The Ashtanga Practice Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

1 Hour Ashtanga Quickie

50 min - Practice
103 likes
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Description

Sarah guides us through a reduced primary series, designed for the practitioner who already knows the basics of the Ashtanga practice. This practice will generate heat and will result in increased strength, stability, focus, and energy.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Nov 24, 2014
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Welcome back, this is another Ashtanga quickie. We'll move through sections from the primary series together and I'll offer a lot of modifications and options so that anyone can practice with us, whether you've been doing Ashtanga for years or this is the third time you've ever stood on a yoga mat, so they'll be lots of choices for you. Follow along or feel free to take a break if you need to. If you need a refresher about some of the elements and fundamentals of Ashtanga, you can refer back to a previous segment when we talk about bandhas, breath, Drishti, Vinyasa and repetition, all of that good stuff, but in this particular class, I'll offer a few alignment tips, but mostly I want you to find your own flow, so staying connected to your own rhythm, staying connected to your own breath and that will help you stay connected to your practice. So we'll start at the top of the mat in Samastitihi.

Inhale, reach your arms up, gaze at the thumbs. Exhale, fold forward, gaze between the knees. Inhale, gaze forward, halfway up. Exhale, step back, Chaturanga. Inhale, Upward Facing Dog, gaze is up.

Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. If this is your first Downward Dog, you might want to walk it a bit. Pedal the legs, wiggle around. If you feel comfortable, work the heels closer to the floor and stay for five breaths. On inhale, step up between your hands, lift halfway, Exhale, fold.

Inhale all the way up. Exhale, Samastitihi. We'll do one more together. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, fold.

Inhale, halfway. Exhale, Chaturanga. You might want to bend your knees. Inhale, Up Dog or Cobra, hips on the floor. Exhale, Down Dog.

You're looking for spaciousness in your Dog. Inhaling, step forward. Lengthen halfway, maybe palms to shins. Exhale, fold. It's okay to bend your knees.

Inhale all the way up. Exhale, Samastitihi. We'll do one more round together. I'll cue the breath. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

Inhale forward, halfway up. Exhale, fold. Inhale up. Exhale, Samastitihi. Surya Namaskara B.

Inhale, sit back, sweep your biceps alongside your ears, gaze at the thumbs. Exhale, fold. Inhale halfway up. Exhale, Chaturanga, remember your options. Inhale, Up Dog.

Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Left foot pivots, right foot steps up. Inhale, Warrior I. Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Updog.

Exhale. Right foot pivots, left foot steps up. Inhale, Warrior I. Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog.

Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, step up. Lift, exhale, fold. Inhale, sit back. Exhale, Samastitihi.

We'll do one more round together. Inhale, sitting back. Exhale, fold. Inhale, halfway. Exhale, step or jump back.

Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, right leg back. Exhale, right foot forward. Inhale, Warrior I.

Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Left foot forward, right foot pivots. Inhale.

Exhale. Five cycles of breath in Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, forward, halfway up. Exhale, fold. Inhale, sit back.

Exhale, Samastitihi. Utthita Trikonasana. Inhale, right foot steps out. Exhale, dip to the right, peace fingers to the big toe, hand to the calf, or use a block. Five breaths.

The gaze is at the left hand. Inhale up. Change the direction of your feet. Exhale, other side. Inhale up.

Change the direction of your feet, revolved triangle, left hand outside of the right foot. Please feel free to use a block. The gaze is at the right hand. Inhale coming up. Change the direction of your feet.

Exhale, other side. You might find it easier to put the hand inside of the left foot. That's also fine. Inhale up, arms wide. Exhale, right leg steps up.

Samastitihi. Inhale, Utthita Parsvakonasana. Exhale, right hand to the floor, left arm up and over your ear. Your gaze is at your left hand. Listen to the flow of your breath.

If you feel that your breath is getting away from you, you're probably doing too much work. The right elbow can also rest on the leg. Inhale up, change directions. Exhale, other side. Remember to keep your bandhas engaged, lower belly draws in, pelvic floor stays in shape.

Inhale, come up. Change the direction of your feet and you may need to separate your feet a little bit to make this more accessible. Left elbow outside of the right knee and the left hand works towards the floor outside of the right foot. Right arm reaches up over the ear. Keep pushing down through the back foot so you have your weight moving in opposite ways, which helps the balance.

On an inhale, come up, change directions and remember it's okay to do different things to be unequal. The right elbow might just rest near the left knee, palms pressed together, looking over the left shoulder or right hand to the floor, left arms reaches up over the ear. Inhale, come up. Exhale, right foot steps up. Prasarita A.

Right foot steps out, pigeon-toe your feet slightly, hands on your hips, lift your chest. Exhale, fold. Inhale, halfway up. Exhale, fold forward. Shoulders move away from the ears.

Top of the head moves towards the floor. It's okay to bend your knees. Inhale, lift your gaze. Exhale, hands in the crease of the hips. Inhale, come up.

Exhale, arms wide. Inhale, Prasarita C. Interlace your fingers behind the tail bone and exhale, fold. This is as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. On an inhale come all the way up.

Exhale, right foot steps up. Parsvottanasana. Opposite hand to opposite elbow or reverse Namaste behind the back. Elbows move away from the body, right foot steps out, back foot is pivoted, lift the gaze, exhale, fold. Pull the right hip back behind you a little bit, draw in with the belly and listen to the sound of your breath.

Inhale, come up, turn around, change directions. Exhale, other side. Inhale up. Exhale, Samastitihi. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.

This is a balancing posture. We want the balance to come from the core, less about the hamstrings. We'll give you some options. Inhale, right leg up, peace fingers hook around the right big toe. Draw in with the belly, pull the shoulder back, stay for five breaths.

If you're working with a little less flexibility in the hip flexors and hamstrings, please feel free to bend your knee. The right hip opens. The gaze changes over the left shoulder. Keep your breath right across the ribs. Use your bandhas for support.

Bring the right leg back to the center. Draw in with your belly. Lift as high as you can and then let go for one, two, (slurps) Lift the belly, three, four, five. Release. Inhale, other side.

Remember it's okay to be unequal, to do different things. Another option is holding the knee. Coming back to the center and holding for five. Exhale, release. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Standing Half Lotus.

Inhale, pull your right leg up as high as you can and pause. You have to be very nice to your knees. Listen for a green light from the ankle and the knee and the hip. If you have a yellow light, go slow. If you have a red light, stay here or move into Tree.

If you've got that green light, the ankle turns into the hip crease of the left side, the knee moves slowly towards the floor. Right arm reaches back and connects to the elbow or to the foot and sometimes you need to give yourself a boost to make that connection. Draw in with the belly and feel your breath move right across your ribs. Exhale to release. Inhale, other side.

Some people like to forward bend here. You don't have to, but you can. On an exhale, folding forward. Right hand in the same line as the right foot. Let the head relax.

Inhale, keep a little bend in the knee as you come up. Exhale, release. We'll start again with Surya Namaskara B, coming to the top of the mat if you're not already there. Inhale, sitting back. Five cycles of breath.

Breathe as deeply as you can. On an exhale, fold forward over the legs. Inhale halfway up. Exhale, step back. Mind your plank, shoulders over the wrists, lower down.

Inhale, Up Dog or Cobra. Exhale, Down Dog. Right foot steps forward, inhale. Virabhadrasana A, Warrior I. On an inhale, change your direction.

Exhale, other side. If your shoulders are tight, separate your hands. On an exhale, open your hips. Warrior II. Inhale, change the direction of your feet.

Exhale, other side. Your gaze is over the right middle finger. The breath should be easy and steady. Exhale, hands to the floor, step back, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog.

Exhale, back to Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, come forward, sit down, put your legs out in front of you. Dandasana, palms press into the floor or fingertips. Lower belly goes (slurps) towards the spine, chest lifts. This should feel hard.

Breathe as deeply as you can. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, Paschimottanasana, hook the fingers around the big toes. Inhale, lift. Exhale, fold.

It's okay to bend the knees here. Shoulders pull away from the ears. Inhale, lift back up. Exhale, put your hands behind you, big toes touch, thighs spiral in. And on an inhalation, lift up, let your head drop back, look at the dip of your nose for one, two, three, your hips are heavy, keep lifting, four, five.

Exhale, hips back down, pull the knees in. See if you can touch your heels to the backs of your thighs. Draw in with your belly, reach out. From here, hands out in front of you. Exhale, step back, Chaturanga.

Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, come forward, sit down. Left leg out in front of you, right leg back up. Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Seated Half Lotus.

For those of you with tight hips or hamstrings, you might stay here. Your hip and your knee are the boss, listen to them. If you feel okay, you feel comfortable and confident, the right foot goes inside of your left hip crease, right hand comes back or towards your ribs. Exhale forward. This should feel familiar.

We stay five breaths. Inhale, come up. Pull your knees in, put your hands on your knees. This is one way to modify Vinyasa. Inhale, lift up.

Exhale, jump or step back, Chaturanga. Inhale, Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, jump or step through, sit down. Exhale, other side.

Left foot pulls in, left hand reaches back, fold. Stay connected to your breath for five seconds. Inhale up. We'll do that one more time, exhaling, pull the knees in. Inhale, lifting.

Exhale, jumping back. Inhale, lifting into Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, jump or step through. Exhale, Janu Sirshasana A.

The right foot goes inside of your left thigh. The knees are at 45 degrees. Exhale, fold. Your rib cage moves over your left leg. Keep your eyes open so you don't feel sleepy.

Inhale, come up. Exhale, knees pull in. Find that work in your belly. Step back, find a high plank. Here's another way to modify your Vinyasa.

Inhale, you're lifting. Exhale, Chaturanga, stay where you are. Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Your breath is the most important part of the practice.

Inhale, come forward, sit down, other side. Inhale up. Exhale, pull the knees in. You can give yourself a little lift. Stay here for the duration of the Vinyasa, staying connected to your breath.

And as you exhale, the left foot comes out, right foot in front of your right sit bone, the right arm reaches out. This is Marichyasana A. The right hand comes back and connects with the left hand. Lift and fold. Inhale, come up.

Exhale, take your Vinyasa whatever way works for you. Inhale, Up Dog or Cobra. Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, jump or step up, sit down, other side. It's okay if your hands don't touch.

Fake it 'til you make it or use a rope. Remember to try to improve the quality of your breath which will improve the quality of your asana. Inhale, come up. Exhale, step or jump back, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog.

Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, come forward, sit down. Marichyasana C. Right foot back in front of the right hip, right hand behind you, left elbow outside of your right knee, stay here or take a bind. Lower belly draws in, pelvic floor stays in shape.

Inhale back to the center, pull the knees in. Inhale up, Exhale back, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Exhale, other side.

Inhale back. Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, jump through, sit down.

We'll do Baddha Konasana A. Feet together, knees wide. Heels pushed together, tops of the feet pull apart like a book, lift your chest. Exhale forward. Inhale, come up.

Exhale, make your way back into your Vinyasa, inhaling up, exhale back. Inhale forward. Exhale, sit down, legs out in front of you. Lie down on your back. Supta Padangusthasana.

Left hand on top of the left hip. Inhale, right leg up. Peace fingers inside of the right big toe or use a rope. Inhale, lift your head and pull your right leg as close to your body as you can keeping the left leg nice and strong. Come back down to the floor and open your right leg.

The heel lifts up towards the floor, I'm moving the block out of the way or using it to help support your hips. When this hip bone rolls up like this, you've done too much work. Come back to the middle and pull once more. Let go and come back down to the floor. That should feel familiar.

Inhale, other side. Toes are moving towards the floor, the heel lifts, right hip bone looks up at the ceiling. It's okay to bend the knee. Inhale back, pull. Release and draw the leg back down.

Pause. There's usually a moment of instant gratification here in the legs. Stay connected to the breath. Inhale, pull the legs in. Exhale, step back, Chaturanga.

Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. Inhale, come forward, sit down. Legs out in front of you, moving into back bending. Heels just behind your hips.

Pinky sides of your hands pushed into the floor. We'll start with Bridge. Inhale, lift up. Shimmy the shoulders underneath, interlace the hands. Beginners will stay here.

Move the hands out of the way and slowly come back down. You have an option of doing that two more times or working your way into Urdva Dhanurasana, a Wheel. Hands up alongside the ears. Inhale, lift the hips, use your feet. Bring the top of your head to the floor.

You can stay here or push up. Walk the feet in, spiral the thighs in, and breathe. Slowly lower back down. Pause if you need to, but not too long because you might get too tired and decide to stay there. Hands back, inhaling, looking out for your hair.

Inhaling, Bridge or Wheel. Lowering back down. Maybe you give yourself a little wobble here on the lower back. Roll up, legs out in front of you and we'll fold forward again, Paschimottanasana. A little less sexy though.

It's okay to let your head relax. You might even like to bend your knees. We're looking more for space in the lower back to counter the back bending, not just the Wheels, but also the Upward Facing Dog. Inhale coming up. You can stay there between five and 10 breaths.

From here, we'll lie down lifting the legs moving into Shoulderstand. Hands always at the lower back for support, elbows in as close to the body as possible. It's totally fine to stay just like this or lift up. You should feel weight in your elbows. There should be no contact with your neck on the mat.

You're looking for a balance between effort and relaxation. Stay here anywhere between five and eight breaths, as you are ready, exhaling, the toes come to the floor behind you for Halasana. Hands can stay here at the lower back or hands interlaced. Do what feels comfortable for you. From here bend the knees.

Wrap your hands around the backs of your legs. Hands back to the lower back, lift back up into Shoulderstand and pause. If you cannot do Lotus right side up, don't try to do it upside down, but if you can, right foot inside of the left hip, left foot inside of the right hip. Pause, left hand to the left knee. Right hand to the right knee.

Push the knee into the hands, push the hands into the knee. From here, hands back at your lower back. Let's untie the legs and slowly ease our way back down to the floor and as we're easing down, slide the elbows in. Feet come down to the floor, lift up, crown of the head towards the floor. Tuck your chin, release and pause.

Check in with the quality of your breath. Notice where you feel it in your body. Inhale, pull your legs in. Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog or Cobra.

Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. From Downward Facing Dog, come on to your knees. We have two options to close the practice. One is Headstand Prep and the second is Headstand. I'll go through the prep and give you the option for the full posture.

Opposite hands to opposite elbow measures the distance of your shoulders. They're never as broad as you think. Interlace your hands and press the pinky sides of the hand into the floor. Your hands should look like a cup. To move into the prep, lift the hips.

Pause, pull the shoulders up and back. Draw in with the belly, walk the feet in. Head is not on the floor. Stay here or move the crown of your head to the floor. Walk the feet in and inhale.

Start to lift up. Oops. If you fall, that's okay. Take a little break. You can try again or rest in Child's Pose.

Another way to come up, walk the feet in, pull in with the knees and make yourself a little bundle. You can stay here or you can straighten the legs. From here, feet to the floor. Find your Child's Pose, belly to the thighs, forehead on the mat. Inhale, come up and we'll sit in Baddha Padmasana or Criss-Cross if Lotus is not in your bag of tricks.

The right foot is first, left foot on top. Opposite hands to opposite elbow or peace fingers to opposite toes. Inhale, lift. Exhale, fold. Keep your eyes open.

Listen to the sound of your breath. Inhale up. Padmasana, Lotus pose, forefinger and thumbs pressed together. You can stay here anywhere between 10 and 25 breaths. Lower belly draws in.

Pelvic floor, Mula Bandha, stays in shape. Although it is tempting to close your eyes, try to keep them open. Stay focused on the breath. Hands on the floor, squeeze your Lotus and lift your gaze. Lift your hips.

One, two, three, four, five, six, keep squeezing the Lotus, seven, eight, it's okay to set your hips back down, nine, ten. Hips on the floor, untie your legs, and lie down on your mat. This is the release of your practice. Close your eyes and soften into the floor. Stay here as long as you like, releasing the effort of the breath, releasing the bandhas.

When you feel ready to move, bring energy into the body where it feels natural. Reach up and stretch. Roll over to one side and make your way up. Thank you for practicing with me. This is just one way of practicing Ashtanga.

There are many other ways. Thank you for being here and learning with me and practicing with me. Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
This down load was v frustrating only had voice most of the time so contual interruption of session. Better to lead myself if this is the quality of video
Oh Mary, we are so sorry this occurred and so grateful that you altered us of potential mischief. We will follow up offline to see if we can address the technical problem. xok
1 person likes this.
Mary ~ Usually when you have sound without the video, it is because your internet connection is not strong enough to support both. There is an alternate video player you can try which will allow you to watch the video in a lower quality. You can find the video player option here.
3 people like this.
Sarah, I absolutely loved this express primary series!! Its tough but rewarding and perfect for when I'm short on time but want quite a sweaty practice! Thank you and Namaste xx
I found the pace too slow, although I know it's a deliberate choice. If it was sped up just a little bit, a few more poses from the sequence could be incorporated into it. It was probably not challenging enough for me as a result, but I think this is ideally suited to beginners or people trying to ease back into the practice after a break!
Thanks so much for this! I managed to do my first two independent head stands (against the wall) this morning! So happy!
Thanks Sarah, it was really nice that you offered all these variations and reminded us that there is more than 1 way to practice!
I loved the clear, concise instruction. Your audible breath reminded me to keep check of my breath too. Thanks for the wonderful practice!
1 person likes this.
Maybe I'm just used to a vinyasa style, but this practice felt like the transitions were awkward or lacking. I liked the breath cues though.
1 person likes this.
Angela, the Ashtanga form can feel choppy if you are used to a more dynamic flow. While eventually the ocean of breath reveals a magic flow in this form, you might feel more at home in these shows:

Yoga Flow Show
https://www.yogaanytime.com/show-view/95/Yoga-Show-The-Yoga-Flow-Show

The Vinyasa Show
https://www.yogaanytime.com/show-view/60/Yoga-Show-The-Vinyasa-Show

Yoga Groove
https://www.yogaanytime.com/show-view/105/Yoga-Show-Yoga-Groove

xokira
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