Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Feel Better Fast

25 min - Practice


Drop into your practice with ease. Alana offers a gentle soothing practice designed to find ease in the body and opening in the joints.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Block (2)

About This Video


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(waves crashing) Welcome back. So this practice is designed to help us feel better quickly. One of the hardest things for me about Yoga, is just starting, especially first thing in the morning, you might wake up feeling dull, achy, stiff and kind of like (groans) one foot in front of the other. So, this is a nice way to kind of ease into your practice. So we'll start Supine, if you have a bolster, great, if not you can fold a blanket or two in half and stack them on top of each other.

But it's designed to really kind of drop us into our practice, work with the breath, circle the wrists and the ankles, so bring some movement into the joints and then we'll make our way up towards standing, kind of sneaking some standing postures and then come back down. So join me on your back, again if you have a bolster there, or a stack of blankets, bring them right up against your sacrum, and then roll onto your back. So your sit bones are on the floor, and you might actually have a blanket under your head for support, if you like that. And let's start with the feet on the floor, so let the knees rest together, and then actually press down through the feet, lift the hips enough to draw the tailbone under, so we're just resetting the lower back and the pelvis, the knees resting together. Just take a few moments here, drawing your shoulders down your back, let the back of the neck lengthen, and you might release your arms.

Now bring your attention towards your breath. (exhales softly) And notice what happens when you do this. (breathes softly) Now depending on your back and your hips this morning, you might keep your knees where they are, you might choose to bring the soles of your feet together, let the knees go wide, or it might just feel nice to simply extend your legs here. And we'll just spend a few more moments just observing our breath, (breathes softly) and notice where you can soften a bit through the face. (exhales softly) From here circling our wrists, so this one of my favorite things to do first thing in the morning, like before I get out of bed, just circle the wrists, and then in the opposite direction, nice, good.

And then reaching the arms overhead. Again if it feels better on your back, you might bend the knees and keep your feet on the floor. (breathes softly) Take an inhale, lengthen and then as you exhale, bend the elbows and let the shoulders open. So we're finding like a variation of Cactus Arms here. Let your rib cage soften, so let the ribs soften into the body, back of the neck is lengthening.

For me, I feel a nice open stretch, through the chest, through the collar bones, through the shoulders. I am gonna let my knees rest together here, relaxing through the low back. And take a few full breaths in this shape. (breathes softly) And for me I notice that it doesn't take much to feel better, but the challenge is just simply beginning. (breathes softly) Few more moments, with your breath.

And then extending the legs, if the knees are bent. Okay, we're gonna circle the wrists again, and then circle the ankles too. So just nice and easy. And it might feel nice to stretch the arms overhead, lengthening the spine, and then the opposite direction, circling the ankles and the wrists. (breathes loudly) Nice full inhale and full exhale.

As you're ready, bend the knees, and then roll to your side off the bolster, push your bolster off to the side or your blanket, and then come onto your back, make your way there, and then stretch your arms overhead with the knees bent, lengthen through the spine. Allow for an inhale, exhale as the knees fall over to the right, easy Windshield Wipers, inhale, knees up, exhale, to the left, inhale, knees up, exhale, over to the right. Moving with the breath. (breathes softly) Few more rounds like this, just waking up the hips, lengthening the side body. As your knees come over to the right, keep the knees to the right, and begin to actively stretch and lengthen through the left side.

So reaching up through the fingers, lengthen through the left thigh. Allow for an inhale, (inhales softly) and exhale. (exhales softly) Relax the face and the jaw. (breathes softly) Okay, as you inhale, the knees come up, exhale, over to the left, begin to actively stretch and reach up through your right arm, down through the right side, down through that right thigh. Take a full breath here, (breathes softly) breathing into the rib cage, and then exhale and, (breathes softly) soften.

(breathes softly) Nice, as you're ready inhale as the knees come up. Hug the knees into the chest. And then rolling to your side, pressing your way up, we'll make our way onto all fours, coming into a Tabletop, spreading the fingers wide apart. And then begin to extend and reach back through the left foot. And then Rock'n'Roll so we're stretching the toes and the ankle here.

So you're gonna reach back through the heel, lean the weight back, shift the weight back, and then press through the ball of the foot, and rock forward. A few times like this, stretching the hamstrings, the calf, the heel, little lift through the belly. Inhale, and then exhale. Release the left knee and extend and reach through your right heel, (inhales softly) lengthening through the spine, and then the rocking forward and back, spreading the toes, reaching through the heel, and then up onto the ball of the foot and the toes. And then lengthening, and then release.

Let's come into a Side Plank Variation. So bring the right hand, spread the fingers wide, stack the shoulder over the wrist, extend back through your left foot, pivot on the outer left edge of your foot, and as you transfer the weight into your right hand, begin to left the left arm up towards the sky and that right foot, that right knee is like a kickstand, and then reaching from your heart into both hands, rooting through the outer edge of your left foot, through the top of the head, and then circle the left arm down, by your back foot, in front of your face, and overhead. Feel that nice long length through the left side body and then lengthen through the underside of it, drawing the right shoulder blade down the back. Take a few full breaths into the left side. (breathes loudly) And as you do this, find a place where the neck and the head feel good and feel comfortable.

Good, exhale, release the hand down. Come back to onto all fours, and then second side, spreading the left fingers, stack the shoulder over the wrist, extend back through your left foot, extend back through your right foot, pivot onto the outer right edge and then lift the right arm up towards the sky. Again reaching from the heart into both hands, and then circle the right arm in front of the face and then towards the top of the mat, root, reach, lengthen, and breathe here. (breathes loudly) One more inhale, exhale, release the right arm down, come back onto all fours. We'll take a few rounds of Cat-Cow.

Inhale arching, and then exhale, curl, and get round through the spine, draw the navel up, release the head, and then inhale, arching, and then exhale, curl, and get round. (breathes loudly) Inhale, arching. Next time as you curl and get round, tuck your toes under, draw the belly up towards the spine and then play with pressing your hips back towards your heels. You can offer a nice stretch through the mid-lower back. Release the chin towards the chest.

(exhales softly) Good, come back onto all fours. In preparation for Plank, spread the fingers wide, and draw the shoulders down in the back. Press down through your palms, tuck the toes, walk your feet back into Plank, and pause and Plank for a few breaths. Stay active through your legs, lifting up through the belly, long through the neck, inhale, exhale, press back, Downward-Facing Dog, breathing, and walk it off a little bit, as you spread the fingers, walking it off, bending one knee, bending the other knee, can let the hips move here, okay, come up high up onto the balls of your feet, and then release the heels, the calves, good. And then from here, we'll walk the hands and feet towards each other, coming into a standing forward fold, bend the knees, and then let the head and spine release.

And you might gently nod the head yes and no. Just keeping it soft through the back of the neck. (breathes loudly) Right away here, there's like a dull achy stretch, through the spine and the back of the legs usually. And then when you're ready, rolling up to standing, spread the toes, chin into your chest, and then keep the chin is as you slowly roll up, nice and slow, taking your time, keeping the chin in, feeling the heart, the shoulders, and your head. Bring your feet about hip distance, a little wider and then we'll inhale, squeeze the shoulders up and then exhale, drop the shoulders down the back, and inhale, squeeze the shoulders up, exhale and drop the shoulders down.

One more time. Roll the shoulders up, exhale and drop. And just nice and easy shoulder rolls, rolling the shoulders back, and up, and then the opposite direction, back and forward, good. And then bring the hands onto the shoulders, and then from here beginning to create some circles with the elbows. Kind of circling the elbows, the shoulders, and feeling that through the collar bones, through the chest, and then the opposite direction.

Oomph. Good, and then release the arms. Again inhale, squeeze the shoulders up, and then exhale, let it drop. And then we'll shake out and swing the right arm. So stepping the left foot forward, the right foot back, and just begin to let your right arm sway forward and back.

Then feeling your weight forward and back on the front foot, the back foot, just nice and easy here. And then leaning forward, lengthening through the right arm, and then releasing it back perhaps, lengthening and then nice and easy, you might do this a few times, just waking up the shoulder, the ribs, the side body. Let it feel easy and natural. You might move in the opposite direction, which might feel slightly curious. Moving back and forth, nice and easy up through the neck.

(moans quietly) One more time. And then just shake it out. That feels really nice (soft chuckle) Okay, right foot forward, left foot back, and then nice and kind of casual here, swinging the arm forward and back. Again depending on what you're working with, and this shoulder, it might feel slightly different. Eventually you might lean forward, lift up, lengthen, and then perhaps release it behind.

And a few times like this, just waking up the shoulder, the ribs, the side body, up through the neck. (breathes loudly) And then perhaps reverse. Back and forward, back and forward, back and forward. One more time. (moans quietly) And then release, (soft chuckle) shake it out.

Okay, and then bring the feet underneath the hips, bring the arms along your side. We'll just take a moment here to find Tadasana, our mountain pose, spreading our toes, let the palms open, lengthening up through the spine. Shoulders softening down the back. (breathes loudly) Now let the palms face in towards the body, inhale, reach the arms up, draw the shoulder blades down the back, ground through your feet, inhale, reach the arms up towards the sky. Go down through the feet, up through the arms, reaching.

Again if your lower back is compressed, find this action of drawing the ribs in, let the tailbone reach towards your heels, breathe here. (breathes loudly) Now strong through the legs, we'll find Chair Pose, bend the knees a lot, sink down into your heels, tilt forward, find a nice long line for the back, body through the neck, and then mindful of drawing the navel towards the spine, active through the legs, inner thighs drawing towards each other, generating some heat here, breathing. Exhale, press down through feet, rise up to lengthen, and exhale and release. Hands on the legs. Bend the knees, nice and easy forward fold, (moans quietly) head dangles, arms dangle, again you might bend the knees, you might have no choice but to bend your knees.

Release the head, and then nice and easy we're gonna roll up. Chin to the chest is key, nice and slow, stacking the bones, heart, shoulders, head. Take a moment to pause here, drop your attention back down into your feet. We'll find that one more time. As you're ready, palms into the body, inhale, reach the arms up, draw the shoulders down the back.

Inhale, the arms up over the top of the head, go down through the feet, up through the arms, lengthen. You might lift the gaze, lift the heart, breathe wide. (breathes loudly) From here as you're ready, feel that support, that stability for your legs, through your knees, as you find Chair Pose, tilt forward. Maintain that length as you draw the thighs in towards each other. Draw the navel back, sink a little lower perhaps, breathing.

Inhale, exhale, press down through the feet, rise up to lengthen, and then exhale, and release. Take a moment here. (breathes softly) And then bring the hands together, moving with our breath we'll find three Half Sun Salutations. (breathes softly) Feel the rise of the inhale, as you exhale press the hands towards the floor. As you inhale, circle the arms towards the sky, reaching, and then exhale, hands together at the heart.

Two more times. Breathing in, (breathes softly) exhale and, (exhales loudly) press long exhale. Inhale, circle the palms, lengthen. Exhale, hands together at the heart. One more, breathing in, exhale, (breathes softly) pressing down.

Inhale, rise up, and exhale hands together. And then releasing the arms. From here we'll come into Malasana Squat Pose. And lately, I've been doing it with two blocks. So if you have two blocks, great, if not, you can use one.

I'll just demonstrate. Squat Pose. Okay? So the blocks simply offer support, taking some of the pressure out of the knees. So, from Squat Pose you might hang here, this is a really nice, for me it's a really nice release in the low back and the hips, especially with the support.

If it's curious, interesting you might release the hands, and like walk the hands a bit forward, feeling that rounding through the back. If you do that, let the head fully release here, let the neck fully release and take a few breaths into the back body, so like into your back. (breathes softly) If you're rounded forward, find a good way to come up. Now I'd like to demonstrate, if you're working with one block, you can prop your block up at the highest setting. Alright, this is another way.

Two blocks is just, offers a little more stability, but this is another great way. You can also lower it to the second side as well. Or chose or play with removing the blocks and finding a squat here, which can be challenging on the knees and the hips again, so listen to what feels right for you. (breathes softly) We're gonna make our way to the floor, so in your own way, I'm gonna reach my hands back and come onto my sit bones, you might find another way to come onto your back. Draw your knees into your chest.

And then just nice and easy rock from side to side and then releasing the feet, reach the arms overhead. Again, we'll open and we'll close with the Windshield Wipers. Inhale, exhale, knees to the side. Inhale, knees up, exhale, over to the other side, so this just offers a nice release through the hips, after Malasana, (breathes loudly) Inhale, the knees up, exhale, to the side. Inhale, knees up, exhale, over to the other side.

Just a few more rounds, nice and easy. Relaxing through the face. (breathes loudly) Nice, coming back at the center. Now from here, you might choose to take a Shavasana and if you have a bolster, bring one underneath your knees for support, or join me up towards the seat, rolling to a side, and then pressing your way up. You might sit up on your bolster or your blanket.

I'm just finding a comfortable position to sit in, just a few moments here. (breathes loudly) Softening the shoulders down the back. (breathes softly) And then joining your hands together, Namaste.


Yasmin V
I can't see any of videos
Sarah Beston
Hi Yasmin, Sorry to hear about your technical difficulties. I will follow-up with an email to see if we can troubleshoot. Thanks.
Yasmin V
Sorry it was my phone with thee problem, I love this video gave lots of energy. Thanks :)
Alana Mitnick
Hi Yasmin, I am so delighted to be practicing together. Thank you for being here! Best wishes, Alana
Marisa W
This was a great sequence for me today. I have head cold and couldn't handle anything too active. Even good morning yoga would be too much for me today! This perfectly stretched out my body, gently with a little heat. Thanks Alana!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Marisa, I am so glad to hear that this practice worked for you. I hope you are feeling better. Please keep me post. :) Best wishes, Alana
Catherine R
Great practice for this dark winter morning....after hitting the snooze button several times I was still able to make time for this and I DO feel better!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Catherine, I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this practice and feel better. It's amazing how every bit of yoga makes a difference. :) Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and new year- as we move from the darkness into the light. ~ Alana
Gail Thompson
This lovely gentle class was just right as I was home recovering from a cold. Alana is a lovely teacher.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Gail, I hope you are feeling better. I am so happy you are here on Yoga Anytime and to know that we can practicing together. Wishing you well, Alana
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