There are lots of reasons we work out – to feel good, to look good, to be healthy — but as a health and fitness coach, I’ve learned we all have one thing in common: we want to feel motivated.
As the fall season approaches, I can’t help but remember that the essence of fall is change. We see evidence of it on the trees changing color and falling to the ground, the nights getting crisper, and the days getting shorter. When you tune in to the changes in nature, and connect inward, your yoga practice can also help guide you through with ease.
Use the mantra “I am willing to change” as you practice these poses to help you transition, find ease, and go with the flow:
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)
To warm-up, move through 3-5 rounds of sun salutations.
Bring your left foot to the top of the mat with the outer edge of the front foot parallel to the outer edge of the mat. Spin the back heel down so the back toes are turned slightly forward. Be sure your front knee is bent directly over the front heel. Turn your hips to the front of the mat and lift your core so your shoulders are over your hips. Pull your belly back as you reach your arms up to the sky. Hold for 5 breaths, then move to the second side.
Side Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana)
With your left foot still at the top of the mat, turn the back foot so it parallels the short edge of your mat. Reach the left hand down on the inside of your front leg to touch the earth. Bring your right arm up overhead and reach long through your torso. Gaze up at the sky or down at the earth. Hold for 5 breaths, then move to the second side.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
On the next inhale, use your core to lift up, straighten the front leg, reach the front arm forward, then lower it down to touch the shin, ankle, or earth — whatever is possible. Reach the other arm up towards the sky. Press weight evenly through both the front and back leg. Breathe for a few moments and then repeat on the other side.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Bend the front leg as you spin up on the back toes. Step the front foot back, feet hip-width apart, and press your feet flat on the earth. Press down firmly through the hands as you press the chest back toward the thighs. Breathe.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
From Downward Facing Dog, bend the right leg and bring it forward. Keep the back leg straight, stretching it behind you. The right shin may angle back towards the left hip or be more parallel to the front of your mat, depending on your flexibility. Turn the hips toward the front of your mat.
Try these variations: Bring the torso down into a forward bend over the right leg, or bend the back leg and reach for your back foot with your left hand. Draw the foot towards your butt, as you feel the stretch in the left thigh. Lift up into your core while releasing at the same time. Let go of the left foot, curl the left toes under and step back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and place your palms flat on the ground above your shoulders, fingertips facing your feet. Inhale as you press into your palms. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, placing the top of your head onto the mat. Pause. Make sure your feet and hands are parallel and pull the shoulders blades down the back. Take a deep inhale and press up as you straighten your arms and lift your head off the ground. Walk your hands and feet together if you can. Stay here for a five deep breaths, then slowly lower to the earth. Pause for a moment. Repeat two more times if you can.
After Wheel Pose, pull your knees into your chest to release your lower back. Roll up to your feet and bend into forward fold.