20-Minute Workout: Vinyasa Flow
A do-anywhere sequence from Pure Yoga’s Amanda Murdock
While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series:
The Workout: Cramming and yoga seem counterintuitive, but this quick flow can be done anywhere, with or without a mat, providing you the option to squeeze in some poses when you’re pressed for time. “The focus of this particular practice is to link breath with each movement to allow for the body to heat up internally, maximize lung capacity, and to deepen each posture with the exhalation,” says Murdock, who emphasizes that the yoga breath is always in through the nose, out through the nose. Try Murdock’s 20-minute sequence below:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Standing at the top of your mat, bring big toes together and heels slightly apart. Let arms fall by sides, palms facing forward, allowing shoulders to fall away from ears and down the back. Head is stacked over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over ankles, feet rooting down into the ground. This pose helps you find center, a neutral and aligned posture.
From Tadasana, inhale and reach arms up to the sky and press the palms together. Exhale, bringing your hands to prayer at your chest. Repeat 2 more times.
Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A)
From Tadasana, reach arms up, exhale and fold forward to Uttanasana (forward bend). Inhale, look up to a flat back and jump back with bent elbows to a half-tricep push-up (Chaturanga). Inhale into Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) with thighs lifted off mat and tops of feet pressing into the ground. Exhale back into Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). Hold Down Dog for 5 breaths. Inhale, bend knees, look forward, and jump to the top of your mat, with a flat back once you land. Exhale and fold forward. You have just completed one Sun Salutation A; repeat 2 to 4 times.
Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B)
Step feet together at top of mat. Sit hips back as you reach arms up to sky. (This is Chair Pose or Utkatasana.) Hold for one inhale and exhale, folding forward. Inhale, look forward to your half-lift flat back, and exhale, jumping back to Chaturanga. Inhale into Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) with thighs lifted off mat and tops of feet pressing into ground. Exhale back into Downward Facing Dog. On your next inhale, step right foot forward, back left foot is placed all the way down on ground. Reach arms up to the sky. You are now in Warrior I. Your next exhale is Chaturanga; inhale to Upward Facing Dog, exhale to Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, stepping left foot forward into Warrior I. Exhale through Chaturanga, Up dog, and Down dog. Once in Down Dog, inhale, jump to top of mat, half-lift, and exhale, folding forward. Inhale into Chair Pose, exhale into Mountain Pose. You have just completed one Sun Salutation B; repeat 2 more times.
Flow from Warrior I to Humble Warrior
Come to top of mat. Inhale to Chair Pose. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale, folding forward. Inhale and look forward, then exhale, stepping your left foot to back of mat. Inhale and lift arms into Warrior I. Inhale, reaching arms behind back and interlace hands on the exhale. Inhale, lift chest and exhale, folding to the inside of right inner thigh for Humble Warrior. Shoulders are away from ears, interlaced hands are reaching up toward sky, core is engaged. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale and lift chest, releasing arms for Warrior I. Then take Chaturanga to Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog. Immediately repeat this same sequence on left side. Repeat both sides at least one more time. Once complete, hold in Down Dog for 5 breaths or rest in Child's Pose.
Flow from Warrior II to Extended Side Angle
Starting from Down Dog, inhale and step right foot forward to right thumb, turning left foot out so that toes point to the long edge of mat. Lift arms up and out so that right arm is reaching toward the front of the room and left arm is reaching toward the back of the room. Keep right knee bent and over right ankle, back leg straight and hips essentially turned toward the left side of the room. You are in Warrior II. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale and bring right hand to the outside of right foot as you reach left arm toward front of the room. On the exhale, turn chest and collarbone toward the left. Note that your weight is evenly distributed between right hand and feet and core is engaged. Stay and breathe 5 breaths.
Inhale, bring both hands down to top of mat, step to plank and lower through Chaturanga, inhale to Up Dog, exhale to Down Dog. Stay in Down Dog for 5 breaths or rest in Child's Pose.