Monday, April 20, 2015

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning 5 Basic Poses

Could you commit to practicing 5 poses for 10 minutes a day in order to bring more health and happiness to your life? It could be a life changing and healing experience. Practice daily pranayama or breath practice creating “life-force” and “vital energy”, while bringing more expansion and mindfulness to each inhale and exhale. Move through a series of basic poses to help support health and happiness in the body and mind.

Child's Pose
Move into these 5 basic postures to bring the practice of yoga into your daily routine and to support more health and vitality in the body and mind: Child’s Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Cobra, Runner’s Lunge, and Warrior II.

Find restoration in Child’s Pose, Balasana.
Child’s Pose helps “to set the tone” in order to tune “inwards”, and to allow stress to dissipate while melting away tension and tightness.
Rest the forehead on the ground. Use a block or blanket under the forehead for extra comfort and an overall feeling of “letting-go”. Close the eyes and notice the gently opening the hips, thighs and ankles while lengthening the spine.

Come to the hands and knees. Option to keep knees together or spread them wide. Bring the big toes to touch if accessible. Walk the palms out in front of you. Sink the hips over your heels. Bring the tops of the feet downward or stay propped on the toes if it helps to support the feet and ankles.

If child’s pose is not comfortable on the knees. You can also lay on the back and bring the knees into the chest, receiving many of the same benefits.

Notice the opening in the chest and shoulders.Close your eyes and feel gravity pull the hips downward. Feel the breath moving as it opens and creates more opening in the back and feel the breathe leave the body while the back and belly become soft.

Create ujjayi pranayama. Bring awareness to the breath. Create long and rhythmic inhales and exhales. Seal the lips and create an audible sound at the back of the throat. Visualize the breath moving up and down the spine. Try to create symmetry with the breath, allowing each inhale to “match” the length of the exhale. Give the breath a color and watch the color of the breath as it nourishes the body from head to toe. Stay here for 3-5 full rounds of breath, one inhale and one exhale, equates to one-round.

To come out of the pose: press back up onto the hands and knees.

Move into Downward-Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana:
Downward-facing Dog
From a table-top position on the hands and knees, on an inhale breath, begin to straighten the knees and extend the hips and tailbone up and back.

Shift the weight back, towards the legs, and feel the shoulders and chest open and expand. Bend the knees as much as you need to allow more opening in the back and for tightness in the hamstrings.

The hands stay planted at shoulder-width distance and the feet stay spread open wide to hip-width distance. Relax the head and neck. Option to gently shake the head yes and no to completely release tension. Keep breathing long and smooth inhales and exhales. Option to take some movement by peddling the feet and shifting the hips from side-to-side. Find stillness and engage the quadriceps. Allow time for the hamstrings and low-back to open.

Downward Facing Dog allows the spine to decompress. We create an opening in-between each vertebrae in order to allow the nerves some reprieve from compression. Stay in downward dog for 3-5 rounds of breath.

To come out: slowly drop back down to the hands and knees.
Cobra Pose

Move into Cobra, Bhujangasana.
Come to lay on the belly. Bring your feet to hip-width distance and bring the tops of the feet towards the ground. Bring the palms underneath the shoulders and then walk the palms a little closer towards the belly. Press the tops of the feet and hips downwards towards the ground and lengthen the tailbone towards the feet.

On an inhale breath, lift the chest into a baby cobra. Keep the gaze downwards towards the ground. Draw the shoulder-blades flush to the back and breathe. Reach the crown of the head forward and notice the spine and core working to keep the torso lifted off of the ground. Stay here and breathe for 3-5 full-rounds of breath. Option to take a second round to bring more strength and opening into the spine.

Come into Runner’s Lunge:
Runner's Lunge
From a tabletop (on the hands and knees) or from downward facing dog, on an inhale breath, kick the right leg high behind you. On an exhale sweep the leg all the way through to a lunge. Bring the foot to the right side of the palms. Toe heel the right foot to the upper right edge of your mat or so that your right foot is in front of the right ankle (important to protect the knee joint). Roll the foot open to the knife-edge of the right foot for a variation if it feels good and honors your body.

The left leg can stay active, the knee can stay lifted off of the ground for a more active stretch or the left knee can rest on the ground. Stay lifted on the palms or use one or more blocks for support. Lower to the forearms if it feels okay in the body. Maintain the breath, find a calmness and steadiness on every inhale and exhale. Allow the head and neck to relax. Close the eyes and turn the focus inward towards the heart. Hold the postures for 3-5 full-rounds of breath, inhales and exhales, and repeat on the other side.

Notice how on an inhale, the body feels invigorated and energized, and on an exhale, the body softens and relaxes. Runner’s lunge is an active resting posture. Notice how if you continue finding a balance of ease and effort in the breath, the mind starts to calm and the physical tightness begins to slowly release. Visualize the breath and send the exhale to the tight areas that may need time to open.

To come out of the pose: bring the knees down into table-top. Move into Child’s Pose, allowing the hips to sink over the heels. Allow the hips a moment to relax.

Move into Warrior II, Virabhadrasana II Pose:
Warrior II
From Downward Facing Dog, on an inhale breath, lift the right foot high. Lift from the inner right thigh. On an exhale, draw the right knee into the chest. Stay there and press the palms into the ground while rounding the spine. Draw the low-belly inward towards the spine. Drop the right foot in between the feet. Align the right knee over the ankle. If the knee extends out past the ankle, walk the feet wider apart. Spin the back foot flat to 90 degrees. On an inhale, windmill the arms up over the head and come to standing. Bring the arms open like wings.

Notice the feet. To properly align the feet, draw an imaginary line from the front foot and in-line with the arch of the back foot. Bend the front knee. Keep the back leg firm and straight. Notice the front leg has external rotation, the inner thigh is spiraling outward, and the back leg has an internal rotation, where the outward thigh is spiraling inward.

Press both feet down into the ground and lift the inner arches. Draw the tailbone downward and the low-belly inward towards the spine. Draw the shoulder-blades down the back and actively reach the arms away from the mid-line of the body. Relax the face and jaws. Gaze over the right middle finger. Find the balance of ease and effort in each breath and movement. Stay for 3-5 full round of breath.

To come out of the pose, straighten the front leg. Lower the arms to the sides of the body. Bring the feet together. Repeat the same instructions on the opposite side.

Come to lay down on the back in Savasana. Rest the body and allow the postures to settle. Draw the shoulder-blades flush to the ground and feel the opening in the heart space. Allow the palms to rest open towards the ceiling. Allow the breath to calm. Notice how you feel. Notice how you feel daily as you work to maintain 10 minutes of restoration and healing into your day. You may notice that you begin to feel “lighter” and more at ease, while having more energy and mindfulness throughout the day.

Find a non-interrupted time in the day, perhaps first thing in the morning, on a lunch break, or prior to going to bed, where your health is a priority. Notice how when we take the time to nurture ourselves, it is much easier to love, ourselves and others, while managing our busy lives. Create a quiet space, light a candle, play some relaxing music, and give yourself a meaningful gift each day.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques.
Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, 500 hr. cert. yoga instructor and owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor, kids yoga instructor, and owner of In Rhythms Yoga. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. She guides adults, kids and families in the ancient tradition of yoga. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her daily personal practice. She is passionate about sharing her experience, inspiration, and dedication with her students. She is committed to being a life-long student and teacher of the practice. Christi carefully works with each student in order to find the variation that best serves their body. Work to find the balance of effort and ease in every posture, “sthira sukham asanam.” Yoga is accessible to all.

IRY offers regularly scheduled vinyasa and yin-based classes on, Sat., Sun. (Yin-Yoga) and Wed. mornings as well as Tues. and Thurs. evening classes.

*In Rhythms Yoga supports the fundraiser, “Yoga for Hope”.
Donation Based classes are scheduled for: Thursday, April 30th, 5-6:15 pm, 875 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., S.D., and Tuesday, May 5th, 5-6 pm, In Rhythms Yoga, Clairemont, S.D.

*Christi teaches family and kids yoga. Contact her for more info. on kids and family yoga.

*Christi uses Young Living Oils at the studio to enhance yoga class, meditation and in her home.  Visit to learn more.
*Go to to see the full yoga schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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