This Positive Psychology inspired Vinyasa Flow Yoga sequence is about getting away from the limitations of a fixed mindset (I can’t do this) and moving towards the possibilities of a growth mindset (I can’t do this…yet!). Different to traditional psychology which tends to focus on weakness and what is going wrong, positive psychology is more concerned with building on existing strengths and what is going right. This sequence has been designed to be enjoyed in a playful manner with a curious mind and open heart. Its benefits include building strength and flexibility through the various asanas culminating towards the challenging ‘Flying Ninja’ pose. At the heart of this sequence is cultivating mental strength and resilience by focussing on what you can achieve, where you feel strong and what is working for you rather than expending energy focussing on where you may be struggling, where you are weak or what you are lacking.
1 – FORWARD FOLD WITH OPEN TWIST
Folding forward, place your ngertips on the oor while bending your knees. Place your right ngertips on a slight diagonal away from your right shoulder. Keep your right knee bent and your heels on the ground as you inhale your left arm to the sky while straightening your left leg as much as you can without hyperextending or locking the knee. Take 8 deep breaths and repeat other side.
2 – WIDE LEGGED PYRAMID
Step your left leg forward and right leg back and create what looks like a very wide pyramid. Your back right heel should be o the ground and your feet facing forward with your hips squared straight. Walk your ngers out in front of you as far as you can as you straighten through your legs. Use blocks if you can’t get your legs straight or place your hands on your chins as support if you don’t have any blocks. Keep walking out your ngers as you work to get long in the spine including the neck. Make sure not to crunch your neck but rather with every breath work on creating a long a line as possible. 7 breaths.
3 – TANDING SPLIT VARIATION
From your Pyramid pose ground through your left foot and kick your right leg up to the sky coming into a standing split. Steady your right ngertips on the oor and begin to bend your right leg as though you were trying to touch your right heel to your backside. Reach your left hand behind you and try to grab your right foot. With every breath gently press your foot more towards your groin as you melt your nose towards your left shin. 5 breaths
4 – RAINBOW WARRIOR
On your nal exhale of your Standing Split, release your right foot as you start to bend your left leg and step your right leg back to a Low Lunge. From there turn your body towards your right, landing sideways and begin to bend your right leg while starting to straighten your left leg. Flex your left foot to the sky as you stretch out the inner thigh. You can take your hands in Anjali (prayer) mudra but if you are nding it hard to balance or your right heel isn’t making it to the oor, take your hands to the ground to steady yourself. Take 5 deep breaths insuring to keep your left foot exed and not locking the left knee.
5 – OPEN LUNGE VARIATION
Return back to a Low Lunge with your left leg bent and drop the right knee to the ground. Walk your left foot out a few inches to the left and turn your left toes slightly outwards pointing in a ten o’clock position. Begin to bend your right leg and reach around back with your left hand and grab your right foot similar to the standing split variation. You can stay high on your right hand or if you need more of a stretch, drop to your right forearm. Breathe 7 deep breaths and with every exhale bring your right foot closer to your backside.
6 – VISHNU’S COUCH
Let go of your right foot and extend your right leg back out behind you. Drop to your right elbow and lay at on your right side supporting your head with your right hand. Take your big left toe in your left hand and stretch your left leg to the sky. Make sure not to roll onto your back but rather try to stay and balance on your side. Breathe and slowly keep bringing your left leg closer to your left ear. 6 breaths.
7- PIGEON POSE
Lifting up from reclining on your side, let go of your big left toe. Swing your left leg around to set up for a Pigeon pose on your left side. With your left knee at your left wrist, bend your left leg and inch your left foot towards your right wrist. Take a moment to shift until you nd a place where you feel a good stretch in your glutes and hip but not so intense that you can’t breathe. Walk your hands out and bring your chest towards the oor. The aim to is to nd a place where you can stay with the pose for a period of time. If you nd it too intense bring your foot a little closer to your groin and come to your elbows. Spend 1-2 minutes in the pose.
8 – BOUND LIZARD POSE
Come up from Pigeon pose, shake out your left leg behind you. Step it back forward into a Lunge and move your left foot to the left side edge of your mat. Bring your forearms down to the inside of your left foot. Similar to Standing Split and Open Lunge variation, begin to once again bend your right leg and bring your foot towards your backside. This time keeping your left arm on the inside of your left leg, reach underneath your left thigh and grab your right foot. Take 5-7 breaths here cultivating a deeper stretch with every breath.
9 – KICKING NINJA POSE
Staying in Bound Lizard, on your next exhale begin to twist the left side of your torso towards the sky. Start to lift your left leg o the ground and see how far you can kick your leg to the sky sideways. It is a tricky balance so you may fall a few times while trying to get your leg straight and up. Keep working your right foot towards your groin and with every breath while trying to reach your left leg a little higher. Once you’ve had a good play breathing into the pose and trying to nd a balance, begin to shift back down to Bound Lizard.
10 – SEATED TWIST
Repeat the whole sequence on your right side starting with Pose 2 – Wide Pyramid, and working your way through to seated twist on the other side. To counter-pose all of the external rotation of the previous poses, we’ll take a seated twist to internally rotate the pelvis back into place. From your Lunge, bring your right knee to the oor just outside your left wrist and sit down. Shift until your sit bones feel evenly grounded. You can hang onto your left knee with your right hand if you nd that gives you enough of a stretch in your upper back or take your right elbow and drop it to the outside of your left knee. Press your left knee and right elbow against one another to create an anchor to twist from. Make sure your right hand is energised and in ‘Abaya Mudra’ (hi- ve palm) which represents arriving in peace and fearlessness
Repeat the whole sequence on your right side starting with Pose 2 – Wide Pyramid, and working your way through to seated twist on the other side.