Christmas Tree Yoga

I was honored to teach a lovely group of yogis and yoginis for an all-levels, all-ages holiday practice today. In honor of the season, we enjoyed tree pose in a number of orientations: on our backs, standing, on our sides, and on our bellies. With 26 bodies and students’ age ranging from the teens to the sixties, I offered a myriad of options. For example, downward-facing dog can always be table or child’s pose. A balancing twist can morph into side crow. A flipped dog can be three-legged or transition to wheel, or can instead take the form of a side plank on the knee with a bind hand to foot.
Here’s the practice, with links to some resources of mine that might inspire you to try new things.
Opening:
Corpse
Warm-Up: Six moves of the Spine, Supine, in The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga [APGY]
  • Knees to chest
  • One knee to chest, stir the thigh in the pelvis
  • Tree pose, supine
  • Single leg crossover twist, shoulder circles

Balance Work
  • Rolling like a ball, with variations
  • Chair, tree, twisting chair, tree, twisting chair (Tree and Chair in APGY)
  • Toe squat, twisting toe squat (side crow option), standing forward fold

Vinyasa: Lunge Series in APGY, and some of the Lunge Series podcast
  • High lunge
  • Low lunge
  • Lizard lunge
  • Tripod twist
  • Pigeon fold (side bend and twist options)
  • Pigeon backbend
  • Flipped dog or side bow (as in the Table Core Flow in APGY and the Quick Fix podcast)
  • Tree in side plank
  • Runner’s lunge/splits

All with variations between (more in this blog post on the options and this one with a video)

Hip Openers: Reclining Twists podcast and in APGY
  • Reclining half Lord of the Fishes
  • Reclining cow-face
  • Reclining twists with eagle-pose legs, both sides

Finishing:
  • Bridge or wheel
  • Inversions
  • Corpse

If you’re interested in learning more about sequencing and deepening your practice, consider joining me for our Carrboro Yoga Teacher Training program, which begins in September 2011. The application will be online in the new year.
My music was wonky, so I never got to share Martin Sexton’s “O Christmas Tree,” which I’d planned to slip in as we settled down for our final corpse pose. You can find it on iTunes; it’s a soulful, sweet version.
All my best for your Christmas. May it be full of comfort, joy, and peace.

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