Today I was working with an enthusiastic yogi on creating a home practice. We went through the basics of practice structure but I decided to give her a little bit of flair by incorporating a vinyasa that can be both dynamic and revitalizing, as well as a sequence that will start the mind working on how to incorporate new base vinyasas into the time on her mat that aren’t the usual Sun Salutations. This sequence is coined as low dancer flow and is a way to open up the spine, hips, heart, and spirit in preparation either for waves of namaskar or savasana…
Some day i’ll get some real pictures (not just stick figures that my non-artistic fingers fumbled around on photoshop to make) to go along with this, but for now… Use your mind’s eye and go explore on your mats 🙂
Low Dancer Flow:
from Down Dog…
(I) step between hands for lunge
(E) lower back knee and square hips/scissor thighs towards center
(I) low crescent lunge…arms rise, tailbone down, heart lifts out of belly, shoulders soften down spine
(E) hands meet the floor and back heel lifts
(I) back shin rotates parallel to back of the mat and arms windmill to low warrior II stance. reach through collar bone, engage entire length of the arms to the finger tips, soften tops of shoulders and engage low belly as the pubic bone pulls up towards the belly button, reach equally forward to back to stack spine straight over the hips.
- slight pulsations with the breath bending deeper into the hip flexors on the (E) and lifting out of the crown of the head on the (I)
next (I) flip front palm and reverse your low warrior by either bringing back hand to the calf or to a raised block by the shin for support. Keep engaging the low belly and lifting the heart as you pull the tailbone in to the body to protect the low back. Move with breath in this posture…inhaling to extend the heart high and the ponytail back and exhaling to deepen the twist/spinning of the belly and heart towards the sky.
(E) through low warrior II to low lunge, with hands framing the front foot, as you spin the back shin to regular low lunge position. Re-square the hips
(I) lift arms for low crescent again and then (E) all air out of the body to twist toward the front thigh…options are as follows:
a: place front palm on knee and back palm on low back for support…using them as traction points to engage spine high and deepen the twist.
b: bring hands to namaste in crescent and hook opposite elbow on the outside of the knee as you twist…working to engage heart towards the thumbs.
c: hand to floor and opposite hand to sky or reaching around to opposite hip crease to maintain level hips.
(I) rise back to low crescent
(E) rock hips back and bring hands to floor or blocks as you work to lengthen the spine in ardha hanumanasana
move with breath a few times between low crescent and ardha hanumanasana to lengthen hamstring and then hold the latter.
(E) down dog
repeat on opposite side
do both sides at least 2-3 times to open the body.
This same sequence can be done standing with additional awareness added to the activation of the leg muscles.
Go get your grounded dance on yogis!
This sequence was modified from a sequence I learned from Julee Snyder RYT an amazing yoga and pilates instructor in Raleigh, NC that is a truly elegant and embodied mover. Check her out!