When we started following Becca Looney, aka The Yoga Darling, on Instagram, we were mesmerized by the nearly 6-foot blonde from Phoenix who is as good at selfies as she is at eagle pose. When she told us that she didn’t start practicing yoga until she was 57, we were even more impressed. We knew we wanted to work with her!
In the months ahead, we will share some basic yoga sequences for your home practice — with Looney demonstrating each pose. “My ‘why’ for sharing my yoga practice is to encourage women (and men) to consider starting a yoga practice of their own. No matter what age,” she says.
We kick off our series with 10 moves that will set an energizing tone for your day.
Start your sequence in mountain pose, or tadasana. Stand at the top of your mat with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Arms are down at your sides but active. The crown of your head is reaching for the sky. Slide your shoulders down your back. Lift your knee caps. Look straight ahead and take five deep breaths.
Tadasana, Arms Overhead
On an inhale, lift your arms straight over your head. Tilt your head back slightly and look up at the sky. Take five deep breaths. With your arms still over your head, press your palms together firmly and lower your prayer hands to your chest.
Step your left foot back about 3 feet and place your foot flat on the floor at a 45-degree angle. Keep your front foot and your hips facing forward. Bend your front knee while keeping your back knee straight. Don’t let your knee go forward past your ankle. Lift your arms straight over your head and look forward. Hold the pose for five breaths.
Keeping your feet where they are, lower your arms out to the sides and spin the top half of your body to face the left. Keep shoulders over hips. Reach your right arm long to the front of the room and look over your fingertips. Reach your left arm long to the back of the room. Keep your front knee bent, with your knee over your ankle, and take five deep breaths.
Straighten your front leg. Reach your front arm out long in front of you. Let your body follow it. When you have gone as far as you can, lower your front hand to the floor, your shin, or a block. Reach your back arm up straight to the ceiling. Look up if your neck allows you to do so. Inhale into the stretch in the sides of your body. Hold for five breaths. Press your feet firmly into the ground and use your core muscles to lift you up.
Keeping your feet where they are and both legs straight, reverse the previous pose by reaching your left hand down your back thigh as far as you can and reaching up with your right hand. Look up. Take five deep breaths before lifting up.
Bring your feet together at the front of your mat. Bend at the waist and place your hands flat on the ground on either side of your feet, bending your knees as much as you need to. Step one foot at a time to the back of the mat until you are in a high push-up position. With your hips no higher than your shoulders, reach the top of your head to the front of the room. Engage your core and breath deeply.
From plank, lower your knees to the floor. Keeping your butt in the air and your toes turned under, bend your elbows to your sides and lower your chest and chin to the floor. Take a deep breath.
On the exhale, place the tops of your toes flat on the floor and lower your whole body to the earth. Your palms are still flat on the floor by your shoulders. Without putting much weight into your hands, lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor on and inhale. Take five deep breaths and then lower your upper body and head back to the floor.
Turn your toes under, press your hips to your heels, keeping your hands where they are. Then press your hands into the floor and straighten your knees, using your core to lift you into an inverted V shape. Let your head be heavy. Reach your heels for the floor and press firmly into your hands. Inhale deeply. Exhale fully. Repeat five times.
From down dog, walk your feet to your hands and gently roll yourself up to standing. Repeat the sequence on the other side, starting with your right foot at the back of the mat in warrior 1.
For more yoga inspiration, following @theyogadarling on Instagram.