Full Instructions for Vol. 1

Java Yoga is a seated morning ritual of 7 different stretches and movements, centered around your daily cup of coffee (or tea). This healthy habit of gentle exercise and wellness promotes increased energy, creativity and focus. It's coffee and yoga, together at last  :-)

Settle into a comfortable seated position. Use a cushion or folded blanket to sit on, which helps take the strain off your lower back. Breathe deep, inhaling and exhaling slowly, taking a moment to have a sip of your morning beverage. If you use a journal, write down any lingering thoughts to clear your mind.

Set a timer for one minute (I use the Meditation Timer app for iPhone) and let’s begin with the first pose.

1. Sufi Grind - Place your hands on your knees, and rotate your upper body around in one direction, feeling the pelvis move gently on the floor, warming up the spine and the abdominal muscles. This movement can be done quickly to energize, or very slowly to stretch. After 30 seconds, gently switch directions and pay attention to what feels different in the body. Continue for another 30 seconds, focusing on the breath.

Once the timer finishes, gently come back to center and settle the shoulders. Take a sip, and reset the timer - repeat this action between each pose.

2. Spine Flex - With the hands still on the knees, inhale deeply and slowly extend the spine, letting your gaze softly trail upward. Then on an exhale, let the gaze come back down towards the mat and flex the spine into a C-curve. This can be done quickly or slowly to juice up the space between each vertebrae. Continue on the breath for 60 seconds. 

3. Spine Twist - Place your fingertips gently on your shoulders. Lift the crown of the head towards the ceiling and begin to gently twist from the base of the spine. Keep the movement smooth and gentle, careful not to jar or overstretch the spine and muscles. Once again the movement can be fast or slow, with your breath matching the speed. The hands can swing forward and back for a more vigorous experience. Continue for 60 seconds.

4. Neck Stretch - Gently push the tips of your left fingers into the floor and wrap the right hand over the head, catching the tip of your left ear or scalp. On an exhale, gently pull the left ear or scalp away from the left fingertips, lengthening the left side of the body. Always work gently with the neck. Breathe here for 30 seconds, closing your eyes and investigating the sensations in the body. The chin can be carefully lowered and raised on the breath. At 30 seconds, reverse the movement and repeat on the other side, staying aware of what feels different.

5. Eagle Arms - Inhale deeply and raise the arms overhead, softly touching the fingertips together. Exhale and wrap the right arm under the left, pressing the palms into each other. If this is too difficult, the variation is a hugging of the shoulders. On the breath, move the arms up and down, staying aware of the sensation between the shoulder blades. For a greater stretch, you can fold forward over the legs. At 30 seconds, gently release and unfold the arms. Inhale the arms overhead again, exhale and repeat the movement, with the left arm under the right.

6. Seated Tree - Extend the legs and snuggle the right foot inside of the left thigh. Press the foot into the leg and extend your head upward to lengthen the spine. Keeping this length, gently fold forward. Focus on the breath, working deeply into the hips and hamstrings. At 30 seconds, release the leg and repeat on the other side.

7.  Forward Fold - Extend both legs forward, letting the bottom of the heels lean into the mat and flex the feet. Press your pelvis into the mat and extend the top of the head upwards, lengthening the spine. Grab onto your legs or feet and begin to gently pull forward. There should be a little bend in both knees. Notice your breath, perhaps slightly moving up and down on each inhale and exhale. Stay very aware of the lengthening sensations. If they are in the lower back, experiment with bending the knees more or using a taller cushion until the lengthening sensations are behind the legs in the hamstrings. Hold here for 60 seconds.

Finish - When the practice is done, take a few minutes to reflect. Sit and journal about your experience and how your body feels today. Finish your coffee or tea. This is the perfect time to meditate and prepare for your day ahead.

Please send us your thoughts and experiences to info@javayoga.ca on how the healthy habit of Java Yoga affects your life. Have a memorable day :-)