Thursday, December 31

Apple Yoga

I was asked by my significant other who has her own blog about yoga to write a guest yoga sequence.  I decided to write one that was was inspired by many of the strateches and stances I take on a usual basis when I pick apples.  The sequence will be posted on her blog next week, but being as it was inspired by apple picking I thought it would be appropriate to also post it here.  Hope you enjoy it, even if you don't practice yoga.

 Apple Yoga  

I have picked apples for nine seasons and in many ways it has become part of me and influenced my direction in more ways than I probably know.  Having only begun to explore yoga a little over a year ago, it wasn’t until this past fall picking apples in the beautifully clad autumn of New England that I began to see how much yoga was involved in my daily life as an apple picker.  I saw it in my physical movements, whether it be a balancing pose on a ladder to reach that one apple that seemed just out of reach, or placing yourself in a squat in order to retrieve those apples just above the ground.  I saw yoga also in my simple presence among the trees.  The meditative act of picking fruit hour after hour gave me space to clear my mind and relax in the solitude of the darkening days of autumn. 
The sequence that follows in one inspired by apple picking, but I encourage you to also let it inspire you to reflect on all the ways yoga can be present in your life outside of the classroom or your personal practice.  Finding your breath in a spare moment during your day or listening to your body and being conscious of your movements as you move through simple daily tasks or more strenuous physical activities can allow you have a continuous yoga practice.  If you would find it helpful, try writing a yoga sequence that is inspired by a common task you perform or a work activity you do and see how it may change your actions the next time you perform it.  Being present in every moment and being aware of both your body and your mind and how you choose to use them is, I believe, the essence of a yogic lifestyle. 

  1. Standing Meditation (3-5 minutes)
  2. Tadasana (Mountain Pose) (stretch your arms up, pretend you are reaching to pick an apple that is just out of reach)
  3. Bring your hands into prayer pose
  4. Repeat 2 and 3 several times trying to reach a little higher each time
  5. Twist gently to each side several times warming your spine
  6. Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend) (gentle)
  7. Prasarita Padottanasana  (Wide-Legged Forward Bend) (6 breaths)
  8. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
  9. Utkatasana (Chair Pose) (focus on reaching arms up)
  10. Uttanasana (Forward fold)
  11. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog)
  12. Repeat 8-11 twice more
  13. Balasana (Childs pose)
  14. Table
  15. Balancing table (focus on stretching arms arm legs out)
  16. Repeat other side
  17. (Malasana) Squat, Hands in prayer pose (6 breaths)
  18. Widen stance come into Bakasana (Crow pose)
  19. Malasana (Squat)
  20. Step or jump back
  21. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog) (6 breaths)
  22. Stretch right leg back, open hip
  23. Low forward lunge
  24. Raise arms (interlock if you want)
  25. Lift knee, high lunge
  26. Anjaneasana (gentle backbend)
  27. Namaskar Parsvakonasana  (Prayer Twist)
  28. Virabhadra Mudra (Warrior Seal)
  29. Downward facing dog
  30. Repeat 22-29 other side
  31. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
  32. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
  33. Viparita virabhadrasana  (Reverse Warrior)
  34. Parsvakonasana (Extended side angle)
  35. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
  36. Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III) (imagine trying to do this on a ladder high up in an apple tree)
  37. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
  38. Adha Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing dog)
  39. Repeat 31-38 other side
  40. Matsyendrasana (Seated spinal twist)
  41. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head to Knee)
  42. Lay on back
  43. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
  44. Pavana muktasana (wind relieving pose)
  45. Bridge into Wheel or inversion of your choice
  46. Balasana (Childs pose)
  47. Ananda Balasana  (Happy Baby) (Hold for at least 6 breaths)
  48. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

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