Dancing Dogs Yoga Greensboro Practice Notes

IMG_1542On State Street in Greensboro, NC, Libby Ramsey has built a beautiful studio. Dancing Dogs Greensboro has just moved to a bigger space, and it couldn’t be any prettier, any more welcoming, or home to any better crew than those who came to my workshop yesterday. Thanks, y’all! As promised, here are our practice notes.

Warmup 1: Six Moves of the Spine, Supine, Two Legs

This can be done in bed, at the start of a long day or toward its end. You’ll see it on page 40 of Everyday Yoga.

  • Stretch long, inhaling to reach and exhaling to relax
  • Banana: cross R leg over L, slide shoulders L, repeat second side
  • Wipe your knees side to side. Inhale to lower, exhale to lift. For more spice, lift your shins parallel to the floor.
  • Bridge: inhale to lift hips, exhale to lower

Warmup 2: Parking Lot Yoga

Named for its portability, parking lot yoga requires no mat and serves as a dynamic warmup for your whole body. Complete a few rounds and you’ll be primed for running, cycling, climbing, or any other outdoor activity. There’s a free eight-minute video of the routine on my YogaVibes channel; you’ll also find it on page 44 of Everyday Yoga. Repeat several rounds on both sides.

  • Mountain pose
  • Inhale, lift leg to crane balance
  • Exhale, diagonal lunge
  • Inhale, crescent lunge
  • Exhale, warrior II
  • Inhale, crescent lunge
  • Exhale, diagonal lunge
  • Inhale, crane balance
  • Exhale, mountain pose

Yoga to Do During Your Activity

Yoga teaches us tools for focus (dharana) and presence (diyana). We reviewed these:

Form. Use just the effort you need to get the job done. This efficiency will improve your endurance. Remember mountain pose and find its alignment wherever possible: weight even, knees soft, pelvis level, core engaged, chest broad, neck long.

Breath. Use the right breath for what is happening in the moment. Keep your breath calm and regular to cue your nervous system that everything is under control.

Mantra. Focus your mind on repeating a few syllables—in, out works very nicely. (Read lots more on mantra in my guide to your personal best performance, Racing Wisely).

Drishti. Your body goes where your eyes are looking. Notice where your focus lands, and move in the direction you want to go.

Presence. We practiced being open to whatever happens moment to moment by playing with stepping to tree pose from warrior II (rock the weight into your back leg until you get some hang time) and from diagonal lunge to eagle pose (wrap your back leg over your front leg, and wind your arms if you feel steady).

Standing Stretches

Back at the parking lot after your workout, do these three poses for flexibility and balance:

  • Dancer pose (quad stretch)
  • Standing pigeon (optional chest stretch)
  • Pyramid pose (core strength or back stretch version)

Yoga to Do After Your Activity

This minimal core routine strengthens the abs and back, while stretching the chest, glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings. It appears on page 76 in Everyday Yoga and in the Core and More episode of the Sage Yoga Training podcast.

  • Boat pose: hold a V sit for several breaths. Sweeter: hold the backs of your thighs and keep your feet low; spicier; extend your legs and arms.
  • Cross your legs and fold forward to stretch your back and hips.
  • Lift your knees, rest your feet on the floor and lean back into your hands as you lift and stretch your chest. Spicier: press into your feet and lift your hips for reverse table.
  • Boat pose with twist: inhale to center, exhale to twist to one side. Repeat several rounds.
  • Cross your legs with the opposite ankle in front and fold forward.
  • Listing boat pose: roll the weight onto one side. Spicier: inhale and sink the boat; exhale and pull back up. Switch sides.

Yoga to Do in Bed

Our finishing sequence works around the hips while twisting the spine and stretching the chest. Hold each of these poses to your heart’s content—fifteen to twenty-five breaths is a starting point. Named Reclining Twists, you’ll find this sequence in Everyday Yoga, in The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yogain the Reclining Twists episode of Sage Yoga Training, and in this short practice at YogaVibes (use code sagefreemonth to extend your free trial to a full month!).

  • Start on your back, knees bent. Take your right foot near your right hip, and drop your knees to the left.
  • Lift your legs, cinch your knees together, step your right foot toward your tail, bump your hips to the left, and drop your knees to the right. Switch sides from the start.

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