Sequence Wednesdays are BACK with a very special guest post from Anna Guest-Jelley, the founder of Curvy Yoga. Anna has been a huge inspiration to me both for this blog and for my yoga teaching. She’s one of the first people I connected with in the online yoga community and, in addition to being a smart and talented teacher, is an all-around lovely individual. If you haven’t checked out her website and her new E-Book, Permission to Curve, you need to head over there ASAP! You should also check out Anna’s first E-Book, Curvy Voices, which features a section written by me, and several other curvy yogis’ stories.
I am so honored to have a post from Anna featured here, so without further ado, here is Anna’s morning wake-up sequence.
I don’t know about you, but when I roll out of bed in the morning, my body wants
a good stretch. Now, that doesn’t mean I give it to it. Often, what I give it instead is
hurrying, checking my iPhone while I wait for my breakfast to heat up and then right
But on the days when I can remind myself that my whole day would go better with
even a brief yoga practice, the following is what I like to do.
You can go through this sequence once, holding each pose for 1-3 breaths, and be
done in 5 minutes or less. As crazy as it sounds, this can actually be enough. You can
also repeat it as many times as you like, or play with holding different poses longer.
The great thing about this sequence is you can do it anywhere, wearing anything.
You don’t even need a yoga mat! All you need is a chair without wheels and a wall
you can put the chair against.
1. Chair Tadasana
Come to seated on a chair. You want your feet to be firmly on the ground. I
recommend sitting a little forward on the chair, but not so far you feel you’ll fall off.
Have your feet a comfortable distance apart.
2. Reach Arms Overhead
On an inhale, reach your arms overhead, palms facing each other.
3. Chair Seated Forward Bend
On an exhale, fold forward, allowing your neck to release. If your belly feels
compressed here, take your legs wider; this will give your belly more room. Hold
here for 1-3 breaths.
4. Reach Arms Overhead
When you’re ready, on an inhale, slowly come up, reaching your arms overhead.
5. Seated Twist (Both Sides)
On an exhale, twist to your R. Your R hand can come to the chair arm or back
(depending on how your chair is set up). Your L hand comes anywhere along the R
thigh that feels comfortable. Stay here for 1-3 breaths.
When you’re ready, on an inhale, come back to center, reaching arms overhead
again. Exhale and repeat on the other side. When you come out of the other side,
inhale and reach arms overhead.
6. Chair Cobra
Exhale and bring your hands to either side of the chair back. Lift your sternum (or
breastbone); this will bring you into a gentle backbend. Keep your head in line with
your spine; do not allow your head to drop back.
When you are ready to come out, tuck your chin lightly toward your chest and come
back to center.
Pause here for a moment and decide what to do next. You might feel complete and
ready to go about your day. You might like to repeat steps 1-6 again (however many
times you like). Or you might like to proceed to steps 7-12 above.
Come to standing in front of your chair, facing it. Step your feet a comfortable
8. Reach Arms Overhead
Inhale and reach your arms overhead.
9. Forward Bend with Hands to Chair
Exhale and fold forward, bringing your hands to the chair seat. If your hamstrings
aren’t as open as you might wish, you will keep your arms straight. If your
hamstrings are up to it, you can play with bending your elbows, which will bring you
more into the forward bend. Either way, your head is releasing down. Stay here for
10. Down Dog with Chair
When you are ready, walk the feet back, coming into a version of Down Dog with a
chair. Your hands can be in two positions: (1) gripping the sides of the chair or (2)
flat on the chair seat. You might like to experiment with both to see what each has to
teach you. Stay here for 1-3 breaths.
11. Forward Bend with Hands to Chair
When you’re ready to come out, slowly walk your feet forward, pausing for a
moment in a forward bend.
Then slowly rise up to standing, bringing your head up last to prevent any feelings
Again, it’s up to you where to go next. You could repeat this whole sequence, steps 1-
12. Or you could just repeat 7-12. Or you could go on your merry way.
This sequence is also great any time of the day when you need a quick stretch and
Anna Guest-Jelley, E-RYT 200, RYT500, is the founder of Curvy Yoga – a training &
inspiration portal for full-figured yogis & their whole-hearted teachers.
As a writer, teacher & lifelong champion for women’s empowerment & body
acceptance, Anna encourages women of every size, age & ability to grab life by the
curves. And never let go.
Explore Curvy Yoga programs, classes & certification courses online, at
CurvyYoga.com. And connect with Anna on Facebook and Twitter.