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Season 2 - Episode 6

Let's Twist Again

30 min - Practice


Kira guides us through a twisty sequence to provide us with an experiential understanding of how our sacrum, tailbone, and hip rotation relate to one another. This practice helps us build our vocabulary for these subtle anatomical actions so that we can reference them in standing postures with greater awareness and success.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Block (2)

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(waves splash) Nice to see you again. We're gonna play around with some twisting action. We'll be starting supine so we can become more intimate with the relationship between the sacrum, the tailbone, and the rotation of the hips, and then we'll be making our way to standing to fool around with revolving triangle pose. You'll need at least one brick, maybe two, and, at the end, I'm gonna suggest a supported back bend, so if you happen to be lucky enough to have a bolster at home, or something that can be a bolster, like a couch cushion or something like that, you might wanna have that near. Okey dokey.

Let's lie down. Knees bent, soles of the feet on the floor, reach your arms forward and roll your way on back down. Arms come down along your side, heels in line with the sit bone, and let's get some awareness in that lower sacrum area to begin with. So inhale here, and as you exhale, curl your sit bones under a little bit, keeping your buttocks on the floor to press your low back into the earth, and as you inhale, roll your pelvis forward, letting your low back arch up off the earth. Okay, exhale, and curl, sit bones draw under, press your low back in, and as you inhale, roll your pelvis forward, letting your low back arch.

All right, continue this, couple handful more rounds, and so, while we're working in the lower body, you can be aware of how this movement affects all the way up through the whole spine. So you might notice the effect up through the lower back, mid-back, upper back, all the way up through the neck and through the skull. Okay, nice. Beautiful, let that come back to neutral. Now bring the right ankle up on top of your left thigh, roll your right hip away from you, and then, as you inhale, let the right hip and knee come in, so keep your left foot on the floor.

As you exhale, roll your right hip and knee away from you, and as you inhale, let the hip and the knee come in. So as you're rolling your right hip away from you, this is external rotation, and as you're rolling your right hip and knee in, we call this internal rotation. Do this a few more times. Just see if you can start to get a sense of this, yes. Okay, next time you're in external rotation, keep the external rotation, okay, so stay here, you're rolling your hip away, and then exhale, curl the sit bones under a little bit, and as you inhale, roll your pelvis forward.

So the play here is, you're in external rotation, but now you're moving that lower sacrum. Exhale, curl, press the low back to the earth, and inhale, roll the pelvis forward, and just see if you can sense how that works inside. Okay, nice, come back to neutral without your hands. Left thigh draws in, this will increase the opportunity that you feel through the back of that right hip, and if this is deep enough for you, keep it here. If it's appropriate, thread your right arm through the triangle of your leg, catch around the back of the left thigh, wobble.

Most of you, this is deep enough, couple of you, it'll be appropriate to catch around the shin. Now the play here is, as I roll my right hip away, so I'm external rotating that right hip, the play here is, can you find that action in the tailbone again. So inhale here, exhale, curl the sit bones under to draw the left thigh in towards the chest, and as you inhale, roll your pelvis forward, let that left leg move away. Exhale, curl that sit bone under, nice. Inhale, roll the pelvis forward, low back arches.

One more time. Exhale, curl, yes. Inhale, arch. And as you arch, rolling that right hip away, softer in the neck, sweet, release the left foot back down to the earth. Right leg to the sky, shake her out a little bit, (hums rhythmically) bend that right knee, sole of the foot on the floor, pause, spread the toes, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything, nicely done.

Left ankle up on top of right thigh, now you keep the right foot on the floor. You're just getting to know how the hip works. So as you inhale hip and knee towards heart, and as you exhale, hip and knee away. As you inhale, hip and knee towards heart, and as you exhale, hip and knee away. And these words, like if we call this internal rotation and the hip and knee come towards you, and if we call this external rotation as the hip and the knee move away, like if we have words for these actions, then when we're in shapes that are apparently more complicated, okay, I can say external rotation of the hip, the rolling of the hip away, and there's more chance that you might know what I mean.

Okay keep the external rotation, so keep the hip moving away, inhale here, and as you exhale, curl the sit bones under, press the low back towards the earth. And as you inhale, roll the pelvis forward. And be interested here. Exhale, curl. Like I'm offering some movements that might help us get to know how we're put together.

'Cause when you start to have a sense of how you're put together, the intimacy that comes from being simultaneously aware of your limitations and possibility is amazing. Okay, come back to neutral without your hands, right thigh comes in, wobble. This will increase the flavor that you can feel through the left hip, and now keep rolling that left hip away, and if it's appropriate for you to thread the left hand through the triangle of the legs, wrap the right hand around the outside, catch around the back of the right thigh or top of the right shin, okay, and then continue to play with that tailbone-sacrum action, inhale here, exhale, the curl the sit bones under, draw that thigh more in. Inhale, roll the pelvis forward, let it arch. Exhale, curl in, inhale, roll that away and arch.

Beautiful, at least one more. Curl in, roll that pelvis away from you and arch, rolling that left hip away from you. Really nice. Release the right foot back down to the floor. Left leg up to the sky, shake her out a little bit, and then bend the left knee, place her back down on the floor.

Spread the toes wide, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything. Beautiful. Now, from here, we're gonna get in there just a little bit more, but using that same skill you've just honed. So let the knees gently drop over to the left, like as if you were going into windshield wiper, but then bring the right knee up into the chest. Now gently place your left hand around the right knee and find your right thumb, into your right hip crease.

Okay now lengthen through your right hip. Now I've let my right buttocks come up off the floor. That makes it a little bit easier to begin with. Roll that hip away from you, okay, so you're finding that external rotation, you're lengthening through there, okay? Now letting your right hip come up off the floor makes it a little easier.

Keeping your right hip on the earth will change the sensation, so you can kinda play with that a little bit. I'm lettin' mine come up and off. Slide that right hand now down towards the ankle or towards the outside of that right foot, and now here's the play. You're gonna keep pressing that right hip away from you, and you're gonna start to experiment with letting this right leg draw towards straighter. So as you start to let this right leg draw towards straighter, pressing that right hip away, let a little bit of (sighs) happen, and now see what you can gently do with your tailbone.

You won't have that much movement, but you can experiment with curling the sit bones under a little bit, and you can experiment with rolling the pelvis forward a little bit. Now you have way less range of motion here, but you have enough to really make a difference. So most of you, that knee is gonna be slightly bent. A few of you, it might be straighter. Lengthen, yes, reach that sit bone away, super nice.

Okay, slow, let that right knee bend, draw her back, hug the knees, wobble a little bit in the center. Place the feet back down on the floor, windshield wiper other side, so you're letting that right knee fall to the side, draw the left knee in. Find that left thumb into that left hip crease. This right hand is just tenderly, gently holding the outside of this left knee. Now use the thumb in there to really get a sense of length.

Like (imitates rumbling), okay? There's an external rotation happening in the hip, and so if you're not sure what can help, sometimes to really get it is like relax it, let the hip kind of crunch up, (squeals) and then lengthen her away, and then like (squeals) get all bunched up in there, and then lengthen her away. And then slide the right hand down towards the ankle, or maybe it's the outside of that right foot, hold on, and you're just experimenting with letting the leg draw straight, like your particular anatomical construction of your hamstrings and other situations in there are gonna determine how this goes. The play here, the main play is not about strengthening the leg so much as rolling this left hip away. Okay, once you come into the spot that's gonna work out for you, which might still be the knee bent, which might be slightly straight, see if you can find that action of that tailbone again, like see if you can find out how to curl the sit bones under.

See if you can find out how to roll the pelvis forward so that you have these tiny little levers of movement in there. Yes. Lengthen, knees slightly bent, rolling that hip away. (exhales) Yeah, last few beats. Okay, super nice, let that left knee bend, let her come in towards the chest. Release the hand hold, and then let the knees both come into the chest, and wobble, okay?

So the play is to see if we can use some of those actions as we come to standing. Cross your ankles, inhale, roll back, exhale, roll up to sitting. Pause, just to make sure you don't get dizzy, and then we're gonna make our way to standing. I'm gonna suggest that you roll onto your knees, tuck the toes under, lift up through the hips, and pause in a uttanasana. Soften the knees, okay, let the chest find the thighs, let the head dangle, and allow yourself few handfuls of moments here.

Okay, bend the knees, hands on the legs for support, chin into the chest, and roll yourself on up. Belly opens, heart opens, throat opens. (exhales) Mind is blown. Okey dokey. Okay let's see if we can find a little bit of room in the shoulders. So lately, what I find myself doing is just kind of letting them swing out, so stand with your feet about hip-distance apart, and then swing, and then as you cross, swing, and then criss-cross the other way, swing, cross, swing, cross, just kind of feels good and sort of silly, and if you kinda hang out and let yourself do it a little bit, it also feels kinda good, like it's good to find your forgotten inner ape.

Then eventually, inhale up, exhale, wrap one of your arms under the other, press the palms together, and then bend the knees, let little bit of a (sighs) happen. Stick your tongue out, curl your sit bones under. D'you remember how to do that? Curl your sit bones under, let your elbows come in, and what I like to do is then kind of like round up on one side (grunts) and then round up on the other, like, do you remember Marty Feldman? What hump?

That'll date you if you remember that line. Round, (laughs) round, okay, then release, chin in to the chest, and then roll on back up again. Nice, and the swing again, it's like criss-cross applesauce. (sputters quietly) Now, I didn't tell you which arm to do first, which means who knows if that second arm is gonna work out for me, it's left arm under, right? It should just feel a little bit weirder.

If it feels a little weird, you got it. Round, bend the knees, let a (sighs) happen, curl those elbows in, lean up to one side, lean up to the other, it's like, you wanna get gigantic on one side, pulling the elbows in, and then get ginormous on the other side, pull the elbows in, yes, okay, release. Knees bend, chin into the chest, slow, roll on back up. Feel the belly, feel the heart, feel the throat and face. Nice work.

Okay, find one of your bricks, place it in the middle of your mat, and let yourself step on out wide. As you find your wide stance, start by turning your toes in a little bit. Bring your hands to waist, and just begin to lean a little bit from side to side. So, as I lean over my hips over my hips to the left, I root through that right foot, and then I can feel that right inner line. And then lean your hips back over the right, root through that outer left edge, and feel the left inner line.

So just do this a few times. Get a sense of the pelvis being able to tip from side to side. Excellent, inhale here, exhale. Hand slide down the legs. Find the hands on the brick.

Now, how high the brick is depends on you. So I'm gonna choose to have it at the medium setting. Bring your left hand onto the brick, bring your right thumb into your right hip crease, remember this? Now, root down through that right outer edge, start to play with pulling your right hip back, so you're creating that same space we did on the earth. Pull your right hip back, feel yourself start to twist up to the right.

Soften the left elbow a little bit, shoulder rolls under, root through that outer left edge, feel that inner left line. Beautiful, inhale here, exhale, and release. Find your right hand on the brick, bring your left thumb into your left hip crease. Now, as you start to pull your left hip back, like we did on the earth, feel that external rotation in the hip, root through the outer right edge of that right foot, feel that inner line lift, begin to spiral your way up, soften the right elbow a little bit, shoulder rolls back and down. Beautiful.

Okay, inhale here, exhale slow release. We'll repeat that on each side, adding on. So left hand on the brick again, right thumb into the right hip crease, bend the right knee a little bit this time. So as you bend the right knee, you'll be able to get a little bit more action. Bend the right knee, press the right hip back, lengthen through the back left outer edge, and now you've got a little bit more opportunity because you've bent that right knee.

So now start to press into the outer right edge and let that right leg draw towards straight. Now, your choice, keep the right hand in the hip, or circle the right arm back and up, soften the right elbow a little bit, press into the feet, and reach. Beautiful. Inhale here, exhale release. Right hand comes onto the brick, left thumb into the left hip crease, now bend the left knee a little bit.

So as you bend the left knee, you'll get a little more purchase. Lengthen back through there. Press into that outer right edge, find that extension, and then, only of it it's correct, start to feel into letting that left leg draw straight, spiraling that heart up, shoulders roll back and down, and for some of you, keeping the left hand here and just working the more the lower body action is correct. So of you are gonna circle that left arm up, press. And I'm looking out to the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

You might prefer to look down at the gorgeous, supportive earth. Press. Beautiful. Inhale here, exhale and release, hands onto the brick, toe-heel your feet in a little bit, feet are slightly wide, bend the knees. Come down towards a squat, and pause for a moment here.

And then uttanasana, draw the sit bones up, dangle. Nice, knees bend, hands on the legs for support, chin to the chest, and slowly roll on up. Feel the belly, feel the heart, feel the throat, and feel the face. Super. So we'll play with that very similar action, but we'll square it up a little bit towards parivrtta trikonasana, so step your feet out wide again.

Now I'm gonna suggest that you get good at moving your brick around. So I'm gonna suggest that you just keep the brick where it is to begin with, and then you get good at moving it. It's a skill, especially in a class (chuckles). Hands on the waist, spread the toes wide. Inhale here, and as you exhale, slide the hands down the legs.

Okay, find the hands onto the brick, and now the request here is that you start to turn your right foot away from you, turn your left foot in, and walk your hands over towards that right foot. Bring your brick with you. Now, play with kind of squaring your hips a little bit by organizing your feet. So my right foot is pointing straight forward, my left foot's pointing at like 11 o'clock. Bring the brick in close to the right foot at the setting that works for you.

I have it on the medium setting right now. Now I have it on the tall setting, so you choose. Right thumb finds her way into that right hip crease. Press into the ball of the big right toe. Pulling the right hip back, root through the outer left edge, and feel your ability to lengthen.

Now what happens if you let your right knee bend a little bit? Can you get a little bit more action in that traction of the hip, like pull? And then press into the right leg and let her draw straighter. Press into the feet, feel your heart begin to blossom, shoulders roll back and down. Now, it might be wiser for you to keep your hand in your right hip, or you might experiment with letting your arm release.

Pressing into the feet, feel the softness in the elbows so the shoulders can roll back and down, and reach. Beautiful. Inhale here, exhale and release. Pause in the pyramid variation, both hands on either side of that foot, let the knee bend as much as is necessary. Round over.

Beautiful. Now we're gonna make our way all the way to the other side. Don't forget your brick. (laughs) Hold on to your brick, and transition all the way back through the middle, over to the other side, left foot turns out, Brick comes right up to the foot, and reorganize your feet so your hips are now square-ish. So my right foot's pointing at like 1 o'clock. Okay, right hand on the brick.

You put it the setting that makes good sense for you, so I'm gonna choose the tall setting. Left thumb comes into that left hip crease, so same idea. Press that left thumb onto the hip crease, root through that outer right edge. Bend the knee a little bit so you can get some more purchase. Really like feel how you can like (sucks in and pops lips).

Draw her back. Soften the elbows so you can roll the shoulder back and down. As you let this left knee bend, really find the thumb in there, and pull that thumb back so you can like (sucks in), lengthen, and as you lengthen, you'll start to spiral towards the left. Bend that left knee again as much as you need to to give yourself more room. Reach back through that outer right edge, and then maybe the left hand stays in the hip crease.

Maybe she releases up towards the sky. Press, lengthen. Beautiful, really nice work. Inhale here, exhale release, both hands on either side of that right foot. You might too choose to have them on the brick if that makes more sense, or bend the knee.

Fold over, let yourself round. Hmm, nicely done. Slow inhale, come on back up. Walk your hands back to the center, Bring your brick with you. Aw, toe-heel the feet a little bit in, and squat, bend the knees, come down into that squat.

Now, if you're close enough to the ground to simply bring your hands behind you and come down to sitting, do that. But that doesn't work for everybody, and usually it works better for most people that come forward. Okay. Move your brick to the side, and we're gonna make our way into a twist, ardha matsyandrasana. So the left knee bends, sole of that left heel back to the right foot, right foot over.

Shnuggle yourself in. If this isn't quite working, if both sit bones aren't quite on the floor, what you might do is, you could put some support underneath there. You can also work with a straight left leg. This will also work. Okay.

Shnuggle in, hands up on the right knee, big deliberate inhale, exhale let a (sigh) happen. Now feel your sit bones, like reach your sit bones towards the earth 'cause as you reach your sit bones towards the earth, she gives back. Okay, so let yourself get a little longer, hug the right knee with the left hand, let the right hand come behind you. Root through the sit bones, now feel what's going on in that right hip. If it helps, bring your right thumb back into your right hip, and root down through here.

Okay, so same action, you're helping the external rotation of the right hip as you lengthen up through your spine, and you're twisting to the right. You might keep your hand there, or you might bring it back behind you. Soften the throat, open in the upper palate, kinder in the eyes. Beautiful. Inhale here, and as you're ready, let an exhale bring you back, lead with the gaze, making our way into cow-face pose.

(chugging) Shnuggle in. This is not an easy one, so don't be discouraged. Inhale, reach your arms up, exhale wrap your right arm underneath your left again. Remember we did this before. Palms press together, but we're gonna take this into what we call cow tipping.

Now if you're not from Vermont, you might not know what that is. Inhale here, and as you exhale, you're going to rainbow over to the right. So I'm arcing up, out, and over. Now as I arc up out and over, I get this amazing stretch through the outside of that left IT band. Now, what I call amazing might not feel amazing to you, but trust me, just play with it.

Like bows through here, breathe into that left ribs, and it's like (hums a descent). Okay, then when you feel like you've had enough of that, drop that right elbow towards the earth, and just round, a really let it be kind of rainbow-y, and you might stay in the center line, or you might see what's goin' on if you round a little bit. See what happens if you arch a little bit. Yes. Beautiful, take a look down at the right hand, let an inhale bring you all the way back up.

Switch. Lean back, (whooshes) right knee bends, left foot on the earth, shnuggle in, hold onto that left knee, now root through the sit bones, and let the earth give back. You gotta let yourself receive the support. Hug this right knee with the left elbow, left thumb into the left hip crease, root down, so help that same external rotation. Feel yourself able to bloom, and twist.

This might be the spot. Some of you are gonna release this left hand behind you, and as you're rolling that left hip open, feeling that twist, you might feel that slight sit bone drawing under, mm hmm, it's a pretty small detail, though, and roll that right elbow away from you. Couple more moments, soft in the throat, kind in the eyes. 25. Inhale here, exhale, unwind, lead with the gaze.

Nice, cow-face. Shnuggle. Cow tipping, inhale arms up, exhale, left arm under right this time, palms press together, lift up, and rainbow. (exhales) And what you're hoping for is this opportunity to get to know the outside of that right hip. (exhales) It's like, wah, you gotta bow it a little bit. Nice.

Ah. Eventually, release the left arm down to the floor, and let it bow, and again, you might be right in that side line, or you might round a little bit or open a little bit. (exhales) Let it feel good. Beautiful, now take a look down at the left hand. Let an inhale bring you all the way back up.

Beautiful. Lean back, free the legs, and choice of forward fold. Baddha konasana might be the most accessible to allow your body to round and fold over. If you'd prefer to let the legs go straight, especially after all that compression in the knees, you might choose that. So either baddha konasana or paschimottanasana, but let your body round.

Let it be an offering. (exhales) And then, chin into the chest, roll yourself on up. And remember how I mentioned that you might have a bolster near you, so at this point, you might grab your bolster and your two bricks, and set up for a restorative or supported butterfly pose. So I'm just gonna ahead and get my bolster. I'll be right back. So I've placed my bolster right behind my sacrum, and I have my two bricks for support for my knees.

Again, this is just a house suggestion, which you may or may not like. You let yourself roll on back, so my soles of the feet are touching, and I'm gonna turn these bricks up and at a slight angle, aah, to support my legs. Shoulders roll back and down, palms open. Big, deliberate inhale, exhale everything. And so the suggestion here is that after all that sort of (squeals) twisting and folding in ourselves, to allow this area to open and express in an easy way might feel good.

Yeah. And this is going to be the shape of shavasana for me, if that makes sense. This is gonna be my final resting pose. So if you're not diggin' it, if it's not working, you can switch out to something more traditional, more flat. And at this point, if you know you wanna go longer than you suspect I'm gonna lay here for, you can click me away now.

Otherwise, allow this opportunity (exhales) to exhale. Eyes are closed, jaw soft, eyes kind. And one little detail you might pay some attention to is our friend Richard Rosen introduced us to this, is just notice what knuckle is hitting the ground on your right hand. Is it your index or your middle, and can you just make sure that it's the same on the other hand, so that you have some symmetry through the arms. Beautiful.

Catch the vibrancy of you. Nice. So again, some of you might wisely choose to lie here for longer, and really (sucks in) soak up the rewards. But when and if you feel like it's time, bring the hands to the bricks. Adjust them so they don't fall.

Let the legs come together. Widen the feet a little bit, let the knees fall in, pausing. Today, reach you right arm over the top of your head, and then gently roll off the bolster. Pause. Use your left hand to press your way back up, towards a seat.

Take a deliberate inhale, exhale everything. (exhales) Thank you for your practice. Namaste.


Judy S
2 people like this.
Love your classes Kira. They are perfect.
Kira Sloane
Hi Judy! Sweet to see you here! xok
Rylla R
1 person likes this.
This is a delicious practice Kira. Thanks so much. I am eager to share it with my yoga students! And yes, Marty Feldman!
Kira Sloane
Rylla! no one ever gets that joke...hahah, happy. xok
1 person likes this.
I loved the Marty Feldman, too..:) And the tipping cow, what a fabulous side stretcher, I love it, I'm going to do it during the day.
Kira Sloane
Wynter! thanks for getting that joke. haha. xok
Kristen H
2 people like this.
I had my one-year-and-three-month cancer check-up yesterday and I remain cancer-free! :D
One thing my oncologist noted was that I have a lot less pelvic adhesions (pelvic scarring) than I did three months ago at my last check-up. It seems that my yoga practice via Yoga Anytime has helped break up scar tissue from surgeries and radiation!!! Hooray! I have more pelvic strength, flexibility, and a lot less pain, and wanted to share this with you.
Thank you Yoga Anytime, and thank you, Kira. I am deeply grateful for your giftedness as a teacher and for your love and compassion that really shines through in each and every video.
Kira Sloane
Dearest Kristen, your results bring us all so much joy and happiness. Thank you so much for your generous sharing. Happy to be together in this journey! xokira
Silke S
2 people like this.
Namasté. My hips felt amazing after the practice. I loved the work you did in the windshield wiper pose. I always learn so much in your classes, thank you very much for your wonderful videos. Silke
Kira Sloane
Silke, so goooood to be here together. xok
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