Hands free flow

Injuries can be frustrating and a real test to our patience. When it comes to our time on the mat it’s particularly challenging to be nursing a wrist, arm or shoulder injury. It may feel a bit limiting in a class environment but in your home practice it’s very easy to mind those injuries and flow freely without feeling a sense of limitation.

Essentially what we are cutting out in this sequence is downward dog and weight bearing poses on the upper body. Which may sound drastic but it’s as simple as going back to basics and stepping back to each standing pose rather than stepping forward from downward dog. We become so accustomed to linking everything through a vinyasa that we forget there is another way to move from pose to pose. If you cast your mind back to your very first yoga class you most likely didn’t vinyasa to link poses. This is quite a challenging movement and one we don’t teach beginners until they have grasped the basics. Often you will find the answer to your yoga conundrum if you take a beginners mind frame and try to see beyond the habitual patterns in your practice.

Even if you don’t have an arm injury this sequence is good to keep on hand. There maybe many reasons why coming down to the ground, indoor or outdoor, doesn’t look very inviting. I find when travelling I’ve encountered some questionable carpets in hotel rooms and have a preference not to take vinyasas during my short morning practices!

To help you flow through the sequence move fluidly step back with intension in your transitions from Tadasana/Mountain to each group of standing pose. Think of the step backs as a mini balancing pose as you press strongly into the standing leg, lift the stepping leg, and slow mo it to the back of the mat - recruiting all the stabilising muscles of your core and legs to support you. When in doubt come to the top of your mat and start into the next section of linked poses with a step back.

  • After your two rounds of Utkatasana/Chair and Ardha Uttanasana/Half Forward Fold come to stand at the top of your mat and pause for a few breathes before the next flow.

  • Step your left foot back first for your high lunge flow so that you are starting with your right side for the four poses. Then step your left foot forward to Tadasana/Mountain and repeat stepping the right foot back.

  • In row three try stepping from Virabhadrasana I/Warrior I to Vrksasana/Tree using all the stabilising and balancing muscles of your front leg to lift the back leg forward.

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Ruth Delahunty Yogaru