Sukhasana (Easy Pose, sitting on mat with legs crossed)
Settle into your deep, even breath.
Lower right ear toward right shoulder (lateral flexion), relax shoulders and weight of head for five breaths.
Repeat with left ear to left shoulder.
With right hand on left knee, reach up and over with left arm, lean to right. Repeat other side.
Seated Cat/Cow (spinal flexion/extension)
With hands on knees, inhale and roll forward over sitting bones, lengthening from tailbone to crown of head and extending collarbones and sternum forward. Exhale and press navel back, rounding spine to spread shoulder blades apart, tuck chin to chest. Repeat several times with breath.
Rolling Like a Ball
Hands behind thighs, tuck chin toward chest to protect neck, roll back and forward several times for spinal massage/core activation. Land balanced on sitting bones in boat pose.
Navasana (Boat Pose)
Hold 5-10 breaths. Repeat Rolling like a Ball and land forward onto feet with knees bent:
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Hold 5-10 breaths.
Knees soft, fold forward over legs and let arms and head hang.
Half Sun Salutations
Inhale arms up, exhale forward fold, inhale lift spine halfway up with a flat back and straight legs, exhale forward fold. Inhale come to standing, exhale hands to sides. Repeat 3-5 more times.
Standing Sequence (Do all five poses on the right leg, and then repeat to left)
Step left leg to back of mat, heel lifted and front knee over front ankle. Reach arms up, palms facing each other. Moving with your breath, inhale and straighten your front leg, exhale bend knee, five times.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)
Pivot left heel to mat and turn torso left, arms extended. 5 breaths.
Side Angle/Peaceful Warrior Flow
Inhale as you reach back into Peaceful (Reverse) Warrior, exhale right forearm to thigh in a variation of Side Angle. Repeat several times, landing in Side Angle, then release back kneecap to the floor and lower forearms to the floor on the inside of the right leg for into Lizard.
Spend 10 breaths here, opening right hip. Press down into forearms and slide right leg back to meet left leg in dolphin plank.
Hold 5 breaths, walk feet forward lifting hips, come into Dolphin Pose for five more breaths. Lower knees to floor, come up to kneeling and then stand up.
Repeat the Standing Sequence on the second side, starting by stepping right leg back into High Lunge.
*When repeating Dolphin Plank Pose for the second time, roll over onto right forearm and the outer edge of right foot, stacking left foot over right for Dolphin Side Plank. Hold for five breaths and repeat on left side. Return to Dolphin Plank and walk feet forward for Dolphin Pose. Lift and lower right leg five times, then left leg five times.
Lay on belly, supported by parallel forearms, shoulders over elbows, fingers spread with palms down. Engage abdominals to lift low ribs and belly away from the floor while extending tailbone toward heels, thighs contracted slightly to lift and protect kneecaps.
Salabasana (Locust) Variations:
1: “Cactus” arms lift chest off mat with upper spinal muscles, toenails pressed to mat, five breaths and then rest.
2. Folded arms across back, reaching for opposite elbows, lift chest and legs with the inner edges of the feet seamed together, five breaths and rest.
3. Arms outstretched along floor with thumbs facing up (palms face each other), lift opposite arm + leg, alternating-- “swimming” and rest.
Eka Bhuja Swastikasana 1 (Shoulder and chest opener--Avoid if you have shoulder injuries).
Lying prone (on stomach) slide right arm out on floor, wrist level with shoulder and palm facing down. Use left hand to push yourself over onto your right side. Stack legs or allow left (top) leg to drop onto floor behind you with your knee bent. Stay at least ten breaths, roll to stomach and repeat on second side.
Take a few breaths and roll up to a seat, drop hips to one side and bring legs forward.
Sitting with legs in front of you, soles of the feet together and knees bent. To get the correct distance, extend arms forward at shoulder height--where your fingertips reach to is where the tips of the toes will land. Round your spine forward, resting your arms on your shins. Relax forehead on feet, or on a block. Close eyes. Take 10-20 breaths. This is a gentle hip opener/low back stretch.
For an additional hip opener, do pigeon pose on each side (without downward dog in between)
Supine (Lie on back)
Bridge Pose Breathing
On an inhale, curl spine up off floor, from tailbone to upper ribs--resting weight on the backs of the shoulders and the back of the head. At the same time, reach arms straight up toward ceiling and then above head so the arms rest on the floor. Exhale and roll spine down, one vertebra at a time, reversing motion of the arms to rest on floor. Repeat 5-10 times.
Lift legs off floor, shins parallel to mat. Slowly lower knees to the right, all the way to the floor. Stretch arms wide in a “T” and turn head toward left hand. Take several breaths and repeat with legs to the left, gaze to the right.
Give your wrists a few days off from weight-bearing--you'll need them for stirring, slicing, and carving your holiday feast! Happy Thanksgiving!