Power Vinyasa Yoga
Here we showcase some of the poses we practice in Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga
This pose strengthens and stretches most major muscles in the body, and releases built-up tension and toxins. Using your own body weight, you develop upper body and core strength. This pose develops shoulder mobility and alignment and can relieve stiffness in shoulders, neck and heels. Downward facing dog builds energy and vitality.
You will need a sticky mat to do this pose, to prevent your hands and feet slipping.
- Start on hands and knees with your hands at shoulder width and your knees and feet at hip width.
- Tuck your toes under and lift your hips to the sky coming into an inverted “V” position.
- Fan your fingers, point your index fingers straight forward. Activate your arm muscles and lift your arm bones upwards, protecting your wrists by sending weight into your finger joints.
- Tilt your tail up to the sky. Your heels may be off the floor. Engage your thigh muscles.
- Suspend your spine from your hips. Relax your shoulder blades onto your back. Avoid overextending your shoulders or collapsing towards the floor.
- Relax your neck and jaw. Rest your gaze at the floor.
- Breathe deeply through your nose, expanding your ribcage on inhales, and engaging your abdominal muscles on exhales.
This is a powerful action for the whole body, sculpting and toning the legs, strengthening the core and back muscles, aligning the spine and shoulders and building confidence. This is an excellent pose for runners and people who sit a lot.
- Begin with your hands towards the front of your mat and your feet towards the back. Lift your hips high.
- Turn your left heel inwards 45° and down to the mat. Step your right foot straight forward as far as you can. Make your left leg straight and your bend your right leg at the knee.
- Press down firmly through your feet and lift your torso upright over your hips. Raise your arms up to the sky.
- Align your right knee directly over your right ankle – DON’T let your right knee turn inwards towards the middle of your mat.
- Pull your outer right hip backwards and your outer left hip forwards, squaring the hips.
- If your hips and/or low back are stiff you may need to tilt your torso forward. Firm your belly to support your back in this position. If you are more mobile, reach up on an inhale and bend back a little.
- Set your eyes straight ahead or look up between your hands.
- Take five to ten long, calm breaths – be a Warrior, not a Worrier! Then lower your hands to the floor and repeat on the opposite side.
This pose builds strength in the legs, core and back. It aligns the spine and shoulders and is a great pose for many different sports people. Rugby players, golfers, cyclists, skiers and rock climbers, to name just a few, will benefit from this pose.
- Stand with your feet together on your mat.
- Reach your arms up alongside your ears with your palms turned towards one another.
- Firm your belly to support your back then bend your knees, keeping your heels at the floor.
- Move your weight mainly into your heels. You may be able to lift your toes off the mat.
- You may find it helps to squeeze your knees and thighs together for support. If you are able, try separating your knees an inch or two.
- Draw your tail down towards the floor and keep your abdominal muscles engaged.
- Draw your shoulder blades down your back and inwards towards your spine. This involves strong engagement of the spinal erectors – muscles in your back that keep you upright.
- If it does not bother your neck, lift your gaze up towards your hands.
- Hold this pose for five deep breaths before gently bowing forward from the hips, allowing your arms to hang towards the floor.
Boat is a tremendous pose for building strength throughout the mid-section of your body. It calls for engagement of back muscles, abdominal muscles and hip flexors. At the same time it is a forward fold so stretches your hamstrings. Boat strengthens your back, confers good posture, builds core stability, improves balance and gives you a strong sense of self-esteem.
- Sit on the floor with your legs bent, your feet flat on the floor and your legs together.
- Place your hands just behind your hips.
- Draw your shoulder blades down your back, lift your chest and lift your chin off your chest. Do not let your low back collapse towards the floor.
- Lift your feet off the floor and straighten your legs. If this is too much for you have your legs bent with your shins parallel to the floor.
- Reach your arms straight forward from your shoulders. Again, if this is too much you may cup the backs of your knees with your hands for support or keep your hands at the floor behind you.
- Lift your eye gaze and take five long, slow breaths before gently releasing down.
Aeroplane strengthens your feet, legs, buttocks, abdomen and back while stretching the back of your standing leg. It improves balance and encourages you to be confident and courageous as you reach your chest out in front of your standing foot.
- Stand upright with your feet together, your arms by your side and your palms turned forwards.
- Centre yourself on your left foot, feeling your left heel well-grounded and the big toe and inner ball of your left foot pressing into the floor.
- Do not over extend your left knee. Allow there to be a slight bend at your left knee but make your left thigh firm. Contract your left thigh, hugging in from skin, to muscle, to bone.
- Turn your right thigh inwards a little and sustain that action throughout the pose.
- Draw inwards and upwards at your belly to engage your abdominal muscles.
- Reach your right leg straight back behind you and tilt your torso forwards. Lift your right leg up to hip height.
- Use back strength to bring your shoulder blades down your back towards your buttocks. Reach your chest forward and upward slightly.
- Rest your gaze at the floor in front of you. Take five long, calm breaths before returning to standing then repeating on the opposite leg.
Our spines are designed to allow us to bend backwards but modern western lifestyles rarely see us do so. More often our spines are rounded forward. Bridge pose is a wonderful counter-action to sitting. It is a restorative posture and calming to the mind for everyone but especially desk workers, cyclists, rowers and hockey players.
- Start lying on your back. Draw your feet towards your buttocks until your feet are flat to the floor and hip width distance apart.
- With an inhale, lift your hips up from the floor and rest on your feet and shoulders.
- Clasp your hands together beneath your body and walk your shoulder blades in towards one another.
- Press down into the floor through your feet and upper arms.
- Keep your knees just hip-width distance apart and turn your inner thighs down towards the floor. Avoid letting your knees splay outwards.
- Stack your knees directly above your ankles.
- Tone your abdominal muscles gently.
- Relax your eyes along the line of your nose and enjoy the broadening and lengthening of the front side of your torso and hips.
- Stay in the pose for as long as you are comfortable. To come down, release your hands and gently lower from your upper back to your lower back. Keep your tail drawing towards your heels as you do so. Lie flat and breathe deeply before rolling onto your side and slowly pressing yourself back up.