Vinyasa Yoga Sequence for Strength & Balance

One of my favorite types of yoga is vinyasa yoga.  For me, I love to move, sweat and feel my heart beat.  Vinyasa yoga is one of those types of yoga that does all three!  Another great thing about vinyasa is while there are moments of increased heart rate, there are also moments of stillness. Balancing the body with strength and peace is important.  There are many poses in yoga that help build strength and balance but the purpose of yoga is to find calm within.  The following poses help build strength and balance but also allow the mind to be still.  Try to focus on the breath and where the various poses are felt throughout the body.  This really allow the mind to be present.

Strength & Balance Yoga Sequence

Centering: As with any yoga practice, take a moment to sit with eyes closed and focus on the breath.

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Seated Lateral Side Bend: from a seated position, draw the crown of the head up, inhale the right arm up and exhale leaning to the left.  Stretch and breathe into the right side body.  Hold for a few breaths and switch sides. 

Cow pose

Cow pose

Cat pose

Cat pose

Cat/Cow (Marjaiasana/Bitilasana): In tabletop pose, inhale sinking the belly down toward the earth, gazing up.  Exhale bringing the chin toward the chest and arch through the back. Take a few rounds moving with the breath.

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Downward Facing Dog (Adho mukha śvānāsana): From hands and knees, curl the toes under and start to press into the palms and feet, lifting the hips up toward the sky.  Press the earth away, lifting the hips even more, while working the heels down toward the floor.  Gaze toward the navel and breath.  Use this as a transition or resting pose.

Dolphin pose, vinyasa yoga

Dolphin pose, vinyasa yoga

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana): From downward facing dog, bend one elbow and then the other, bringing the forearms down the the earth.  Make sure the elbows are inline with the shoulders, keeping the length through the spine and backs of the legs.  Maintain the shoulder blades working into the back and shoulders away from the ears.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana): Root down into the earth with the feet, bringing the weight evenly between all four corners (inner and outer balls and heels) of the feet.   Extend out through the crown of the head, keeping the pelvis neutral.  Taking a few rounds of surya namaskar A (sun salutation A) would be a good option.

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Low Lunge with a Twist (Parivrtta Sanchalasana): From downward dog, step the right foot in between the hands, pausing to press the hips down and chest forward.  Press the left hand into the earth and inhale the right arm up, exhale and twist from the navel.  Hold a few breaths and repeat on the other side.

Chair Pose (Utkatasana): Come to standing with feet slightly close than hip width or toes touching.  Inhale the arms up as the knees bend, sitting the hips back.  Weight should be more in the heels.  Reach the tail bone down, while extending out through the crown of the head, and pull the low belly in.  Hold for a few breaths building strength in the quads and core.  Going through surya namasakar B (sun salutation B), would be a good option here (especially because warrior I and II are the next in this sequence).

Warrior I

Warrior I

Warrior II

Warrior II

Warrior I and II (Virabhadrasana I & II):  From downward facing dog, step the right foot between the hands on an exhale.  Spin the left heel down so the left foot is at a 45 degree angle to the back of the mat.  Keeping the hips pointing forward, root down through the feet and inhale the arms and torso up.  Exhale sitting deeper into the front bent knee.  Hold here in Warrior I for a few breaths.  On an inhale, extend out through the finger tips, exhale, spinning opening the arms with the right arm forward, left arm back.  Hips should be pointing toward the long side of the mat.  Adjust the back foot so the outer edge of the foot is parallel to the back side of the mat.  Sink down into the front knee and push the earth away with the feet, hold for a few breaths.

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Wild Thing:  Start in downward facing dog, inhale the right let up behind for three legged dog.  Reaching the right heel up toward the sky, start to stack the right hip above the left hip, opening the hip up.  Continue to press both palms evenly into the mat.  Stay here or start to bend the right knee, reaching the toes down to the earth, outside of the left leg.  Inhale, picking up the right arm and reaching it toward the front part of the mat.  Exhale lifting the hips up.  Hold a breath or more and gently return to three legged dog, exhale the right foot to the mat.  Repeat on the left side.

Garland Pose (Malasana):  Take a few breaths in downward facing dog.  Inhale, bending the knees and looking toward the front of the mat.  Exhale stepping the feet behind the wrists.  Turn the toes out on an inhale.  Exhale bending the knees, sinking the hips and tailbone down.  Come into a low squat, if knees allow for this, otherwise bend the knees to the point that upper thighs are parallel to the floor.  Place hands a few inches out in front of the shoulders or bring the palms together in front of the heart.  Breathe here for a few breaths, then slowly roll back up to a forward fold and then to tadasana.

Finishing poses like reclined twists and savasana are a good way to end any practice but it's up to you.

If you want a more in depth flow incorporating more strengthening poses, click here to view my YouTube video!

Cheers,

Val

Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) 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.