REVIEW – 3 Week Yoga Retreat – Days 15-18

Meet Ted – he is the final tour guide on our 3 Week Yoga Retreat journey.

3 week yoga ted

I like to wear collared shirts during my workouts – dress for success!

Ted is now my favorite yoga trainer. If he puts out a program, I’ll grab it. His instruction is great, and he has a great vibe in front of the camera. He played second fiddle a lot to Tony Horton in the P90X yoga sessions. Ted shows he can handle the limelight of Beachbody stardom. Give that man a workout program!

 

Day 15 – Core (Progression) – approx 31 minutes.

Right off the bat, I had a big “oh damn” moment. We started our shoulder stretch with 29:35 to go in the session. We finally put our arms down at 27:20. That was 2 minutes and 15 seconds of interlocked overhead shoulder stretch with some side bends peppered in. Needless to say, my shoulders were now awake. Then at 26:30 to go, we do a behind the back shoulder stretch in forward fold.

Wait for it…

Oh my sweet lord…

…and release at 25:26. That was another minute plus of shoulder stretch hell. Okay – I’m being melodramatic. But, the chair pose that followed didn’t really go well for my outstretched arms. Clearly we are in week 3 of the Yoga retreat! No messing around here.

We did some chair flow and sun salutation A flow – nothing new here. We’ve met. About 10 minutes in, we did a flow that included some crescent pose work, hip/hamstring flow, and into some downward dog splits with knee pulls. I’ve done these before.

  • Knee to opposite elbow, back to split
  • Knee to forehead, back to split
  • Knee to same elbow, back to split

Rinse/repeat on the other side. It’s still fun and challenging.

About mid-way through, we started rocking some cat-cow action and low plank work. Then came dolphin. I think I’ve done dolphin in passing before, but never actually spent time in it to feel what is going on. Wow, did I feel that in my upper back. I certainly will ride the dolphin again. We spent about 2+ minutes in locust pose and then transitioned to some side plank work. Forearm side plank is a lot tougher than side plank with the arm fully extended (at least in my opinion). Bigger balance challenge for some reason. After another visit to the dolphin, we moved into happy baby and half happy baby. I really tried to go deep here. We finished up with some reclining twists and ended the session with good ol’ savasana.

I certainly see myself doing this session again after I’m done with the program.

 

Day 16 – Stretch (Progression) – approx 30 minutes.

We started by sitting on our heels for about 4 minutes while doing a lot of extended neck stretches and shoulder rolls. I don’t want to under emphasize how much I enjoyed that 4 minutes. You really feel a stretch along the front of your shin while sitting in this pose. And, the extra emphasis on the neck stretching felt good even into the day after the session.

The couple minutes of wide leg work and lunge work felt great on the posterior chain and in the groin. Certainly putting the cues to use that I learned in the first two weeks to really accentuate the effects of wide leg forward folds. The side lunge with twist was a nice sensation in my posterior chain. After some 1/2 sun salutation flows, we did some side stretches from child’s pose. This is another position that feels absolutely amazing if you are mindful and really focus on length and extension.

3 week yoga side stretch.JPG

Really try to extend that right arm away from your right glute

We did the hip/hamstring flow again, but spent some more time in it. My right hamstring/hip are much tighter than my other side, but it’s getting better. Moving into lizard pose was intense but very welcome. I found the cues helpful to get the most out of the position. Prior to this instruction, my lizard was sloppy at best. His verbal cues helped keep me in check.

Ted then spent the next many minutes walking us through a sun salutation flow with some crescent pose work. After that, Ted introduced us to camel pose. I first learned camel pose during Tony Horton’s yoga sessions in P90X3. Camel is intense, but feels great, and I love that Ted included it in this session. Probably the best chest and shoulder opener ever!

3 week yoga camel.JPG

This is the most intense version with feet flat and grabbing the heels

We finished up with some happy cow work which was certainly a challenge on my tight hips. I’m looking forward to spending some more time with that pose. The session ended with some seated breathing in cross-legged pose.

Namaste.

 

Day 17 – Balance (Progression) – approx 30 minutes each.

I enjoy the balance sessions and doing work on one leg. For the most part, I feel like I’m pretty good at these poses because of the strength training that I do with single-limb emphasis. So, BRING IT ON.

Right out of the gate, we did seated side stretch. The payoff on that move happened 24 hours later when I felt some sensations in my lats (like I did a back workout the day prior). I remember thinking, “…what the hell did I do yesterday….oh yeah, STRETCHED…” I’m surprised I felt it the next day.

From cat-cow, we moved into tabletop and did some hip-circles. This is a two-fer. You get to work your hips across three planes, and you get to focus on 3 point balance. Extended side leg stretch is another nice way to get length in your lats.

Then we moved into a sun salutation that included warrior 1 work. That is when we rocked some pyramid pose. To make it even more interesting, Ted had us bound our arms behind us. My shoulders were under assault, as were my hamstring, hip, calf, and glute on the lead leg. Pyramid is a challenge, and that challenge is intensified with your arms bound behind you. Nice job Ted!

Since pyramid was so easy, Ted decided to double down and take us to triangle town. Except, he intensifies it by cueing revolved triangle. Unless you are an experienced yogi, you will need your blocks if you even want to think about reaching to the outside of your foot. Triangle is another amazing pose that I need to do more frequently. It makes a couple appearances in the P90X yoga workouts.

It can’t be considered a balance session without some tree work, so, Ted moved us into mountain pose and then tree. I’m a fan of tree because I’m pretty good at it. I not only raise my arms, but also raise my gaze (that rhymes!). Extended leg with toe-bind is another story. I suck at that. I can’t extend my leg without my planted leg/hip collapsing down. Just another one of those things I need to keep working on.

Note – Vitus – you aren’t a good actor and I totally know you faked that fall!

3 week yoga tree fall

Derp!

Once we finished with standing poses, we moved to the mat and did some pigeon work. Even though I’m not great at it, I really enjoy pigeon pose. I can always feel it in the right places, and I know I’m getting better at it. This is a staple move in most of the P90X yoga sessions and also Tony’s P90X2 recovery & mobility workout (the one with the foam rolling). The session wrapped with savasana. Gotta say – felt very supple after this session. So far, this is my favorite week of practice yet.

 

Day 18 – Flow (Progression) – approx 31 minutes each.

Now it’s gonna get real! The plan is for Ted to run us through a couple of flows that incorporate EVERYTHING we’ve learned so far.

First we get the juices flowing with some neck stretching and shoulder stretching. Then, it’s time to start the party.

With sun salutation A, he runs us through the sequence w/o a flow first. Then, we go right into the flow. He’ll repeat that pattern for all of the flows – do it piece by piece the first time w/o flow, and then run through as a flow with both sides.

Overall a nice easy start with sun salutation A. Very basic – simple – nothing new here.

Next is sun salutation B with chair pose. In this flow, we throw in a warrior 1. Once we do that on both sides, we graduate to  “dancing warrior.”

Dancing warrior is a sequence that goes…

  • Warrior 1
  • Warrior 2
  • Reverse warrior
  • Extended side angle pose
  • Warrior 2

It was pretty cool to throw all of that together into a single flow. By far the most challenging “flow” sequence we’ve done to date. We did both sides of the body, and then returned to mountain pose. Since we did such a great job, he gave us a “bonus” flow. This consisted of a really long hold in warrior 2 with cueing to go deeper and deeper. From there, we straighten our lead leg, and went into half moon. This is an intense and tricky balance pose.

3 week yoga half moon

Elise is awesome at yoga and life!

From half moon, we very carefully stepped back into triangle. We did that on both sides, and then Ted put us on the ground to finish the session.

He threw in some reclining half cow work for the hips, followed by a reclining twist. Both of these were very welcome for my posterior! All of that hard work led up to a nice and well-deserved savasana. The session closed with a few cycles of seated breathing.

Overall a very nice flow that seemed to put a solid exclamation point on the work we’ve done to date. Next session is a “flow-on-the-go,” and then the relax session followed by the AM/PM/Abs sequences. Suffice it to say, that will probably be the most challenging session in this 3 Week Yoga Retreat. I’m sad to think we’ve reached the apex, but I’m also very happy with the amount of time and work put in to date.

 

Are you an aspiring yogi? Do you enjoy mixing yoga workouts into your fitness plan? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!

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