Rotating Around the Core
Core, Strength, Twists, Shoulders
This core yoga sequence moves dynamically through postures that require strong core engagement to maintain balance, ending with side body opening and twists.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Begin in Downward Facing Dog with your hands planted at the top of the mat. Ground down through the index knuckles on each hand. Work to lengthen the spine by lifting the tailbone, feeling free to find as much of a bend in the knees as you’d like. Slightly internally rotate the legs, and lastly, allow the heels and chest to sink downwards towards the mat.
From Downward Facing Dog, rise up on the balls of the feet and strongly protract the shoulder blades (think pushing actively though the hands). Begin to tuck the tailbone, and then allow that tucking motion to radiate up the spine in a wave as you shift your weight forward until you’re in a plank position.
As you finish your wave, immediately begin to bend into the arms until the elbow joints come to 90-degrees. Elbows pull tightly in towards the rips as the shoulder blades move towards one another (retraction). The core remains engaged with navel pulling in towards the spine. On the next inhale, straighten the arms and reverse the spinal wave motion until you’re back in Downward Facing Dog. Repeat these two movements 2 or 3 times to awaken the spine and heat the upper body.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
After your final Spinal Wave, return to Downward Facing Dog then step the right foot forward in between the hands. Lift the upper body and reach the right arm forward and left arm backwards, as if they’re being pulled in both directions. Align the chest directly over the hips and sink deeper towards 90-degrees in the front knee. Ground actively through the knife-edge of the back foot.
Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
From Warrior II, reach the front arm forward as far as possible. As you reach to your maximum, allow the arm to fall on the inside of the bent knee (the arm can also come to the outside or the forearm can come on top of the knee). Reach the opposite arm overhead while externally rotating so that the bicep comes by the ear. Work to twist the mid-body so that the chest faces towards the sidewall. Remain actively grounding through both legs.
Side Plank Variation (Vasisthasana Variation)
Place the grounded hand on the outside of the front leg. Slowly begin to shift weight into the hand until the front leg can lift off the ground. Contract the core and pull the knee in towards the chest as you reach the lifted arm up overhead. Push down through the bottom arm so the bottom shoulder blade wraps around the back. The gaze may come to the top hand if you like.
Fallen Triangle (Patita Tarasana)
Slowly, straighten the bent right leg and place the foot off the side of the mat so that the toes are in line with the supporting hand. Keep the navel pulled in towards the spine and the core engaged. Remain protracted through the supporting shoulder. If the hips are sinking, try lifting them a little bit higher.
Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)
Bring the lifted left arm down to the mat as you re-bend the extended right leg and pull the knee back in towards the chest. You should now be in a plank with the right knee lifted. From here, rotate the body towards the left side of the mat and begin to lift the right arm. Continue rotating until the front body is facing upwards and the sole of the right foot can be placed on the ground. Press into the foot to lift the hips and extend the right hand overhead.
Revolved Head-of-the-Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)
Slowly, lower the hips until the seat comes to the ground. Bring the sole of the right foot to the inside of the left leg. Twist the body to the right so that the chest is facing the side of the mat. Reach the fingertips to the ground to help leverage the twist while pressing downwards to extend the spine. From here, reach your right arm overhead and fold towards the left foot. Maintain the twist as you fold with the chest facing the sidewall.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Rise out of your fold, then bring the right leg over the left and place the right sole of the foot on the ground. Now bend the left leg so that the left heel comes near the right hip. Ground down evenly through the hips. Lift the left arm up to create length in the spine and place the left elbow on the outside of the right leg. Left fingertips reach behind for support. On each inhale, create length with the spine, and on each exhale, twist deeper. After several breaths, unwrap the legs and return to Downward Facing Dog to repeat on the other side.