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"He who would travel happily must travel light."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer & aviator

Balancing and strengthening Yoga Sequence with Diana Vergueiro from London, UK

By Diana Vergueiro on 22 July 2012

This sequence is focused on balance and strength, transitioning between some very powerful postures. Standing on your feet can be enough of a challenge at times never mind standing on your hands – your balance will change every day so don’t get frustrated if you can’t move into Hand Stand, just be mindful of your body and approach your practice with a light-hearted attitude. I call this a “snippet sequence” so please ensure that you warm up properly to avoid injury.

Find Stillness in Movement
• Inhale into Utkatasa, press hands into heart centre and twist to the left extending arm at shoulder height – inhale and as you exhale repeat on the right side
• Step right foot back into Runners Lunge - twist to the left, extending arms again to shoulder height
• Whilst exhaling, cartwheel hands to frame foot and step left leg back into 3 Legged Dog
• Gently shift weight forward until shoulders are right over wrists – 3 legged Chataranga
• Keeping legs split, keep shifting slowly into modified Scorpion (Vrschikasana)
• Push back up to 3 Legged Dog and then step through with left leg into Warrior 2
• Reverse Warrior. Exhale and cartwheel hands to frame foot and step left leg back into the 3 legged dog.
• Keeping left leg raised, jump off your right foot to step both feet between hands – Utanasana
• Inhale into modified Utkatasana – fold forward into Utanasana
• Jump back into Plank, press down and hover over the floor for 2 breaths
• Exhale in Downward Facing Dog, bend knees and on an exhale move into Crow
• Gently shift into Tripod Headstand – take 2 breaths, focus and find your balance
• On an exhale, slowly bend your legs; placing thighs close to your chest and knees back onto the outside of the upper arms
• Move back into Crow
• Take a deep inhale and on the exhale, kick your feet back into Plank – vinyasa
• From Downward Facing Dog, take a moment to align hips to shoulders, extend spine and engage your core
• Bend knees and on the exhale gently move shoulders over wrists, hips over shoulders and ankles over hip into Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
• Hold for 5 breaths (or how long your balance allows you to hold the pose)
• On an exhale, gently press down (ensuring elbows are close to ribs) and feet are flexed to meet the floor
• Inhale into Cobra
• Exhale into Downward Facing Dog, hop feet between hands
• Inhale into Utkatasana (modified)
• Press hands into heart centre and inhale into Tadasana

Notes on this sequence:
This sequence is advanced, however all elements can be modified to suit your practice.  There is also a lot of focus on alignment and breath – without these two elements, synchronising movement between postures will be a little more challenging.
If handstands or headstands don’t feature highly on your list of “poses I love to do”, I would highly recommend doing these postures with a wall behind you. It will build your confidence and strength before you feel happy to give it a go in the middle of a room. It takes a while for your body to figure out its centre of gravity and balance, so let the wall be your new BFF for a while!
It is also worth noting that there will be quite a bit of weight bearing on wrists, so I recommend wrist stretches after the sequence as a good idea.
Most importantly, Yoga is meant to make you happy so do what you can and have a bit of fun!

You can read an interview with Diana by clicking here

Please visit www.nanoyogini.com for more info and sequences.