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A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence For a Tighter Backside

A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence For a Tighter Backside

Downward-Dog

    1. Downward Dog

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees should be underneath your hips.
    • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into an upside-down “V” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
    • Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths.

    Three-Legged-Down-Dog

      2. Three-Legged Downward Dog

      • From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
      • Shift your weight onto your hands and your left foot equally, and raise your right leg into the air. Try to keep your shoulders parallel with the ground, and gaze at your left thigh or up toward your belly to help you stay balanced.
      • Stay here for five breaths, then lower your right leg down. Perform Three-Legged Downward Dog on the other side.

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      Warrior-1

        3. Warrior 1

        • From Three-Legged Dog, come back down to Downward Facing Dog.
        • Step your right foot forward between your hands. Turn your left heel in, press into your feet, and lift your torso up.
        • Lift your arms up, and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips, and gaze up at your hands.
        • Stay here for five breaths. Then come back to Downward Dog, and move through Warrior 1 with your left foot forward.

        Warrior-3

          4. Warrior 3

          • From Warrior 1 with your left knee forward, lower your torso and lift your right leg, bringing your body parallel with the ground.
          • Extend your hands out in front of you, pressing your palms together firmly. If it bothers your shoulders to press your hands together, separate your arms so they’re shoulder-width apart. If extending your arms creates pain or pressure in your lower back, rest your hands on your hips.
          • Engage your abs, holding this position for five deep breaths. Then lower your left leg, returning to Warrior 1. Release your hands to the mat, and come into Downward Dog.
          • Then move through Warrior 3 with the other leg, move through Warrior 1, and come back to Downward Dog.

          Fierce

            5. Fierce

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            • After Downward Facing Dog, jump or step toward the top of your mat. Slowly roll up, and stand with your feet together in Mountain Pose. Bend your knees and lower your hips as you raise your arms overhead.
            • Focus on sitting back onto your heels. Tuck your tailbone in, and engage your abs, keeping your spine straight. Relax the shoulders as you gaze up toward the ceiling. Stay like this for five breaths, and then stand up into Mountain Pose.

            8bf33b4746417958_Mountain-Pose.xxxlarge_2x

              6. Mountain Pose

              • Before you begin moving, create your intention. Bring your awareness inward to your breath and focus your energy on a person, an aspiration, a dream, a hope, a purpose, or something you wish to change in the world or in your life.
              • Try to let go of any thoughts about your day: what you forgot to do, who you need to call, or a disagreement you may have had, then connect with your body in the present moment. After all this is what yoga is all about.

              Goddess

                7. Goddness

                • From Mountain Pose, step open to the right, opening your legs about three feet apart. Turn your heels in.
                • Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your knees should be directly over your ankles, so adjust your feet if you need to. Lift your arms up, bending your elbows so they are at 90-degree angles, and open your palms away from you.
                • Hold here for five deep breaths.

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                Wide-Squat

                  8. Wide Squat

                  • Step in your feet so they’re slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees, and lower your hips toward the ground.
                  • Bring your palms together at your heart center, and firmly press your elbows against the inside of your knees. This will help to open your hips even farther. Shift weight onto your heels, and lengthen the crown of your head toward the ceiling.
                  • Hold the pose for five deep breaths.

                  Locust

                    9. Locust Pose

                    • From Wide Squat, place your hands at the top of your mat and step back into plank. Slowly lower to the ground, and lie flat on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up.
                    • As you inhale, lift your legs, head, and upper body off the floor. Your hands remain on the floor for support. As you breathe, extend the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening as much as you can through your spine.
                    • Stay for five breaths, and then release back to the mat.

                    Intense-East

                      10. Intense East

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                      • From Locust Pose, roll over to lie flat on your back. Sit your bottom on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Place your palms behind your hips about six to eight inches away, with your fingers pointing toward your toes.
                      • As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Raise them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you and opening through your throat.
                      • Stay here for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.

                      Bridge

                        11. Bridge

                        • From Intense East, lie flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body with your palms facing down. Bend your knees, placing your heels as close as you can to your bum.
                        • With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat, or clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back. If your feet are close enough, you can also hold your ankles.
                        • Stay here for five deep breaths, lifting your hips up as high as you can.

                        Savasana

                          12. Savasana

                          • After you’ve completed Bridge Pose, lie on your back and close your eyes. In order to relax and open your body fully, extend your arms a few inches away from the body, with the palms facing up. Put about 15 to 20 inches between your heels, allowing your feet to fall open with the toes pointing out. Actively shrug your shoulder blades down toward your hips. Lengthen through the spine as much as possible, relaxing your lower back toward the floor.
                          • After you’ve found a comfortable position, stay here for as long as you want, around 10 minutes or more, if your schedule allows for it. If you’re short on time, remain in Savasana at least until your heart rate slows down and your breath returns to its natural soothing rhythm.
                           
                          yoga a6
                            Reference: popsugar.com

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                            Published on January 17, 2020

                            How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

                            How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

                            If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

                            Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

                            But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

                            And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

                            What is Yoga?

                            Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

                            The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

                            When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

                            Let’s see how to do that:

                            Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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                            Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

                            Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

                            Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

                            This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

                            But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

                            The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

                            But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

                            You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

                            It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

                            Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

                            In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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                            As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

                            Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

                            Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

                            Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

                            As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

                            Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

                            But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

                            The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

                            So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

                            The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

                            The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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                            1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
                            2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
                            3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
                            4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
                            5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

                            That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

                            Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

                            However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

                            It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

                            Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

                            Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

                            Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

                            Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

                            This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

                            This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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                            1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
                            2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
                            3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
                            4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

                            This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

                            Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

                            Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

                            You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

                            Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

                            The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

                            Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

                            Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

                            Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

                            The stillness and the watching within.

                            Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

                            More About Yoga

                            Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
                            [2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
                            [3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

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