No doubt there’s a lot of us yogis out there that are self-proclaimed vinyasa junkies (*raises hand*). But hey, we’re living in a fast-paced society with full lives, so sometimes we need the most bang for our buck (i.e. workout + relaxation). And there’s a lot of appeal to the music pumping, sweat-inducing yoga classes to get you out of your mind and into your breath and body. Sorry, not sorry for loving those classes.
If you’re looking to spice up your standard classes, below are a six ways you can add on to popular poses throughout your classes or personal practice.
This is a fired-up version of the already-intense Chaturanga Dandasana. Starting in plank, hugging elbows into ribs, lowering down half-way, pausing for a breath and then pushing backup to plank on the inhale. From plank, pull the hips back pointing knees to the right, pull hips to the left for a bit of a side-body stretch.
If hurdler is already a part of your practice, kick it up a notch by holding the upper body and forward leg the same, and gently lower the back toes to touch the ground and then bring back up into the full pose. Move through three rounds each side, keeping the core engaged the entire time.
Same note as hurdler above, if crow is something that you’re comfortable with, build more strength with this modification. Coming into Bakasana, keep the left foot elevated and begin to lower the right toes to tap the right ankle, then bringing right toes back up and repeat on the other side. Really fire it up by lowering both toes at the same time and bring back up together.
Plank Side Rocks
This is a fun variation to the traditional plank pose and is available to anyone already able to practice plank pose. Starting in plank, shift onto the pinky-toe edge of the right foot, big-toe edge of the left foot and begin to lower the hips towards the ground. Be sure to continue to root into the left hand. Come back through center plank and move to the other side.
This modification is great if you’re in a long wide-legged forward fold. The key to this modification is to root into the bent-leg’s heel to engage the back-body muscles. Keep rooting into the heel as you push yourself back through center (stay low!) and move to the other side.
One of my all-time favorite variations. This variation is easy to add on through half-moon, standing splits or warrior three. Same thing in Skandasana Squats, root into the standing leg’s heel to engage the hamstrings and glutes. Lower down to bring the floating leg’s knee to the outside of the standing leg’s shin.
Over to you again! I’d love to hear which one of these variations are your favorite and what you do to stoke the fire in your yoga practice.