If you’re brand new to yoga, or haven’t been on the mat for a while, here’s a great 10-minute beginner's yoga sequence to help you unwind and work out all the kinks in your body.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Start in Balasana: from your shins, sit back on your heels and stretch your arms forward, relaxing your forehead to the floor. Feel your lower back, hips, and waist stretching out as you tap in to your deep ujjayi breathing. Stay here 8 to 10 breaths until you feel calm and connected.
2. Cat/Cow Pose
Then, come on to your hands and knees for a few Cat/Cow stretches, arching and rounding your back. Link your breath to the movement and open up your spine.
3. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Move forward on to your belly in Cobra Pose. Make sure the arch is in your upper back, feel your tailbone lengthening back towards your legs, and engage between your shoulder blades to keep the tops of the shoulders down away from your ears.
If your lower back is tight, stay low in Baby Cobra. I love this stretch to open my lungs, relieve my lower back and shoulders, and stretch out my neck. Stay 3 to 5 breaths, lower down, then lift back up 1 or 2 more times.
If you want to drop your head forward, take slow neck rolls, or drop your head to each side, feel free to do so.
4. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana
Next, lower down onto your forearms for Sphinx. Make sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Keep tugging your shoulder blades together and down your back. Lift your tummy in and up and slide your tailbone back towards your heels.
Hold 5 breaths or so, then lower down, keeping your forearms on the floor.
5. Dolphin Pose (Makarasana)
Then, tuck under your toes and press in to your forearm as you bend your knees and press back into Dolphin. When I’m low on energy, I love doing this variation of Downward Dog; it’s a great way to stretch open the shoulders and upper back, as well as the hamstrings, hips, and lower back.
You can move to full Downward Dog as well if you wish, or stay in Dolphin for a good 5 to 8 breaths.
6. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
Next, bring your right knee forward towards the right side, or your right hand and your right foot towards the left hand. Lower you back leg straight down to the floor and lower your forearms down in Pigeon. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
Make sure you’re not sinking into either hip (you can prop the right buttocks up if you’re very tight). You can also lower your forehead down to the floor or a pillow. Switch sides.
7. Double Pigeon or Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
From Pigeon with your left leg bent, float your right leg around and stack the right ankle above the left knee. Double Pigeon is one of my all time favorite stretches! We hold so much junk in our trunk, which leads to excess tension in our backs, hips, and even jaw.
Double Pigeon (also known as Ankle-to-Knee Pose) is one of the best hip openers there is. Hold 8 to 10 breaths (or more), allowing your hips to fully relax and release.
Make sure your shins are stacked exactly one on top of each other and don’t let the top ankle collapse (look for wrinkles on the inner ankle and iron them out by flexing the foot). Repeat on the left side.
8. Star Pose (Tarasana)
Bring both soles of feet together and bend your knees in a kite shape for Tarasana.
Tarasana is more restorative than Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana) because your inner thighs aren’t getting as deep of a stretch, and you can round your torso forward, resting the head, neck, and shoulders as you breathe in to the lower back, outer thighs, and groins.
Stay 8 to 10 breaths. You can also place a block under your forehead for absolute relaxation.
9. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Keeping your feet together and knees apart, lie down on your back in Reclined Bound Angle Pose. You may need to slide your heels a bit closer to your groins. See what is most comfortable for you. You can prop your outer upper thighs with pillows or blocks if you wish.
Lie here for as long as is comfortable, watching your breath. If you like, place your hands on your belly and watch the rise and fall of the abdomen as you breathe.
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Finally, lengthen your legs forward, letting them drop out to the sides. Turn your palms up and rest your shoulders down away from your ears. Melt your entire body into the floor in Savasana. Relax your breath, close your eyes, imagine yourself melting into a deep state of rest.
I hope this yoga sequence lets you release into your own natural state of beauty and bliss!