Have you ever felt short on time and wished you could get the benefits of a strong, challenging yoga class in just a fraction of the time? Me too.
Instead of squeezing a lot of yoga into a small amount of time, which may cause more stress than calm in itself, I was taught to do less more intelligently.
I've created this "turbo yoga" sequence to come to your rescue for when you're in a bind for a strong practice experience but need it to be fast. As you move through the sequence, breathe deeply and consciously, work and relax in equal parts, feel free to hold the poses longer, and enjoy!
Standing Forward Bend
Stand 10 to 12 inches from a wall with your feet hip-width apart and your back facing the wall. Bend your knees, lean your butt against the wall, and forward bend toward your feet. Let your torso and head hang, interlace your hands, and stretch your arms overhead. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
Take downward-facing dog a foot away from the wall with your hands facing the wall. Move into pigeon pose and walk your arms up the wall as with down dog but with your torso and arms at a 45-degree angle slanted up the wall with hands pressing the wall away. If you can't make that angle, shift your pelvis forward or back so you can. Press your hands into the wall to help square the pelvis toward the wall. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths and switch sides.
Come to hands and knees with your butt facing the wall. Slide your right knee, shin, and foot back against the back wall (pad your back knee if you feel pressure). Hold the pose with your hands down or walk your hands up the right thigh. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths and switch sides.
Come to hands and knees facing the wall. Set your arms shoulder-width apart on the floor, but turn your upper arms out so that your hands are turned out to the sides. Press the wall away with your hands, tuck your toes under, and raise the pelvis up and back. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
Take downward-facing dog with your heels up against the wall, hands facing away from the wall. With your hips square and level to the back wall, raise one leg up against the wall into a split. Use the reach of the arms to take the pelvis closer to the wall or walk your arms toward the wall to really deepen the pose. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. If you walk your arms back, walk them forward to exit. Switch sides.
Handstand or Dolphin
Take downward-facing dog with your hands 8 inches (or closer to the wall if possible) in front of the wall. With your arms straight, look forward toward your thumbs, lift a leg powerfully, then bend your bottom leg and hop up into a handstand. Reach your arms, release your head, stabilize your core while breathing, and stretch your legs up. Hold handstand or dolphin for 8 to 10 breaths.
Kneel on your shins with your pelvis lifting and pressing up against the wall. Have your toes tucked if you're less back bendy, or point them if it's accessible. Take your hands, fingers facing down, onto the top of your butt cheeks. Slide the butt cheeks down, press your pelvis into and up the wall, lift your chest a ton, then back-bend up and back taking your hands to the heels or keeping them on your butt. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. To exit, ground your lower legs and lift your chest and eyes to come up.
Stand in front of the wall and set your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall at the height of your hips. Press your hands into the wall and walk your legs back like in downward dog. Press your thighs back, bend your knees if your hamstrings are restricted, and reach through the arms. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
Supine Bound Angle
Come to a fetal position on the left side with your butt close or against the wall. Roll onto your back, bend your knees, and bring your feet together toward your pelvis, then widen the thighs out. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
Legs up the Wall
From supine bound angle, close your legs with your hands and stretch your legs up. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.
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Kim is a San Francisco based yoga instructor and entrepreneur, whose mission is to bring accessible, effective yoga and mindfulness programs to the workplace. In 2011 she founded Kim Sin Yoga (KSY), which partners with leading Bay Area companies to design and implement customized wellness programs. Her goal is to spread health and happiness to companies who are changing the world. Kim has appeared on the cover of Yoga Journal Magazine and is a Lululemon Ambassador. Learn more about Kim at kimsinyoga.com.