Bend It Like Bex Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 9

Core Love Story

35 min - Practice


Bex guides us through a sequence to engage and integrate our core muscles. Beginning with block work, we move from the ground to standing to build strength and generate some heat. The practice allows us to better feel the clear bright light within us.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video


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(waves rushing) Welcome, I'm Bex, and this practice, you'll want a block. As I call it, a block love story. We'll be spending a lot of time with the block. To begin though, we'll establish that comfortable seat, and the seed center, sort of igniting the spaciousness and the strength from our core. So, close your eyes.

And as you close your eyes, imagine for a moment what it's like when you see the bright center of the sun. And as you breath, see if you can integrate the center of your body having a ball of light, that bright energy resonating out and then pulsing in. So, there's a life force to the center, that prana, that energy is within you. And that flame is always existent inside. So, that flame, that bright light of the sun, that's your spirit, it's always full.

So, as the practices that call to action and you breathe, feel the sense that it's restoring you to be still and breathe. So, with that illuminated quality inside you, that's your essence, your rasa, you see if you can get a little taller for those of you who are seated and feel like the rays of the sun radiate from the navel all the way to the outer layer of the skin and then right back in to the organs and the marrow of the bones. So, it's like that pulse follows through the fabric of you. So, throughout the practice, coming back to that vibration that comes from the center, which is not just the front body, it includes the back and the sides of the body. And as you see that on the inside and the outside, bring the hands to heart center in prayer.

So, as always, setting your intention, your purpose, your mantra, your motivation, maybe a dedication, and then allowing the chin to fall reverently to the heart. And you open your eyes. So, this practice begins on your back, and as you establish lying down on your back and that spine position, you'll take a block, right. If you don't have a block, you can always roll up a thick towel and put it in between your legs, and as the block comes right in, you feel the spaciousness that your hands touch your heels with and your palms turn up, or down, whatever you prefer. We'll just begin with a gentle rounding of the low back, which means that the pubic bone will rise, and you can feel your pubic bone, it's higher than your navel, and then you'll come to that space where your pubic bone's level with your navel, and then you'll dip the pubic bone lower than the navel.

And now, we'll link breath with movement, okay? So, you can inhale and just be still, and on your exhalation, you can feel a little bit of the rim of the sacrum in the low back, gently bury into the mat. And then you can use the inhale to bring you back to that space where there's a natural curve. So, there's like a little lift underneath your low back. And then you emphasize it with the exhale.

And then again, you come back through center inhaling. And exhale, feeling like the back is flattened. That's like not your natural state. That is work. And so, half a dozen more rounds on your own.

Just inhaling and exhaling. And noticing what movement you prefer. And also recognizing that it's just a preference. That movement isn't better than the other one. Your pelvis just happens to habitually like it more.

And so, in yoga, we're always using discernment, right? This ability to just watch, note, and then go back to observing. Maybe you play favorites with flattening your back. It's nice to know that. Or maybe you like your booty to swing back and just sweep and then like have a deeper lumbar curve.

That's one you could play with for a long time. For now, we'll begin a different shape. You'll keep the knees bent, the thigh bones'll be vertical and the shin bones horizontal, and inner part of the feet together, interlace the hands underneath the base of the skull. I like my elbows in the frame of my shoulders, and I can already feel the work happening, meaning that my belly and my side body and my back know something is happening. So, I'm gonna use my inhale as a preparation breath.

You can do the same. And the exhale to feel activity. And then inhale to return. And the exhale to carve right back up and curl. Now, if my feet are spacing out, I could flex 'em or point them.

If they feel happy, content where they are, that's fine. Inhale on the down. Exhale on the up. Inhale on the down. And then exhale on the up.

And you don't have to do that many because it's the precision that's leading to the power, and often when I watch people thrusting quickly, I think, uh, maybe one of those is efficient, so, we'll complete with this, and then slowly come down. Now, if that felt like a lot for the front of your thighs and the front of your hips, your hip flexors, you may want to put your feet down for the next part of the series. If not, you will put the block in between your inner ankles. Now, the public service announcement here is, if your block is heavy and if it's wooden, you really need to call the attention on your legs 'cause if the block falls, it's not gonna feel fun. Okay, so, pay attention to your legs.

So great for your concentration. Hands go back behind the head, and we'll add a little gentle twist, why not? So, exhale, twist to the right, feel how your legs wanna move, and you can see my block looks like it's a little windy up there. And then come down, and then twist to the left, and down. And again, I'm using the exhale to exert my energy and twist.

If you don't prefer that, you can change it. Inhale down, and then exhale again, up. So, that's my second round. Today, I don't know why, but four seems like a magic number. So, exhale over to the right, and then down.

Back to the left. It's all so intriguing for your belly, your back, and your side body. And in this final round, you see where can you go, and then how can you return home gracefully, and then go again, exhaling. And come back through center. So, always, you can go back to any of the modifications.

Just a reminder, if the block is in and your foot is down, when we do this variation, which is opposite arm to leg lowering, you won't have to lower as much, but you'll still get the benefits of the work. So, the work here is, the block is in between the inner thighs, my left hand presses the block into my right leg, so that's the opposite side, and when that happens, I inhale my left leg away from my right arm, and then exhale, switch. And then inhale, reach right leg away from from left arm. And then back through center. So, that's one full round.

Inhale, lengthen, so good for your brain right now. Exhale back through center. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.

Exhale. Let's just do one more, inhale. Exhale. Final round, inhale. Exhale, so if you like that, you could stay and do a couple more rounds.

However, I'm gonna take the block, bend my elbows, bend my knees, and put the block underneath the head like a pillow. Elbows are in. So, here the legs could be straight up, the knees could be bent, or the feet can be on the mat. Just give yourself permission to feel comfortable in the movements. You take an inhale to prepare, and then you exhale, curl up.

And then you inhale, come down. And this is nice, I feel like my neck gets to relax. I can push the back of my head in the block. Up, and then down. Exhaling up, inhaling down.

Exhale up, stay up. Now, get curious. Could you extend the block? Could you pull the knees in? Could you press the block into the shin bones?

And then let your head come down and breathe. You're inhaling, relax the shoulders, and exhaling. So, now this takes a lot of energy. You will roll yourself the best that you can up to seated with the block on the shins, and the feet might migrate away from the sit bones, that's not a big deal. So, inhale, and then exhale, and you come up.

Now, you'll give you back body a little bit of a massage. So, when you inhale down, if you have a sensitive spine, right, you're gonna want a blanket or a towel. From the top, you will inhale on the down, and exhale on the up. Inhale and exhale. It actually feels really great on the back.

Inhale. Exhale, one more time. This is where you embody that kid-like freedom. Inhaling and exhaling. And then you come up, feet will go down.

You will roll over onto all fours. So, as you come onto all fours, spread your fingers, ground down the mound of the thumb, the index, the middle finger, as well as the ring and the baby finger, and stack shoulder, elbow, wrist. So, that kind of precision, find that power, and then round the back as you press the shin bones into the floor. Lift the right knee to the nose, and then inhale, extend the right leg with a flexed foot and the left arm. So, round as you exhale, knee to elbow, and then as you inhale, expand into the extension.

Exhale, round into the contraction. And last time, inhaling reach. See if you can stay quiet in the right arm. Exhale, round. Place the left hand down and the right shin down.

And then just to flush it out, round the back with an exhale. Inhale, arch. And then exhale, come right to the center. Lift that left knee round the back, it comes toward the nose. Inhale, extend the left leg and the right arm, and then round the back as you exhale.

Inhaling. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale, elbow to knee, right hand down, left shin bones down, round. This time flex the feet, reach the hands forward, and then come into Downward-Facing Dog.

Pedal the feet. (breathes deeply) Lengthen so it feels like the pelvis accelerates away from your floating ribs, and your hands and your feet feel heavily weighted. Slowly walk your feet, take as many steps as you like to your hands, and then bend and fold, little micro bend in the knees for supple quality in the hamstrings into Uttanasana. Inhale, arms out to the sides, reach up, stretch up tall, and then exhale, hands to the heart center in prayer. Inhale, arms up.

Exhale, fold forward and down, generous bend in the knees, that supports you just like I said, nice, supple hamstrings. Inhale, lift the chest. Exhale, the right leg back, and the left leg back, Down Dog. Inhale into the Plank, and exhale, Dog. Inhale, Plank, strong limbs, toned through the center.

Exhale, back. Last time, inhaling, and then exhale, Adho Mukha Svanasana. Now, lift your right leg, please, as you lift your right leg, see if you can keep the pelvis balanced. So, what I mean is not lifting the right hip on top of the left, just keeping the eyes of your knees gathered toward the floor gaze, and then point the toes, round the back, knee to the nose on the right, and then inhale, leg lifts. Again, knee to the nose, and then lift.

And one more time, knee to the nose, and lift. Then place the right foot down. Inhale to the Plank. Exhale, Dog. Inhale, lift the left leg.

Again, the energy of the pelvis to be as level as possible for you, with that intention, and round the back, point the toes, knee to the nose. And then inhale, flex. Round, knee to nose, and lift, and the knee comes to the nose, and there's like a carving of the navel. Lift, place that left foot down. Inhale, Plank.

Exhale, Dog. Step the right foot forward, hands come onto your hips. You're in Anjaneyasana Crescent. Let the pelvis descend at the same rate, and feel a little bit of that effervescent lift in the rib cage and then dripping through the back body. Arms will reach up, back leg super straight.

Hands come to heart center. Take the hands down, right leg back, Plank, and Down Dog. Step the left foot forward. Again, there's that sense of hugging in and at the same, you find the depth in the pose for you, and then you breathe and you shine. Right, that inner bright light from the center.

You feel as if the block is still in between the legs. (breathes deeply) Hands down, left leg back, Plank. Down Dog. Bend the knees, look to the hands. You can step or you can hop.

Inhale, lift the chest. Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up. Exhale, the hands behind the back. If you're wondering where Chaturanga is, it's on a little vacation for this sequence.

So, appreciate that by allowing the palms to come together as you interlace, squeeze the inner thighs, and then bring the gaze just up a little bit. And then see if you can imagine a divine hand behind the heart, just offering the heart up, and then maybe adding on. Right, the head doesn't have to be heavy weight, just somewhere in there. And the a little bend in the knees, spring there. Inhale, arms up.

Exhale, fold forward and down. Inhale, lift the chest, step back into the Plank. Down Dog. Lift the right leg. Step the right foot forward.

Keep the left fingertips on the floor, or if you have a block and you wanna use it for that point of contact, great, and then slowly as you sit deeper into the right thigh, reach the right arm up, and circle around. So, you stay in the lunge position of the legs, and three times, you circle the right arm forward, down, and around. Forward, down, and around. And then you reverse it. Reaching up, back, and around.

Up, back, and around. And there is a sense through the body of that energy of the mid line. The hand comes down, right foot steps back. You inhale, Plank. Exhale, Dog.

Left foot rises up. Step forward, knee tracks ankle, shin bones working toward vertical. Again, the block could go underneath that right hand, and then the left arm reaches up. And I really do feel like my skin is Saran wrapping around all the layers from my insulation, my fascia, through my muscle, through my bones, and my organs feel the fabric hugging in. So, breathe in that way, and circle.

And so you circle three times, maybe you got there before I did. And then you switch. (breathes deeply) Hand down, leg back, Plank. Down Dog. Step or hop forward, whatever you appreciate.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up. Take the hands behind you. Again, when you weave the fingers, lead with the other thumb.

That feels like you're holding somebody else's hand. Let the energy of the hands anchor you down, and then buoyancy of the chest, the sternum as you find the energy in the front and the back body to meet each other. Right, and nothing so overtly tugging. I could do a great job there, but you can hear my voice feels like there's struggle. So, find that place where the breath feels free, and then back to that neutral stance.

Inhale, the arms up. And then exhale, fold forward and down. Inhale, lift the chest, step back, Plank Pose. Down Dog. Step the right foot forward, turn the left heel in.

Warrior I here, so Virabhadrasana A. You feel a little bit of that swivel, of that outer part of the left hip forward, and the right thigh sliding in as the arms come up. Take a couple rounds of breath here. (breathes deeply) Take the hands behind the back, weave the fingers. If you need a wider stance, you can move the right leg a little right, and then Humble Warrior, you just bow, right shoulder on the inside, head toward the floor, breathing in.

So, you're neither pulling nor are you spacing out in the arms, right. There's this place where the arms feel full of vibrant life, and then the head, it is magnetized down toward the floor. And then slowly you release, the hands come to the mat, the right leg goes back. You inhale to the Plank. And you exhale, Dog.

Now, the left foot steps, the right heel comes in. Again, you feel the feedback from the floor, and you pull the energy up, and then you inhale, the arms up. You feel the right ribs and the right side of the body moving in the direction of the top of the mat. You feel the connection from the floor and that inner integration of the breath. Hands behind, once again, as you weave the fingers, you feel that, and then bow humbly forward, right.

Practice is an offering, it's an offering, so you look in and you breathe, and you realize, just like Rumi said, "What you seek is seeking you." So, as you fold, you seek into the back of the heart, to the pit of the belly, breathe. (breathes deeply) Slowly, hands down, left foot back, Plank. And then lower to the mat. I guess there's one Chaturanga for ya. Roll your thigh bones in.

Interlace the hands behind the back. Again, weave the fingers. You keep all alternating the fingers so that you have less of a preference. And you will inhale. Now, you could do this by lifting the chin forward, but for today, why not consider letting the chin go down, lengthen the back of the neck, and then a lot of vigor from the low belly, like it pulls in, and there's the co-contraction of the back and the belly, right.

They're in the relationship together. One doesn't bully the other, the back nor the belly. They come together, and then gently release. Turn the head so that you have the right ear on your mat. Come back through center.

Figure out which is the thumb that you didn't use last time. It's super easy, it's always the one that feel awkward. And then lift. Now, if as you're lifting, you feel that work in the front, the back, and the side body of the trunk, you wanna add the lift of the legs, go ahead. Alright, so you add the lift of the legs, and then there's tone, and you breathe, and you come into that space where you're whole heartedly, fully involved.

And then slowly, you release, come down. You will onto your opposite ear, the left one. And then just breathe there. (breathes deeply) Press your hands underneath you. Turn around and lie onto your back.

So, you'll lie onto your back, and your body will feel like, ooh, something has happened. You'll lift the right knee into the chest, right. The Wind Removing Pose. You'll put that right thigh into your right side of the ribs. Ascending colon here, back of the head presses into the mat.

Maybe you can feel your right elbow pressing into the floor. So, you're just breathing here and feeling, and I like to flex my left foot, so that whole left side feels a nice long line of energy. And then, gently release, shift. If you wanna stay with the theme of switching the thumbs, you can do that as well. When you grab hold of the left shin, flex the right foot, and then pull.

And so, as you pull, now you're on the opposite side. It's the descending colon, and you just get to really feel how the thigh presses into the body, and you breathe. And if the elbows are off the mat, that's okay if you want 'em snuggled in. Lengthen, flex the right foot. It's easy to space out there.

(breathes deeply) Excellent, then slide the right knee in, and just give yourself a hug. You've done a great job. Let your toes touch the floor, and just gently Windshield Wipe the knees to the left and the right. The knees to the left and the right. As always, if there's a pose that you really need right now, that you feel like is gonna support you unraveling, go ahead and do that.

If not, extend the legs, close the eyes, and enjoy the stillness. (breathes deeply) So, as you feel the warmth from the inner rays and the sunshine of the core and your spirit, begin to deepen your breath, and bring your attention back to your vessel and moving it. All the wrists, ankles, the limbs, you know, inward and outward. Slide to the knees in. Arms can reach over.

You come to the right, so you come to the right 'cause it's less pressure on the heart, since the heart resides left of center. (breathes deeply) And then slowly up to seated. Eyes can remain closed as you find your way back. Maybe, put a hand on the belly and the back, and then bring that energy in to hands together. Exhale, releasing the breath.

Inhale. (om chants) May we appreciate a strong center and a clear bright light within us. Namaste.


Elaine Fox
1 person likes this.
I really liked the pace of this. Calming and strengthening! Just enough core work that I felt it but didn't overdo. Perfect!
Kate M
1 person likes this.
You are a gifted teacher. This sequence was a lovely balanced combination of core awakening and strengthening. Thank you!
Elizabeth D
1 person likes this.
Loved the Rumi quote. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
WOW! Amazing Thanks
Suzanne L
1 person likes this.
Hi Bex, I felt like I ws resent in one of your classes! Recognized some of the work we did in class in early August. So glad you are available in this medium so I can study with you when not in CA..
Suzanne L
1 person likes this.
Hi Bex, Hope you have a peaceful and fruitful day!
Robyn C
1 person likes this.
Hi Bex I love that i can practice with you at home as I missed my Monday with you today!
Thank you xoxoxox
Robin J
1 person likes this.
What a wonderful fun practice thanks bex
Joan J
2 people like this.
I appreciate the gentle core work, it doesn't hurt my lower back. Always enjoy the meditation. Grateful for your teaching 🌾
Robin J
1 person likes this.
Core joy thanks
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