Sometimes we all just need to take a little breather, stretch our bodies, and quiet our minds. If you’ve ever practiced yoga before, you know how beneficial even 10 minutes of stretching can be. If you need a midday reset, an easy flow to take to the park, or an intro to an easy yoga sequence, follow this quick asana sequence (group of yoga poses) that will help you refocus and keep moving forward.
This is a beginning flow (sequence of postures that result in a complete practice) that works for all levels, even the most beginner. If you’re an experienced yogi, feel free to put your own spin on this sequence if you’d prefer a more complex flow.
Stand with your feet slightly spread, about hip distance. Let your arms hang by your sides, with a tall back. Let your head rest lightly atop your neck with everything in line. Take a deep inhale through the nose, and sweep your arms above your head. As you exhale, draw the hand together down your midline, pausing when they meet your heart. Breathe here.
Forward Fold + Half Lift
Sweep the arms up again with a breath in, and fold forward toward your toes on your next exhale. The goal is not to touch the ground, but to feel the stretch through the backs of your legs. If you need to bend your knees, that’s okay. Lift your torso slightly so your back is flat
(this little step protects the hips), then deepen your stretch on the exhale. Breathe here, deepening the stretch with each exhale.
High to Low Plank (Chaturanga)
Plant your hands on the floor at the front of your mat, and send the legs back to a high plank or push up position. With your exhale, keep elbows tucked to your sides and lower slowly to the ground, aiming for your hips, knees, and chest to touch down at the same time. This takes some serious tricep strength, so come to your knees first if needed and then lower the rest of the way.
Upward Facing Dog or Cobra Pose
As you inhale, lift the torso off the ground. If it’s safe for your lower back, keep the feet on the ground and lift the knees, like a push up. To modify, keep the hips and knees planted, lifting your chest slightly.
Downward Facing Dog
Push through your hands to send your hips back and up with straight legs, into Downward Dog. Pedal out the feet to feel a stretch through your calves, and push the shoulders away from your ears. Breathe here, and feel the heat you’ve created in your body.
Forward Fold + Half Lift
Step the feet forward to meet the hands, and adjust your legs and hips so you’re back into a Forward Fold. Inhale once again to a Halfway Lift, and deepen the stretch. Notice how much further you fold down this time, and appreciate the ways your body adapts when you ask it to.
Slowly rise on your inhale, one vertebrae at a time, letting your head roll up last. Breathe here, and feel the energy you’ve created through this simple practice.
Repeat this short sequence a couple of times, until you feel renewed. Two or three rounds is usually enough, but feel free to experiment (while knowing your own limits) and move in a way that feels good in the moment. You can also stretch out the length of each pose to deepen your stretch and experience every sensation during each movement.
This is a basic foundational flow that allows you to build off to create energy in your day, or help you wind down after a long one.