Traveland RV's - 30 day yoga challenge

Traveland RV’s 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Week 3 – Standing Poses (Strength)

Simply put, yoga is the movement, synchronization, and control of the mind, body and breath.

One of the best things about yoga is that anyone can do it, anywhere! All you need is a mat or a towel, and your body. There is no better time than now to start!

There are endless benefits to practicing yoga regularly, but here are our favorites:

– Calms the mind and body
– Reduces stress
– Increases serotonin
– Aids in the health and clarity of the mind
– Increases flexibility
– Improves and maintains muscle and joint strength, tone, and overall health
– Improves balance and posture
– Helps with sleep
– Improves cardiovascular health
– Injury protection and/or recovery

We have created an awesome 30-day yoga challenge that is perfect for beginners! Every Saturday, we will release a blog post with 7 new yoga poses, one for each day of the week.

Starting on Monday, try out the first pose and see how it feels and sit in it for as long as you wish. On Tuesday, do the first pose, then add the second pose to your sequence. Keep adding a pose every day of the week until you have a 7-pose sequence on Sunday.

Repeat this routine every week with the new poses we release until you are left with a full 28-pose sequence that will resemble a yoga class!

*If you have knee problems, add another towel or fold your mat directly beneath your knees to provide an extra layer of support.

Day 1

Traveland RV - 30 day yoga challenge
  1. Flex the front hip by engaging the psoas and its synergistic hip flexors. Note on the image how the psoas anteverts the pelvis and draws the lumbar spine forward. Balance the action of the psoas with that of the back-leg gluteus maximus to stabilize the pelvis. The quadriceps contract to sustain the pose and prevent the knee from bending further. The front knee tends to drift inward in Warrior I. Engage the sartorius and tensor fascia lata to abduct the knee, keeping it aligned over the ankle.
  2. The muscles that extend the back of the body create a line of action from the heel to the pelvis and up the spine. These muscles include the tibialis anterior, adductor magnus, gluteus maximus and minimus, quadratus lumborum, and erector spinae. Draw the top of the foot toward the shin to engage the tibialis anterior. Feel how this presses the heel into the floor. Attempt to drag the back foot toward the midline to engage the adductor magnus. Feel how this extends the leg. Engage the gluteus maximus to extend and externally rotate the hip. Visualize the gluteus minimus synergizing this action. Co-contract the buttocks muscles and the muscles of the back, including the quadratus lumborum and erector spinae, to lift the trunk and open the chest. Do this by arching the back while squeezing the buttocks.
  3. Combine the action of the back-leg tibialis anterior described in Step 2 with that of the quadriceps. Extend the knee while attempting to lift the top of the foot toward the shin, pressing the heel down. Engage the tensor fascia lata to assist the quadriceps and help the gluteus medius turn the entire leg inward. Note that the gluteus maximus (Step 2) not only extends the hip but externally rotates it as well. Engaging the tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius balances the external rotation produced by the gluteus maximus with a force that turns the hip inward. This stabilizes and turns the pelvis forward.
  4. Use the arms and shoulders to lift the upper body and chest away from the pelvis, creating the upward movement in the pose. Contract the trapezius to lift the shoulders, the triceps to straighten the elbows, the deltoids to lift the arms, and the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles to externally rotate the humeri. Press the mounds of the index fingers together to pronate the forearms, using the pronators teres and quadratus. Balance pronation of the forearms by extending and abducting the thumbs. This engages the extensor pollicis longus and abductor pollicis muscles, minor supinators of the forearms. Note that, once the shoulders are lifted, we will relax the upper third of the trapezius and allow the lower third to draw the shoulders away from the ears in a sequential action, as illustrated in Step 5.
  5. Draw the shoulders down the back by contracting the lower trapezius. Engage the rhomboids to stabilize the shoulder blades toward the midline. These actions combine to draw the shoulders away from the ears and open the chest forward. The rhomboids act to stabilize the scapulae and prepare them for closed chain contraction of the pectoralis minor and serratus anterior muscles, as described in Step 6.
  6. The pectoralis minor and serratus anterior can be used to expand the thorax upward in Virabhadrasana I. This begins with stabilizing the shoulder blades toward the midline, as described in Step 5.

    It can be difficult and even frustrating to contract these muscles when the arms are overhead. Nevertheless, it can be done and will create more lift and expansion in the chest in this pose. Train yourself to combine these muscle actions in poses such as Tadasana first. Then integrate them into other poses, such as Warrior I.

    Engage the rectus abdominis muscle to draw the lower ribs downward and prevent them from bulging forward. Use small actions such as these to put the final touch on a pose.

Day 2

Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
  1. Step your right foot to the top of your mat, and your left foot 3-4 feet behind you. Point your right toes straight forward, and your left foot about parallel to the back of your mat. Draw an imaginary line from your right toes, to right heel, to left arch.
  2. Bend your right knee so it stacks right over your right ankle. Press equally into your feet.
  3. Square your shoulders to the left side of your mat and extend your arms out wide, parallel to the ground, palms face down.
  4. Keep your torso upright, shoulders stacked on your hips.
  5. Keep your gaze straight ahead, or turn your gaze to the fingertips of your right hand. Keep your breath even as you hold for up to 60 seconds. Inhale to straighten your front leg and release the posture. Repeat on the other side.

Day 3

Traveland RV - 30 day yoga challenge
Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)
  1. Begin in a high lunge with your right foot forward and hands together at the center of your chest.
  2. Lean forward and shift your weight into your right foot until your left foot hovers off the ground.
  3. Straighten both legs as much as is comfortable. Extend the ball mound of your left foot back behind you and reach your chest forward.
  4. Press your standing foot firmly into the ground.
  5. Keep your hips level to the ground.
  6. When you feel relatively steady, reach your arms out in front of you to create one long line from your left foot to your fingertips. Face your palms toward each other and hug your forearms toward each other.
  7. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths, then gently release to standing. Repeat on the other side.

Day 4

Traveland RV - 30 day yoga challenge
Triangle (Trikonasana)
  1. Begin in warrior II pose with your right foot forward.
  2. Straighten your front knee and keep a micro-bend so the knee does not lock out.
  3. Exhale to send your left hip toward your back foot and hinge toward the front of your mat.
  4. Place your right hand on the ground, block, or shin. Reach your left hand toward the sky.
  5. Gently roll your left ribs back as you encourage your right ribs forward. Both sides of your torso should feel equal in length.
  6. Draw your tailbone down toward your left heel.
  7. Take your gaze toward your top hand if comfortable on your neck.
  8. Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds. Use an inhalation to bring yourself back up, rooting through the back heel and using it as an anchor. Change the position of the feet and repeat on the opposite side.

Day 5

Traveland RV - 30 day yoga challenge
Side angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
  1. Begin in warrior II pose with your right foot forward.
  2. Reach your right arm toward the top of your mat, extending through the sides of your torso. When you reach as far as you can, lower your right hand down and left hand toward the ceiling, both palms facing the left side of your mat.
  3. Draw both shoulders away from your ears. Square your shoulders to the left side of your mat.
  4. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then return to warrior II and release. Repeat on the other side.

Day 6

Traveland RV - 30 day yoga challenge
Crescent (Anjaneyasana)
  1. Start in downward-facing dog. On an exhale, step your right foot forward near your right thumb. Stack your right knee over your right ankle. Lower your left knee to the floor.
  2. Inhale to reach your arms overhead, chest and head reaching upward. Face your palms toward one another and soften your shoulders down.
  3. Draw your tailbone done towards the earth, lengthening your lower back and engaging your core muscles.
  4. Stay here or lift your chest and gaze.
  5. To release, place your hands down on the mat and step back to down dog.

Repeat on the other side.

Day 7

Traveland RV - 30 Day Yoga Challenge
Mountain (Tadasana)
  1. Stand at the top of your mat with your ankles directly under your inner hip bones.
  2. Root down: Lift and spread your toes wide, then gently place them back down. Balance your weight between the four corners of your feet – the base of the big toe, the base of the pinky toe, the inner heel, and the outer heel.
  3. Internal rotation: Feel your inner thighs squeeze toward each other and back behind you.
  4. Neutral pelvis: Draw your tailbone down as you lift your pubic bone toward your belly.
  5. Broad shoulders: Widen your shoulder blades as you simultaneously draw them down. Lift your sternum to allow more space between your collarbones. Let your arms rest at your sides with palms facing forward.
  6. Feel the midline: Feel the crown of your head align with the center of your pelvis; align your chin so that it’s parallel to the mat.

End every yoga session with a 3-5 minute savasana to reset your mind and come back to any intentions you made at the beginning of your session.

Savasana is a relaxation pose. Lay flat on your back with your legs slightly apart and your arms comfortably out by your sides. Try to quiet the mind and focus on your breath during this time to completely relax and prepare the body for the rest of the day.

You have officially completed the third week of our 30-day yoga challenge, way to go!
Stay tuned for week 4 and share this with your friends!
Yoga pose descriptions by gaia.com