Yoga Flow at Home

by Stephanie Brail

Sometimes it's hard to get to yoga class, and even putting in a DVD can be a bit time consuming. Start learning some simple yoga flows so you can do a full yoga routine by yourself without anyone directing you.

You can find many books with diagrams or learn some yoga routines in class or via DVD. A simple standing flow could include something like:

Warrior I - Warrior II - Reverse Warrior - Warrior II

To do both sides, you would connect this series with a "vinyasa." The vinyasa is simply:

Plank - Chaturanga - Upward Dog - Downward Dog

(This is where the term "vinyasa flow" comes from.)

So you would do the vinyasa between the left and right sides. Do the flow three times and then add in whatever seated poses or backbends you like. Voila! Home yoga!

Doing a series such as this can take you through a good 20-30 minute workout, where you don't need to rush off to class or fiddle with the DVD player. Try to fit in a little bit of yoga everyday, and you will see some amazing results.

Options on Intensity
In a typical vinyasa flow class, many teachers will push students through grueling repetitions of the vinyasa, with a lot of holding done in downward dog and/or plank. For many students, these lengthy holds are hard on the wrists, especially if you suffer from carpal tunnel.

While you might build some upper body strength by holding these poses for a long time, you aren't necessarily improving your flexibility or decreasing stress with such an intense workout.

When you do yoga at home, you can create an intensity that works for you. To lower intensity, a few options include:

1. Not holding the poses for that long.
2. Substituting a low cobra for upward dog.
3. Going to knees for plank.
4. Doing classical chaturanga, which has knees on the ground and butt somewhat up in the air with the face pressed down towards the floor.
5. Substituting child's pose for downward dog.

Please note: For those with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia flaring up, I would not recommend doing vinyasa flow yoga. I would do a more gentle yoga series or a restorative flow.

Please check out my yoga blog Namasteph for more on yoga.

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