Hour 20: Yoga Mini-Challenge

jehara doing warrior pose in front of standing stone in avebury, wiltshire, UK

Edited: Winners are 1. Gina at Book Dragon 2. Bonnie Jacob 3. Cessie. Thanks everyone for playing!

Congratulations for being awake and jammin’ this far into the read-a-thon!! You are doing great!! We bring you the Yoga Mini-Challenge to give you a boost of energy to aid you through the final stretch of reading.  You’ve probably been sitting for hours. Perhaps your eyes have gone a bit bleary and you feel a bit tired and droopy. Now is the perfect time to take a little break and get the blood moving again. For this challenge, I propose five to fifteen minutes of yoga. This will give you an opportunity to get re-energized.

Note: You do not need to be flexible, be a yogi(ni), or have had any prior experience in order to participate.  Yoga is for everyone with a willing spirit and an open heart. (note: I offer myself as proof.)

photo of uttanasana uttanasana: see all that space? haven’t mastered the fold yet.

However, I absolutely love and adore yoga. It makes me feel calm, centered, relaxed, and energized, all at the same time, which I think is pretty amazing.

The poses:

First up is Legs-up-the-Wall. This is a great pose to do when feeling sluggish. It is simple, easy, and completely refreshing. This is a good one to do after standing or sitting all day. When coming out of the pose, you may want to slide your feet down and let your knees flop out to the sides and rest there for a few moments. When you are ready, extend your right arm over your head and gently turn to the right, head resting on your arm, knees curled into your chest so you are in a half-fetal position. This just feels divine. (Note: You could do this one pose for five or fifteen minutes and be good. It is that delicious.)

Another simple and restorative pose that is great for relieving fatigue is child’s pose. You can do this pose supported, if you like, with your head on a block or a folded blanket. You can have your arms at your sides or stretched in front of you. You can also get a good side stretch by stretching your arms in front of you and gently walking your arms to your right side, keeping your left hip grounded. Repeat on your left side, then return to center.

photo of downward facing dogFor a more energizing pose, try Downward-Facing Dog. This is a great posture. It energizes the body while calming the brain, and it also relieves stress. It gives a good stretch to the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches while strengthening the arms and legs. (Fun fact: I like to do this pose at work when I am feeling out of focus, tired, or have been sitting too long and need an energy boost.)

photo of full wheelmy work-in-progress full wheel pose

Other poses you might want to try are Tree Pose for balancing, Bridge (or Full Wheel if that’s how you roll) for heart opening, or supported Pigeon Pose for hip opening.

If you are up for more of a challenge you could do a few rounds of sun salutations. Sun salutations are great as they hit all the major muscle groups and warm the body. It is an active sequence so it definitely gets the heart pumping.  If sequences are your thing you could try dancing warrior or moon salutations, which are two of my favorites.

goddess posegoddess pose

Once you’ve completed your mini-yoga session, end with the mother of all poses, the yummiest pose, the reason we come to our mats in the first place: to enjoy this final relaxation-corpse pose (savasana.) It doesn’t look like much, but don’t let that deceive you. Savasana allows you to feel all the benefits of your practice. It allows the body to sink fully into relaxation while the mind slips into a meditative state.  When coming out of it, roll onto one side into a half fetal position and then slowly push yourself up to a seated posture. You might like to end your session with one round of om or a simple namaste.

wide angle seated forward bendwide angle seated forward bend, yup, that’s as far as i can go. 

Don’t forget to breathe, relax, and have fun with it.  Try it for as little as five minutes, as long as fifteen (or more if you are really getting into it.) When you have completed your session, don’t forget to come back here and leave a comment with the length of time, poses you did, and a note about your experience. (I’d love to know what you thought about it!) Or you can write it up on your blog and leave a link in the comments instead. Whatever floats your boat.

This challenge starts at 12am PST (midnight) and ends at 3am PST. (hour 20 to hour 23) Three Prizes: 1. a ten dollar gift card to the winner’s online bookstore of choice, 2. a yoga inspired ipad/kindle/nook bag, and 3. Micheline Berry’s Liquid Asana yoga DVD.

P.S. If  you want more, you can browse yoga journal for a slew of more poses to choose from.

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25 Responses to Hour 20: Yoga Mini-Challenge

  1. Pingback: Dewey's Read-a-Thon » Hour 20: You’re nearly done now!

  2. Colleen says:

    Well, I’m not keen on digging the yoga mat out right now so I’m going to spend a few minutes doing child’s pose while I keep listening to my audio book. Awesome mini-challenge though, such a good idea after all the butt-sitting going on.

  3. India says:

    Oh, what a fantastic challenge! I’ll be back in a few to tell you how it went.

    • India says:

      I did a little less than 10 minutes, starting with some seated arching of the back (I forget the name for that little alternation–it’s not cat-cow because that’s on all fours, right?), then moved into 2 sun salutations. I had to go slow since I couldn’t fully remember the sequence, but that was nothing compared to my faltering moon salutation! The first one left out nearly everything, but the second one went a little better. I finished off with my favorite: wheel!

  4. this is perfect!….off to get my yoga mat…..

  5. cessie says:

    What a cool idea for a challenge :D
    I love yoga, but haven’t done it for a while!
    Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Pam says:

    Since I pulled my back last week I did a few of my basic poses that I learned a few years ago. I usually do Yoga in the am, was interesting right before bed. Thanks for the prompt.

  7. stilettostorytime says:

    I did about five minutes of alternating downward facing dog to cobra pose…it felt good to stretch a bit. Thanks for the unique idea for a challenge….especially something that got us up and moving around in a relaxed way. I know it is a different time of day/night for everyone but for me at 3:00 am….this felt pretty good.

  8. I love yoga! I follow a twenty-ish minute yoga video every morning when I wake up. Ever since I’ve started, I feel better rested at night, and more refreshed when I start my day. I don’t know what it is about yoga that does this, but it works and I love it! (Even if I’m just a beginner)

    Bekka

  9. Kimberly says:

    Aahhh. Not sure how long I was doing this for, I didn’t read the entire way through before I started so I didn’t pay attention! I tried everything except for the dancing warrior and the moon salutations (I know you mentioned those were your favorites, sorry!). It’s funny because some of the poses are familiar from pilates (gotta love a good child’s pose) and dance classes (the bridge), but others were definitely not. Great challenge for this time of night/morning.

  10. David says:

    Well it’s 8.30am here so it was actually quite good to do 15 minutes of yoga poses to freshen me up after some sleeping!

    I think my wife thought I was nuts when she came downstairs to see me doing “the tree pose”

    Other than the tree pose I did the dancing warrior which was quite enjoyable. I didn’t even know that yoga had active sequences like this.

    Thanks for the interesting challenge!

  11. Melissa C. says:

    I have never done yoga before. This was my first time. I only did the child’s pose and the legs up the wall pose for a total of 20 minutes. It felt good to stretch and not be sitting.

  12. Maree says:

    Great way to energise, I would imagine! :D *\o/*

  13. I only did the Downward Facing Dog pose. It actually felt good (I was pleasantly surprised). Getting up wasn’t so easy. You make those poses look sooo easy :) It probably took me all of 30 seconds but I did it a few times. It’s now my wake me up stretch.

    Thanks!

  14. Chris says:

    I did 10 minutes of legs up the wall. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that one. It felt so good! And now I’m energized for more reading!

  15. I actually managed to them all. Probably pretty badly, but I did them!

  16. Srividhya says:

    I do Yoga regularly at the gym – or at least I try to. The yoga instructor for Hot Yoga is a killer guy. Anyway, I did the wide angle forward bend and sun salutation. I love sun salutation. Nothing to make you sweat like that. I’m looking at moon salutation too. I’m gona try that also.

  17. The poses I tried were (1) legs-up-the-wall, (2) child’s pose, (3) downward-facing-dog, (4) goddess pose, and (5) relaxation corpse pose. I wrote about it on my blog (Hour 20):
    http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/deweys-read-thon-october-2011.html

  18. I think this isa great idea for a challenge. :)

  19. Excellent idea for a mini-challenge – great to wake up on. I’ve never done much yoga, but I’ve liked the little I did. I tried the legs-up-the-wall and the child’s pose. Probably only about 5 minutes though – I was too keen to get back to reading! ;-)

  20. On the Dewey’s Read-a-Thon page, here,
    http://24hourreadathon.com/2011/10/24/october-2011-wrap-up/
    I read that I was one of the winners of this YOGA mini-challenge. What fun!
    Here’s my email address: emerging DOT paradigm AT yahoo DOT com
    Thank you for having this mini-challenge. It got me back into yoga, I think.

  21. I won? Thank you!

    now what? {blush}

  22. cessie says:

    Wow! I was really surprised to read your comment on my blog: I won!!
    I so didn’t expect that!
    Thanks heaps.

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