A vinyasa flow is like a dance, linking each physical movement with the breath and finding flow in every pose and transition.
Yoga teaches us that the mind, body and spirit are all connected. What we think affects our bodies, and what our bodies do affects our minds. To put it simply, a relaxed and healthy mind and spirit leads to a relaxed and healthy body, and vice versa.
Once you become aware of your mind and body you will also become more aware of what they need from you, whether that is to slow things down, to follow a more nutritious diet or even to sleep more. The answers are all within you, and through your yoga practice, you will be able to listen closely.
Follow this simple, yet effective, beginner yoga flow to start tapping into that mind, body spirit connection.
Begin in Mountain Pose
To begin, bring yourself to the top of your mat in mountain pose (tadasana) with your hands at your heart. Your feet should be pressed together. This is traditionally where you might set an intention for your practice. This intention could be something simple like, to stretch, move my body or to stay with my breath, or it can go deeper like, to find comfort in discomfort or to be more patient with your body.
Inhale. With your palms together, lift your arms above your head and lift your gaze to your thumbs. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and away from your ears.
Exhale. You can separate your hands and release your arms to either side and forward bend over your legs to come into a forward bend (ittanasana). Ideally, you should place your fingertips in line with your toes and flatten your palms. If this isn’t available to you then you can place your hands on blogs or you can bend your knees if that makes you feel more comfortable.
Inhale. Lift your head as you come to a flat back (ardha uttanasana), coming to your fingertips or placing your hands on your shins, whichever allows you to get your back as flat as possible.
Exhale. Plant your palms and step or jump back into a plank position. In plank, make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your butt is in line with your body. Take an inhale here.
For beginners, exhale as you lower to your knees, chest and chin.
For advanced, roll forward to the tip of your toes and exhale as you lower down to a low push-up, keeping your elbows close to your body.
Upward Facing Dog
For beginners, inhale as you anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the floor as you come up. Try not to press into your hands, rather push from your lower spine.
For advanced, inhale as you bring your shoulders down and away from your ears. Then straighten your arms. Make sure your legs are straight and your knees are lifted off the floor.
Downward Facing Dog
Exhale. Push back to your downward facing dog. Make sure your legs are hips-width distance, and your fingers are pressed down to the mat and facing forward. Inwardly rotate your elbows. Keep your back flat and your booty rotated up to the sky. You should be pushing your weight back to your feet, and your legs should be straight. The more you do this restorative pose, the better you will get at it. It’s ok for it not to look or feel good in the beginning. After all, yoga is called a practice for a reason. Stay here for a few breaths.
Step or Jump to a Forward Bend
Exhale. Step the right foot next to the right hand and then bring the left food to join in. You may also choose to jump forward instead. To do this, bend the knees on an exhalation and jump your feet to meet your hands. Inhale up to a flat back and then exhale back to forward bend.
Finish the Sun Salutation
Inhale. Lift your arms out to the sides and up, reversing the swan drive to return to raised arms pose. Exhale. Come back to mountain pose with your hands in a prayer position at your heart.
You can repeat this sequence several times. You will feel as your body starts to loosen up as you get deeper into the poses.