Take a break from the stress of corporate life with a yoga sequence that will balance and invigorate you in the midst of winter. Created by Kate Robertson and shot in The Space Studio in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct.
Like many of the studio’s members, Kate Robertson juggles her yogini aspirations with corporate life and feels committed to supporting others in their individual exploration and experience of a regular mind-body practice. Kate’s flow yoga sequence focuses on the sacral chakra — one of the seven centres of bioenergetic activity in the human body. Located in the pelvic area, it governs creativity and expression and is associated with fluidity, grace, flexibility and fun.
Encouraging balance in the rigidity of corporate life, this sequence explores expansion, flow and sensation in the hips and is designed to help you create space through movement. In the middle of winter, yoga practice is optimal in a cosily heated studio. If you live in Sydney, check out the heated Vinyasa flow classes at The Space Studio. You can pick up an intro pass for $50 and enjoy two weeks of unlimited classes. Visit thespacestudio.com.au to learn more.
1. Wide-Knee Balasana (Child’s pose)
This pose is centring and calming, gently opening your hips, thighs and ankles. Kneel with knees spread out wide and bring your big toes together. Lay your torso between your thighs and extend arms out in front of you, shoulder width apart. Actively reach your fingers out and rest your forehead on the mat. Allow your body to feel heavy and shoulders to retract from your ears as you breathe steady, balanced inhalations and exhalations. Be careful if you’ve suffered a recent or chronic knee injury or are pregnant.
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog)
This is an energising inversion, a whole body stretch that opens your shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands. On all fours, set your hands shoulder width apart and knees and feet hip width apart. Tuck your toes and lift your knees, drawing your thigh bones back behind you. Keep your knees slightly bent, heels lifted away from the earth, pressing the floor away with your hands as you create a V shape with your hips, lengthening the spine. Allow space across the tops and back of your shoulders. Press your heels down towards the earth on an exhale, keeping the length in your spine. Be cautious if you have a wrist injury, are in late stage pregnancy or have high blood pressure.
3. Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent lunge/High lunge)
This opens your hips, flexors, chest and shoulders. From downward-facing dog, step one foot forwards between your hands. Raise your upper body toward the sky, powering down and back into the ball of your back foot. Bend your font leg, ensuring your knee stacks directly over your ankle. Stack your shoulders over your hips and reach arms skywards. A slight bend in your back knee deepens the stretch. Approach with caution if you have high blood pressure. An alternative is to lower your back knee to the mat for a less intense lunge. If you’re stable and grounded, you might explore a small backbend in the lunge.
4. Standing Kapotasana (Standing pigeon)
Opens your hips, flexors, chest and shoulders. From a high lunge, power down into the front foot to spring up and forwards, landing your opposite ankle to your front thigh, crossing the top of your knee. Actively press your floating knee away from your midline. Keep length in your spine and your torso upright as you bring your hands to prayer at your heart centre.
5. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
An energising pose which strengthens and opens your legs, ankles, groin, chest and shoulders, increasing stamina and confidence. From a crescent lunge, lower your back heel down. Keep your front knee bent and tracking over your second and third toes. Ground down into the outer edge of your back foot. Float your arms open sideways, parallel to the earth. Breathe the sides of your torso long, lengthening your tailbone downwards to reduce any undue arching through your spine and ribs. Be cautious if you have high blood pressure or a neck injury.
6. Prasarita Padottanasana A (Wide leg forward fold)
A mild inversion, soothing for the nervous system. Opens hamstrings, calves, hips, glutes and lower back and releases tension in shoulders and neck. This pose also works to increase mobility in your hips and strengthens your feet, ankles and legs. Turn sideways on the mat, feet wide apart, big toes facing slightly inwards. Fold forward from your hips, landing hands to the mat. Relax your neck. Explore bringing some weight out of your heels into the balls of your feet. If your palms are on the mat, try walking your hands back level with your heels, keeping elbows bent, pointing behind you. If you have lower back conditions avoid folding fully forward.
7. Parivrtta Sanchalanasana (Lunge twist)
This opens and strengthens your shoulders, legs, back and hip flexors. In your lunge, place the opposite hand to front foot on the mat directly under your shoulder. Inhale and reach the other arm skywards. Power through the heel of your foot at the back of your mat to lengthen through your spine to the crown of your head and to engage your thigh. Ensure your front knee is stacked directly over your ankle. Lower your back knee to the mat for a less intense lunge or if you are tight through the hips and find you are twisting from the hip rather than the torso. Be careful doing this if you have knee or shoulder injuries.
8. Ardha Kapotasana (Half pigeon) to Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon)
Opens your inner and outer hips, builds core strength and is calming. From downward dog, bring one leg forward, shin to mat, knee behind your wrist. Ensure your front knee is wider than your hip. Slide your opposite leg straight back, long on the mat, toes pointing directly to the back and heel pointing upwards. Draw your inner thighs inwards, square your hips and open your chest. Breathe here with hand support out in front, or explore walking hands forward, lowering your upper body with forearms and forehead down for a deeper expression.
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