A Yoga Workout to Calm Your Mind
  • December 16, 2016
  • I will be the first to tell you that yoga is a no-bull workout if you want it to be. There’s ways to scale every class you take to make it more restorative or more igniting. This morning all I wanted to do for my workout was roll out my mat on the floor of my room, turn on some music and figure out ways to stretch and move that felt good.

    But that’s not to say I didn’t get a workout in. In fact, I worked up quite the sweat with my yoga workout. You don’t need weights to make that happen on your yoga mat, either. If you ever wonder what would happen if you simply roll out your mat and move – but somehow you talk yourself into leaving it curled up in the corner of your room until you take it to a studio – I challenge you to try out an at-home practice. This yoga workout is just like our at-home workouts, meant to challenge you and offer you as much access to the kinds of workouts you can get in studios and gyms from the comfort of your own home.

    And at home you can do things like turn on whatever music you want. Is it just me that can zone out and find my happy place best while listening to hip hop remixes?

    If you try this yoga workout let us know what you think with this short survey.

    Here’s your yoga workout of the day:

    Inspired by yoga but with the elements of a workout we love, your next 30 minutes will mix cardio and strength. Unlike a workout in which you have a timer to keep you going, use your breath to build heat and sync up with your movement. Breathe in and out through your nose. If you want to increase the rep count of any of the moves, do it. Your challenge for this 30 minutes is to get into your body and out of your head. Do what feels good. And remember, sometimes what feels good might be challenging but may ultimately open you up in new ways.

    For the “cardio” moves, you’ll add on a few poses each time to your sequence, building onto what you’ve just done. You’ll move in repetitions of five on each side before switching to the other leg, then going back to your first side and adding on more poses.

    Here are some helpful hints for perfecting your chaturanga and other yoga poses that commonly need a form correction or two.

    Here are your heat-building (cardio) moves:

    1. Sun Salutations = 5x
    2. 3-legged down dog, crescent lunge. (5x on the right leg)
    3. 3-legged down dog, crescent lunge (5x on the left leg)
    4. 3-legged down dog, crescent, stand on one leg, lunge, push-up. (5x on the right leg)
    5. 3-legged down dog, crescent, stand on one leg, lunge, push-up. (5x on the left leg)
    6. 3-legged down dog, crescent, stand on one leg, lunge, push-up, side plank hip dips. (5x on the right leg)
    7. 3-legged down dog, crescent, stand on one leg, lunge, push-up, side plank hip dips. (5x on the left leg)
    8. Bent leg bicycle, straight leg bicycle, sit-ups with twist = 60 seconds each

    For your strength work:

    Go back through each pose, starting with your downward facing dog and hold each for 3-5 breaths. Hold each pose on the right, then hold it on the left. As you slow down, focus on your core as you step each foot forward or back, making each transition as smooth as possible.

    1. Down dog
    2. 3-leg down dog
    3. Crescent lunge
    4. Stand on one leg
    5. Crescent lunge
    6. High plank
    7. Low plank (chaturanga arms)
    8. Side plank

    These are the moves broken down:

    Sun Salutations: A sun salutation is a combination of poses strung together. The full combination counts as one and you’ll do at least five. Start from standing and raise your arms above your head. Fold forward with a flat back.

    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation1
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation2asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation3asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation4

    Lift up half way and place your hands on your shins.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation5

    When you fold again place your hands firmly on the ground, bend your knees and step back to a high plank position.

    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation6 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation7

    Lower down to chaturanga (90-degree bend in your elbows).
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation8

    Inhale to lift your chest to upward facing dog with your toes untucked and thighs off the ground.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation10

    Exhale to lift your hips high, roll over your toes and land back in your down dog.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation11 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation12

    Then bend your knees, look forward and jump up to the top of your mat in a forward fold.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation6 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation4

    Inhale to a halfway lift again, refold and stand all the way back up to the top at your starting position.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation5
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation4
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation2
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation1

    3-leg down dog, crescent lunge: On your 5th sun salutation, instead of jumping forward, lift your right leg high, aiming to keep your hips square and weight equally in both palms. Draw your knee towards your nose, rounding your back and working your core. From there, step your right foot in between your hands, lengthen your spine and finally raise your arms up.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_3-leg asweatlife_yogaworkout_kneetonose asweatlife_yogaworkout_lunge asweatlife_yogaworkout_crescent

    Bring your hands back to the ground, step your right leg back to a high plank, lower to chaturanga and head back to down dog. Do that four more times on the right side.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_lunge asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation7 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation8 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation10 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation11 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation12

    3-legged down dog, crescent, stand on one leg, lunge, push-up: After just rising to your high lunge (crescent lunge) five times both on the right and left, you’ll add on. Now lift your right leg high, step forward to crescent lunge and lift your arms.

    asweatlife_yogaworkout_3-leg asweatlife_yogaworkout_kneetonose asweatlife_yogaworkout_lunge asweatlife_yogaworkout_crescent

    Firm up your front leg and rise to stand on it with your opposite knee into your chest.

    asweatlife_yogaworkout_oneleg

    (Note: In the sequence captured, this should be the left leg lifted, not the right!)

    Lunge it right back to the ground and step your front foot back to meet it in a high plank. This time, take one push-up then press back to down dog.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_lunge asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation7 asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation8
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation7asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation12

    3-legged down dog, crescent, stand on one leg, lunge, push-up, side plank hip dips: Just as you’ve built on in the previous sequence, you’ll add one more thing to this flow for your final sequence – and do it 5 times on the right and 5 times on the left. First, go through the flow from 3-leg down dog, to crescent, to standing on one leg, to lunging that leg back and stepping to plank, then taking one push-up.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_3-leg
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_kneetonose
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_lunge
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_crescent

     

     

    asweatlife_yogaworkout_oneleg

    (Note: In the sequence, this should be the left leg lifted)asweatlife_yogaworkout_lunge   
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation7
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation8

    asweatlife_yogaworkout_sunsalutation7asweatlife_yogaworkout_sideplank asweatlife_yogaworkout_hipdip1 asweatlife_yogaworkout_hipdip2

    Bent leg bicycle: Lie on your back with your knees at tabletop. With hands behind your head, lift your shoulders off the mat as you exhale and twist your shoulders toward your right knee as you extend your left leg. Switch to left knee in, shoulders to the left. Aim to keep your hips square and shoulders off the mat.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_bicycle asweatlife_yogaworkout_bicycle3

    Straight leg bicycle: Continue the same motion as your bent leg bicycle and straighten your legs so each time, a straight leg comes up and lowers to hover.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_straightleg asweatlife_yogaworkout_straightleg2

    Sit-ups with twist: Plant your feet firmly on the ground, exhale to sit up and twist your shoulders right, keeping hips and knees facing forward. Alternate twisting directions each time you sit up.
    asweatlife_yogaworkout_situp1 asweatlife_yogaworkout_situp2 asweatlife_yogaworkout_situp3

    (Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)

    About Maggie Umberger

    Maggie moved to Chicago in 2014 from North Carolina, a proud Tar Heel at heart. She began her career in advertising but was equally passionate about her fitness endeavors, and ended up spending as much time instructing yoga and other types of fitness as much as in her advertising job. Now she works full-time with aSweatLife to continue to grow our community of amazing fellow fitness junkies in Chicago. And when she’s not running around with Jeana making #Sweatworking happen or instructing corporate and private yoga classes, you can find her leading bootcamp classes at ENRGi Fitness and vinyasa classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga and Yoga Six.

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