Movement Monday: Vinyasa Yoga for Strength (18 Minute practice)

If you have been following me, you know I have struggled with getting in a daily yoga practice.  It's not for lack of trying.  It's for lack of alone time.  Most days I practice for a few minutes at a time either between yoga classes or while cooking, nap time or any spare moment I have.  A while ago I recorded a quick 18 minute vinyasa yoga for strength video and thought I would share it. This sequence is pretty basic and is an all levels class.  The focus is on building strength throughout the body.  This vinyasa yoga for strength class works on building strength with body weight and core engagement.

I've struggled with regaining my core strength postpartum.  I had a pretty strong core before carrying my son.  So arm balances and inversions came a little more easy.  My son is two and a half and since he was born I've been working to advance my yoga practice.  I had a few set backs.

After giving birth, I ended up having some pelvic floor and abdominal separation problems.  Which I thought was just a new normal for me.  After seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, I learned that postpartum issues like abdominal separation and pain in the pelvis are not normal and can be healed.  So, I started on a long journey toward healing these issues.

It became evident while I practiced various vinyasa yoga sequences that my core was highly compromised even after thinking I healed my abdomen.  I have since gone back to the pelvic floor physical therapist and am finding that I have always had slight core weaknesses (even before baby).

This vinyasa yoga sequence includes some core strengthening poses as well as poses that increase flexibility and mobility throughout the body.  Some modifications are cued throughout the video.  I've included typed version of the sequence (below).

Click here to view the video.  

18 minute vinyasa yoga for strength sequence: 

For each pose that is one sided, do the right side first and repeat on the left side before moving on to the next pose.

Sukhasana (seated centering), neck stretch, side body stretch walking the hands forward keeping the sitting bones rooted.

Cat/Cow: Start in tabletop and move with the breath. Inhale sinking the belly down and gazing upward.  Exhale

Adho mukha śvānāsana (downward dog):  From tabletop pose, inhale curling the toes under and exhale  reaching the hips up toward the sky.  Spread through the fingers and palms, shoulder blades working onto the back.  Press heels down toward the mat, knees can be bent or work the knees toward straight. The body should be in an inverted "v" pose.  Hold for a few breaths and move to plank pose.  Move through plank and downward dog with the breath.  (Inhale to plank pose, exhale to downward facing dog)

Chaturanga Dandasana: holding for a few seconds if possible to build strength.  From plank, exhale and bend elbows, keeping the core engaged and elbows close to the ribs, lower until body is hovering above the mat.  

Bhujangasana or Urdhvamukha shvanasana (cobra or upward facing dog): holding for a breath or two, place the toes and tops of the feet onto the mat, lengthen through the crown of the head and chest, rolling shoulders down away from the ears and lift upper body by pressing the palms into the earth. Stay here or continue to lift hip points and thighs up off the earth.

Virabhadrasana I (warrior I): Stepping the right leg forward between the hands and spin the back heel down to a 45 degree angle, keeping the hips pointing forward inhale the torso and arms up.

Virabhadrasana II (warrior II): From virabhadrasana I, exhale opening the arms (right arm forward, left arm back) and adjusting the back foot so the outer edge of the foot is parallel to the back side of the mat and hips are pointing toward the long side of the mat.

Surya Namaskar B (sun salutation B): For a demo, click here.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (side angle pose): From virabhadrasana II, place the front elbow on the front thigh, reaching the back arm up toward the sky.  Stay here or extend into extended side angle)

Trikonasana (triangle pose): On an inhale, straighten the front knee, as the bottom arm moves a few inches back from the front foot or to the shin or a block.  Continue reaching the top arm up stacking the shoulders as best as you can and while the hips work back.

Shanti Virabhadrasana (peaceful warrior): From virabhadrasana II, turn the front palm to face up, inhale reaching forward and exhale bringing the back arm to the back thigh and the top arm up and over toward the back end of the mat.

Sirsasana I (supported headstand): Start in tabletop and bring the forearms to the mat, keeping the elbows under the shoulders.  Place the crown of head onto the mat with the forearms and wrists supporting the outer edges of the head.  Inhale lifting the hips and start to walk the toes closer to the head on an exhale.  Squeeze the inner thighs together and use the low abs to lift the legs or bend one knee in toward the chest and lift the extended leg.

Balasana (child's pose): Coming out of sirsasana into table top and press the hips back toward the heels.  Knees can be together, resting the belly on the tops of the thighs or you can walk the knees slightly wider than the hips and allow the belly to rest in between the thighs.

Navasana (boat pose): Come to seating in the center of the mat.  Place the soles of the feet on the mat, hip distance apart.  Hold arms out in front and start to lower the torso back until you can balance on the sacrum.  Keep the back straight, extending out through the crown of the head.  Keep feet on the floor or lift feet up so shins are parallel to the floor.  Stay here or extend legs out making a "v" shape with the body.

Janu Sirsasana (head-to-knee forward fold): Sitting on the mat, extend legs out in front.  Bend the right knee and place the sole of the foot to the inner left thigh.  Sitting up tall, inhale the arms up and on an exhale bow forward reaching the hands for the left shin, ankle or foot.

Supine Twist (reclining twist): Come to laying down on your back, hug the knees into toward the chest.  Inhale and reach arms out to the sides into a "T", exhale the knees over to the right.  Gazing up at the sky or out toward the left hand.

Savasana (corpse pose): Extend the legs onto the mat, allowing the heels to be hip width apart and toes dropping out to the sides.  Bring arms at a 45 degree angle to the body with the palms facing up and on an exhale, close the eyes.  Relax the body and rest.

Follow the video or take a few breaths in each pose from the above sequence.  This sequence will give you a quick boost in energy without taking a long time.

Ciao and Namaste,


Disclaimer: The information on this website (Freckled Fit Nut) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction.  If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.