Foundational Yoga Flow

Yoga encourages us to cultivate self-awareness of the breath and body as a means of relaxing the mind. Literally translating into English as the word “union”, yoga unifies the mind, body, breath, and spirit in the present moment. Foundational Yoga focuses on moving with the flow of the breath and positively stimulating the body through fundamental and traditional yoga movements. This sequence is for both the newer or seasoned yogi/yogini who prefers a basic yet beautiful flow at a mindful pace. Integrating mind-body connection with strong alignment cues, modifications & props, this sequence is perfect for increasing strength, flexibility and deepening your practice.

The following is a 24 pose practice guide of our Foundational Yoga Sequence. Always be sure to listen to your body throughout the practice and respect any injuries or limitations you may have.

Checking in: Begin with a few moments of connection and deep breathing. Sit in a comfortable position (using any props you need) with the sits bones rooted and the spine lengthened. Palms rest face down on the knees, providing a sense of grounding and presence. Close the eyes and focus your attention on checking in with the body, notice how you are feeling. Take some nourishing breaths, fully expanding and contracting the diaphragm, and allow your breaths to gradually lengthen; bringing a sense of calm to the body and mind.

  1.  Sun Breaths: Maintain the length in the spine. Tuck the chin slightly so that the head and neck are in alignment with the rest of the spine. Inhale, lift the arms toward the sky, tracing an invisible circle. Palms press together lightly in prayer hands above the head. Exhale, bring the prayer hands through the midline of the body to heart center. Repeat 3 to 10 times. Every inhale notice an uprise of energy, uplifting and energizing. Every exhale notice a downward current of energy, grounding and calming.
  • Alignment tip: Synchronise your movements with your breathing. Try closing the eyes to invite a deeper level of awareness

  1. Side Body Stretches: Inhale, lift the arms toward the sky, lengthen. Exhale, place the right hand on the ground beside you and lift the left arm to the sky. Continue the exhalation as you enter the side body stretch by reaching the left arm over the ear with the shoulder rolled back and the chest open to the front of the mat. Repeat a few times on each side. Choose to stay in the side body stretch for a few deep breaths before continuing to the other side or practice one breath per movement as you flow side to side.
  • Alignment tip: Keep the core slightly engaged for stability and both sits bones rooted on the mat.  

  1. Cow/Cat Pose: Start by stabilizing the core and spine in a neutral tabletop pose. On all fours on the mat, stack the joints. Soften the gaze downward, tops of the feet rest on the ground.  The shins and knees hip-width apart, the shoulders are above the wrists, the hip bones are above the ankles and the abdominal muscles are slightly engaged. Moving from the pelvis, inhale to drop the belly towards the mat, observe a slight curve in the lower back. Lift your chin, chest and gaze up toward the sky. Broaden the shoulder blades and relax the shoulders away from your ears. Exhale, pull the belly toward the spine, round the back and tuck the chin slightly. Repeat 5 to 15 times.
  • Alignment tip: When transitioning between cow and cat, try beginning the movement from the pelvis and continuing the movement through the spine. Notice how these movement start to awaken and warm up the spine.

 

 

 

  1. Child’s Pose: Bring the big toes to touch and the knees as wide as comfortable. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, bring the hips toward the heels and lay the belly in between the thighs. Extend the arms, reaching actively toward the front of the mat. Broaden and relax the lower back and sacrum. Breathe deeply in the pose for 1 – 4 minutes.
  • Alignment tip: Rest the forehead on the mat or a block while lifting the base of the head away from the back of the neck, keeping the neck elongated.

 

  1. Simple Seated Twist: Sit in hero’s pose (choose to sit on the heels or sit in between the heels – use a block under the sits bones if needed). Tops of the feet rest on the ground. Inhale, lengthen and extend the arms up. Exhale, place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you on the ground. Observe the twist in the spine. Option for a bind – nestle the right hand in the left hip crease. Breathe deeply in the twist for a few breaths while engaging the lower abdominal muscles. Repeat twist a few times on each side.
  • Alignment tip: While in the twist, use every inhale to lengthen the spine and every exhale to deepen the twist even more. If it feels comfortable for the neck, you can bring the gaze over the back shoulder.  
  1. Plank Pose

Start in a neutral tabletop pose, shoulders above wrists, hips above knees. Walk the hands about a foot forward. Shift the shoulders and heart slightly forward and lower the pelvis forward and down. While maintaining an engaged abdomen, inhale to tuck the toes under and lift the knees to find plank pose. Shoulders stay stacked above the wrists. Exhale, spread the shoulder blades away from the spine yet maintain a lifting action through the middle of the shoulder blades. Draw the collarbones away from the sternum. Keep the thighs lifted but don’t let the hips sink too low or lift too high. Hold for 5 breaths. 

  • Alignment tip: Stabilize the head and neck by keeping the gaze downward toward the floor to maintain one straight line between the crown of the head and the neck.

 

  1. Eight-angle pose From plank pose, lower the knees to the mat. Inhale, shift the hips forward and shift the shoulders and chest forward beyond the fingertips. Exhale, bend the elbows to lower the chest and chin to the ground while keeping the elbows hugged close toward the side bodies and the hips lifted. After a few breaths of holding, soften through the shoulder blades and lower the hips in the ground while gently sliding forward to lower the whole front body onto the mat.

  • Alignment tip: Keep the abdominal muscles engaged while holding eight-angle pose to protect and stabilize the lower back.  
  1. Baby cobra

The hands frame the chest, finger spread wide and rooted on the mat. Elbows are bent and hugged close toward the rib cage. Gaze downward to protect the neck. Inhale, engage the lower back and lift the chest slightly off the mat. Keep the shoulder drawing back and away from the ears to open the chest. Widen through the collarbones. Exhale, gently release out of the pose and lower down onto the mat. Repeat 2-3 times. Afterward, press back to a neutral tabletop position to stabilize the spine. 

  • Alignment tip: Avoid using pressure from the hands while in baby cobra. This will help to strengthen the muscles surrounding the lumbar spine. Keep the tops of the feet grounded on the mat the entire time.
  1. Downward Facing Dog

Start in a neutral tabletop position with the toes tucked under. Inhale, lift the knees and press the hips up and back to form an inverted V-shape with the body. Exhale, press the heels toward the ground and soften through the heart. Widen through the shoulder blades, spreading them on the back body. The ears are in line with the inner arms and the neck stays lengthened and relaxed. Hold for 4-6 long, deep breaths. 

  • Alignment tip: Keep lifting the hips toward the sky and melting the chest toward the ground. Maintain a bend in the knees if the hamstrings are tight. Option to “walk the dog” by pedaling the feet; press one heel toward the ground while bending the opposite knee and alternate from side to side.
  1. Rag doll

Start from down dog with both knees bent. Inhale, gaze towards the hands and walk the feet to the top of the mat. Exhale, fold lazily over the legs. Dangle the head, neck and arms to decompress the spine. Surrender for a few breaths, sighing out through the mouth on the exhalations. After a few breaths, slowly roll up to a standing position, moving one vertebra at a time. 

  • Alignment tip: Keep a generous bend in the knees while in rag doll and allow the weight of the head to hang heavy. Option to clasp onto opposite forearms or elbows and gently rock the body from side to side.
  1. Mountain Pose

Feet are either hip width apart or the big toes touch while the heels stay slightly apart. Rotate the inner arms so that the palms face forward. Press down through all four corners of the feet, feel the connection of the feet to the earth. The spine is long and lifted, keep a natural arch through the lower back. Inhale, feel a lift through the spine, to the crown of the head. Exhale, feel a downward current of energy through the spine, to the feet. Breathe with this awareness for 6-10 more breaths.

-Alignment tip: Try lifting and spreading the toes to ground the feet even more! Lengthen the neck and keep the shoulders, hips and ankles stacked.

 

 

  1. Neck Stretches

Stand in a strong mountain pose.

A.) Inhale, bring the gaze toward the sky and lift the head. Exhale, bring the gaze toward the ground and draw the chin toward the chest. Repeat 2-3 times.

 

 

 

 

B.)Inhale, drop the left ear toward the left shoulder. Lengthen through the right side of the neck and keep the shoulder drawing back and down. Exhale, draw the chin to the chest, gaze downward. Repeat on both sides 2-3 times.

C.) If the neck feel comfortable and healthy, create full circles with the head and neck. Start small and imagine drawing a circle with the tip of the nose. Eventually create bigger circles, using the breath as a guide. Move slowly and carefully. Repeat in the opposite direction.

  1. Knee Circles

Stand with the feet together, heels slightly apart, knees generously bent and palms resting above the knee caps. With gentle pressure from the hands, start to move the knees in a circular motion to lubricate the joints and promote healthy knees. Surrender to the flow of the breath while moving at your own pace. Repeat the circles in the opposite direction.  

  1. Hip Circles

Stand with the feet mat distance apart and the hands resting on the hip points. Ground down firmly through the feet, feel your root to the earth. Start to move the hips in small circles, eventually moving in bigger circles, using your breath as the guide. Stay loose and relaxed through the lower back and shoulders. Repeat the circles in the opposite direction.

  1. Wide Leg Fold

 

 

 


Stand with the feet mat distance apart and the hands resting on the hip points. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, slowly hinge at the hips half way to find a flat back position. Inhale here, notice the direct line between the crown of the head and the tailbone. Exhale, fold completely and release the hands to the mat or a block. Take a few breaths in the fold. enjoying it’s therapeutic benefits of increased circulation and spinal decompression. After a few breaths, place the hands on the hips and slowly return to an upright spine.

  • Alignment tip: Option to clasp the hands, straighten the arms and enjoy a shoulder stretch while in the fold OR wrap the “peace” fingers and thumbs around the big toes and open the elbows out to decompress the spine and deepen the hamstring stretch.
  1. Forward fold

Feet remain hip distance apart. Inhale, lift the hands toward the sky, stack wrists over shoulders. Exhale, sweep the arms in a downward circular motion and simultaneously  hinge at the hips to fold completely over the legs. Relax in the fold for a few steady rounds of breath.

  • Alignment tip: Keep the sits bones lifting toward the sky and the chest melting toward the thighs. Option to maintain bend the knees.
  1. Half-Way Lift

Inhale, draw the fingertips to the shins. Find a flat back position, one long line between the crown of the head and tailbone. Exhale, return to a forward fold. Repeat 2-4 more times.

 

  1. Lunge Series

A.)Runner’s Lunge: Bend heavily into the knees and place the hands firmly on the mat, framing the feet. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, step the right foot to the back of the mat, ground the ball of the foot on the mat. The right leg is straight and heel of the foot lifted. Keep the gaze forward and the chest lifted, shoulders draw back to open the heart. Breathe deeply and with every exhalation soften through the hip flexors. Hold the pose for 2-3 breaths.

  • Alignment tip: The palms of the hands stay rooted completely on the mat or option to use blocks under the hands

B.) Runner’s Lunge & Twist: The right hand stays firmly grounded on the mat or a block. Inhale, extend the left arm in the air, palm facing away from you. Exhale, twist the chest and torso toward the left side. The right leg stays straight and strong. Breathe in the twist for 2-3 breaths. Afterward, return to a regular Runner’s Lunge position.

  • Alignment tip: Aim to stack the shoulders, creating one long line from the left hand in the air to the right hand on the mat.

C.) Half Splits Pose: Lower the right knee and release the top of the foot onto the mat. Straighten the left leg as much as possible without straining the body and flex the left foot. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, melt the chest toward the left leg. Relax in the pose for an additional 3-5 more breaths, enjoying the opening in the hamstring. Thereafter, return to a regular Runner’s Lunge position.

  • Alignment tip: The hips stay square to the front of the mat. Maintain the action of drawing the left hip back and the right hip forward.  

*Once finished a, b and c, return to a Forward Fold and repeat everything on the left side.

  1. Chair Pose

Start in a Forward Fold. Inhale, bend deeply into the knees and bring majority of the weight into the heels of the feet. Exhale, lift the arms to bring the wrists in line with the shoulders. Shoulder blades moderately hug towards each other. The spine extends but keep a deep bend in the knees. With every exhalation, see if you can challenge your balance and strength by sinking further into the pose, increasing the bend in the knees while maintaining integrity through the spine and an approximate right angle between the torso and the tops of the thighs.

  • Alignment tip: The feet can be together with the heels slightly apart or the feet can be hip distance apart for more stability. While in Chair Pose, make sure the toes are visible at all times! If the toes are not visible, send the hips back slightly while keeping a lengthened spine.
  1. Breath of Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start in a strong, beautiful Mountain Pose. Feet hip distance apart. Inhale one-third of your lung capacity while swinging the arms up in front of you so that the wrists are in line with the shoulders. Inhale again, filling up to two-thirds of your lung capacity while swinging the arms out to the sides, bringing the wrists in line with the shoulders. Last inhale, filling up to your complete lung capacity while swinging the arms in front of you and all the way up, bringing the fingertips pointing toward the sky and the upper arms in line with the ears. Exhale audibly through the mouth while bending the knees and fold over the legs, arms sweep behind you. Repeat 7-10 times.

  1. Bound Angle

Bring yourself to a seated position on the mat with the soles of the feet touching and the knees bent and legs splay open to either side. The hands clasp around the feet. Inhale extend long through the crown of the head, lengthening the spine. Exhale, keep the back flat and hinge at the hips, folding into the pose to deepen the stretch. Hold for 5-7 breaths. To come out of the pose, slowly return to an upright spine and place the hands on the outsides of the knees to gently draw the legs together.

  • Alignment tip: Instead of folding in the pose, option to stay upright and relax the groin with every exhalation.
  1. Bound Angle

 

 

 

 

 

Bring yourself to a seated position on the mat with the soles of the feet touching and the knees bent and legs splay open to either side. The hands clasp around the feet. Inhale extend long through the crown of the head, lengthening the spine. Exhale, keep the back flat and hinge at the hips, folding into the pose to deepen the stretch. Hold for 5-7 breaths. To come out of the pose, slowly return to an upright spine and place the hands on the outsides of the knees to gently draw the legs together.

  • Alignment tip: Instead of folding in the pose, option to stay upright and relax the groin with every exhalation.
  1. Happy Baby

Lie on the back body with the knees hugged toward you and the arms wrapped around the legs. Inhale, grab a hold of the outsides of the feet, keeping the knees bent. Exhale, open the knees wider than the torso. The ankles are stacked above the knees and the feet are flexed. Close the eyes and enjoy the pose for 3-5 breaths.

  • Alignment tip: Option to rock very gently from side to side for an added therapeutic feel.
  1. Savasana

Stay lying on the back body. Extend the legs straight on the mat with the feet as wide as the mat and splay open. Arms rest naturally by the sides. Return the breath to it’s natural state. Close the eyes and rest the body. Soften every muscle, release any holding or physical tension. Relax the mind, still the thoughts. Integrate the body into silence and stillness. Rest in Savasana for 5-10 minutes.

Closing: Return to a seated position on your mat and end your yoga practice with a thought of gratitude or the sound of OM.

Namaste, thank you for practicing yoga and honouring your body!

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