The Magic of Movement: 5 Step Yoga Sequence to Get the Blood Flowing

Bobbie Jo Traut
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We are movers—made to jump, twirl, swing and cartwheel. We are capable of creative and spontaneous dance, and rhythmic long distance runs. The human body is innately geared to move in many ways—ways that are sometimes abandoned after childhood. From the tiniest toe points to strong strokes in ocean waves, we have so much potential to use and shape our bodies. Individuals who may not have full use of their extremities find myriad ways to move and inspire.
 
The yoga practiced by many today involves flowing from one asana to another—matching breath to movement—or holding a position for a time to strengthen and release muscle tissue. Studies have also shown that asana and pranayama can facilitate more efficient blood flow through the vessels, carrying life-giving oxygen to cells, and nourishing organs, as well as aiding in detoxification.
 
Circulation is understood as the flow of blood through the vessels—the heart being the center and regulator of this flow through a contracting action. The pumping of the blood from the heart carries oxygen and other nutrients to every point in the body, keeping cells alive and well, and regulating blood pressure. Our circulation suffers when we sit for long periods or don’t exercise frequently, and it can lead to swelling, cold hands and feet, numbness and muscle cramps.
 

 
Good circulation is as important as good nutrition; it is essential to overall health and wellbeing. And it can be easily included in a daily regimen – as the 5 step yoga sequence below shows. Asanas for better circulation include positions that expand the chest and rib cage, such as camel, wheel, bridge and dancer, opening up the space for the heart as the vital organ responsible for circulation. Any inversion is also very beneficial, as it draws more blood toward the brain and momentarily relieves pressure on the heart. Down dog, shoulder stand, headstand (contraindication: high blood pressure), or legs up the wall are all excellent options for inversions.
 
5 step yoga sequence to get your blood flowing:
 
1) Warm up on hands and knees with cat-cow, matching breath to movement.
Cat-cow promotes the flow of fresh blood along the spinal column, which then travels down to reach legs and feet.

cat-cow
 
2) Curl toes under and hold Downward Facing Dog for several breaths.
Downward Dog aids circulation throughout the body. In this pose, the heart is above the head, allowing more blood to flow towards the brain and upper body.

downward-facing-dog
 
3) Come to standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and move to Dancer Pose.
Dancer opens up the shoulders and chest cavity, expanding the space for the heart to pump more efficiently.

mountain-pose

dancer-pose
 
4) Come to your seat, and then lay onto your back for Bridge Pose (option to put a block under your sacrum for a more relaxing, restorative bridge).
Also an inversion, Bridge moves the heart above the head, boosting blood flow to the brain and thyroid.

bridge-pose-2
 
5) Finish with Legs Up the Wall Pose.
Legs Up the Wall draws blood from the feet towards the stomach, kidneys and lungs, helping to support their functions in the body.

legs-up-the-wall-pose
 
Making time to move throughout the day can contribute to your overall wellness in many ways. Specifically integrating movement for circulation, such as practicing this 5 step yoga sequence, can have various benefits depending on an individual’s state of health. Many of our modern-day lifestyles do not allow us much movement, as we sit at our desks or in the car for hours at a time. By dedicating time to movement that circulates nutrient-rich blood, you’re nourishing your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. In health and wellness, Bobbie.

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Bobbie Jo Traut

Bobbie Jo Traut discovered yoga as a teenager growing up in Alaska. She practiced on a purple mat in her living room, since there were no studios at that time in her small hometown. As a RYT and frequent traveler, she takes every opportunity to roll out her mat. Her most memorable teaching experiences include a hatha practice for humanitarian volunteers on a mountaintop in Nepal and community vinyasa at an arts center in Chisinau, Moldova.

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