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Season 2 - Episode 8

Playing with Planking

30 min - Practice
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Kira offers up opportunity to find strength, balance, and stretch in our shoulders with some plank and side plank play. You will feel lively and energized.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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(wave breaking) Nice to be together again. We're gonna play a little bit with plank and side plank. So we'll start by getting a bit more room in the shoulders. Step forward with your left foot, back slightly with your right foot. And just, all casual like, start to let your arm swing.

â?« Do â?« Inhale, exhale. Coordinate with breath, or not. For some of you, this might feel like it's deep enough. If and as, and when you get the hit to go further, wha, all the way around, wha. All the way around.

And you can just sort of have fun with this. Our friend, Papa Schiffmann, made this okay. (laughs) Backwards. Forwards. Just start to let it feel good.

And sometimes it feels good to sort of shimmy it. You can really do a windup sometimes, if it would feel good. Wa-ha. And then let that arm relax. Stand on both feet, tu-tu-tu-tu-tu.

Thanks, other side. Right foot forward, left foot back. And just start slow. It's really not a big deal. Just start to let your arm swing.

Swing. Eventually, you're gonna get the hit that it's okay to reach and let it come all the way around, and reach and let it come all the way around. And then you might just let that flow a few times. And you might reverse. (exhales) You might let it go faster.

(exhaling) (laughs) Slower. Okay, let that relax a little bit, shake the arms out. Find a little bit of rotation. So elbows soft and get good at rotating the arms forward. (exhales) Rotating the arms back.

We've done this a bunch. As you rotate the arms forward, you're widening to your shoulder blades. You're getting huge back there. As you rotate your shoulders back, your elbows are drawing under, like creating alters for your heart. Round.

Back. And we have names for these. When you bring your arms forward, we usually call that Swamp Monster. When you bring your arms back, we usually call that Hallelujah. One more, round.

And open. Super nice, keep them back and down, let the arms relax. Interlace the fingers in front of you, go up through your arms, soften the elbows enough so your shoulders roll back and down. Keeping your shoulders back and down, press back up through your arms. Wo-ha.

Beautiful, press into the feet, lengthen out, release your arms out from you. Now spread the fingers wide. Soften the elbows a little bit, shoulders back and down. And reach, press into the feet and reach. Yes, tune the fingers, feel pinkies, ring, middle, index, thumb.

Excellent, curl the fingertips in, stretch to the tops of the wrist. Lengthening, beautiful. Release the fingertips back up towards the sky. Turn the fingertips behind you, and press right from your heart, out through the heels of the palms. And now turn the fingertips down towards the earth, and pull them in towards you so you're pressing out through the wrist.

Uh-huh, nice. Curl the fingertips in, swan head stretch. Super beautiful. Now release the hands back up towards the sky. Soften the elbows, shoulders roll back and down.

Press into the feet, reach through the hands. Last few moments here. Tune all the fingers, yes. Okay now, soften the knees a little bit, soften the elbows, let the palms face towards each other. Soften the face, soften the eyes.

Let the hands feel more sensitive. Uh-huh. And sometimes, as you let the hands feel more sensitive, sometimes you can start to sense this gentle force between the hands. Mm-hmm. Soften the throat, easy in the face.

If you happen to sense this gentle force between your hands, play with it a little bit. Sometimes it works to fluff this situation a little bit. Letting the hands kind of gently, um, almost like they're strobing, yes. Beautiful, nice work. Let the hands release down along your side.

As you're ready now, interlace the fingers, turn the palms forward, like we did before, and go up through the arms. Soften the shoulders back and down, and lengthen, and this time release the arms wide, rotate the shoulders forward, let the hands come behind you, interlace the fingers. Wiggle the shoulders back and down. Inhale here, and as you exhale, bend your knees so your chest is more likely to find your thighs. Let the head drop.

Feel the arms reach away from you, really reach the arms away from you. Roll the weight into the balls of the feet, let the arms reach up out over the top of your head. Mm-hmm. Last few moments here, beautiful. Now let the hands come back to the hips.

Let the hands find their way to the earth. And make your way down into child's pose. You're gonna come all the way down onto your knees. Wiggle your sit bones back. And let's walk the hands out in front of us.

Walk the hands out in front of you, wobble a little side to side. And let your forehead find the earth. Okay, as you're ready, slide the hands back, come up onto all fours. Now, soften the elbows, wrap the shoulders back and down. Press into the index and let the arms draw firm.

See if you can get a sense of squeezing the arms towards each other. As you inhale, roll the pelvis forward and draw the heart out. And as you exhale, press into the hands. Curl the sit bones under and round. And as you inhale, roll the pelvis forward and draw the heart up.

And as you exhale, curl the sit moon under, and get round. Beautiful, one more like that. Arch. Mm-hmm, round. And now it's easier from the rounded shape to curl your right knee in and step your right foot forward for the lunge.

Both hands on either side, wiggle back through that left foot. Top of the left foot to the floor, curl the sit bones under and lift. Now, for you and your body today, if staying low in the lunge would feel superior, stay right here. If it would be interesting to bring the hands up onto that front right knee, do so. Come back out of the intensity a little bit.

Interlace your fingers, turn the palms forward like we did when we were standing. Soften the elbows so the shoulders roll back and down, and then press into the hands as you curl your sit bone under and sink in. Wiggle a little longer. Beautiful, inhale here. Exhale, release your hands down around this right foot.

Cup the back left toes under, lift up through the back of the left leg. Soften the elbows a little bit, shoulders roll back and down. Bring the right foot back to meet your left. This is your first plank. Draw the sit bones under a little bit.

And then drop the knees down. Get round in the back. Step your left foot forward. Wiggle it a little longer for your shape of the lunge. Top of the right foot to the floor.

Curl the sit bone under. Now, for some of you if you'd rather stay low, you just stay low. Only if it feels good to increase the opportunity, hands come up onto this left knee, draw your hips back a little bit. Interlace your fingers with the weird knuckle on top, so it'll feel like you have someone else's hands. Curl the bones forward, go up.

Soften the elbows, shoulders back and down. Now, reach up through the arms as you curl that right sit bone under and lengthen. Easier in the eyes. Yes, inhale here. Exhale, release your hands back down around that left foot.

Now tuck the back right toes under, lift up through the back right leg. Soften the elbows a little bit, shoulders roll back and down, stretch back through that right heel, and step your left foot back to meet the right. Lengthen through here, just get a sense of it. Beautiful, now drop the knees down. Bring your left hand underneath your face, soften your left elbow.

Roll the shoulder back and down, root through the index knuckle as the arm draws firm. Keep the left knee on the floor, extend back through the right foot. Spin onto the outer right edge of that right foot, reaching the pinkie side of the foot. Long as you circle the right arm up towards the sky. Press through the outer right edges, you lengthen.

Beautiful, inhale here. Exhale, release that right arm back towards the right foot. Circle the arm in front of the face, and over the top of the head. And extend. Inhale here.

Exhale, release this right palm back to the floor. Right knee back towards the earth. Inhale, half arch. Exhale, get round. Other side, right knee is right underneath you.

Right hand under the face. Now, soften the elbow. Shoulder rolls back and down. Root through that index knuckle. And as you let this arm firm, can you get a little sense of squeezing the arm in?

Stretch back through the left leg. Spin onto the outer left edge. Circle that left arm in front of the face and up. Now, press out through that outer left edge. Press into the right palm and reach.

Mm-hmm. Beautiful, drop the right ear down towards the right shoulder. Circle the left arm back in front of the face, and over the top of your head, lengthen. Excellent, inhale here, exhale, windmill, back down onto all fours. Hands right underneath the shoulders, let an inhale arch the body.

Let an exhale round the body. Now, as you inhale coming back to neutral, let's style planking just a little bit more. So the hands are right underneath the shoulders. You soften the elbows, wrap your shoulders back and down. Now root through that index, and as you firm your arms, squeeze 'em a little bit.

Let a little bit of a (exhales) happen as you soften the base of the skull, tuck the toes under. Now lift up through the backs of the legs. Now feel the slightest little bit of (exhales) happen as the sit bones draw under. Reach back through the heels. Now, the yoga plank's a little different than the crossfit-y plank.

I'm not trying to clench everything to death. We're trying to get a sense of rooting and blossoming and ease, yes. Couple more moments, softer in the face. Yeah, inhale here. Exhale, drop the knees down.

Child's pose, send the hips back. Forehead towards the earth, leave a little mat. Deep. Okay, inhale, come up onto all fours. As you exhale, get round.

Step the left foot forward. Wiggle that on forward into the shape of the lunge. Curl your right sit bone under. Now, again if you prefer to stay low, stay low as you press down through the top of that right foot and bloom. Only if it would feel good, bring your hands up onto that front left knee, back out a little bit, so you bring your hips out of the crunchy part.

Inhale, arms wide. And this time, rotate your shoulders forward, bring the hands behind you. Perhaps the interlace the fingers as you wiggle your shoulders back and down, and stretch your arms up. Curl your sit bone under and sink in. Lifting your arms up has one feeling.

Letting your arms start to reach back towards that back leg has a very different feeling. Last few moments. Beautiful, gently release the interlace as you inhale up. Exhale, hands come back down around that front left foot. Lift up through the back right leg.

Now stretch back through that right heel. Soften the elbows, shoulders roll back and down. Step the left foot back to meet the right. Drawing those sit bones under. Beautiful.

And then drop the knees down. Exhale, get round. Step your right foot forward. Shnuggle back a little bit. Again, if the low lunge is superior, you stay low.

Top of the left foot to the floor. Draw your heart open. Only if it's interesting, hands find their way up onto that right knee. Back up. As your balance, inhale, arms wide.

Rotate the shoulders forward, interlace your fingers behind you, weird knuckle on top. Wiggle the shoulders back and down. Stretch up through the arms. Press through the top of that back foot as you sink in. Lifting the arms up has a very distinctive flavor.

Letting the arms come back towards that back leg feels very different. Nice. Beautiful, so gently you release the interlace. Inhale the arms up. Exhale, hands find their way back down around that front right foot.

Tuck the back left toes under. Lift up through the back of that left leg. Now soften the elbows. Shoulders roll back and down. Stretch firmly back through that left leg.

As you let the right foot come back to join, let a little bit of a (exhales) happen. Inhale here. Exhale, drop down onto the knees. Round your way on back, child's pose. Wobble.

(sighs) As you're ready, inhale, come up onto all fours. Now, soften the elbows a little bit. Wrap your shoulders back and down. And root and firm. Now we've already checked in a version of side plank with the knee on the earth.

So as we start to play with this next one, know that you can come back to that first one. Okay, from here with the heart blossomed and the jaw soft, tuck the toes under, lift up through the backs of the legs, start to stretch back through the heels. Let a little (exhale) happen, just to help those sit bones lengthen. Gorgeous, gorgeous. From here now, bring that left hand under the face.

Soften the left elbow, wrap that shoulder back and down, and begin to firm. Start to spin onto the outer left edge of that left foot, and then this next one, just bring the right foot forward. From here, if and when you feel ready, circle the right arm in front of the face and ah. Press into the feet, press into that left palm. Just a few moments, reach.

Inhale here. Exhale, release back to the shape of the plank. Reach back through the heels, let a little bit of a (exhales), and here's the really wild phenomenon. As you root through the index, and you draw your sit bones back, suddenly down dog feels like a relief. (laughs) Then the elbows, shoulders roll back and down, and lengthen, yes. Beautiful.

Inhale, bring yourself forward back towards the plank pose. Drawing the sit bones down, reaching back through the heels. Excellent, bring your right hand underneath your face. Soften the elbows, shoulder rolls back and down. Root, firm, start to turn under the outer edges of the feet.

And reach that left foot out in front of you for support. Root, firm, and only as you're ready, circle this left arm up. Now, press into the feet. Root and lengthen, reach, yes. Gorgeous.

Inhale here. Exhale, bring yourself back into the shape of plank. Reach back through the heels, drying that sit bone under. And then again, press into the index. And draw yourself back into downward-facing dog, which actually feels like relief.

Beautiful. And child's pose, drop the knees down. Curl the sit bones under. Reach your arms out in front of you and (mumbles). If you have enough of this plank nonsense (laughs), you can stay right here.

Otherwise, we'll just play towards one more. So why don't you now find your way forward onto all fours. Soften the elbows a little bit, shoulders wrapped back and down. Root and firm. Tuck your toes under, lift up through the backs of the legs, stretch back through the heels.

Let a little bit of a (exhale) happen. Pretty. This time, bring the left hand under the face. Soften the elbow, shoulder rolls back and down. And as you start to roll under this outer left edge, perhaps maybe this right foot lands right on top, and perhaps maybe you circle this right arm up towards the sky.

You can stay on that left edge, for some of you rolling that left sole of the foot to the floor is superior and reach. Beautiful. Inhale here. Exhale, release back, plank pose. And from plank pose press back to ye olde downward-facing dog, get long.

Nicely done, only one more side. See if you, if you're Hindu god or goddess was showing, we would have seven more sides. Okay, inhale, come forward on the plank pose, draw the sit bones under. Bring your right hand underneath you. Soften the elbows, shoulder rolls back and down.

Now, as you start to roll under this outer right edge of this right foot, maybe that left foot comes on top. Root, firm, maybe circle this left arm up, and maybe roll the sole of that right foot towards the floor, root and reach. Last few moments. (exhales) Inhale here, exhale and release. Pull a plank pose. Beautiful, one more downward-facing dog.

Nice, and then roll back into plank. Drop the knees down lower all the way back to the earth. And rest, rest your head on your hands. Bend your knees and wobble. From here, we'll play with a little stretch my friend Geoffrey from Joshua Tree first taught me.

Let the arms come out from your shoulders. Face is on the floor. Now, you might wanna watch this one first. Or, just follow along and see what happens. Stretch out through this left arm.

Let the right hand come in close underneath your shoulder, so that my palm and my right hand is on the earth. From here then the request is to slowly start to roll onto this left shoulder. Okay, as you start to roll onto this left shoulder, bring your right foot behind your left and pause. Okay now, this for half of you is enough. You might just hang out right here.

Now, you can keep this left leg straight. For some of you, it's nice to bring a little bit more torque into the situation, in which case you bend the left knee, sole of the foot to the floor, and you'll shift the hips slightly to the left. Okay, this might be enough. But for a lot of you, it's gonna be fun to start to reach this right arm up, roll the right shoulder forward. Turn that left palm up, and then this is that weird proprioception thing 'cause as you start to bring your right hand towards your left hand you'll be like, "Where is it? Aha." If you have a friend with you at home, let them help you find that hand.

Interlace. (exhales) Let your head, it kinda can be like, what do I do with my head? I kinda like to let my gaze come down towards the earth. And then play what you wanna do with your knees, you might lean them a little bit towards the right. Play what would feel good in your legs. You're just like, you're gonna salt to taste. (exhales) Okay, when you're ready to get out of there, release the interlace, let the left leg draw straight, and then slow, slow, slow, you're gonna roll back onto your belly.

Wa-ah. Towards splat pose, (laughs) and pause. (laughs) Splat pose feels awesome after that pose. Are we at, other side. Stretch out through that right arm, bringing the left hand underneath the shoulder, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen.

And then as you're ready, you start to tenderly and with great care, roll onto that right shoulder. Okay, bend the left knee, sole of the foot on the floor. And again, how, where you, what you wanna do with the right leg depends on you. For some of you, just keeping it straight is really ideal 'cause bending it adds more torque. Okay, so only if it feels right you're gonna bend it.

Sole of the foot on the floor, you shift the hips a little bit right. Ooh. And this might be enough. Okay. Only if correct, let your left arm release up to the sky.

Roll that shoulder forward. Turn that underside of the right hand up, and then you start to let that left hand make it's way back towards right. And this is one of those weird proprioception things, sometimes you're like, "Where is my hand?" As I said, if you have a buddy, if you happen to have a friend at home, let them help you. Okay, now again, you're sort of like, huh, what do you do with your head? It sort of depends on you.

Okay, you might just let it hang. Again, what do you with your knees? It depends on you. (exhales) Like right now, it's feeling like I wanna let my right knee drop in a little bit, like I'm widening my foot, my right knee's dropping in, that's what feels good at this moment on this beautiful Saturday afternoon in Southern California. (mumbles) (exhales) Okay.

Only as you're ready, you're gonna let that right leg drop out. You release the interlace, and then you're gonna roll all the way back, slow. Boof, splat pose. And rest. And one of the problems with the splat pose after that is it feels so good it's really, you're not very inclined to move.

From here, we'll make our way onto our back. I'm gonna do that by reaching my left arm over the top of my head. And then rolling over my left side back onto my lilypad. Hug the knees into the chest and wobble. Beautiful.

Okay, release the feet back down to the floor. Arms down along your side. What would feel good to me at this moment is soles of the feet together, knees wide. Okay, you might prefer legs straight, or feet wide, knees together. Big delivered inhale here.

And exhale everything, let a (exhales) happen. And because we've had so much emphasis of the arm channels and the hands, we'll begin to make our way toward Shavasana with some awareness of these realms, and their relationship to the heart. So as you rest here be aware of your left hand. And not just the hand, but the context in which the hand rests. So can you feel the space between the fingers?

Can you let the hand feel more receptive? And we're sensitive. And allow the back of the heart to feel just as sensitive, yeah. Let the awareness, or let your attention come to the right hand. Feel the relationship she's in by sensing in-between the fingers.

And let her feel more receptive and offering. And once you have that quality, or once you can sense that quality of your hand, let the back of the heart feel the same. If you're first position of leg choice is no longer working, change. Resting. And some of you might rest for quite a lot longer.

If your knees are wide like mine, you might let your hands help your knees come together, widen the feet a little bit, and the knees fall in. (inhales) Reach an arm up over the top of your head. Roll over towards that side. (exhales) And then carefully press your way back up. Find a seat. Big delivered inhale.

Exhale everything. Be aware of the quality of your hands and your heart. Gooey at the base of the skull, open in the upper palate. Thank you for sharing your practice. Thank you for being here.

Namaste.

Comments

Wow! I actually broke out in a sweat. This was challenging for me in a good way. I often admired yogis with strong, muscular arms and wondered how they got their arms that way. I see now! And that arm stretch? Yummy. I woke up with sore arms because of some kickboxing I did yesterday so this was much needed. My youngest son helped me find my arms so I was able to link them behind me. Thanks for a great practice.
Dearest wannabeyogi, so sweet to have a yoga assistant right at home! Props to your little man. xokira
Happy to be practicing together, Jean!
1 person likes this.
You mentioned in one of the earlier episodes about Kapow! I had that tonight. When you suggested rolling onto the heel you took me to my happy place, stretching me into the beyond... The deep lunges were as deep as I have gone and that felt, well, really good. Beyond this, so many meta lessons this season, and we returned to some Season One themes tonight. 
1 person likes this.
David G- Sweeeeeeeet! xoK

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