An Energizing Yoga Sequence To Start Your Week Off Right

Photo: Cheyenne Ellis and Lesley Unruh

Ever feel so tired and strapped for time that nothing but a bottomless pot of coffee could save you? Cue superhero yoga sequence! This simple (and short) flow of poses is geared toward saving you time, perking you up, and reminding you that you possess all the energy (and pizzazz) of your favorite hero. Go get ’em, tiger!

1. Heart Chakra Pose (Anahatasana)

Begin on all fours, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Keep your hips over your knees as you walk your hands forward. Bow your belly and throat down toward the ground until your arms are straight and engaged, fully extended. Keep your hips high, as if you’re a puppy wagging its playful tail. Gaze slightly forward as you melt your throat and heart toward the ground.

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2. Downward-Facing Dog With Revolved Twist (Ado Mukha Svanasana)

Come back onto all fours. Keep your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Curl your toes under, straighten your legs, and lift your hips up and back into the pose. Firm your upper outer arms in; relax all four sides of your neck. Reach your right hand to the outer edge of your left leg (shin, ankle, or foot, whatever you can reach). If you can’t find the leg, shorten your stance. Revolve your ribcage to the left, keeping your left arm straight. Breathe, switch sides, and repeat. Repeat five breaths per side.

3. Standing Forward Bend With Twist (Uttanasana)

Walk your hands back to meet your feet, keeping them hip-width apart. Place your right palm down onto the mat or a block so that your arm is straight, with the shoulder stacking over the wrist. Bend your right knee slightly as you push the ground away and extend your left arm up to the sky. Keep your hips square, and relax your neck. Breathe, switch sides, and repeat five breaths on each side.

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4. Chair Pose (Utkatsana)

Bend both of your knees, drop your hips, and lift your torso upright. Keep the weight in your heels as you press the shinbones back. You should be able to see your toes when you gaze down. Keep your pelvis neutral, lift your lower belly up, and keep your front ribs in. Extend your arms up shoulder-width apart with the palms turned in to relax the base of your neck. Repeat for eight breaths.

5. Chair Pose Twist (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

From chair, draw your palms in to your heart. Exhale, and swing your left elbow onto your right thigh. Place your palms together and press down to revolve your chest open to the right. Keep your hips square. Release the twist, returning into chair. Repeat the twist on the second side, and continue for eight breaths per side.

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6. Crescent + Crescent With Hand Down Twist

Step your right foot forward in between your hands. Stay on the ball of your back foot with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your arms and torso upright. Draw your tailbone down as you lift your lower belly up. Bend the back knee as much as you need to in order to achieve this. Stretch your arms overhead shoulder-width apart. Breathe.

Drop your left hand down onto the mat, keeping your hips square. Press into your base hand to revolve your chest open to the right, extending your top arm up directly above your left arm. Breathe. Repeat crescent and crescent with hand down twist on the second side. Continue for eight breaths.

7. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Hop to your shins. Stand on your knees with even weight throughout your shinbones, keeping them hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, encouraging your tailbone down and your lower belly up. Shift your hands to your ribcage, inviting it to press forward to create a wheel sensation in your chest. Continue to curl your upper body open as you lift your heart straight up. Release your arms back to clasp your heels. Surrender your neck and head. Breathe, rolling up one vertebra at a time. Repeat for three rounds of eight breaths each.

8. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Swing your legs out in front of you. Sit tall with your legs straight and together. Flex your feet. Inhale as you lift your chest up. Exhale, keeping the length as you reach forward to grab the outer edges of your feet. Avoid rounding in the upper back. Keep the legs active and the neck soft. Continue for eight breaths.

Finish the sequence with a seated meditation and savasana. Clear your mind, absorb your practice, and invite energy and renewal into your attitude and body.

From Aim True by Kathryn Budig. Copyright © 2016 by Kathryn Budig. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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