Asana Studies Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 6

Spirals in the Body

35 min - Practice


We are wild in nature and full of spirals. Zeynep guides us in a three-dimensional exploration of sensing spirals of energy in the body. Moving attentively through a vinyasa flow pattern, we play with finding fluid movements within familiar shapes, like Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). This practice is designed to inspire a felt-sense of vibrancy and energy, pointing toward the miracle of what already is.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block


Read Full Transcript

Hello, thank you for joining this practice. This practice will be based on spirals in the body. As you probably know, there are so many spirals around us. It's actually within us, and we don't see them as such, but our bones are growing in spirals. And our blood is moving in spirals.

And the blood that's going to the heart is going in a spiral, and all the ions that are in the blood like circulates into the heart. And that's why there's an electromagnetic energy of the heart. So it's happening all the time it's already within us and you probably see it in a snail. You probably see it in the sea. But also the galaxies and the universe.

It's full of spirals, and in our practice what we can do is we can sort of focus on that. And the spirals in the body especially in the arms and in the legs, allow your practice to be more energized. And stronger, and the body needs that muscular energy. It's not really pushing, but it's more like, allowing the energy to spin around your body. And just, in the end I guess it feels vibrant and alive.

It already is, so I'm not saying it's gonna be more, but it's gonna be more you'll feel it more at the end of the practice is what I want. What I hope from this practice. So we're gonna be standing up, starting standing up, and first we'll start with small circular movements that we can do with our body. Like we can start with the ankles first, so come onto the toe, tip toe on right leg, right foot, and then just turn your foot. And make sure you're bringing the tops of your toes down as you're doing this round motion, a couple of times.

And you can also feel that your hip crease, your leg is sort of is in a circular motion here. And then you can do it the other way, just as a warm up, and then the other side. It doesn't really matter how many times, you don't have to stick to numbers, just stay with what feels natural for you. And do it the other way and feel the hip. And how your leg is moving inside the hip joint.

And then bring your legs together, bend your knees and start bending your knees in a circular motion. It's as if you're like moving in space in three dimensions. So just feeling that and then moving it the other way. And feel how your feet are moving and adjusting and letting this happen. And then bringing your feet apart.

Feet apart and then moving your hips. Again in a circular motion but not a perfect circle. So it doesn't have to be, it's just whatever feels good for your pelvic region, for your back. And let your arms be heavy. Let your upper body be heavy.

And enjoy this dynamic movement, and then the other way maybe. You can close your eyes if you want to. Keep them open, and it's as if your arms want to move with it so if that's the case you can start even moving your arm. And maybe going back and forth. Side to side and just lifting your arms even.

So you're like this big wave. And just moving yourself. And it doesn't have to be any way. If it doesn't feel natural moving your arms, don't. And stay with the pelvis, maybe.

And just become malleable, your whole body becoming jelly-like is what I like to say in classes. And it sure looks weird and let it look weird. (breathing) Okay and then when you're finished just feel your body. Also you can turn your wrists, and even your fingers they can like move a little bit. But anyway we won't get into that today.

And then come towards the front of your mat. And we're gonna do several arm lifts, like lifting the arms into urdhva hastas, and this once you ground your feet, start lifting your arms up, first lift them up with the palms looking toward each other, not giving much thought to it. And then as you exhale bring them down. But this time turn your palms back, and then start lifting your arms up with an inhale. And then turning your palms back again.

So with an exhale bringing them down. Maybe your shoulders are moving inwards a little. And then with your inhale lifting them up. Just playing with your arms, the movement of your arms. You can even bend your knees and then with your inhale lifting up, and then with your exhale bringing them down, and then again with your inhale.

Just make it, start from the ground up. And then with your exhale bringing them down. So before we go on, I want to talk about, the spiral in the arm. So you can just lift your arm to the side. And this is lifting the arm, but when you're doing a spiral it's actually like a line of energy what you do is lift your arm turn your palm up, and then you can see this top arm muscles moving up, and then keeping that as stable as possible turning your hand palm down.

And suddenly it's much different than just lifting an arm. Which you can see what's happening here. So this is much more active. You can also do it, you don't have to do this all the time. What you can do is lift your arm, and then start broadening the palm, and then moving the upper arm out a little bit.

I hope it's visible on the camera, but this is just lifting the arm, and this is creating the spiral. So I'll show it one more time. You can lift your arm, and this is just lifting an arm, this is just broadening a palm, but if you want to do the spiral what you do is broaden the palm, and start moving the upper arm more out. A little bit, so it's just more active. And you can play around with this, you can lift your arms to the side, turn your palms down, and this is actually what you're doing so you're spiraling the arms.

And you can do this without turning your palms. You can just stretch it out, so it's more like a stretch out, but also just turning this slightly outwards, and it doesn't matter if it's not perfectly happening, as long as you feel something it's enough, and it's an exploration in the end. So what you can do with your inhale, when you're lifting your arms, you can bring your shoulders down, and broaden the palms, and just feel that energy in your arms that you were trying a bit ago. And then exhale bringing them down again. So just with your inhale just lift your arms without doing anything, and feel the difference exhale bringing them down.

This time broadening the palms lifting the arms up, and turning the upper arms towards the outside. And then exhale, and just see if that feels different. Do nothing, lift the arms, make them soft. Which is great, which is a great practice I think. But for today let's explore as you lift the arms keep the palms broad, and turning the upper arms more outwards.

And feel the energy in the arms. With an exhale start folding forward. And let your head hang down, with your inhale start lifting the spine forward and up, and exhale bring it all the way down. Feel the feet, ground the feet. But become soft in the hip area, and your head, your neck.

Inhale bend the knees, start lifting the heart up, broadening the palms again. Finding those spirals if possible. And then exhale push the feet into the ground. And lift yourself up. And again inhale lifting up.

Lift the heart, broaden the palms, without getting tense in the palms. And then exhale start folding forward. Letting your head rest, inhale come up halfway. Shoulders back exhale come all the way down. Inhale bend the knees, lift the heart up.

And then exhale tadasana. And one more time, inhale, do whatever you want with the arms, and just feel those upper arms moving outwards, and then exhale. Come all the way down. (breathing) Make sure your back is comfortable. And you can feel your legs, you can feel your back.

Inhale come up halfway, exhale fold again. Inhale bend the knees lift the heart. And then exhale tadasana. Okay, this time we'll go into a full sun salutation. Inhale lift the arms.

And then exhale fold down. (breathing) Inhale come up halfway, and then exhale come into down dog. So even here you can feel when your index finger base is grounding, the upper arms can move outwards, and you can feel the spirals maybe, but soften the elbows so that you're not locking too much. The joints, inhale come into plank, and anytime you move your shoulders back your actually naturally doing the spirals in your arms. With your exhale come all the way down.

And your inhale moving the shoulders back lifting as much as you want. and exhale come down again. Inhale onto all fours, and exhale into down dog. With your next exhale, bend the knees, lift the hips and start moving forward, walking forward, feeling the ground as you're walking, seeing your shadows. Inhale up halfway, exhale folding.

Inhale bending he knees lifting yourself up into utkatasana again feeling the arms, exhale tadasana. Inhale arms up, heart up, feet grounding. Jaw softening, and as you exhale coming down. Feel the pelvis turning, inhale up, bring the heart forward, and this time as you exhale bring the left leg back, in space. Broaden the toes, and come up into a lunge.

So your hands are on your pelvis. And your, bringing your pelvis down a little bit in space. But feel where you are, three dimensionally. And lift the back leg upper thigh, up, back thigh up. And lift your arms up, and you can even maybe turn your heart towards the right.

And bring your right arm towards the back. And maybe even touching your back leg. And feel what you're doing with your left arm. Stretch it up turn the palm back and you'll feel the movement in your shoulder, and just keeping that, and feeling that. And linking that to the front of your hip crease even.

Even your leg, so that's everything's connected. Nothing is on its own. And then with your inhale come up. Exhale bring your heart forward. Bring the back leg forward, and then the right leg all the way back, it's gonna feel lovely, after that lunge.

And then coming up, hands onto your hips. Settling down, not rushing anything. Making the back legs straight. And then you can start lifting your arms. (breathing) And even start like doing that twist so that as you're spiraling the front of your heart to the side, to the left side, you can start feeling the front of your right hip crease.

And you can even reach back towards your right leg, and see what you can do with this arm. Again doing that motion with your palm. And feeling your shoulder, even feeling your hip crease. And just moving a little up, and then back in space. And find a good place for your neck.

Breath, soften as much as possible, and then inhale and lift the arms. And then bring your heart forward. Bring the back leg forward and fold. Inhale come up into utkatasana one more time. Exhale, fold again.

Inhale up halfway, and then come into down dog. Again feeling the palms, grounding them. And the index finger based grounding as the upper arms move out, the head hangs down. Soften and inhale come into plank. Exhale all the way down, do a back bend that you enjoy for a couple of breaths.

(breathing) and then coming down again bit by bit, settling. Coming up on all fours and then down dog. (breathing) Now start walking with your other foot, and you'll know what I mean, there's one foot that you always like coming forward with. So doing the other one, inhaling coming up halfway. And you can use your knees, you can bend your knees.

And then exhale fold, inhale utkatasana. And then exhale tadasana. Inhale lift the arms again, and again find that spiralic motion of the arms. And then exhale folding. Inhale up, halfway, and then left leg back.

This time grounding the back foot. Bringing your right hand onto your right ankle, left hand onto your hip, and then start evolving towards the utthita trikonasana. And grounding the big toe base on your foot. You can actually look at it, ground it. And as you're grounding it, bring the right hip crease back in space.

And that's how you do your leg spiral. So it's happening right now, as you're doing it. And if you stop doing it then what's gonna happen is your big toe is gonna lift, so you ground that as you bring your hip crease back in space. You can feel I'm enjoying it more, rather than just being here. So grounding, and opening, and breathing, and just expressing what's happening, the energy.

(breathing) And looking wherever you want to, I really do want to look up this time, not just because it looks good. And then bring your hand down, and then bring your back foot forward, fold. And with your inhale bend the knees, bring the heart forward, this time bring the right foot back, ground the foot. And left hand on your ankle, right hand onto your hip. Inhale here, ground the back foot, the outer edge of your back foot.

And then as you exhale start straightening the front foot, front leg, but grounding the big toe base of your left foot. So it's very important that you're grounding as you're moving back in space. And that's how you create your leg spiral. And my leg is energized and I feel it's even warmer here, when I'm doing it. And from that start lifting your arm, wherever it wants to go, at this moment in time.

Not where it's supposed to go. And always remembering and feeling the big toe base of your left foot, and the hip crease moving back in space, and that also helps my heart to move forward, and then softening inside as much as possible. (breathing) With an inhale open up a bit more, and then exhale, bend your knee. Bring the hands forward, and then come into uttadasana. With your inhale come up halfway, we need a halfway right now, exhale fold again, inhale bend the knees into utkatasana, and then exhale tadasana.

Bring your hands in front of your heart, close the eyes. And just imagine those spirals happening in your body. And the blood flowing in your body. Towards your heart, away from your heart. In these big circles.

The basis of life, the DNA is in spirals. Okay, and then opening the eyes. Then moving to the opening to the side. And then opening your feet to the side. And start sitting down, into a horse pose.

Now making this as comfortable as it is for you. Taking your time, and we're gonna be playful right now. (breathing) Feeling the breath, lengthening the spine. So if you bring your heart, too forward, you're gonna feel it at the back of your hips. But what I want is for you to feel the inner legs.

Because those are the muscles that help you with your spirals, actually. So settling down a little bit more. Softening the neck area, maybe playing with your spine. With your shoulders just, becoming malleable, I guess. (breathing) And inhaling here as you exhale, sit a little deeper, just feel that little burning.

And inhale come up, bring your feet forward, like they should be looking forward. But I'm not into that, edge of your foot parallel to the edge of the mat. They don't need to be parallel for now, just whatever is comfortable for your knees, and for your hips. Bring your hands onto your hips, inhale lift the heart up. And then as you exhale start folding, forward.

The hands land where they can. And the head hangs down, inhale bring your heart up. And forward, you can bend your knees if you have to, if you want to, look forward a little bit and then exhaling fold down. Pushing the heels out a little bit, and letting your head hang. (breathing) Let the breath move through you, move through your back, feel your lips.

Feel your eyes, feel your neck, settling into it. You can try it with knees bent, and then straightening them a little bit. Inhale coming up, and bring your left hand in front of your face, your right hand onto your sacrum. Inhale lengthening, and then as you exhale start twisting the heart as if your spine is spiraling. The front of the heart looking to the side.

Shoulders back, and if you feel like it you can lift this arm, wherever you want to. And let your neck be comfortable. Playing around with the movement of the arm. And then bringing it down, folding. Inhale coming up, and right hand in front of your face.

Left hand onto your sacrum, so this is where the twist, it doesn't actually start here, but this is where you want to ground. And then with a exhale slowly moving the heart. The top part of your, the upper part of your spine, to the side, as you ground through your pelvis. So I don't want you to twist your hips. Just like it's only in the heart, and then start lifting your arm, wherever you want to.

And your neck too. (breathing) Moving, playing around with your arm, and then bringing it down. Bringing everything down, letting it dangle. Inhaling coming up, bending your knees for support. Bringing your hands onto your pelvis.

Heart forward, with an inhale bring everything all the way up. And then exhale settle down. Inhale lift the arms, shoulder height. And again look at these spirals. Whether they're there, what can you do about them.

Spreading your toes, spreading your feet. Spreading your palms, try being tense. Do a lot and then retract back from that, and soften, without losing the energy. Without losing the activeness of your body. And breath into your pelvic area.

Close your eyes, and spread your energy, spread your body open. To the sides, and maybe you can even imagine that you're feeling in the room with your body. However it feels dynamic, let your body change its shape, its stance, and be guided from within. And then slowly opening the eyes. Bringing the hands onto your pelvis.

Start coming to tadasana. Let your body loose a little bit because it's a lot of energy to do the spirals. And it does feel quite hot in the body. This time with your inhales, start bending the knees into utkatasana, exhale fold, bring your heart close to the legs, let your head hang. Inhale come up halfway, and then exhale into down dog.

Inhale into plank, shoulders on top of the wrists. Exhale forward and down landing lightly. Inhale, stay as long as you want in a back bend. And again your arms will be doing the spirals if you want to bring your heart forward in space. Exhale bringing everything down, bit, by bit.

Inhale up onto all fours, this time exhale. Come into child's, bring your hands back. Don't do anything in particular just become heavy. When you feel ready to sit up bring your hands onto your shoulder and start lifting yourself up. (breathing) And then, come onto the ground, and bring your legs forward.

This time we're gonna need a block like I said in the beginning of the class. So we'll be using the block to inquire into the spirals of the legs, just to see them a little bit more. So you can bring them in front of your feet. Or you can do this by a wall too, if holding the block is gonna be too hard. And what you can do is spread your toes, and just touch the block lightly.

Inhale lift the front of the heart up, and as you exhale start bringing yourself forward. You can even bend your knees, or if not you can keep them straight if possible. And start pushing the block lightly, forward. So you're pulling the block, and you can also use a strap maybe for this, just to keep the legs more active, and your heart up. As you push the big toe base, and you can actually look at your feet, and see your feet.

And push the big toe base into the block. And bring the hip creases a little bit back in space, so in order to bring that back in space you bring your heart forward. I'm talking about millimeters of differences. And I'm not sure what's that in inches but heart forward, minute movements. And just feeling your legs active.

So as this is pushing in, the upper leg is kind of turning out slightly, ever so slightly. But this is what a spiral is in a muscular sense. And the heart forward. It will feel like you're doing a lot in the beginning. And as you exhale bring your head down.

And just do it as much as possible, without tiring yourself out, or burning yourself out. But just really breathing with it. And maybe doing a little less at times, and then doing a little more at times. And I don't know if you can see the difference I'm not doing it right now, and then I'm doing a little bit more, and really feeling the backs of my legs. And inquiring into softening as I'm doing it.

At your own pace start coming out of it. And then exhaling when you're out, when you're up. Bending your right knee, bringing your right leg to the side, opening it to the side. And bring your left leg kind of more to the left. Maybe it comes out of your mat.

And you can go on with the block if you want to. On your foot, inhale lifting the right arm up. And kind of like, bringing the heart up. And then to the side, and you can even spiral your arm forward, and just find your foot. When I do it without the block I just hold my foot, the outer edge of my foot, and just feel the stretch on my back, or you can just hold the block and feel that, and with each exhale your heart is moving more to the left, and even your head maybe.

As much as it's comfortable, softening the palms, softening the jaw, breathing, inhaling starting to come up. Changing the legs, placing the block. Lifting up, and then lifting your arm up, as you exhale start turning everything towards the right, and giving yourself time, so it's not like coming and then staying, waiting for the cube to get out. It's actually molding into it and evolving and settling and finding that place. And when you do find that place that feels good, a moment later it might not feel so good, so you can change, and go on inquiring and you might be higher up on this side which is fine, lower down, feel your neck.

(breathing) Again you can push the big toe base bring the hip crease a little bit more back, to feel that spiral on your leg. As you inhale start coming up. Bend your knees, you can put the block to the side. And then start lying on your back. And you can open your knees to the sides.

And bring your hands, more, I like them behind me, but you can put them to the sides. You can put them behind your head if you want to and just close your eyes. And feel the breath going through your nostrils. Feel your right nostril as if the breath is only going through your right nostril. And as if it's spiraling up and down.

Now start focusing on your left nostril. Feeling the breath moving in and out of your left nostril. Imagining it spiraling up and down, and you can move your legs whenever it's too much for you. But if not stay like this. And then feel both nostrils, the top of your nose.

Your throat receiving the breath. Releasing the breath, the heart area, the lungs. And you might feel your heartbeat very subtle. You might feel your arms, your legs receiving the blood. The movement in your blood vessels.

Just very subtle exploration, imagination, and just being present. You can stay here as long as you want to. If you feel ready to get up, if your knees are still bent help with your hands to bring them together. If not just bend your knees, and then roll onto one side. Feeling the side body, feeling the ground.

And then start pushing with the hands up into a seat. And just come into a comfortable seat you can take a cushion if you need to. And close your eyes for a couple of breaths, feeling the energy move within you. The energy moving, you moving me. Bring your hands in front of your heart.

Touch the heart area with your thumbs. Maybe even feel your heartbeat with your hands. Bringing your head down and feeling the breath on your fingertips. Whenever you feel like it start opening the eyes. Thank you for being with me throughout this practice.

I hope your body feels energized as mine does right now. And hope to see you next time.


3 people like this.
Thank you for this practice...I am learning so much from you!
Your classes are unpretentious and yet very informative and inspiring.
Zeynep Celen
1 person likes this.
Thank you Heather! Thank you for watching and for writing to me...I am so glad that the information and experience I have and want to share, is working for you, too....
3 people like this.
It's just a very good reminder of our TT and those fine days. I liked The spirals as i did before. Isn't it amazing to realize how many spirals in nature? For me underlined everyday with animals :) Anyway thank uou so much, great again Zeynep and miss you😊💖
Zeynep Celen
Thank You for watching Ezgi! I miss you too! Hope we work together soon...I love the fact that you can also find the understanding of spirals with the animals you work with. Would love to hear more on that.

See you soon? :)
Phuong E
1 person likes this.
Rosanna S
1 person likes this.
I've always been fascinated by spirals and occurrences of the fibonnaci sequence and golden spiral throughout nature. I had no idea blood moved that way in our bodies, too! How cool! I think this was the most informative class I've taken on spirals in yoga. Thank you!

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