#MovementMonday: Moving with Grace

Follow along for week 2 of Sky Ting’s yoga sequences; this week, opening and strengthening your body…

This post comes to you from instructor Kumi Sawyers, who will be leading the yoga portion of our June Escapes retreat to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
I always say that age should not be measured by a number, but by one’s ability to move freely and gracefully. It’s vital to do things and create practices that counterbalance the effects of today’s society — social media, constant phone use, computers, etc. When you can, make a trip to explore nature, spend time finding inspiration, hang out with friends that uplift you, meditate and move your body.

This is a standing pose sequence designed to open and strengthen the whole body in just a few poses. It is intended to be practiced in one continuous movement; each pose flows into the next like a dance. As you move let your breath lead and try to drop into a rhythmic flow that allows you to feel graceful. This sequence is perfect to practice in preparation for deep backbending, and is also effective for detoxing and flushing out the organs, which will keep the body feeling vital and beautiful.

Before you begin, take a comfortable seat and let your eyes close. Give yourself a moment to arrive inside your body. Feel your breath as it moves in and out, and connect to the rhythm it creates. Let your mind be still and open to grace.
Remember to perform the sequence using both sides of the body to keep it balanced.

High Lunge

Start in a Low Lunge to set up your foundation. Place your hands either side of your front foot. Make sure your knee is aligned over the center of your ankle in a 90-degree angle and your back foot toes are tucked. On an inhale reach your arms forward and up, rising up to a High Lunge. Once you arrive, use an inhale to lengthen the spine reaching up toward the ceiling with your arms, and an exhale to ground down through the pelvis and feet to create space throughout the body. Exhaling, lean back into the space behind you, finding a backbend. Staying in a backbend, take your arms out wide on on a horizontal line, and breathe fully into the opening of your lungs and heart, feel the expansion and contraction that the breath makes inside your body. On an exhale, bow forward towards your front leg, coming back to a Low Lunge.

Anjali Asana

From a Low Lunge, drop your back knee to the ground and untuck your back foot toes. Spread the top of your back foot onto the floor, grounding down clearly through the pinky toe side of the foot. On an inhale reach the arms forward and up, bringing the torso over the hips, and the arms alongside the ears. Take the time to square your hips by tacking the outer right hip back and pulling the left hip point forward. On an exhale begin to press the hips forward towards the front heel, letting the knee travel beyond your ankle as you lean the torso, neck and head back into space, finding a backbend. Again, staying in a backbend, take your arms out wide on a horizontal line, and breathe fully into the opening of your heart and lungs. Use an exhale to bow forward, coming back to a Low Lunge.

Twisted Lunge

In a Low Lunge lean onto your left hand and reach your right arm up toward the sky, coming into a twist. Once you arrive, reestablish the ground underneath you by pressing your feet down and lifting your hips up. Feel buoyant and strong in the lift of your back leg thigh. Use your inhale to create space throughout the body; from the back heel out through the crown of the head, and your exhale to lean back towards the left to twist open to the right, spinning around your center line. Lean back enough so there is space between the right low belly and the front of the right thigh. Turn the right palm to face the front of the room and stretch the arm over head alongside the ear. Turn to look out from underneath the arm and spin the heart and vision towards the sky. Keep tacking back through the right hip as you pull the right rib cage and arm towards the front room. Breathe into the growing length of the waistline,  and into the space between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the pelvis, and then twist  a little deeper. Use an exhale to release the right hand down to the ground, coming back to a Low Lunge.
+Check out more of our #MovementMonday routines here and don’t forget to follow @fpmovement on Instagram

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