Yoga

A Yoga Practice for Joy

Side view of person meditating with hands in an at sunset with ocean background
Side view of person meditating at sunset with ocean background

Every day we have the power to make choices that are empowering and help us feel our best. We can’t always control how we feel when we wake up in the morning, but we can control how we choose to move throughout the rest of our day. Joy may not always come easy, but it is a feeling that can be cultivated daily with the right practices. Yoga allows us to shift stagnant energy and become more present in the moment, creating space for more joy in our day. Practice this meditation and yoga sequence when you want to shift your energy and lift your spirits.

Gratitude Meditation

Sit in a comfortable and relaxed position somewhere you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and take a few centering deep breaths. Begin to bring to mind something from the last 48 hours that you feel grateful for. It could be an experience you enjoyed, a person you connected with, or any positive experience that brought you a sense of joy.

Begin to breathe into your heart space as you invite in the feeling that this person, experience, or situation invoked in you. Feel a sense of joy, gratitude, and ease as you continue to breathe into your heart space. Stay in this space for around five minutes, before slowly returning your awareness to the space around you and finally, opening your eyes.

Humble Warrior

From a standing position, step your left leg back and plant your left foot at a 45-degree angle. Keep your hips squared toward the top of the mat and raise your arms overhead. Hold and breathe for a few moments in Warrior I, then interlace your palms at the base of your spine, pressing them away from your body to open up your chest and fold to the inside of your right knee. Let your head and neck hang heavy as you breathe here for five counts.

Warrior III

On an inhale, rise back into Warrior I. Shift your upper body forward and bring the weight into your right foot, slowly lifting your left foot off the mat coming into Warrior III. Extend your left leg long behind you at hip height, flexing your foot toward the floor. Keep your hands in prayer, or extend them long by your ears. Hold here for five breaths.

Half Moon

From Warrior III, place your right hand to the ground outside of your right pinky toe and begin to peel your left hip open toward the ceiling. Extend your left arm over your shoulder toward the sky and keep your left foot flexed and your leg extended long behind you. Engage your core as you hold half moon for five breaths.

Tree Pose

From half moon, square your hips toward the mat, bring your hands back prayer and slowly come up to stand at the top of your mat. Firm your left foot into the mat and flex your left thigh. Place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh, coming into tree pose.

If you have any knee problems or have a hard time balancing, you can modify the pose by placing your right foot on your calve or kickstand your toes on the ground and place your heel on your left ankle. Place your hands in prayer or extend them overhead. Hold for five breaths before slowly lowering your right foot. Step back into warrior I with your right foot and repeat this sequence on the other side.

Bridge

Come to lie down on your back. Place the soles of your feet to the mat and knees toward the sky. Extend your arms long beside you and on an inhale, press into your feet to lift your hips and come into bridge pose. Release any tension in your glutes and hold and breathe here for ten counts, before slowly lowering down one vertebrae at a time.

Happy Baby

Reach for the outside of your feet and direct your knees in toward your armpits. Pull your feet toward the body to stretch the inside of your hips and root down firmly through the spine. Hold here or gently sway back and forth for a few breaths.

Savasana

Extend your legs out long on your mat. Let go of any breath control and attempt and allow your body to be heavy. Feel your body heavy, relax your muscles head to toe, and come into savasana. Stay here for up to ten minutes. Slowly sit up when you’re ready to return to the space around you and resume your day.


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