Every Jock Yoga class I teach begins with a basic yoga flow — or ‘sun salutation’ as it’s commonly referred to. Why? This flow begins the process of warming up the muscles in the body in preparation for the remainder of the class. A basic yoga flow through high plank to low plank, to upward dog, and then to downward dog, is also the essential flow that repeatedly links the series of poses in any flow yoga class.
The basic yoga flow broken down in this tutorial helps to warm up and increase pliability of the muscles, energizes the spine, and adds length in the back muscles and hamstrings. The process of moving from high to low plank, and from upward to downward dog also targets the muscles of the upper body and core. It can be practiced on its own as an abbreviated yoga practice, be used to warm up the body for a longer yoga practice, or even as a warm up or cool down stretch for other physical activities. Repeated as many times as you’d like, this flow will gradually build heat, and you may find yourself quickly breaking a sweat!
Step 1: Stand toward the front of the mat with your feet together (big toe mounds touching—heels slightly apart). Shoulder blades move down the back, and arms extended along your sides. Begin to breathe deeply through your nose.
Step 2: With a deep inhale through the nose, extend your arms forward and up, while trying to keep your shoulders down away from your ears.
Step 3: With an exhale through the nose, hinge forward at the hip creases, bending your knees if you need.
Step 4: Place your hands against your shins and press against them as you actively reach the centre of your chest forward with an inhale. This lengthens and flattens your back.
Step 5: As you exhale, fold forward a bit again and place your hands firmly on the mat (fingers fanned and knuckles pressing down) shoulder width—stepping your feet back to a high plank position. (Keep in mind that the word ‘plank’ indicates that your body is straight as a board—so engage your core and keep your tailbone tucked)