By Laura Heggs,
To warm up, complete 5 sun salutations or 5 half sun salutation to create heat in the body, elevate your heart rate and prepare for the sequence.
Balancing Table Pose
Dandayamna bharmanasana challenges your balance, tones the back, core and bum. To enter the pose, come onto all fours and press evenly through the hands and tops of feet. Lift one leg and the opposite hand, pressing back through the elevated heel and reaching forward with the elevated hands. Keep the gaze forward and down, focusing on your breath to cultivate concentration. If you would like to add additional movement, bend the knee and elbow, bring them together as you stretch the back, and extend back out. Repeat 15 times on each side, padding your knee as needed to maintain comfort in the pose.
Forearm Plank Pose with Leg Lifts
Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, also called forearm plank pose or dolphin plank pose, strengthens the arms, core, legs and bum. It is an intense pose that you can hold in stillness, or that you can amp up by lifting on leg at a time, pointing the toes and targeting the glutes. As you enter th pose, hold for 20-30 seconds before adding movement. Left the leg 10-times on each side.
Side Plank with Shoulder Reach
In this Vasisthasana variation, you protect your wrists by stabilizing with the forearms while strengthening and toning your arms and core. As you enter the pose, focus on reaching the heels back and pressing firmly through the forearms. Once you feel stable, begin to reach one arm up on the inhale and on the exhale, begin to reach the hand back toward the opposite shoulder blade. As you add the movement, do you best to keep the hips elevated, targeting the obliques and toning the core.
Chaturanga Push Ups
Chaturanga is a great way to strengthen the arms, and a little goes a long way! You can do the ‘hardcore’ version- with knees elevated, as with full plank- or you can lower the knees to build strength and support the body. Keep the elbows hugging in toward the ribcage and complete 10-15 reps. Try to do them slowly, with mindfulness. Quality over quantity can go a long way!
Navasana helps to strengthen the core and hip flexors, all while balancing on the sitbones. Once in the pose, add the twist by bringing the hands to Anjali mudra. Move the mudra from side to side, maintaining balance in the sit bones. The block is optional, but I find that placing it between the thighs can be a great reminder to keep the thighs engaged and to ultimately strengthen and tone the core and low body.
Goddess to Five-Pointed Star Squats
Goddess pose (utkata konasana) stretches the hips and chest will toning the lower body. Make the pose dynamic by rising into utthita tadasana (five-pointed star). Repeat the flow from 1 to 3 minutes, increasing the heart rate and strengthening the lower body.
Complete this sequence for 14 day and notice the change in your body and your practice. With a focus on creating heat and strength, your mind and body will be toned and tuned in to the warmer summer months.