Haaay everyone! I am so excited to bring you the yoga routine that made me like yoga (or as my sister’s friend suggested, “10 poses to get you nama-nasty”).
So a little background. I danced for 10 years as a kid, and I absolutely loved it. The movement, the transitions, and the music. It was like meditation to me; it transported me to another place where I stopped thinking and just… moved.
Throughout this time, I tried a few yoga classes here and there. But honestly, I thought it was so dumb. It felt static. I couldn’t concentrate. I was bored and annoyed at the same time. So I wrote yoga off completely.
My dislike for yoga was so strong that in college, Alex and I took a class where we had to give individual presentations on “what gives you energy.” We were sitting around, trying to come up with ideas for our presentations, when Alex said, “how funny would it be if you said yoga.”
It was ironic; I hated yoga so much, but it was the perfect subject to talk about creating energy. So I created a presentation where I lied and said I practiced yoga three times a week.
As I presented it to the class, I looked over to see Alex snickering the the corner. He thought it was hilarious. Our little lie. I looked up yoga studios in Ann Arbor, and said I went into the first studio that popped up on Google.
Then all of a sudden a girl in the class goes “Omg, I go there too! I actually work there!”
Alex almost lost it. I side eyed him as if to say don’t you dare laugh. I powered through it, saying how weird it was that I hadn’t seen her and oh my god don’t you love it so much?!
Grades came back a week later. I got an A. Alex and I laughed some more, and that’s the last I thought about yoga for months.
Then in the spring, I ran into one of my girlfriends on the street. She was looking super toned. “It’s yoga,” she told me. “Hot Vinyasa. I go 4 times a week and I’m obsessed.” Turns out, she had started only 6 weeks earlier, and already she had noticed dramatic changes in her body. Her arms were firm, her legs felt stronger, and her abs were tight.
Hearing her say she had started just weeks earlier piqued my curiosity. I had to give this hot vinyasa yoga a try. I decided right then and there that I would give it a month, forcing myself to go 4 times a week. And if after a month I didn’t like it, then I’d stop. No harm no foul.
The first three weeks were awful. It was SO hard. The studio I went to was known for classes that left you in a pool of sweat. Contrary to the yoga I had done previously, these classes were fast and intense. My arms hurt and I felt so exhausted that I needed to sit for a solid hour after class.
But as I kept with it, I found that this yoga was all about movement, going from one pose to another in definitive and purposeful flow. It was most definitely a form of dance, of moving your body and completely letting go of your mind.
And just like that at the three week mark, I felt my body craving the movement. If I skipped a class one day I felt tired and weary. The once torturous chatarungas became effortless. Standing postures were meditative. I was- gasp!- loving yoga.
I’ve practiced yoga for 4 years now. It’s the longest I’ve ever stuck with a workout routine. Even when I do a circuit workout, I always start with a few simple yoga flows to get my body warmed up. It’s truly a practice I’ve grown to love.
Now down to business. I’m sharing with you all three yoga flows that I do on a weekly basis. And I cannot stress enough: blast an awesome music playlist while you flow. It makes all the difference! Without further adieu, let’s do this!
This is a simple warmup to get the heat going in your body. I do this slowly, breathing in and out within every pose. Flow through this for 10 minutes, pausing when you feel tension and breathing into the discomfort. Focus on softening your edges and lengthening your body in each pose.
This is a longer flow, and should take up a lot of time on your mat. It’s designed to flow with your breath, so one pose will be done on the inhale and the next on the exhale. The result is a fast-paced flow that gets your heart rate up, and hopefully gets you lost in movement. Flow through 3-4 times on each side (should take 15-20 minutes).
This third and final flow is all about slowing down and building strength. It works off of a lot of the poses you’ve already done in Balancing Flow. Instead of moving with each inhale and exhale, hold each pose for 5 breaths. It’s Flow through at least 2 times on each side.
As you go through each flow, listen to things that work and don’t work for your body. If standing postures are difficult for you, take them out. If you prefer more lunges, add some in! Yoga is all about connecting with your body, so do what serves you.
Once you’ve completed these three flows, take 5 minutes in Sukhasana with your hands at your heart. Bring your heart rate down by breathing slowly and with intention. End your practice with a bow forward, thanking yourself for coming to your mat, and thanking the universe for the ability to practice.
And a little PSA for all you yogis out there: in the photo of warrior 1, my leg is up. It should be down flat. Whoops! I just got too excited lol.