Lesson Plan (Intermediate) for Runners

*This 60-min workout is customised for runners. Targets building strength in gluts and muscles around knees, introduces some core strength, opening chest and strengthening back muscles for better shoulder position.  Also builds stability and balance, and increases flexibility in muscle areas that are typically tight in runners, i.e. lots of stretching for hamstrings, quads and hip flexors.


Om 3x and warm-up (10-15 minutes)

  • Starting in seated position (after Om): Half-circles with neck. R/L, R/L, R/L
  • Bend head to the right, gently pressing head down with left hand. For a more intense stretch rest your right hand lightly by your side.
  • Shoulder rolls – rotate outwards, then inwards
  • Arms up by shoulders, small circles….. change direction
  • Arms in front , small circles… change direction
  • Arms big circles, like you’re flapping angel wings.
  • Deltoid and tricep stretches
  • Rounded back stretch (arms in front), chest opening (arms behind), seated twist (R&L)
  • Stand up – feet slightly apart, arms relaxed, and then just twist your upper body from side to side, let your arms swing with the momentum
  • Hands on hip, hip rotation
  • Swing leg forwards and backwards; Ankle rotation
  • Jump up and down lightly, and then bounce higher, like you’re on a trampoline. Bounce, bounce bounce, slowly come down lower
  • Jog lightly on the spot, bring knees up high, higher, higher… slow down to a light jog again
  • Kick heels to butt, kick, kick, kick , slower down to a jog, then come back to standing.



Surya Namaskar A (5x)

1) Virabhadrasana A (1 min each side)

Builds strength on muscles around front knee, flexibility in hip flexors & lower leg of back leg

2) Utthita Trikonasana (1 min each side)

Builds isometric strength, stretches side and chest

  • Variation: Do against wall, using block  

3) Virabhadrasana C (30 sec each side)

Builds strength in glutes, hip stabilizers. Requires core stability and focused sense of balance

  • From Trikonasana, slowly release raise torso back up with hands still outstretched, then jump with feet together at middle of mat.
  • Inhale arms up over your head and interlace your fingers, index fingers pointing upwd
  • Exhale shift weight to right leg, lifting left leg behind. Hinge at your hips as you lean torso and arms fwd until torso is parallel to the ground. Feel your arms and left leg pulled in opposite directions, making one straight line. Your body is now a “”T-shape””.
  • Hold. Inhale, maintaining straight line as you slowly raise your arms up while lowering left leg back to floor. Exhale shake it out.

4) Parsvottanasana (1 minute each side)

Stretches hamstring and hip stretch for front leg, calf stretch for back leg. Opens chest.

  • Rotate shoulders inward & bring hands behind your back into reverse prayer (anjali mudra), fingers pointing upward. Keep shoulders down away from ears
  • Open up chest and raise elbows until forearms are parallel with floor
  • Inhale take a big step to the right to face the back, right foot and knee facing straight, left foot turned out about 45 deg. Square your hips. Tuck in your pelvis slightly
  • Inhale and lift your spine up tall, exhale fold forward from hips keeping back straight
  • Fold halfway until torso parallel to floor. Hold for 5 breaths, lift sternum & gaze upwds
  • Fold down until stomach on thighs, feet firmly on the mat. Hold. Pivot & repeat on left
  • To release, lift sternum and come up, then release mudra
  • Variation: If arms too tight for Anjali Mudra, take arms behind back and clasp opp. elbows

5) Utthan Prithasana (Lizard Pose)

Stretches tight hip flexors and hamstrings

  • Step fwd with right leg, bend knee and sink into low lunge, lower back leg onto mat
  • Place hands on mat on inside of right foot, moving front leg slightly wider to side
  • Lower elbows and forearms to the mat
  • To release, push torso up with elbows & bring right knee back. Knee up. Switch to left
  • Variation: lift back leg-knee off floor for more intensity

6) Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of Fishes)

Twists spine, hip stretch and chest stretch

  • Sit in Dandasana. Bend right knee up & bring foot over left thigh, right foot flat on mat
  • Keeping left leg on mat, bend left knee and bring left heel to outside of right hip
  • Place right hand behind you, inhale and lift up through spine. Exhale and twist to right, placing left elbow against right knee. Twist torso further turning to look at back of room
  • Twist deeper with each exhalation. Lengthen spine, pull tailbone down on floor.
  • Gently untwist as you exhale. Repeat on left side

7) Virasana and Supta Virasana (Hero’s Pose and Reclining Hero’s Pose)

Stretches quads, iliopsoas, sartorius

  • Come up on all fours. Bring knees together until they touch, push tops of feet into mat
  • Lift your torso upright, put hands on thighs, lean forward slightly and sit back onto butt, resting between your heels
  • Lift chest, press shoulders down and back, lengthen tailbone and rest on sit bones
  • Press knees and inner thighs together pointing straight forward, feet close to hips and ankles comfortable, not in awkward angle
  • Sit and hold for a few breaths. then slowly lean back. Exhale, hands behind you for support, lowering yourself onto elbows
  • Recline all the wab back until back reaches the floor.  Arms rest on either side, palms up
  • Squeeze knees together and keep knees firmly on mat. Do not lift them.
  • Hold. To release, slowly push yourself up with elbows until you come up on knees
  • Avoid: sliding knees further apart than hips

8) Suptha Padangusthasana (30-40 sec per stretch – front and side)

Intense hamstring and inner thigh stretch

  • Lie back down on mat facing ceiling, legs together straight out. Fold right knee up
  • Use first three fingers of right hand to hold right big toe OR slip a strap/towel under right foot and straighten leg toward ceiling, flexing foot.
  • Keep right leg straight as you pull it closer towards chest
  • Keep back and shoulders firmly on mat (don’t lift right shoulder off mat)
  • Hold, then keeping hips square, bring right leg to side , stretching from the hips

9) Navasana (Boat pose)

Builds core strength (abs, hip flexors, quads)

  • Hold for 1 min. Drop feet to mat,  come up on knees and lie face down in crocodile
  • Variation: Half-boat (Ardha Navasana) option, keep knees bent 90 deg

10) Salabhasana (Locust pose) 30sec x 2

Builds strength in erector spinae, rhomboids and serratus ( to maintain good shoulder position. Builds hamstring strength.

  • Turn your face to centre, nose and forehead on mat, arms resting on either side
  • Turn your legs in toward each other so knees point directly into the floor
  • Squeeze buttocks, inhale, and lift your head, chest, arms and legs at the same time
  • Extend arms and legs behind, lift as high as possible, balancing on pelvis and lower abs
  • Keep head and neck neutral. Breathe slowly and hold. Lower arms & legs to floor. Rest

11) Dhanurasana (bow pose) 30sec x 2

Building mor
e back strength, really opens up chest, builds strength in glutes

  • Inhale place chin on floor, exhale as you bend your knees, reach arms behind to grasp your ankles from outside.
  • Inhale and lift chest off the floor, kicking legs up. Lift thighs off the floor, shift weight to abs and keep knees closer together

20) Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand) 40-60sec/20-25 breaths

Inversion means gravity increases venous blood flow to heart, brain and eyes, relaxes heart. Stimulates thyroid, smoothes nervous system, excellent for relieving stress/tension/anxiety

  • Lie on your back, arms by side, bend knees with heels on mat close to sitting bones
  • Exhale, press arms against floor and push feet away from mat, drawing thighs toward chest
  • Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and then the back torso away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face
  • Bend elbows up, resting upper arms on mat (parallel to side of your torso)
  • Draw elbows inward (about shoulder width or slightly less) to bring hands under your torso. Support your back with palms pressing into your back
  • Raise pelvis up and over shoulders so that torso is about 90 deg to the floor (legs prob bent)
  • Inhale and lift your bent knees toward the ceiling, bringing thighs in line with torso
  •  Finally inhale and straighten your legs, pressing the heels up toward the ceiling
  • Soften the throat and tongue. Firm the shoulder blades against the back, and move the sternum toward the chin. Try to lift the upper spine away from the floor
  • Variation: Use folded towel to support neck area if neck has bony protrusions
  • Variation: Halasana if shoulder stand is too intense for first-timers in the pose


*To expand into 75 or 90-minute workout, introduce additional poses e.g.:

– Pavritta Trikonasana

– Prasarita Padottanasana A, C

– Planks, plank with alternate arm/leg lift, low plank and side plank

– Pidgeon stretch

– Lunge at wall (bend right knee up 90 deg, slide left shin & top of left foot against wall

– Purvottasana

– Halasana


(Laurel, 200hr TTC)

Maha Bandhas

Even though I was already familiar with different breathing techniques, I never came across the three different types of Maha Bandhas until I got introduced to them during my Yoga Teacher Training.

In Sanskrit Maha means great, mighty, powerful and Bandha means to lock, to hold or to thighten.

Mula Bandha = Root Lock

Start out in a sitting position. Elongate the spine and make sure the chin is parallel to the floor. Close your eyes and bring awareness to the Muladhara Chakra located at the base of the spine. Contract the pelvic floor muscles as if you’re holding back urination. Inhale deeply into your lungs and try to hold the breath as long as possible but still comfortable followed by a long exhalation. Repeat for 3 – 5 times. Remain seated and continuing breathing normally for some time.

This breathing technique strengthens the pelvic floor and has a calming effect on the nervous system as well as the mind.

Uddiyana Bandha = Navel Lock

Start in a standing position with your legs separated. Inhale deeply, exhale and hold your breath. Bend forward and place your hands on the knees. Suck in the lower tummy and feel the hollow. Hold as long as possible then exhale and release the tummy.  Remain in this position for a while before lifting up your upper body. Repeat for 3 – 5 rounds on an empty stomach only!

The concentration during this breathing is on the Manipura Chakra. It stimulates the intestinal organs and helps to relieve constipation. It balances the mind and therefore controls anger and irritability.

Jalandhara Bandha = Chin Lock

Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine so air can flow freely. Place the palms on your legs. Inhale slowly but deeply through your nose. Lower the chin close to your chest while lifting your sternum. Contract the throat and retain the air as long as possible. Exhale, raise your head and come back to the starting position. Repeat for 3 – 5 rounds then breath normally remaining in this position.

This breathing exercise concentrates on the Vishuddhi Chakra. It develops the ability to concentrate and is highly beneficial for throat diseases. It also regulates the thyroid function.

Give it a try!


Yoga Beginners Class

Focusing on side poses

Hi, my name is Lisa. I’m your teacher for today and I’m going to introduce you to some basic yoga poses focusing on the sides of your body.

Please introduce yourself and let me know of any injuries and we’ll go from there.

As breathing is very important throughout our practices, we will take a few minutes in resting pose and do…

1.Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)

-sit comfortably, any way you feel like, some might want to sit on a block or a cushion to relieve tension in the lower back

-spine is straight and chin is parallel to the floor, this will allow your lungs to expand fully

-place your hands on your legs

-put your index finger and your thumb together

-you may close your eyes

-start with a deep inhalation/long exhalation into chest

-inhaaale and exhaaale

-continue in your pace

2.Warm up

Let’s start with a gentle warm up

-rotate you’re ankle to the left and change to the right

-rotate your knees

-make circles with the hip

-roll shoulders back and forth

-stretch neck from left to right

Cat Cow pose 

-start in the table top position. Make sure your knees are directly under your hips and your wrist, elbow and shoulders are in line. Head in center and eyes looking to the floor.

-inhale and lift the head toward the ceiling. At the same time let your tummy sink downward by releasing the spine. The tailbone stays above the knees throughout

-exhale and round your spine upward, feel the stretch in your neck

Repeat 10x

Our last warm up for today will be a

Surya Namaskara or Sun Solutation

-stand in tadasana the mountain pose

-take a few deep inhales, exhale and bring your hands together in Samasthiti

-inhale and stretch your arms up, bend back from your waste, hip forward

-exhale and bend forwards, place your hands next to your feet (bend your legs if you need to)

-inhale look up and take the right leg back followed by the left one called the plank pose

-support your weight on your hands and toes. Head, back and legs make a straight line

-as you exhale, lower your knees, your chest and chin to the floor, your hands should be flat on the floor just beside your shoulders, slide yourself forward into the cobra pose, head tilting back

-exhale, roll your weight onto your feet and raise up the hips to the ceiling, try to push your hills down forming a triangle called the downwards facing dog

-inhale, step forward with the right leg followed by the left leg

-exhale and fold down from your waist

-inhale and straighten and raise the arms up exhale and fold your hands in front of your chest

3.Swinging palm on the wall

-place both feet on the wall, stretch your arms up and slowly start bending down to the right side, make sure arms are straight

-repeat on the left side and feel the stretch on the right side of your waist

4.Twist on the wall

-stand on the wall twisting to the right side and placing both palms on the wall, come back to the centre and repeat on the left side

5.Standing forward bend

-Stand in Tadasana, reach up your arms and fall forward

-hold on to your arms and let them hang down, pulling downward

-this lengthens the spine and takes nourishing blood to the brain

6.Simple Triconasana (tones spinal nerves and abdominal organs, reduces pain in the lower back)

-stand back to the wall again

-place feet approx 1 meter apart, front leg along the wall back leg pointing out

-reach arms to the side and then lower it down

-the left arm reaches up

-press your chest to wall as close as possible

-repeat these steps on the left side

7.Side leg stretch (Skandasana) promoting balance and opens the hips

-final standing posture

-start in squatting frog position on the balls of the feet and with the arms hanging straight in front of you hands just touching the ground

-slide left foot out to the side as far as comfortable, resting the heel on the ground with the toes and knee pointing straight up

-bring the hands to a prayer position if possible and lift up through the crown of the head, straightening the spine and putting gentle downward pressure on pelvis (remain for 30 sec) repeat on the other side

-smooth transaction into a single leg forward bend

8.Janu Sirsasana

-start in staff pose, hands by your side, straight spine, looking forward

-bend the left knee and place the sole on the inside of the right thigh

-inhale and lift the arms above the head, palms facing each other

-extend up through the fingers so that you feel the stretch down the side of the body, as if your upper body is pulling out of the waist, press down through the buttocks

-exhale and stretch forward, fold forward from the hips over your straight leg

-relax the spine, place your hands wherever it feels comfortable for you

-surrender into the pose

-on your inhale come slightly up on your exhale extend more forward

-repeat the other side

9.Savasana corpse pose (for relaxing your body and mind completely so that the mind is set free and energy can flow freely)

-lie on your back, turn your legs and arms out to the side, palms facing up

-close your eyes

-turn your head gently from side to side and then return it to the centre

-relax your feet. Now, take your attention to your calves and feel them relaxed, your thighs, buttocks and lower back are relaxed, your upper back, your shoulders are very relax and feel the tension dropping out onto the floor, arms, hands and neck are relaxed. Let your eyes relax and feel your face muscles and scalp becoming soft and relaxed.

-mentally scan over your body for any tension, whenever you find a tense muscle, tighten it first, then relax it.

-be aware around and through your body and be alert to any discomfort, allow yourself to melt into the floor

-breath into your abdomen and with every exhalation feel the weight of your body sinking deeper into the floor. Focus your attention by listening to the sound of your breath. Enjoy the sensation of the weight of your body being fully supported by the floor beneath you

-take a deep breath in and start to bring back attention into the feet and hands

-bring your legs together and stretch your arms over your head for a full body stretch

-bend knees, roll over onto your right side and with your eyes still closed come up to a sitting position

-rub your palms together and cover your eyes with them, feel the warmth

-open your eyes into the hands and bring them down to samasthiti

Gazpacho Recipe

RED… the colour of Action, Confidence, Courage, Vitality, Fire and of course Love just to mention a few. All characteristics, which I also associate with Yoga!

Most of the times when I returned home from my Yoga Teacher Training I longed to eat something cold, light and refreshing, when one day I came across this really mouthwatering gazpacho recipe, which fulfilled all my cravings and expectations.

And here is how it’s made:

Cut 1 unpeeled cucumber, 3 tomatoes and 2 red peppers into cubes. Add fresh herbs such as estragon, basil and coriander as well as a little vinegar, salt and pepper and let it rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile chop 2 shallots and 2 gloves of garlic. Then put everything in a blender and mix it really well in order to get a fine and smooth consistence. Should the soup be too thick just add some water, broth or a thread of olive oil. You may want to serve a crispy focaccia bread together with the soup.


Sirsasana – headstand

Sirsasana – headstand
How do you get into this pose:
You get into Sirsasana by practicing first the Dolphin pose.
Go on your four, make sure that hands on the floor are aligned with your shoulders and that pelvis is parallel to the floor; your legs are bent (knees on the floor) at 90’ angle.
Bring down your elbows on the floor and make sure the distance between them is the one you reach by holding your elbows with the arms (right hand on left elbow and left hand on right elbow, as if you wanted to hug yourself!)
Then cross your hands on the floor in front and place the head crown in between, but not directly on the hands, rather on the floor. Your Dolphin is there!
After that, you can lift your pelvis, straighten your legs and slowly you can walk your feet on your tiptoes toward the arms/elbows.
The closer you get, the higher your hip.
Once you are really close, engage all your Bandhas and slowly lift up your pelvis; bend your knew and keep lifting.
You will stretch your legs only once you are up and inverted.
Stay there for at least 20 breaths.
If the weight is well distributed you will not feel it in the neck, but on the forearms resting on the floor.
To sustain the balance your Bandhas must be kept in all the time, as well as your legs muscles and gluteus muscles.
What happens to your body during this pose:
Triceps are agonists and biceps are antagonists. Both together these muscles stabilize the forearms on the floor and avoid that the ball and socket joins at your shoulders can be injured.
Deltoids trapezius and the muscles on the shoulder blades are also all engaged and help freeing the neck and stabilizing the shoulder joints.

Agonist muscles here are the ones along the spine, which help lifting the back into inverted pose and remain there. Antagonists here are the abdominal muscles, which keep the ribcage at its place and prevent it from coming out of the spinal alignment.
Lumbar muscles are also engaged together with the psoas and gluteus muscles to support the lumbar area.
Pelvis and legs:
Agonist and antagonist actions come from the psoas and from the gluteus muscles; this allows the pelvis to keep aligned.
Tensor fascia lata are engaged together with the gluteus muscles and with the adductor muscles to prevent legs from splitting and stay closed together. Quadriceps are engaged and keep knees straight.
The calf muscles are engaged to keep the feet in a flexed position and slightly outward.
The body cannot waver when all these muscles are engaged.
Headstand is a pose that you integrate often in the closing sequence, restoring heart rate to a low/normal pace (after having practiced intense poses).
This pose has also a very positive  impact on the endocrine system, especially on the glands based in the head (pineal gland producing melatonin, pituitary gland and hypothalamus).
The effect is similar to that we reach via meditation and sleep like state.

by JO Lesson P…

by JO
Lesson Plan – Beginner (75mins)
Introduction – 5 mins to introduce myself and take note on the health condition of students.
1) Warm up
2) Breathing – Introduce Ujjayi Breathing
3)Surya Namaskara B – Breakdown 
3) Virabhadrasana A
4) Baby Combra, Combra and Child pose
5) Dandasana
6) Paschimottanasana A & B
7) Baddha Konasana
8) Camel and Child pose 
9) Padmasana
10) Sarvasana
* This is the 1st class for beginner. Basically focus on the breathing and introduce some basic standing and sitting poses. The No. 4) & 8) is a preparation exercises for upward dog and back bend.