Do the poses in order, as they work progressively to open the hips, lower back and torso.
Corpse Pose — Shavasana
Relax the muscles of your front body down into the mat. Breathe naturally, do not try and deepen or change your breathing in any way. Plenty of time for that. Just rest.
Lie in shavasana as above. Then using your legs to turn your feet, roll them in towards each other, and then away from each other a few times. Stop here if it’s all the time you have. This will free your hips and spine just enough that you are able to move more easily for a time. Stop and do this periodically throughout the day if you can.
Wind Removing Pose — Apanasana
Draw each alternate knee into your chest using your hands for a few breaths each side. Take the full weight of your leg into your hands as though your hands were a sling. Let your lower back be soft.
Reclining Hand to Foot Pose — Supta Padangusthasana I
Use a long scarf or a belt if you don’t have a strap. You can also interlace your fingers behind your thigh if you have to. Keep the thigh of your top leg vertical. Work on straightening your knee. Do both sides.
Windscreen Wipers — Jathara Parivartanasana Variation
Contrary to this image, have your feet as wide as your mat to begin with (half wider than your hips if you don’t have a mat). Keep both shoulders soft and grounded on the floor. Look to left or right, or straight up. Do both sides.
Cat / Cow / Dog Sequence — Chakravakasana Vinyasa
Gradually build up to the full sequence. Start on all fours (table pose). Arch your spine towards the floor on the inhale and then rounding your spine towards the ceiling on the exhale — do five rounds. Then exhale and come to child’s pose (hips to heels, big toes touching, knees wide, forehead towards the floor), inhale as you come up to table pose, and arch your spine towards the floor. Do that five times, moving with your breath. Finally, do the full sequence as shown in the image for three to five rounds (if your wrists, shoulders and neck feel up to it).
Bridge Pose — Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Keep strength and stability in your foundation (the parts of your body on the floor). Press down into the floor with the backs of your arms. Keep your elbows in at your sides. Only go so far into the pose as you feel comfortable and stay for as long as you are able to breathe smoothly and your shoulders and neck are relaxed. Repeat two or three times.
Belly Twisting Pose — Ardha Jathara Parivartanasana
Hook the toes of your top foot behind the back of your bottom leg knee for greater ease. Only come so far into the twist as you can, while keeping both shoulders soft and on the floor. Relax through the abdomen and hips. Do both sides.
Constructive Rest Pose
Close your eyes or soften your gaze. Let the weight of your knees fall inwards and down. Sink your thighbones into your hip sockets.
- 2-Minute Nano Practice: Stop at Hip Rotations only.
- 5-Minute Micro Practice: Stop at Apanasana. Do Constructive Rest for 1 minute.
- 10-Minute Mini Practice: Stop at Windscreen Wipers. Do Constructive Rest for 1 minute.
- 13-Minute Baseline Practice: Finish after five rounds of Chakra Vakasana. Do Constructive Rest for 1 minute.
- 20-Minute Full Practice: Do the whole sequence as listed, allowing for 2 minutes of Constructive Rest at the end. Only thing to be aware of is that you do not skip the Abdominal Twist or Constructive Rest after Bridge Pose. Twists followed by a rest are important to neutralise the spine after backward bending.
Optionally do shavasana instead of Constructive Rest pose at the end of your practice.
Enjoying these practises or have questions, suggestions for others? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.