows. This post can be hard if you have tight hamstrings.

Cat Posture: 
This post is done from all fours, let the tops of your feet rest on the ground, and your palms should be firmly planted shoulder width apart on your mat. Inhale as you engage your abs, tuck your pelvis, and round your back, like a cat arching it’s back. As you exhale, release your pelvis and let it tilt the opposite way, arch your back, and look straight forward. Alternate these a few times. If you’d like, return to neutral flat back, then “wag your tail” back and forth. Pretty much, lean your butt from one side to the other. This can feel really nice!

Table Top Posture (Alt Arms and Legs lifted): From a flat back table top position like we used in Cat, engage your abs and lift your right leg and left arm. Switch and lift your left leg and right arm. You can also do this one leg and one arm at a time, or, if you’d really like a challenge, lift the leg and arm of the same side, so right arm and right leg.

Downward facing dog: From a table top position, tuck your toes, push into your hands, and lift your knees, then send your sit bones on up! (For those who may not know, your sit bones are those two pointy bones in your bottom. There’s one in each cheek!)

Lunge/calf stretch: This one has a lot of ways to get into it, so experiment and find what works for you! I like to raise my right leg super high (three legged dog), then swing it down and forward to my right hand, and place my foot on the ground there. For some people it’s easier to drop your knees and scoot your foot forward. Drop your left knee on the ground, and release your left toes and rest on the top of that foot. Your right knee should not be in front of your right ankle. Your ankle should be at about a 90 degree angle, maybe a wider angle if you have ankle issues or discomfort. You should be getting a nice stretch in the front of your left hip. Walk your hands back, straighten that right leg, and rock onto your right heel to get a nice hamstring stretch. I recommend placing your hands on blocks or something to help be a bit more comfortable if you have tight hamstrings like I do. Switch sides! You can do this by going back to a lunge, lifting your back knee and sending your right foot back and repeating the entrance from downward facing dog, or if that is not available to you, you can scoot that right foot back and come into a table top position and then scoot that left foot forward.

Uttanasana (Forward Fold): From a lunge, step your back foot up to your front foot so that you’re in a nice forward fold. You can even keep your knees bent if you’d like to just dangle relaxed. Straighten up your legs and raise into a flat back bend. I find it helps to come up farther than you think you need too, then sink back down trying to keep your back flat. Relax forward into the forward fold again, then inhale as you slowly roll up. You can take your time here.

Warrior II: Turn to face the long edge of your mat, then step your feet nice and wide. Some people like to put their arms out straight on either side and have their ankles line up with their wrists. I find that I always need a wider stance than that, and I’ve seen people with narrower stances, so feel free to try it, but keep that in mind. Turn your right toes to the right short edge of your mat, then bend your right knee and send your arms straight out of your shoulders. Your pelvis and shoulders should face the long edge of your mat to the best of your ability in this pose. Look out past your right finger tips. “Look to the future” as one of my instructors would say. Check that your right knee isn’t going past your right ankle. You can switch sides here, or continue with the next 2 poses, then switch and do it on the other side. I prefer the second option.

Extended side-angle: If your right toes are toward the right edge of your mat in Warrior II, bend your right elbow flip your left palm up, and lean to the right. Set your right arm on your thigh, then send that left arm up and over. You can turn to look forward. This should be kind of like the seated side stretch we did at the beginning, only you are now standing! Keep those legs strong and check those knee and ankle alignments. It is the same drill for the other side. To get out, simple bring your body up and return to Warrior II. From here you can continue to the next pose, or get out of Warrior II by straightening your bent knee and and relaxing your arms.

Trikonasana (Extended Triangle): From Warrior II, straighten your bent right knee and keep those arms out long. Hinge at the hips toward the right, so kind of like your upper body is sliding to the right. if you can, rest your right hand on your right leg (not your knee though) or maybe even place your right hand on a block or the floor! To come up, you can pull your body up, or bend that right need and come up to Warrior II. I find you’re less likely to strain yourself by coming up through Warrior II.

Downward Facing Dog: You know the drill for this one! From the previous pose, bring your legs together, turn to face the short edge of your mat, and dive down into forward fold, then step back into Downward Facing Dog.

Child’s Pose: 
From Downward Facing Dog, drop your knees, release your toes, and come onto the tops of your feet. Set your bottom down on your heals, lean your body forward and relax your head on the ground. If you can’t reach the ground, you can place pillow or block under your forehead. Send your hands out straight forward with your hands planted on the mat. You can keep your hands straight, or relax them on either side of your body.

You get to lie on your belly now! Nothing fancy, just lie down on your belly first. Don’t tuck your toes. Now place your hands on either side of your chest palms down. Your elbows will stick up in the air. I like to start with “baby” cobras. It’s a muscular version, as opposed to pushing into your hands to lift your chest. Really press the top of your feet into the ground, engage your quads, glutes, and core. Lift your head and chest up from the ground. To check if you’re doing your baby cobra right, try lifting your hands off the ground! Relax back down. You can do another of those, or, with the same muscles in mind, lift up nice and high by pushing into your hands into the ground.

Locust: Lie flat face down on the ground with your hands beside your body. Think about those quads and glutes again! Really engage them and squeeze! You’ll be using your core too, so your back and abs should be doing work. Lift your head, chest, arms, and legs up! If this is a bit hard, you could just lift up your head, chest, and arms.

Seated twist: Now we’re going to sit on the ground again, with your legs bent in front of you, take your right foot, and bring the heel to the outside of your left hip. your leg will be flat on the ground. Keeping the left knee bent, bring the left foot to the outside of the right thigh. You might look like a 3D pretzel. (Kind of.) Hook your right arm around your left knee, or bring the top of your right arm, to the top of your left thigh. Use this arm to help twist your body to the left. Lead with the torso, then turn to look over your left shoulder last. To come out, start at the top of your spine and turn your head to neutral then your torso. Don’t forget to switch

Bridge Pose: On your back with your knees bent and your feet firmly planted. You’re going to be really using your abs and legs for this one. Push into your feet and slowly peel your spine up off the ground. Really push your legs into the ground, your legs pushing into the ground should be what’s really keeping your body in the air, not a ton of core strength.

Thread the needle: 
From your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, left your right foot off the ground and cross your right ankle over the top of your left thigh. This is a pretty common position for some people to sit. You may feel a stretch here on the outside of your right hip. If it is available to you, send your right hand in the gap created by your right leg, between your legs, and your left hand on the outside. Clasp them behind your left thigh. I recommend keeping your feet flexed in this pose to protect your knees. And switch side!

Wind-relieving pose: 
This is the same starting position as the previous two. Lift your right foot off the ground, and bring it into your right chest. You can wrap your arms around your right shin, back of your right thigh, or use a strap in either place. People who are stiff or curvier may prefer to use a strap, but maybe not! Send your left leg out straight on the ground. This is a nice relaxing pose. You can turn this into a twist by sending that bent right knee over to rest on the ground to your left. I love twists, especially this one! Don’t forget to (you guessed it) switch sides!

Savasana: Send your feet out, lay flat on your back, let your feet flop to the side, your hands relax and fingers naturally curl. Let your body feel heavy. You earned this!

I love this practice. You can even throw a Sun Salutation in the beginning if you’d like. That adds just a little element of cardio in.

Wheph, that took a while to type out! Worth it!



One thought on “The Basic Total Body Practice

  1. Pingback: Core Yoga – A Basic Core Practice | yogicamnesiac

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