Watching the seasons change opens the door for us to reflect on changes we see in our own lives. Like the bright autumn leaves, sometimes change on the outside looks beautiful, but then the reality of it can be scary, challenging or unexpected.
Sometimes we avoid change because it looks tough, even though a lot of times, change is what is needed and what is best for us. So to raise your spirits during times of uncertainty and to let go of any negativity associated with change, flow into fall with this 30-minute Vinyasa yoga sequence and feel grounded in your abilities and your strength.
Flow into Fall 30-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Sequence
This sequence focuses on 3 different types of poses:
- Backbends: Backbending poses are heart-opening, invigorating and often associated with an emotional release.
- Forward bends: These empowering poses turn our drishti (or gaze) inward toward our heart centers. They inspire us to trust and believe in ourselves and instill a sense of positive self-recognition.
- Standing balances: Balance postures allow us to feel grounded on the earth and in our own strength, while also expanding our arms and/or legs out and up. This generates a powerful, strong, uplifting feeling.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose) → Upward Salute
Inhale to lift your arms out and up over your head, bringing your gaze up with them. Exhale to draw your hands down to your heart center. Feel yourself absorbing all the positive energy surrounding you, and then bring all that goodness back to your heart center. Repeat for 5-10 breaths.
Shoulder Rinse → Concave Back
Inhale to clasp your hands behind your lower back and straighten your arms. Open your heart as you wring out the tightness in your shoulders. Release your hands and bring them to your thighs as you exhale and draw your belly button toward your spine. As you concave your back and round forward, also curl your sight and intention inward. Repeat for 5-10 breaths.
Kneeling Upward Salute → Child’s Pose → Cow → Cat → Child’s Pose
From your knees, inhale to reach out and up to upward salute. Exhale and press your hips back to your heels to bow forward into Child’s Pose. On your inhale, press into your hands and knees and lower your belly button down into Cow Pose. On your exhale, draw your belly button up and arch your spine.
Maintain this Cat-like back as you press back into Child’s Pose. While flowing through this sequence, feel yourself lifting from the bottom of your heart. Feel your joy expanding and extending, even shooting through your fingertips. Repeat for 5-10 cycles.
From your hands and knees, extend and lengthen opposite arm and opposite leg on your inhale. Contract in, bringing your elbow toward your knee on the exhale. Repeat for 10 breaths on each side.
Warrior II → Reverse Warrior
From a high lunge, pivot your back foot so that it is parallel with the edge of your mat. Extend your arms out, bringing your gaze over your front arm. Breathe here in Warrior II. Inhale to reach your front arm up and back, reversing your Warrior.
Flow between Warrior II and Reverse Warrior with each breath and feel your inner fire burning. Feel the strength of your legs grounding you into the earth, giving your upper body the freedom to go with the flow. Take 10-15 breaths.
From Warrior II, bring your gaze about a foot ahead of your front foot. Shift your weight into your front leg and reach your fingertips to that spot, allowing your back leg to float up. Expand your arms and notice the bliss that expands with them. Hold for 5-7 breaths and repeat this flow on the opposite side.
3. Backbends & Deep Stretch
Kneeling Half Bow
From all fours, reach one hand back for your opposite foot. Press your foot into your hand and lift from your heart. Open your heart and accept what you feel. Hold for 5-10 breaths on each side.
Seated Forward Fold
From a seated position, inhale to grow your spine long. On your exhale, maintain the length in your spine as you reach for your toes. Close your eyes and sink into this hamstring stretch. Take a moment to look inward and reflect on your practice. Hold for 10-15 breaths.
Lying down, draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Take a moment to feel gratitude for yourself. Hug yourself and accept who and where you are. Hold for 10-15 breaths.
Stretch your feet out to the corners of your mat, and lengthen your arms down by your sides. In this stillness, close your eyes and just be. Relax here for 5 (or more) minutes, giving your body and mind time to absorb all the benefits you cultivated during your practice, and to prepare yourself before the next change happens.
I hope you enjoy your practice! Questions or comments? Please share!
Photo credit: Heather Gjerde