To do a modified crescent lunge series with the breath: starting in Downward Facing Dog. Come to the hands and knees. Bring the palms shoulder-width distance apart and the feet hip-width distance apart. Align the palms under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Gaze between the palms and take an inhale breathe. On an exhale, begin to straighten the knees, pressing the hips up and back. Relax the head and neck. Bend the knees as much as you need to create a long spine.
On an inhale breath, kick the right leg high behind you. Exhale and draw the right leg all the way through to a low lunge. Grab the right ankle with the left hand, if needed, to align the right knee over the ankle. Drop the back knee down to the ground. Option to use extra padding under the knee, if more comfortable. Inhale, and lift the arms over the head. Spin the pinkies inward and feel the space in between the shoulder blades open. Relax the shoulders down away from the ears. Draw the low-belly in and lift the hip-pointer bones towards the ribs. Continue breathing and gently press the hips forward and feel the opening in the psoas muscle and in the hip flexors.
(Horizontal Twist): Inhale, and draw the hips back to center (after pressing them forward) and level them off. Reach length through the fingertips. Exhale, and twist open to the right-side. Reach in opposite directions with the fingers. The arms are active. Option to gaze back towards the right thumb. Work to maintain the torso in one-straight line with the shoulders. The hips are still facing forward and the twist starts at the core. Relax the shoulders down the back. Stay here for a few breaths and enjoy the twist and opening in the shoulders.
To come out: using the core, lift through the right arm to come back to center. Repeat the movements on the opposite side, paying attention to the breath and working to maintain consistency in the breath. Create long and smooth inhales and exhales.
Cultivate more clarity in the mind and a lightness in the body when practicing. Move through careful articulation of the postures in conjunction with the breath, to find more peace in the body and in the mind.
Notice how you feel after taking time to create careful movement with consistent breathing. When we slow down and notice our breathing, we create more space in between our thoughts. It is in this space, between our thoughts, where we find more peace and joy.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga, Clairemont, S.D.