women

Prepare your body and mind for meditation with this slow, steady flow

The practice

Description: Home practice: Sitting pretty

Home practice: Sitting pretty

A steady flow practice is an excellent way to prepare the body and mind for seated meditation. Use the physical pose to prepare your spine, use your breath and the alignment points of each pose to calm and still your mind.

Mind-body benefits

This sequence awakens the whole body, helping you feel both alert and at ease. The poses will move energy through you, creating spaciousness in places that may typically feel stagnant. The space that you create in the body has an effect on your state of mind. As Baron Baptiste says, “By being in a practice of clearing out old energy in the body, you create space for inspiration and inner freedom to arise.”

Key focal points

You’re invited to stay in the final pose, Virasana (Hero Pose), as you transition into seated meditation. It’s a great alternative if you feel discomfort while sitting cross-legged. Whether you choose Virasana or sit cross-legged, be sure to use props to lift your hips higher than your knees. Doing so makes it easier to sit tall.

Steady flow meditation prep

To begin, there’s no need for a warm-up before you begin this sequence; it’s a full flow practice that will get you ready to sit more comfortably in meditation. As you move through the poses that follow, imagine they are opening up space in our body and your mind. As Baptiste says, “Allow your light and spirit to shine through.” Hold each pose for 3 to 5 breaths.

Cat-cow pose

Description: Cat-cow pose

Cat-cow pose

Come into a tabletop position. Inhale, tilt your sitting bones to the sky, draw your shoulder blades down your back, and lift your gaze. Exhale and round your spine toward the ceiling, lifting your navel toward your spine. Repeat Cat-Cow 3 to 5 times.

Thread-the-needle pose

Thread-the-needle pose (do both sides)

From tabletop, thread your left arm under your right until you are resting on your left shoulder and ear. Ease your left shoulder down your back, creating space in your neck and ribs. Do both sides.

Balasana (child’s pose)

Description: Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Stretch your arms forward and draw your hips to your heels, knees wide. Feel your forehead connect to the mat. Surrender to the support of the earth.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Description: Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Lie on your belly, hands in line with your shoulders. Gently lift your abdominal musbles in and up. Press your hands down as you lift your head, chest, and shoulders off the mat. Soften in your neck and shoulders.

Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward – Facing Dog Pose)

Description: Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward – Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward – Facing Dog Pose)

Lift your hips up and back to Downward Dog. Reach your sitting bones up, root your heels toward the earth, and press the backs of your thighs to the wall behind you.

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

Description: Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

Step your right foot forward and drop your back knee to the floor. Place both hands on the front knee and litt your chest to come into a gentle backbend

Revolved high lunge

Description: Revolved high lunge

Revolved high lunge

Place your left hand to the inside of your right foot and extend your right hand to the sky. From there, come back to Down Dog, then do Low Lunge and Revolved High Lunge on the left side

Lizard Lunge

Description: Lizard Lunge

Lizard Lunge

Come into a Low Lunge on the right side with your hands underneath your shoulders. Turn your right foot out and drop your right knee out and down toward the mat. Stay supported on fingertips or bring your forearms to the mat.

Lizard Lunge, Variation

Description: Lizard Lunge, Variation

Lizard Lunge, Variation

Stay in Lizard Lunge and support yourself with your left hand. Reach your right hand back to grasp your let foot. Hug your foot toward your hips as you turn your heart open toward the ceiling.

Downward-Facing Dog

Description: Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-Facing Dog

Return to Down Dog. Breathe in and out deeply. Feel your upper back soften toward the floor. Repeat the Lizard Lunge and variation on the second side.

Ardha Ustrasana (Half Camel Pose)

Description: Ardha Ustrasana (Half Camel Pose)

Ardha Ustrasana (Half Camel Pose)

Step your right foot forward to kneel on the mat. Place your left hand on your left heel. With square hips, reach your right arm overhead and then to the wall behind you, opening into a back bend.

Downward- Facing Dog

Return to Down Dog. Feel your hands and feet connecting to the earth. Let your mind rest in the present moment. Repeat Half Camel pose on the second side.

Half Pigeon Pose

Description: Half Pigeon Pose

Half Pigeon Pose

Step your right foot forward into Pigeon Pose. Move your right shin forward until it’s parallel to the front edge of your mat. With square hips, fold your torso over your right leg.

Downward-Facing Dog

Step back to Down Dog. Feel yourself letting go with each exhalation; take in life and vitality with each inhalation. Come into Half Pigeon with your left foot forward, and then return to Down Dog.

Toes Pose

Description: Toes Pose

Toes Pose

From Down Dog, bring your knees to the floor in a tabletop position. Tuck your toes and bring your hips to rest on your hells. Interlace your fingers and extend your palms to the sky.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Description: Virasana (Hero Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Rest on your shins and place a block beneath your seat for support. Rest your hands in your lap with your fingertips touching. Root down through your sitting bones, but allow your spine to flow like water. Stay here for a few minutes of seated meditation.

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