Asana Studies Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 7

Exploring Twists and Folds

40 min - Practice


What you are seeking is seeking you. Zeynep draws our awareness to the present moment, where we begin to tune towards sensation in the body. She guides us through a vinyasa sequence that focuses on twisting, folding, and unwinding from this place of deep sensitivity, creating more space, energy, and freedom in our whole being.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block


Read Full Transcript

Hello, welcome back. Thank you for joining me in this practice. This morning before coming here I was thinking of finding a nice quote to read in class in this episode. And I was looking on the internet and I was looking so much that the internet crashed, and I couldn't find a quote. And I realized that I was...

I need to be by myself and look... So I went out of the house I'm in and I sat under some trees and once I did that I realized whatever I was really looking for is within me and I came up with thousands of quotes, well, not thousands, but quite a lot of quotes, which I'm not gonna talk about right now. Maybe during the practice I'll remember them. But what I want us to focus on this practice as we're doing the twists and the folds, forward folds, is to just tune in more with what's going on right now rather than looking for an answer outside. Because the internet's going to crash to remind you that it's right here, what you're looking for and as the yogis say, yoga is happening right now, where we are, so every pose we're gonna do, it's gonna be yoga happening right then, as it is.

So in order to find the answer, this practice will be more about just staying with it, with the body, and just sensing it and let it speak for me and for you, maybe if you would like that. But that was an interesting thing. So if the internet crashes, take it as a sign and maybe it's time to quiet down and stay with oneself. We'll first start with the practice and then we'll end with meditation. You might need a block so I'd recommend you take your block right now.

And you might need a meditation seat, cushion at the end of the practice. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna start on all fours coming onto your mat and just grounding your palms, this is one of my favorite beginnings to the class. And your hands should be a comfortable distance, your legs should be a comfortable distance. Should be is the key word, so I'm just saying. It's up to you, whatever you want to do.

And start moving your spine into cat and cow or it could be free movements. Just to soften the spine area. And I would recommend close your eyes for a couple of breaths and rather than doing it from memory, what you're supposed to do, just feel how quick you want to do it and how... And what way you want to do it, you might like to do. More free movements with your spine, your shoulders, with your neck, with your hip.

And give yourself some time to feel. And then open your eyes whenever you feel like opening them, or keeping them closed. Feeling the breath. Feeling the palms grounding, and using maybe the palms, pushing them further in to increase the stretch or not. And maybe lifting a hand if you want to, or a leg.

Just a couple of more breaths, maybe doing circles on your wrists. Just playing around. Slowly coming towards the center. Bringing your right arm under your left arm and your left leg, and coming onto your right shoulder. Maybe you can even bring the cheek down.

And just... I'm usually using my left hand to push a little bit and deepening the twist. You can do that if you want to or you can bring your hand all the way back and put your left hand onto your right hip crease. That's also a way. Wherever it feels comfortable for your back.

Sometimes I like bringing my left leg to the side, just grounding my foot. That increases the stretch on my right shoulder blade area. And when you're ready, gently coming out of it, back onto all fours, and then doing the other side, bringing the left hand under your right arm, in between the arm and the leg and then coming onto your left cheek, increasing the stretch however you want to do it. Again, realizing what your left arm wants to do, your right arm wants to do. And twisting, and maybe even bringing the leg out and just seeing how that feels.

Coming back onto all fours at your own time. Tucking the toes under, and when you feel ready, start moving toward the down dog. Let your head be heavy, that's the down dog I like. Or you can keep it up a little bit. Feeling the palms, feeling the feet, and just settling into it.

Lifting those hip bones up maybe, if it's comfortable. Bending one knee, bringing the other heel down. And just using those movements to be clear about the sensations. Not just doing them mechanically, but sensing each change that's happening in your body. When you're ready, bringing the left foot forward.

And then bringing the right knee down. You can actually put your left foot to the side if it feels right for you, and just sitting a little deeper into the pose. With your inhale start lifting the left arm up and feeling the stretch behind you, and in front of the right hip crease and just looking wherever it feels good to look at and feel your shoulder, what it wants to do with the arm. And then coming into down dog. With your next inhale, bringing your right foot forward, bringing your left knee down again, maybe putting it out to the side a little bit.

And then lifting the arm, shoulders back, just for the safety of this shoulder we're bringing them back, but at the same time let the right arm decide what it wants to do. It can bend, it can, like, do a mudra if it feels like it. And also feel the stretch in your right thigh, inside of your thigh. And then coming into down dog. Take a deep breath in, exhaling it slowly out, maybe even through the mouth.

Bending the knees, lifting the hips up, and slowly start moving towards your hands, feeling the ground as you're moving. So each step is precious as you're doing it. There's a lot of sensations happening. And as you inhale lift up halfway, and as you exhale come into uttanasana and stay here for a couple of breaths. Letting your head be heavy, your shoulders be heavy.

Doing whatever you want to do with the arms, but at the same time just sensing what's happening in your body. With your inhale come up halfway and bring your hands onto your hips. Leading from the heart, with another inhale start lifting all the way up. And then as you exhale, coming into tadasana. Feeling your feet, feeling your pelvic area, your heart area, your neck, lengthening, lifting from the crown of the head up, and your heels grounding, looking forward, and just settling into tadasana.

With your next inhale start lifting the arms up and hold your right wrist with your left hand and start moving yourself, moving the arm towards the left as you bring the hips towards the right for a nice side stretch, and then see where you want to look at. You can look up, down, to the side. With an inhale come up an start doing the other side. And just feel what you want to do, how deep you want to do it and feel the weight on your left foot as you're doing it. Inhaling coming up to the center, exhale releasing the arms.

Inhale lifting the arms up into urdhva hastasana and just grounding the feet, looking up if it's comfortable for your neck, exhale fold all the way down. Inhaling bringing the heart forward, exhaling folding again. Bending the knees as you inhale, come up into chair half sun salutations, exhaling into tadasana. Inhale lifting up again, opening the sides of the heart up towards the ceiling, exhale folding, feeling the backs of your legs, feeling your jaw. Inhale up halfway, exhaling folding, and then bending the knees into chair just to say, for a safe lift for your back, and then tadasana.

And then we'll do that one more time, maybe this time the arms want to go all the way back, or not, and as you exhale diving down if that feels good for you, the arms to the sides or not. Inhale come up halfway, exhale fold. Bending the knees deeply, bringing the heart forward and up. And then tadasana. This time we'll go into full sun salutations.

If there's a favorite one you like, go ahead and do that. If not, come with me. Lifting the arms up and as you exhale folding. Inhale bring the heart forward, and then exhale, ground the palms, come into down dog. Inhaling bringing the heart forward into plank.

Exhale coming all the way down. You can bring the knees down before if you want to. Tops of the feet down, inhale into mini cobra or cobra, as long as your lower back is fine with what you're doing. Exhale coming all the way down. Inhale into all fours, exhale into down dog.

I would recommend staying here for a couple of breaths just to settle into it, and sense what's happening. It's like opening the radio and listening to your body. And start walking forward at your own time. Inhale up halfway, exhale fold. Inhale bend the knees, lift the heart.

Exhale tadasana. Inhale whatever your arms want to do, just lift them up wherever they want to come up from. Exhale diving down. Inhale up halfway and exhale into down dog. Going through your vinyasa it could be chaturanga or like what I'm doing, coming all the way down from plank and then lifting the heart up into a cobra, exhaling down, and then coming back into down dog.

Pausing, connecting. Just staying, being with it. Whatever's happening right now, where you are. And then start lifting the left leg up and then bring it all the way forward, bending the knee. See your foot as it comes forward.

If there are shadows, see the shadows. The back heel is up, bring your hands onto your hips, bring the heart forward and up as you're coming up into lunge. This is one of my favorite poses, that's why... I think it's very strengthening and there are so many variations, like the one we're gonna do now. Lifting the, bringing both arms up and then bringing the hands in front of your heart.

As you exhale you can twist to the left and just stay here if you want to, you can bring your arms front and back. Or what I like doing is I like to deepen that twist and bring my right elbow onto my left knee. And just doing a simple twist. Three or four more breaths here, and see where you want to look and how the neck feels, how the legs feel. Taking a deep breath in, and as you exhale coming back into down dog.

You can go through a vinyasa if you're guided to do so or you can stay here in down dog. Feeling the breath again. When you're ready, lifting the left leg up as much as you want to lift it, and then bring it all the way forward. Bringing the hands onto your hips and lifting yourself up, settling down. At your own time lifting the arms.

First feel grounded before you go into any kind of a twist and then bring your hands in front of the heart, twisting towards the right. And you can again spread your arms or you can bring your left elbow onto your right knee, and just make sure you're lifting the hips as you're settling down, and lifting the back thigh up as well. Feel the neck, feel what's happening. Take a deep breath in, and then coming into down dog. With an inhale coming into plank, and use your feet to bring yourself a little forward as you come down, just so that the shoulders can stay up.

Tops of the feet down coming into your favorite back bend, whatever it is, right now, and then coming all the way down into down dog, at your own pace. Realize what you're thinking, and just realize that you might be thinking, it's fine. Don't force anything, not to your body, not to your mind. Just let it be, staying with it. And just remembering the breath, as a part of your thinking.

Bending the knees, lifting the hips up, start moving forward. Inhale up halfway, exhale fold. Inhale into chair, exhale stand up. Inhale lift your arms wherever you want to lift them, maybe you want to do a back bend, or not. Exhale folding, enjoying the ride.

Inhale bring the heart forward, and then exhale come into down dog, go through a vinyasa if you feel like it again. And then start lifting your left leg up as much as it wants to lift and then bring it all the way forward. This time bring your right foot a little forward and down, so the whole foot is grounding. You might want to take your block actually now. Before it's too late, or maybe you might not need it.

It's good to have it. Inhale come up halfway, shoulders back. And as you exhale start straightening the front leg. When I say straightening, it always seems like it has to be straight. It doesn't have to be straight, it can be bent.

But just this energy going into your foot down, and then the left hip crease moving back. And that creates a spiral, a line of energy on your leg. And it just helps you fold easier and you might like to do like a side stretch if it feels right, let your head be heavy and feel your back foot and as you're pushing it into the ground, let it deepen your stretch and your upper body, just linking that and not keeping it separate. The back foot is included in the pose. With your next inhale start bending the front knee.

And then take your block, either bring it inside of your foot or to the outer edge of your foot. I'm gonna put it on the outer edge of my foot, and then I'll put my right hand onto the block and left hand onto my sacrum. So the knee is bent in the beginning. I'll push my foot down and I'll bring my left hip crease back in space as I twist. And my hand is helping me to twist, and then with an inhale I'll start lifting the left arm only if it's comfortable.

And make sure the back foot is helping your heart move forward in space. Enjoy where you are if possible. Do it in a way that you enjoy it right now. Taking a deep breath, doing a little bit more and then getting out of it, taking the block away, coming into down dog. Pausing.

Seeing if you do feel like a vinyasa or not. And when you're ready to go on, lift your right leg up, bring it all the way forward. See your foot, spread it, and then bring the back foot a little bit more forward, and ground it all the way. So the angle is up to you as long as the knee is comfortable and the hip is comfortable. Inhale come up halfway, and the way to come up halfway is bending the knee.

It's just easier and you can do it. And as you straighten the front knee exhale, and just bringing the right hip crease back in space. And taking your time. Letting the back of your leg acclimatize to where it is. 'Cause it's gonna help you twist in a minute.

Feel the neck. Feel the jaw. Feel your breath. With your next inhale start coming up again, bending the knee, and again taking your block either to the inside or the outside, or you can do it without a block if you prefer it. Left hand on the block, right hand on your sacrum.

Lengthen the spine first, and as you exhale straightening the front leg as much as it can as you start twisting. And feel the back foot supporting your spine as it grounds. And if it feels okay for you, lifting the arm up and just breathing here. Feeling what you want to do with your neck. And just enjoying the twist with each exhale deepening it a little.

And then with the next exhale doing a little bit more and then getting out of it. Again feeling if it's the right time to do another vinyasa. For me it is, so I'll go into plank. Exhaling forward and down, inhale coming up, lifting the heart, and then exhaling all the way down into down dog at your own pace. When you're ready, bending the knees, lifting the heels up.

You can jump forward if you want to, or just walk forward. And then lift the front of the heart forward, as you exhale fold. And lift those hip bones up in space as much as it feels comfortable. Inhale bending the knees, coming into utkatasana. And then exhale come into tadasana.

And just relax yourself. Shaking the legs. Putting your t-shirt straight, or your hair straight, if you want to, because we're gonna be standing up a little bit more. And then finding tadasana, both... So hip width apart, maybe it's better to show it this way.

Crown of the head moving up because we're gonna do a balance pose. And the balance is, it's in balance only if you're in tadasana throughout it. So the most important thing is this line of energy from the heels up into the crown of the head. Keeping that, start lifting your right knee up, hands onto your hips. Feel that, and what you can do is you can hold your left...

With your let hand, your right knee, and you can just do a simple twist like this. So you might stay here in this twist and bring your arm back or you can hold your right foot with your left hand, and then start stretching it as much as you can today. So I don't want you to lean over your leg just for the sake of straightening it. Keep your tasana as much as possible as you twist. And then even bringing your arm back, and looking down, you can look wherever you want.

How is comfortable, and then start getting out of it, shaking the legs, shaking your body, finding tadasana, your point of reference. And then bending your left knee, tadasana still happening right there in your spine. Right hand onto your knee, you can go into the twist. As you exhale bring your arm back or if you want to go on, holding the left foot with your right hand, tadasana happening, and as you exhale bringing it forward without losing that tadasana. And just breathing in it, and then bringing your hand back and just enjoying it, and then...

(laughs) Okay, that's it. And then getting out of it, shaking it. Coming towards the front of your mat and coming into malasana, a nice hip opener and a nice pause seat. You can have your eyes open, your eyes closed. Softening the lips, softening the eyes.

Softening the neck. And then when you're ready you can come into dandasana. Bringing the legs forward, bringing those hip bones to the sides. You can sit on a little cushion if you feel like you're slouching too much, and then when you're ready, inhale lengthen the spine and as you exhale start bringing your heart forward. And you might feel like bending your knees, but what I want from you is to go on feeling the backs of your legs so bending the knees too much might ruin that.

As long as your upper body is comfortable. And then let your head hang down. Feeling the whole back body making itself alive, and it's... Becoming more aware of it as you go deeper into it. When you're ready, start coming up halfway.

And this can be again bent knees or straight knees. Inhale lengthen the spine, it's like halfway up. And as you exhale bring your right hand onto some part of your left leg. It can be to the outer edge of your foot, or like the outer edge of your leg. And then start twisting the front of the heart, bringing the right shoulder down, and just lift this arm wherever it wants to go.

And just enjoying what's happening. Find a place that you're enjoying. So I'm gonna put my arm beside my ear. You don't have to do that. And just let this right hand help you twist a little deeper and that's it.

With your inhale coming forward, and then changing the hands. Inhale lengthening, as you exhale twisting to the other side. And letting your right arm dictate what it wants to do. And this time it's something like this, it can be going back, it can be going beside your ear. Or just wherever.

Feel your neck. And then inhale coming to the center. Hold your legs or feet and then exhale fold one more time. As you inhale start coming up bringing the heart forward as you come up. And then bending your left knee, opening it all the way to the side, and then we're gonna do a side stretch as well as a forward fold.

Bring your right hand into your leg and start stretching. Start moving your hand inside of your leg towards your foot, and you can be further up or down, it doesn't matter. And let the left knee go back as much as it's comfortable for your thigh. Inhale lift the left arm up, and then exhale start moving the left hand towards your right foot. Some of you might be holding it, some of you might be having the hand up.

Wherever it's comfortable, and just feel the stretch and feel your neck, and what it wants to do right now. Let it evolve as you're here. Inhaling coming up, and then doing the other side, so I'll show it like this, stretching the left leg and bending the right knee. Your heart kind of looks towards your right knee and your left hand inside of your leg. Start moving it down as much as it want to go down.

And then lift the other arm up and start leading it towards your left foot and let it take its time and just see what this side has to show you. What this side feels. You might be holding or not holding your foot, it's okay. Wherever you are. Let it evolve.

Breathe. And then start getting out of it at your own pace. And then from here, lying down on your back. Ahh, that's nice. Feel the ground underneath you.

Feel your body, its vibrations. Its sensations, and when you feel like it start pushing the feet into the ground and lift the hips up into a setu bandhasana or just a simple back bend just to balance all those forward bends. You can put your elbows down and just push your elbows down as well or you can clasp your hands underneath or you can put your hands under your... Around your lower back. Just holding your pelvic bones.

Breathing in it. And then getting out of it. From here start doing a twist whenever you feel like it. You can just bring the knees closer to the chest and then bring the knees to one side, the head to the other side. Make sure you stay a couple of breaths.

And then going onto the other side at your own pace. With your inhale coming up to the center and spreading yourself out into savasana. Letting an exhale come out through your mouth, and allow your body to get heavy only at its own pace. Feel free to stay here, or you can slowly start moving up towards the seat and going on with the relaxation in a seat. But please do stay in savasana if that's what you feel that you need right now.

If you're ready to come up into a seat slowly coming up into a seat, taking your cushion and settling into a comfortable meditation pose. And just closing the eyes, or keeping... They were closed already, maybe. Letting your arms, hands rest, your arms be heavy. And just sensing what's happening whatever is happening within you.

Just tapping in. They could be thoughts, they could be sensations. You might be hearing a sound. Just see where your attention is and how it's moving. Feel free to stay like this as long as you want to.

If you feel like opening your eyes, go ahead and open them. Thank you for being with me. I remembered the quote while I was sitting here with you. From Rumi, what you're seeking is seeking you. So whatever you're looking for out there, it's already in here.

And it's always good to... It's hard to grasp it, but when you're staying with it, it kind of translates itself and it makes itself felt. So I hope this practice helps you with getting in touch with whatever you were seeking, or whatever I am seeking. Thank you.


Anne J
3 people like this.
What a lovely, lively, and still peaceful practice - beautiful instruction. Thank you Zeynep!
Zeynep Celen
Thank you Anne, so glad you did the practice with me and wrote to me. Hope to do yoga together soon, in person too!
Gönül U
1 person likes this.
Hello Zeynep, so nice to meet you here again. I loved that! I really miss your practise.Thank you to be with us. Sweet kisses
Zeynep Celen
Sweet Kisses to you too Gonul! Thank you for watching and being with me!
Becky R
2 people like this.
Very fluid and introspective... Thank YOU.
Zeynep Celen
Thank YOU Becky for watching and commenting! :) I am glad it worked for you....
Shaz D
Just wanted to pop in and let you know I love your sessions on here :)
Phuong E
I love your cuing! It felt like a meditation and my cells feel refreshed.
Zeynep Celen
Shaz Thank you Shaz! Sending you LOVE! 
Zeynep Celen
Phuong Thank you again Phuong! Thank you for your comment as well as being with me... LOVE

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