20-Minute Yoga Flow to Energize Your Day
There are so many benefits to practicing yoga. This unique and holistic practice brings together your mind and body and incorporates breathing exercises and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. It also helps to improve balance, support joint health, prevent back pain, foster mental calmness, and build strength. Show yourself some love by practicing this 20-minute yoga flow to re-energize your day and lifts your spirits. Crafted for all ages and skill levels!
20-Minute Yoga Flow to Energize Your Day
Disclaimer: Yoga is a moving meditation and should never feel painful or forced. Throughout this flow, stay with the rhythm of your breathe and move at your own pace. If you ever find your breathe feeling short or strained, that is a good indicator to slow yourself down. Please restrain from doing anything that feels unsupportive or painful. Enjoy!
Start in a Child's Pose
Point your knees towards the edges of your mat and drape your upper body forward over your thighs. Reach your finger tips towards the front of your mat and let your forehead sink into the earth. If you find tension in your lower back, bring your knees together.
Begin to find your breath by breathing into your nose for four counts, and breathing out your mouth for four counts.
Move through Cat/ Cow
Shift your weight forward into a Table Top where your shoulders stack over your wrists and your hips over your knees.
Breathe in and drop your belly to find your Cat pose. Shine your heart forward and arch your back.
Breathe out and lift your belly as you tuck your gaze towards your collarbones. Push the mat with your palms for a more rounded shape.
Move through these spinal movements at your own pace, adding additional movements in your hips or neck if it feels good!
Lift your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog
Tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back towards the sky into a Downward Facing Dog. Spread your fingertips out wide and root your weight into your thumbs and index fingers to release tension out of your wrists.
Notice the stretch in the back of your legs and walk your feet side to side.
Stay with your breath! Take an inhale as you lift onto the balls of your feet and bend your knees. Exhale as you extend your legs back down and draw your chest closer towards your legs.
Step forward into Standing Forward Fold
Tip toe your feet forward into a standing forward fold. Hinge at your hips and notice your foundation. Maybe rock your weight forward and back or side to side. Grab hold of your elbows and sway side to side - releasing tension out of your lower back. Shake your head side to side - let go of that tension! You can also bend your knees to allow more space for a stretch, or use a yoga block underneath your hands.
Roll yourself to rise into Standing Mountain
Plug into your feet and rise to a Standing Mountain Pose. "Zombie roll" yourself to rise as you stack your spine. Let your chin be last to lift!
Settle back into Downward Facing Dog
Find yourself back into your Downward Facing Dog shape...
Step your right foot forward and rise into Crescent Lunge
Step forward with your right foot into a low lunge and plug into your right foot as your rise into a High Crescent Lunge.
Reach your fingertips high and lower your shoulders away from your ears. Right knee is stacked over right ankle and you are high on your back toes.
Option: Bend your back knee to tuck your tailbone more so that your neck, spine, and tailbone are aligned.
Cartwheel your arms open into Warrior 2
Cartwheel your arms around and pivot your back foot into a Warrior 2. Right knee is stacked over right ankle and shoulders are stacked over hips.
This is such a wonderful and gentle hip opener and confidence-boosting pose! What are you protecting in your Warrior shape? Keep your arms strong and engaged as an extension of your heart and drive the side-edge of your left foot into your mat. Can you draw your inner thighs together to activate your legs more? You will feel lighter in this pose by doing so.
Reach forward and down into Extended Side Angle
Reach forward with your right arm with an inhale. On the exhale, bring your right elbow to your right knee in an Extended Side Angle, and your left hand reaches for the sky.
Your gaze can follow your left hand, or can shift down towards your foot - what feels natural for you? You can also extend your right arm long towards the mat for a more advanced pose, but stay lifted on the left side, reaching taller towards your left fingertips!
Lift up and back to find Reverse Warrior
Use your obliques to lift up and back into a Reverse Warrior. Paint the sky with your right palm and breathe into your right rib cage. Lower your right shoulder away from your face and enjoy the side-stretch.
Imagine the lateral sides of your body are like two rainbows! Allow a nice arched stretch for both sides of your body - right and left.
While you're at it, can you deepen the bend in your right knee here? Equal effort in both legs!
Cartwheel your hands down and step into High Plank
Cartwheel your hands down to frame your front foot, into a low lunge. Step your right foot back into a high plank pose. Shoulders are stacked directly over your wrists and everything is engaged here. Let your legs work just as much as your arms by squeezing your glutes and glueing your legs together. Lift your belly up towards your spine to activate your core.
Flow through Chaturanga (Tricep Push Up)
Take a breath and shift your weight forward so you're higher on your toes. On the breathe out, lower down into a Low Plank Pose, just like a tricep push up! Hug your elbows into your ribs as you lower down as one unit. Gaze stays down so your neck is in line with your spine.
Flip your feet and open into Upward Facing Dog
Flip your feet so the weight is on the shoelace-edges of your feet, and open up into Upward Facing Dog. Keep your glutes engaged to protect your back and shift your hips forward.
Shine your heart forward too... and smile! Stay lifted out of your palms so your shoulders are relaxed.
Untuck your toes and shift back into Downward Facing Dog
Untuck your toes and lift your hips up and back as you settle into your downward facing dog. Give yourself a moment to walk out any tension and gaze between your legs to allow your neck and mind to relax.
*Repeat Left Side
Step your left foot forward to prepare for a High Crescent Lunge and flow through the same sequence on the Left side!
*Repeat entire sequence both sides, two more times
After flowing through the Right and Left sides once, keep building blood flow and strength in your body by practicing each side two more times. This will be a total of three times on each side.
Tree Pose (Right & Left)
After your third round on the Left side, come into a Child's Pose. Come back to breathing into your nose, and out your mouth.
When ready, find yourself back in a Standing Mountain Pose. Plug into your left foot and slide your right foot up your leg into a Tree Pose.
Challenge yourself to not use your hands here and allow your foot to land on your ankle, calf, or higher. Glue your foot and leg into each other and spot something in front of your that isn't moving in order to increase your balance. Squeeze your right glute to open your hip more.
If you hop or fall out of the pose - that's okay! Yoga is a practice. Show yourself grace and allow yourself to step back into it and practice the pose for however long you'd like.
When you're ready, shake it out and practice your Tree on the opposite leg.
Option: Lift your arms towards the sky and lift your gaze for more of a challenge.
Benefits of practicing your balance:
- Gain stronger core stability
- Increased mindfulness
- Reduce risk of falls and injuries such as hip fracture
Half Pigeon is a wonderful and yummy hip-opener! It can feel intense, so ease your way into this stretch and stay with your breathe as you notice the tightness (or openness) in your hips.
Come down onto your mat and tuck your right heel in towards your pelvis as you extend your left leg back behind you. Fold your body forward over your thigh and rest on a yoga block, your forearms, or all the way down on the mat.
Hold this stretch for 5-10 breaths.
Crawl yourself back up and switch onto the other side, at your own pace.
Extend your legs out into Seated Forward Fold
Shake your legs out in front of you and take a big breathe in as you reach your arms high towards the sky. With an exhale, fold forward, reaching towards your feet.
Allow a bend in your knees or place a block on your knees for more support. Remember, we never want pain in yoga. You don't have to look like these pictures to do it "right" - we sure don't look like this!
Lay down and grab your feet for Happy Baby
Slowly lie down onto your back and grab hold of your feet to find Happy Baby.
This is a really nice and gentle hip opener. You are welcome to stay still or invite a slow rock side-to-side for a different sensation and stretch.
Tuck your chin slightly to relax the back of your neck and begin to soften the muscles in your face as you start your cool-down.
Savasana is translated to "corpse pose." We know, a little morbid... but it's meant to represent stillness and completion. Completion of your practice! A time to invite softness and stillness for your body for a few minutes.
Savasana calms your nervous system and allows your mind and body to relax. There is no "appropriate" length of time to be in this shape. We recommend being still for at least 3 minutes, but if you have more time, that is wonderful! You can also lay on your belly, curl up on your side, hang your legs up on a wall, or bring the bottoms of your feet together... what feels supportive for you?
After you flow through this sequence of poses, think about how you feel and the calmness of your mind. You are welcome to journal, invite others to join you, and do it again if you'd like! You can adapt this flow by removing or adding poses that feel natural to you. We hope this yoga flow helps to energize your day and calm your body and mind.
*Thank you Yoga Journal for the wonderful images. Check out their site for more wisdom and tips on building your own yoga practice!