Water nourishes the body. Connecting to it during your yoga practice will allow you to strengthen and relax your hips, release tension, and become more flexible and fluid. There are many ways to bring balance to the water element during your yoga practice, including the poses for the Sacral Chakra or practicing Ujaji breath into your flow.
My favorite way to connect to the water element during yoga is to include ‘mini-flows’. Mini flows are a combination of two or more poses, that you link to your breath and repeat 3 to 10 times. Here are a few of my favorite ‘Mini-Flows’.
Warm-up with a few rounds of Cat-Cow stretches and Sun Salutations. Come to Downward Facing Dog and take a few long deep breath into your chest.
Downward Dog to Plank Pose
Spread your fingers wide and press into the inside parts of the palms (between thumbs and index finger). Tuck the tailbone under, press into the heels and reach the crown of the head forward that your legs, hips, torso, and neck form a straight line.
Downward Facing Dog (Exhale)
Exhale, press back to Downward Facing Dog. Keep a slight bend in your knees and lift your sitting bones high. Stretch your heels towards the floor while straightening your knees without blocking them. Your heels don’t have to touch the floor.
Inhale, round your back and come to Plank Pose – repeat 5 times. End in Downward Facing Dog.
Low Lunge to Half Split
Low Lunge (Inhale)
From Downward Dog, inhale, bring the right foot between your hands and lower down the left knee gently. You can release your left knee down and release the toes if you want. Make sure that the right ankle and the right knee stack vertically over each other. You should feel a comfortable stretch along the left thigh. Next, extend both your arms up alongside your ears and try to backbend gently.
Half Split (Exhale)
Exhale and straighten your front leg while pressing the hips towards your heels. You can bring your hands to either side of your front leg or place them on blocks. Lift your front toes towards the sky and round your spine – relax your head and neck and breath.
Inhale and come back to Low Lunge. Repeat 5 times on both sides and come back to Downward Facing Dog.
Warrior I to Pyramid
Warrior I (Inhale)
From Downward Facing Dog, step your right leg to the inside of your right hand and ground your left foot down. Your left toes should point to the left corner of your mat. Bring the hands to your hips and square the hips and shoulders to the front wall. You might have to step your back leg up a few inches. Your front leg is bent with your right knee over the right ankle. Inhale and reach your arms above your head, palms facing each other. Relax your shoulders.
Pyramid Pose (Exhale)
Exhale, extend the front leg, reach your chest forward and down. Your feet stay in the same position as in Warrior I. You can bring your hands-on blocks on either side of the front leg, interlace your hands behind your back and stretch your shoulders or bring your hands to a prayer behind the back – yogis choice.
Inhale, come back up to Warrior I. Repeat 5 times on each side and come back to Downward Facing Dog.
Warrior II to Triangle
Warrior II (Inhale)
From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot to the inside of your right hand and spin your back heel down. Your back leg should be parallel to the back edge of your mat. Firmly press into the outside edge of your back foot. Let your hips sink towards your mat that your form a right angle in the front leg. Turn your hips and shoulders towards the left side and bring your arms to shoulder height. Drop your shoulders down and back and gaze over your right middle finger.
Exhale, extend your front leg and reach your front arm forward until you have to bend from the hip joint, not the waist. Firmly press into the outside edge of your back heel. Bring lower hand on a block, on your shin or the floor – whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Your upper arm should reach towards the ceiling in line with your shoulders.
Inhale, and come back up to Warrior II. Repeat 5 times on each side and come back to Downward Facing Dog.
End your practice in Child’s Pose or Savasana.