flowing sequence of postures is at the heart of modern yoga and can be a
complete practice in itself or a preparation for a longer routine.
performed in the morning to greet the new day, it forms the backbone of
most types of yoga and employs various forward and backward bending
poses that flex the spinal column, giving a profound, energizing stretch
to the whole body.
it is an energetic sequence that tones every muscle group in the body,
it’s great for burning calories, building strength and stamina,
improving circulation and detoxifying your internal organs through
has a deeply relaxing and rejuvenating effect, too. In other words,
this is a full body workout like no other, which explains its
would recommend doing this sequence at least five times a day if weight
is an issue. But even if you only do two sequences a day, you’re doing
your figure a massive favor.
are small variations in the way yogis do this sequence, but the most
important thing is the synchronization of the motion of your breath with
the movement of your body. Basically, all upward movements are coupled
with inhalation, and downward movements with exhalation.
1. MOUNTAIN POSE
in Mountain pose: stand up tall, feet together or a little apart, arms
at your sides. Place your palms together in a prayer position, roll
your shoulders back and down and lift your chest.
Inhale through your nose and extend your arms above and behind your head.
3. SWAN DIVE
Swan dive into a standing forward
bend, exhaling through your nose and placing your hands on your legs
as close to your feet as you can. Bend your knees a little if
your hamstrings are tight, to protect your back.
and lengthen your spine forward into a Half Standing Forward Bend,
with your fingertips on the floor and gaze focused ahead.
5. PLANK POSE
step, or lightly hop, your feet behind you to get into a Plank pose,
arms straight underneath your shoulders and legs straight behind you.
Your back should be flat and your core engaged. Hold for a second, then,
in a snake-like movement, lower yourself towards the floor. Then lower
your chest and chin to the floor, keeping your elbows close to the sides
of your ribcage, and flatten your feet to the floor.
6. COBRA POSE
Inhale as you push down with your arms
and raise your head, shoulders and upper body as far as you can without
straining. This is the Cobra pose. Look upwards, roll shoulders back and
down and keep elbows in. Firm up your kneecaps and thighs to prevent
them lifting off the mat.
7. DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Downward Facing Dog; walk hands forward and slightly farther apart than
shoulder width, and spread fingers wide for stability. Then curl toes
under and press your hips upwards so your body is in the shape of a
triangle, with your bottom as the apex. Make sure your neck and
shoulders are released and relaxed. If your hamstrings are tight, keep
your knees slightly bent. Take five deep breaths.
8. FORWARD BEND
Inhale, step forward one foot and then the other between the hands, looking ahead. Then exhale into a forward bend.
Inhale and come up, arms above and behind head.
10. STANDING POSE
Lower arms into original standing pose.
HOW TO EAT LIKE A YOGA EXPERT
— or only a light, healthy snack — in the two to three hours
before a yoga class. ‘You should arrive on an empty stomach,’ says
Alessandra Pecorella, a yoga teacher at The Life Centre in Islington,
London. ‘Otherwise you’ll feel heavy and your body will be busy
digesting your food, so it will be less able to support you during the
also helps to build discipline and will get you into the habit of
eating when you’re hungry and not when you’re bored or emotional.
in moderation is an important part of yoga practice, according to
Alessandra. ‘Yoga texts recommend eating until the stomach is
three-quarters full,’ she says. ‘Always leave a space to aid digestion.’
the same foods as yogis. ‘The yogic, or Sattvic, diet is about eating
fresh foods in season, when they are at their most nutritious,’ says
Alessandra. ‘So it’s lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and
foods are full of vitamins and nutrients important for brain and body
health; they also provide fibre and release energy slowly, so you’ll
feel fuller for longer and be less tempted to overeat.
yogic diet is based largely on vegetarian, alkaline foods, meaning
acidic foods and drinks, such as coffee and sugary pop, are to be
avoided. Fizzy drinks can also be high in calories. Instead, drink
plenty of water, especially on the day of your class, to avoid cramps.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, limit your intake, as this may affect
your ability to relax and get into the calm state needed for optimum
yoga class will stimulate your digestive ‘fire’ or appetite, says
Alessandra. After class, she recommends a high-protein, low-carbohydrate
meal such as a warm salad with chickpeas and nuts, or lentil soup. This
will satisfy the appetite and help repair muscle without losing that
your diet varied. ‘Each food has its own unique vitamin and mineral
profile, so don’t just eat the same thing every day,’ Alessandra says.
try to eat at an optimal time for their body to digest food. Work out
what time of day your hunger is at its peak, and have your main meal
then. Again, this encourages mindful eating and paying attention to the
body’s needs. ‘I find I’m most hungry between noon and 4pm,’ says
Alessandra. ‘For some, it’s earlier or later, though I wouldn’t
recommend having a big meal close to bedtime, as this can disturb