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Take Our 30-Day Yoga Challenge to Get Your Om On

28 Yoga Poses to Get Your Vinyasa Flow On

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Raise your hand if you've ever been intimidated by a gorgeous Instagram picture of an impossibly flexible yogi with their arms and legs pretzeled in to some kind of impossible shape. Yea, us too. This is not that kind of yoga challenge. We teamed up with Masumi Goldman and Laura Kasperzak of Two Fit Moms to create a challenge for the every yogi—and the novice yogi. Each week, you'll master six poses, then put them all together for a #FridayFlow. You'll start with the basics, the move through core-strengthening poses, flexibility-enhancing shapes, and strength-building moves.

By the end of the month, you'll be able to put all 24 individual poses together for a pretty killer vinyasa flow that will help you tone all over—and prep you for those Instagram-worthy shapes you know you want to post. (Psst: tag them with #PostYourPose throughout the month!) Want to keep your practice going? Download Laura and Masumi's Gaiam Yoga Rising classes on iTunes, available at a special rate for a limited time. (Ready for the next challenge? Try these 10 Exercises to Prime Your Arms for Tough Yoga Poses.) 

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Photo: James Michelfelder

Cat Cow

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A Start on all fours in a table top position with wrists below shoulders and knees below hips. Inhale, releasing belly towards mat, tilting tailbone and chin upward toward ceiling for cow pose.

B Exhale and round back high, guiding chin toward chest for cat pose. Continue alternating between poses, moving with breath.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Downward Dog

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A Begin on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sit bones towards the ceiling. Reach heels back toward the mat without touching. Drop head so neck is long.

B Wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat. Press into the knuckles of forefinger and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths.

Photo: James Michelfelder

High Lunge

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A Begin in down dog. Round left knee toward nose. Step left foot between hands to a low lunge.

B Transfer weight into feet and reach arms up toward the ceiling, framing face. Keep left knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Be sure the knee doesn't move beyond the ankle. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths and then repeat on the left. (New to yoga? Get started by learning the 12 Top Tips for Beginner Yogis.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Chair Pose

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A Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Inhale and raise arms straight out from shoulders, keeping shoulders down and back.

B Exhale and lower into the pose by pushing hips back and bending knees as though you are sitting in a chair. Keep abs drawn in tight. Hold this position for 5 deep breaths.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Warrior Two

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Begin in down dog. Round left knee toward nose, and step left foot in between hands. Spin right heel down with foot slightly angled out.

B Windmill arms open. Right arm reaches toward the back of the mat and left arm reaches to the front of the mat, palms facedown. Keep left knee at a 90-degree angle, in line with left ankle.

C Drop shoulders away from ears, tuck tailbone, and knit front ribs in. Gaze is over the middle finger of the front hand. Stay here for at least three deep breaths and then repeat on other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Wide Forward Bend

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A Start by standing straight. Step right foot out wide and parallel the outer edges of feet. Take a deep inhale to engage navel to spine then reach arms up.

B Keeping a long spine, use exhale to hinge forward from hips until hands come to the ground. Walk hands back in line with toes. Allow head to relax toward the ground. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths. (Check out 10 Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Yoga 101

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A Combine the six previous moves into a flow. Repeat 3 times.

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Tabletop Crunches

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A Come to the floor on hands and knees, knees hip-width apart, with feet directly behind knees. Bring the palms directly under shoulders with fingers facing forward.

B Keeping back flat, press into palms to drop shoulders away from the ears. Press tail bone towards the back wall and crown of the head towards the front wall to lengthen the spine.

C Extend left leg straight back, then crunch knee in towards nose. Repeat three times, then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Knee to Tricep

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A Begin in down dog. Lift right leg high.

B Round right knee to right tricep, drawing navel toward spine. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths and then repeat on the other side. (Like this move? Try these 6 Yoga Poses for a Rock-Solid Core.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Plank

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A Start in a tabletop position. Raise into a full pushup position on the floor with arms directly beneath shoulders and hips forming a straight line from shoulders to feet. Hold this position for 5 deep breaths.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Side Plank Star

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A Lie on your side and position yourself on your bottom elbow and side of your foot. Lift hips in the air, forming a straight line from ankles to shoulders, and brace core.

B Keeping torso stable, raise top leg without bending knee. Do not let hips drop. Return to starting position. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Forward Fold Wrist Taps

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A From downward facing dog, step feet to hands, hinging at hips as torso draws towards thighs for forward fold.

B Lift right leg slightly off floor, keeping foot flexed, and tap toes toward right wrist three times. Repeat on the other side. (Did you know that standing forward fold is one of the 7 Yoga Stretches to Help You Fall Asleep Fast?)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Crow Toe Taps

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A Begin in a forward fold. Plant palms shoulder-width apart on the mat and line wrist creases up with the front edge of the mat.

B Press into fingertips, look slightly forward, and take knees into the back of upper arms, aiming for armpits. Bend elbows softly, keeping them in line with shoulders, not winging out, and, one at a time, lift feet off the ground, reaching heels toward butt. Keep gaze slightly forward and start to lengthen arms.

C Slowly, lower toes town to tap the floor, then lift them back up toward butt. Repeat at least three times.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Core Poses

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A Combine the six previous moves into a Vinyasa flow. Repeat 3 times.

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Malasana

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A Step feet out wider than hip-width apart, drawing toes out and heels in.

B Slowly lower into a low squat position with palms at heart and chest lifted. Use elbows to gently push knees out. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths. (Improve flexibility with this 10-Minute Yoga Workout for Muscle Tone.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Standing Forward Bend

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A From down dog, step feet to hands, hinging at hips as torso draws toward.

B Place fingertips or palm on ground in front of feet. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Half Split

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A Begin in a low lunge with left foot forward. (If this is too intense on hamstrings, bend knees until muscles can relax.)

B Release right knee down to the ground and walk hands back as you reach hips back toward right heel and lengthen left leg.

C Relax and fold forward over left thigh. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Low Lunge

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A Begin in down dog. Round left knee toward nose, and step left foot between hands.

B With hands are on either side of front foot, tent fingertips on floor or blocks. Drop right knee to ground and lean back for a slight backbend. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths, then repeat on the other side. (Check out Yoga for People Who Can't Touch Their Toes.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Lizard

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A Begin in down dog. Lift left leg high to down dog split, open hip, and bend knee. Step left foot outside of left hand.

B Release right knee to the ground and lower forearms, one at a time, to the ground. Reach chest forward through arms, and allow head to relax in line with spine. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Three-Legged Dolphin

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A Begin on hands and knees. Place forearms parallel to one another on the ground, palms facing down. Tuck toes and lift hips high.

B Drop head and reach chest back through arms in the direction of feet. Reach right heel downward and lift left leg toward the sky. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Full Body Flexibility

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A Combine the six previous moves into a flow. Repeat 3 times. (Have trouble mastering the flows? Learn How to Transition Between Yoga Poses with Grace.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Standing L

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A Begin standing in mountain pose. Transfer weight into right foot and hug left knee into chest.

B Take a hold of left big toe with the first and second fingers and thumb of left hand. Gently extend left leg forward, leading with heel. Find a slight internal rotation of the left thigh so that toes point toward the ceiling.

C Reach right arm up to the ceiling on the side of face. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Warrior III

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A Begin in a standing forward bend. Walk hands on the ground, underneath shoulders. Keeping soft knees, transfer weight into right foot, then lift left leg high behind you.

B Reach through left heel (as if it were pressing something away from it) and internally rotate left thigh so that toes point toward the ground.

C Lift arms off the ground and reach them forward to frame face. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Standing Split

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A Begin in a standing forward bend with both hands on the ground. Transfer weight into right foot, lift left leg high, and open left hip. Point or flex toes toward the ceiling.

B Walk hands back in line with toes (on the floor or on blocks) and drop head. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths, then repeat on the other side. 

Photo: James Michelfelder

Handstand L

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A Begin in a forward fold with fingertips on the ground. Soften through knees and transfer weight into right leg. Tipping weight forward into hands, extend your right leg back behind you. Press your palms firmly on the ground under your shoulders and straighten your arms.

B Stand high on the ball of right foot. Hop up, lifting left leg high so hips are over the shoulders and keep the right leg dangling down so legs are in an “L” shape. Keep breathing through the entire movement, inhaling as you lightly hop up, and exhaling as you release. Try three hops and then repeat on the other side.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Chaturanga

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A Begin in a plank. Reach back through heels, engage navel to your spine, and soften through elbows, reaching them straight back until forearms graze the sides of rib cage. Keep a slight chin tuck and long spine. Breathe here for at least three deep breaths.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Dolphin to Forearm Stand

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A Begin on hands and knees. Parallel forearms to one another at shoulder-width apart and lift hips high into dolphin pose.

B Walk feet toward elbows as close as they will go. Lift left leg toward the ceiling. Come onto the ball of right foot and start to rock forward, eventually lift both legs off the ground.

C Bring feet and legs together; feet can be flexed or pointed. Try to stay here for at least three deep breaths. This pose can be done at a wall until you are comfortable without one. (First step to mastering this yoga pose? Learn How to Overcome Your Fear of Inversions.)

Photo: James Michelfelder

Power Poses

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A Combine the six previous moves into a Vinyasa flow. Repeat 3 times.

Photo: James Michelfelder

Try Our 30-Day Yoga Challenge

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Whew, need a refresher on all that? Check out the whole 30-day challenge above. We guarantee by the time you get to the end of the month, you'll be able to nail that forearm handstand—and all four flows combined!

Photo: James Michelfelder

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