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Season 2 - Episode 7

Folding and Unfolding

60 min - Practice
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Jennifer guides us in a practice that is dedicated to seated forward folds, seated twists, and hip openers. We begin with Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) and a few standing postures to warm the body, before moving into an origami-like practice of folds and twists—progressively building toward more complex asanas. You will feel spacious and aware.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(water sloshing) Namaste. This practice is devoted to forward folds. Mostly seated forward folds, hip openers and seated twists. And, we're headed toward some postures that we all will be exploring. So, once again, it's important to remember that we dedicate ourselves to this process of exploration remembering that just because we made it into a posture yesterday does no guarantee that that will happen today at all.

I like to think about this practice, the way I've designed this practice, as the origami of asana in so much that we will begin with something very simple, our body, and a simple forward fold like this and that we will add complexity to the folds and the twists as we go to arrive at a particular destination. Okay. One thing I realized in my practice was for a long, long time, when I would think about a forward fold, I'd go ahead and just simply lengthen the back of the legs but really give no attention to what was happening inside my torso. So, as we approach this practice, there's so much activity that can go on in the inner body, I want us to address that as well so that we're really being very integrated and comprehensive in our approach to going inside. What I love about all of these postures is that they do ask us to go really deeply in there.

The forward folds are very soothing for the most part. If you find that you're contracting or struggling in any way, just back up a little bit, right. We'll remember spaciousness and open awareness. Okay, so with that, let's begin. Namaste.

So, coming to the top of the mat, just look down, spread your toes wide. You're gonna root your feet. Find your midline. Relax and soften the outside of the body. Open your awareness to the inside of your body.

Feel everything at once if you can. Body being breathed. And, here we are. Just creating a state of equanimity. Remembering this state throughout every posture that we take, we're looking to come right here to the steadiness and ease of mountain pose.

Let's inhale, send the arms up. Interlace your fingers just for a moment. Draw the rib cage up. Draw your navel into your spine. Lift your pelvic floor.

One more breath, inhale. Exhale, let's fold forward, out and down. Now, bring your hands to your shins. Inhale, flat back, send your sit bones way back behind you. Exhale, palms down.

Step or float back to plank pose. Pause in plank. And, inhale here. Exhale, first one, cheat, knees, chest and chin down. Front of the feet down.

Inhale, lift your chest. Pull your mat. Take one more breath. Good inhale here. Exhale, take it back to downward facing dog.

Several breaths, set your dog. Let's bend the knees first. Send your sit bones back. Lengthen your spine. Good, take a look at your navel for a moment.

You can begin to straighten the legs if you wish. But, don't sacrifice the length of your spine. We're gonna inhale. Exhale completely through the nose. Keep your breath out, draw your belly into your spine.

Relax your belly, inhale. Exhaling. Breath stays out, draw your navel to your spine. Relax your belly, inhale. Exhaling.

Navel to spine, pelvic floor lifts a little bit. Lift your chest toward your chin. Relax your belly, inhale. And, exhale. Inhale here.

Exhale, bend your knees, look past your hands. Step or float forward between your hands. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, rise all the way up.

Palms touch at the top. Exhale, releasing the arms. So, the reason that we did the work with drawing the navel into the spine during the downward dog is that we wanna get a lift in here and we will repeat that throughout this practice so that we're really integrating the whole body. Okay, so let's do two more sun salutation A's. Inhaling, extending.

Exhale, folding forward, out and down. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, step or float back, lower through. Inhale, cobra or upward dog. Exhale, back.

Downward facing dog. Five breaths, inhale. Exhaling. Navel to spine. Relax the belly, inhale.

Exhale. Inhaling. Exhale. And, relax the belly, inhale. Exhale.

And, relax the belly, inhale. Exhale, knees bent, look past your hands. Step or float forward between your hands. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold.

Inhale, rise all the way up. Palms touch. Exhaling, folding forward, out and down. Inhaling, lengthen. Exhaling, step or float back, lower through.

Inhaling. Exhaling, back, downward facing dog. And, five breaths and try that on your own. You'll notice it's kinda like pulling energy from the ground as your heels root down. Use that breath.

To lift the lower body upward. And, one more time. Gonna inhale. Exhale, knees bent, look past your hands. Step or float forward.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold in. Inhale, rise all the way up. Palms touch at the top. Exhale, folding forward.

This time, inhale, lengthen. Exhale, take it back. Inhale. Long through the front of the spine. Exhale, back.

Take your right leg now up and back behind you. Stack your hips. Good, so big legs. Draw the outside of your left heel down. And, inhale here.

Exhale, we'll sweep the right foot forward nearly to the hands. Pivot your left heel. Slowly rise up. Good, set your hips so that they could hold water. Right knee forward, inhale.

Exhale, extending. Coming right into trikonasana. Hand to the shin, ankle or foot. Looking up if there's no pressure in the neck. Now, take two more breaths here.

Good, inhale. Exhale, look down, bend your right knee. Right hand at a diagonal to your right foot. Just open out. Left leg back behind you.

Ball of the foot presses. Left arm up. Notice the breath going to the top chest. Lower navel draws in. Inhale here.

Exhale, bend your right knee. Reach back through your left leg. Slowly rise up, come to warrior two. Externally rotating the thigh bones. Wanna get in deep at this point while we're doing the standing series to help open the body for the seated work.

Inhaling. Exhale, right hand to the inside of the foot or elbow to the thigh. Left arm comes over the ear, push deeply back. Remember the external rotation on the left thigh bone. Rolling the rib cage up.

Good, slowly rising all the way up. Let's turn the feet now. So, the heels draw in, the toes draw out. We sink down into the hips. I like to take my hands to my thighs and just roll them open here.

Now, I'll just move back and forth slightly. Notice what it feels like in there. Then, you can take the hands to the floor. And, come in a little deeper if you'd like. But, let's keep the soles of the feet down on the floor for our purposes.

Just taking it easy. Remember the mountain pose is a sense of equanimity as we tour through the hip girdle. Good, one more on the left side. Now, we'll come back to center. Pause here.

And, just notice about where will the sit bones go. Can we draw them down a little deeper. Some of you may decide you could take the feet a little bit wider. But again, the game we're playing is to keep the soles of the feet down. Might go a little wider.

Little wider. Good, so you'll know where to pause. That will be very clear. Where to pause. Couple more breaths.

Just employing our tools, rooting. Softening. Inner awareness of the whole body. Watching the breath. And, being where we are completely right now.

Good, now we wanna find our way out of this. Let's heel toe the feet. Good. Your feet are parallel. Just fold forward for a moment.

And then, let's bring the hands back to the front of the mat. Sweep the right leg back behind you. Lower through your vinyasa or knees, chest, chin. Inhale, let's open. Exhale, back, use your navel to get there.

Downward dog. So, invite the breath to slow down a little bit. Good, send your left leg up and back behind you. Stack the hips for a moment. Inhaling.

Exhale, let's bring the left foot forward. Right heel pivots. Slowly rise up. Good, check your hips, the knee. Inhale, extend.

Exhale. Drawing forward. Right hip way back behind us. Good, watch your breath, set your gaze. Inhale.

Exhaling, we come forward. Left hand at a diagonal. Right leg comes off. Right arm extends. Good.

Slowly find your way in. Wake up the whole body. Inhale here. Exhale, bend your left knee. Slowly, slowly we land the right foot.

Rising up, opening out, warrior two. Left shin is vertical. Spine is vertical. Set your breath. Set your gaze.

And, there's a lot of dynamic movement happening. It may be settle but it's happening in the inner thighs as they roll out. Inhale. Exhale, left elbow either to top of thigh or inside of foot. Extend, re-root.

Good, be aware of the inner right thigh. It's very easy for it to go to sleep here. Rolling the rib cage up. Drawing the shoulder blades down. Inhaling.

Exhale, let's bring the hands to the ground. Take your left leg back behind you. And, lower through right here. Inhale, cobra or upward dog. Exhale, back.

Downward facing dog. Now, we're gonna come to a seat. Several ways to do it. That business with the drawing the navel into the spine on the downward dog is what is, someday, going to allow us to bring the legs through the arms. So, let's all inhale.

Exhaling through the nose. Draw your navel to your spine. Bend your knees, look past your hands and attempt to float the legs forward or come down to a seat. You can feel how that lift has gotta happen from down below, right. So, let's just pause in our seated mountain pose.

Dandasana, staff. Good, find your sit bones, root them. Remember if you need to have the knees bent, that's fine. And, we're gonna be here in seated postures for a little bit and you may find that you wanna put a blanket under the sit bones at this point. Let's all inhale.

Interlace your fingers. Take the arms way up. Now, at this point, you could feel how the navel, if you draw it into the spine and ask the pelvic floor to lift a little bit, you can create more space. We want that space for our forward folding. Right, origami, here we go.

Inhale. Exhale, the sit bones stay rooted as we slowly, slowly make our way forward. And, the breath is moving to the top chest 'cause the navel's drawn into the spine. Hands to the shins, the ankles, the feet. Wherever it's appropriate for you.

Remember, knees could be bent, belly's sitting on top of thighs. Very nice to do especially if you're tight here. Get this connected then slowly, slowly over some time, you'll find your way out. Inhale once again. Exhale, let's fold in slowly.

And, remember mountain pose. And, the equanimity there. Now, I'm growing the posture from inside, from the lower navel through the top chest. It's not gonna be very obvious from the outside. But, as I draw the navel into the spine at the end of my exhale, I'm able to lengthen the front of the body.

Have to be careful about how long I hold the breath out. 'Cause I don't want there to be any strain to the breath. I'm slowly working to lengthen my breath. And, that's over many years of practice. So, just a teeny bit each day.

Now, let's gradually rise up on the inhale. Draw your knees in close. So, there are practices where we would take the legs back and lower through the vinyasa but for our purposes, we'll simply take the hands to the floor. We're gonna see if can we lift the body off. Again, from the pelvic floor, we lift up.

Yup, good, come down. May be that your feet are on the floor. Just get used to this idea of being really light. From here, left leg long. Bring your right foot in.

Let's roll it open. Good, let's all interlace the fingers again. Turn the palms up, root the sit bones. Inhale. Exhale, folding forward.

Good, remember your root. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold in. Good, now root your sit bones. Inhale, rise up.

Exhale, release your arms. Send your right leg long. Draw your left foot in. And, open out. Interlace your fingers again, inhale.

Exhale, keeping the root, fold forward, out and down. There's a lot going on in those five breaths. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold in. Good, feeling where I'm not rooted.

Once I've found the root, does that help the length? Can I soften? Where am I working too hard? Can I feel the whole body on the inside? Is the breath pretty steady?

Without my attention? And, am I fully here? Good, inhale, rise all the way up. Exhale, release the arms, draw the knee back in. Good, so let's cross the ankles once again.

Remember your pelvic floor, here we go. Let's lift off. Okay, very good. How this happens over time, this is just like that. It's through practice.

So, that's the only way. Bring the right foot in. Take your left hand back behind you. Send your right arm all the way up. Inhale, reach up.

Exhale, extend forward, forward, forward. You can use your right foot pressing a little bit here. There's gonna come a point where we can sweep the right arm around back behind us, left hand comes back. Maybe we grasp, we might need a towel or a strap, something to hold onto here. Good, now the right sit bones come off, that's okay.

But, we energetically draw it down. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, folding in, same principles apply. Very easy to just let the navel hang out here. But, we draw the navel in and the energy right up the front of the spine.

Inhale, rise back up. Let's cross the ankles. Good, hands to the floor. Exhale the breath. Keep the breath exhaled, lift off.

Inhale. Right leg long, right hand back. Left foot, you've got about four inches of space. It's gonna depend on you. But, you want this foot lined with your sit bone.

Left arm goes up, inhale, reach up. Exhale, all the way forward. Right toes, vital. Forward, forward, forward. Then, come around.

You can see how we just kind of turn the whole left arm back so the palm can be up. And, maybe we'll find the hand back there. Push into your left foot, inhale, lengthen. Remember the pelvic floor. Exhale, fold forward.

Now, I'm, with my mind, I am dropping the left sit bone down. And, that helps me to reinforce the midline. Good, inhale, we come right back up. Let's cross the ankles in the other direction. One that's not quite as familiar.

Exhaling, lift off. Come right back. Good, so we'll take the right knee now. So, it's forward. And, the left leg will cross over the right thigh.

You may find that that is not available to you. In which case, have the right leg long. Left foot crosses. So, left hand back. We gotta find a lot of space along the front spine.

So, re-root, navel draws in. Right arm extends up, inhale. Exhale, we're attempting to bring this arm around. It may be that it's easier to come here with the right arm. Just around the left leg.

But, if you can, bring it around. Good, armpit right up against. Good, re-root the sit bones. Let the left sit bone travel back. Good, and lengthen the spine.

Right arm, if you can, bring it to the ankle. This is asking quite a bit. So, just be kind, be kind. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, soften.

Inhale, lengthen both directions. Exhale, soften. One more, inhale. Exhale. Good, head comes back, slowly unwind.

Ankles cross, lift. Come back down. Let's try the other side. Left knee forward, right leg around. Or leg long, right arm back.

Left arm up, inhale, top chest. Exhale, cross. Turn the palm. Reach back, that is not the easiest. Good, right hand back, inhale, lengthen.

Exhale. Move into that space that you just made. Inhale, lengthen once again. Exhale. Good, I love the word inhabit, fully inhabit.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale. And, take the breath to the right upper lung. Inhale. Exhale.

Good, gradually return your face forward. Unwind, take the weird way with the ankles. Good, come in close, thighs to ribs. Navel to spine, lift off. Come back down.

Soles of the feet together. Knees go wide. You could scoot your sit bones in toward your heels if you've got a little bit of play here. Let's interlace the fingers for a moment and let's remember staff pose. Dandasana.

And, mountain pose. Remember how they felt. And, find a way to allow the femur bones, the thigh bones to just drop, descend. And, feel the weight of the posture. You may find your knees are flying up here.

In which case, it could be helpful to be up a little bit higher on blankets. Now, if you wish to go further, you could take your fingers and slowly spider crawl them forward but keep the sit bones rooted all the while. I love this challenge of lengthening the front spine as I go. Drawing the chest toward the chin. But, keeping attentive to my sit bones at the same time.

Back when I didn't realize the importance of the lower body, I just figured, well, all my sit bones can come off and I can come to the floor. That's really sort of defeating the purpose of the posture. We want the lower and upper bodies to move away from one another. As notice the place that relaxation has. It's often stated that if we relax the jaw, the hips also relax a little bit.

Notice if that's true for you. Good, now let's slowly, slowly make our way right back up. And, cross your ankles. Come in close, see if you can get your thighs to your ribs. And then, thighs to ribs and then just hold them there.

Hold them there and try to diminish the space between the thighs and the ribs. Okay, now hands down, lift off. Excellent. Okay, so we're gonna turn. Probably turn on the mat.

We wanna go legs really wide here. Upavistha konasana. Look at your feet, the toes turned directly up and they go wide. Root the leg bones down. Pause for a moment.

Feel the extension through the spine. And, find your sit bones, they drop. Soften the outside of the body. Watch the legs. Surreptitiously watch the legs.

Keep them in your periphery. The fingertips come forward. The feet will either inadvertently turn out or in for many of us especially if we're newer to the practice. Keep the sit bones down as we lengthen, finding our way in. So, what I do with my breath is I kind of inhale into the feet.

And, exhale. How I imagine that the whole body is like a lung. 'Cause I've gotta go wide here. And, I want the breath to help open the body from the inside out. So, next step is, well, could I bring my hands to my calves or my ankles, maybe my big toes and fold forward here.

And, you're going to begin to play with edges. Watch what happens when you come up against an edge. I often say, you'll be kind of like a ninja here. Stay soft, stay open. Right up against the edge.

This may be where you need to stay. We are gonna continue onward. You might wanna watch first. So, I'll come back up. Instead of crossing my ankles and lifting off, take my left hand forward, my right leg back.

Flex the feet, oh goodness, can I lift off here. That's about as long as it's gonna be. Feel what that's like. You will likely feel it in the hip flexors. Let's try the other side.

Right hand down, left leg back. Flex the feet, pelvic floor lifts you off. Good, inhale. Exhale. Now, if you wish to go on, bend the knees just a little bit.

Good, you can just bring the feet in slightly for a moment. Fold forward. And, the arms we're gonna sneak the arms in underneath the legs. And, we'll go wide 'cause it's a little bit easier to go wide first. But, what I've done is I've drawn my navel way back and I'm gonna turn my hands so my palms turn up at this point.

And, I'm gonna slide the feet out. And, slowly the legs come down on top of the arms. Toes go wide. And, for our good friend, kurmasana tortoise. You may find that your knees are pretty high.

Just hang out right there. It's slow going like a tortoise. And, some of you might take the hands back behind you. There's a little negotiation that happens here. Hold our own hand and we walk the feet in.

And, there they are, they're very close and one foot is gonna cross over the other foot. And, this is the place where we explore. Goodness, what happens here. Bury the head. And, squeeze into midline.

And, yet the mind is relaxed. Good, slowly undo the feet. And, when we rise. Place the hands on the floor. Draw the navel to the spine.

So, you know how we've been crossing ankles, this is just another way to do it. Oh, goodness, lift the hips off. (gasps) Send the arms, send the legs, open up. Lift, lift, lift the pelvic floor. Slowly release.

Pause for a moment. Let's just take a seat and feel the affect of all of that. Good, watch each sensation, each thought, each emotion, if there are any. Just notice what's there. We just made a whole lot of room.

Good, so let's move back now to downward facing dog. Coming right back to the front of the mat. Approach this from another angle. Good, remembering the navel drawing into the spine. So, let's send the right leg up and back.

For a moment, stack the hips, watch the left foot. Just keep the four corners pressing. And, the shoulders, they both turn down equally. Right knee bends, might see your foot there. Good, open, open, open, inhaling.

Exhale, let's sweep the right knee to the right wrist. And, this is the point at which some of us will need a block. We're moving toward pigeon pose. You can start here with the calf under the thigh and gradually make your way out. Keeping the right foot flex.

If you've got a floating sit bone here, that's indication that, indeed, a block would be useful. So, you gotta feel this from the inside out. What is it really like inside you? Where does that foot belong? How can you get some opening without clamping down?

If you're contracting too much, it's not gonna help you. So, you wanna be able to pause and soften inside the edge, right. So, let's lengthen the front spine. Press deeply into the left leg. Good, roll the left thigh downward a little bit.

Dig your shoulder blades. Support your heart, lift your heart upward. Good, inhaling. Exhale, we'll fold forward over the right leg. Might come to the forearms.

I like to pull with my arms a little bit. And then, I like to take a little more weight into my left thigh. And, we might come all the way down. Good, everybody at home where I teach, when we come to pigeon, everybody's so happy, they're all so thrilled. What a relief this posture is and it's fairly fascinating.

I think it's so fascinating that we all find so much relief. I'll bet you're thinking, I don't feel relief in this pose at all. Usually the relief comes after the posture is finished. Good, so let's slowly rise back up. Give yourself a moment to lengthen the spine.

Remember the pelvic floor here and actually, a little instigation of the pelvic floor can help to lift the energy right up the front of the spine. See if you can feel that. Inhale. Exhale. Come onto the right hip.

Let's sweep the left leg all the way around. Okay, now this can present some issues. Many folks have a really hard time bringing the left knee on top of the right knee. If you happen to be uncomfortable here, you can go ahead, lie back and come to a figure four position. If both sit bones are relatively down but you've got a knee that's flying, that's okay.

I personally think it's worth attempting to try to be in the posture if you can and then slowly work on it over time. Good, if you have a strap or towel, because it's difficult to grasp the hands, please feel free to get something to help support the bind. We'll inhale, lengthen the front spine. And, exhale, place your belly as far up the thigh as you can gradually making our way in. This right elbow is like your hand now.

It's reaching away from your left sit bone. Just a couple more breaths. Now, feel your sit bones, drop them into the ground. Inhale, come back up. Exhale, let's release the arms.

Now, gradually lift your left leg off and just sort of shimmy your right foot over to the right foot is flexed or sorry, the right shin is parallel, right foot is flexed. Place this left shin down. This is another one, fire log, where the knee may be really, really high. The same idea, you can come into figure four. It's okay if it's up here.

Sometimes, people like to put a block between the knee and the foot. The feet are flexed. The sit bones root and these are all really slow going, delicious postures. And, they teach me about relaxing in with no agenda. Just find out where it will take you and notice here, if you draw the navel to the spine at the end of your exhale, how that helps to support the pelvis staying connected to the ground.

And, what can we relax and soften? Pay special attention to the face. The jaw. Good, feel the sit bones root. Inhale, rise back up.

Now, we'll put the feet down on the floor. It's kind of knee on knee, feet on the floor, hands forward. Good, lift the knees off. And, there's really only one way to go, isn't there. So, we're gonna come all the way over, all the way over until we're back at the front of the mat.

And then, from here, we're gonna sweep the right leg back behind us, coming right into pigeon pose. Remember your block. Left shin making its way to be parallel but no rule about that. Send your right foot back. Pull the mat.

Good, take the form of a pigeon, the big chest. Root the right thigh down. Good, use your shoulder blades. Come in underneath the heart. I always think of a heart being served up on a platter.

Good, inhale here. Exhale. Gradually drawing the stomach forward, forward, forward. And, I use my exhale. I wanna lengthen the exhale as I'm asking the body to release.

Notice if you draw the right thigh into the floor a little more, you'll probably feel a bit more sensation. And, bring the right hand, the left hand to the ground. Slowly rise up, just pull the mat one more time. Little bit of extra opening through the upper back. Good, releasing onto the left hip.

Set your left knee forward. Sweep the right leg all the way around. You remember what to do about figure four if it's needed. Left arm goes up, inhale. Exhale, bend the elbow.

Reach back, see what you find. Root the sit bones, inhale. Exhale, folding in. Lead with your left elbow. Moving away from the right sit bone.

You feel the weight of a posture like this. What needs to be rooted? What needs to soften? Where do we need to feel a little more inside the body? Is our breath spontaneous, where does it go in a posture like this?

And, are we here? Good, feel your sit bones. Inhale, rise up. Exhale, unwind. Good, take hold of the right shin for a moment, foot is flexed.

You can sneak the left foot forward a little bit. Shin on shin. Yes. Okay, so, sit bones root. The whole hip girdle drops and we make our way, it's okay to have a little back bend here, take your fingertips, pull forward.

Good, remember our good friend, the tortoise. Same approach. Come in slowly. Slow the breath down. Like you've turned it to simmer.

This is fire log pose. One log on top of the other. And, the breath is simmering. Now, the hands come back to the floor. Let's slowly we rise.

Let's pause for a moment. Let's cross the ankles. Hands to the floor. Thighs to the ribs. Lift up.

Come back down. Feet to the floor, hands to the floor. Send your legs back. Downward facing dog. So, we're gonna make lots of room now in the spine.

And, the right leg, we'll send it up. So, I like to come up onto the ball of my left foot. Looking forward, inhale. Exhale, we're gonna sweep this leg all the way through. All the way through.

And, I flex the foot, toes wide and I slowly, slowly make my way in remembering that every day is different. So the front of the foot might come to the floor. We gradually may make our way down here. And, we may find, indeed, a block is necessary. So, if that's the case, grasp your block.

Slide it right under your right sit bone. Good, and hang out. And, you can have that block any height you like. But, remember this idea of the ninja. So, we wanna be right there at the edge and still soft like mountain pose.

Open, spacious awareness. Allow the left thigh to drop down. You might take your left hand to the inside. Roll the femur bone. So, we pull the inside up.

Good, if it's available, you could take the hands off the floor, see if that's possible. Interlace the fingers, draw the navel into the spine. Take the breath to the top chest. And, same principles apply, rooting. Softening.

Enliven every bit of you. Now, watch the breath. And, you can't help but be here now. In fact, we'll take it to the next step. Hanuman.

The monkey god of devotion and love. And, see if you can find love in your heart in a posture like this. Good, inhaling. Exhaling, we slowly, slowly make our way. We're gonna tuck the toes under on the back foot and sweep the right leg back behind, downward facing dog.

Pause here. It's nice to close the eyes. Just notice the affect of that posture on the body. Remembering how the exhalation right at the end of it. Draw right up the front of the spine.

Let's try the other side. Left leg extends upward. Come up onto the ball of the foot. Navel to spine, navel to spine. Left leg forward.

Sweep it forward. And, slowly, slowly make your way in. Good. We take nothing for granted. This is an entirely different side of the body.

Good, landing lightly. Maybe using a block. Right hand to the inside of the thigh. Front of the foot down. Left foot flexed.

Good. The left hip moves back. The right hip moves forward. Sometimes, I'll take my hands to my ribs, lift up here. So, remember the as above, so below.

Really drop, lower body lift upper body. Notice what could soften. Good, if you'd like, take the arms up. It's a big maneuver here. Interlace the fingers.

So, Hanuman, interesting character. This monkey god. Who shows up in complete love and devotion toward Rama. This is in the Ramayana. And, that love that he feels empowers and enables him to do so very much.

This is a really interesting notion that we know in our lives the times when we have been devoted. Through love we become capable of so very much. So, wherever we are on the outside shape of the posture, what we're looking to is the inside cultivating those qualities. Inhale here. Exhaling.

Slowly release. Good, tuck your right toes under. Send your left leg back carefully. Back to downward facing dog. Pause, feel.

Let's bring the knees to the floor. Good, we get to rest now coming to shavasana. So, let's just lie back. And, just let the eyes close. And, move your attention now down toward your heart.

And, feel how so much vigor and dynamism in those last postures. Feel the affects of that on the body. And, reflect on how that lift, to that happens in the belly. It's as almost as if you're taking the energy that is cultivated through the big hip opening and hamstring opening and your moving it up into the midsection of the body while at the same time, the mind moves down into the body. It must to attend to all of that big opening.

And then, we place love and devotion in there, as well. And, we become capable of a very full experience. One thing I'm fascinated with is the times in my life where it's easy to feel love. We think about the people in our lives, it's easy to love. And, we know in our body where we feel love and what it feels like.

We can use our practice to expand our visceral felt relationship with love in the body. So, as we relax the body even more deeply, we return to that field where we're looking up into the stars at night. All these sensations, thoughts and emotions arise and pass. And, that awareness itself could be a loving, a loving awareness. So, in our final few breaths here, we remember Rumi's short verse.

There is a field, I'll meet you there. And, remaining in that field of open awareness, can you just move your toes and your fingers gently. Once again, drawing the navel to the spine, we lift our legs. Give ourselves a hug. Extend your right arm over your head, let's roll to the right.

Pause here. Stop to consider all of the people in our lives who have brought us to this place today. And, the people that are so easy to love. Good, great way to keep the field. The left hand brings us up to a comfortable seat.

Good, find the seated mountain. Let's draw the palms together. And, we bring our hands to our forehead. Right thought, may we be steady and present and joyful. The hands come to the mouth, right speech.

May our words improve upon the silence. Our hands come to our heart, right action. May we be the change that we wish to see. Namaste.

Comments

Nectar for this soul, Prugh.
Unfolding loving awareness...the Gift. xo
When push comes to shove, in our own inner work, it's ultimately about loving awareness. Thanks so much!!
Thanks Jennifer for this wonderful flow!
I love your teaching style, Jennifer! I am age 54, and more of a Level 1/2 practitioner, but this class has so much good stuff for me to work on and approach. I love some of the clear, concise instructions you give about the subtleties of certain postures - "serve your heart up on a platter." Your analogies work very well for me!
BEAUTIFUL 💜
Ali
1 person likes this.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this practice!  'Draw your navel to your spine' is a cue I have been hearing for twenty years of practice, but today I feel like it is the first time I have really understood and felt it.  I think the difference was waiting until the end of the out-breath.  Thank you so much.  I felt a peace and a gentleness in all of these forward-folds, but also in downward-facing dog, and in the twists.  Thank you Jennifer, it was an honour and a delight to practise with you.

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