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Season 2 - Episode 5

Balancing at the Wall

15 min - Practice
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Description

With the support of a wall, Alana demonstrates simple and effective techniques to help stabilize the hips and strengthen the legs in preparation for Vrksasana (Tree Pose). The practice closes with a standing twist variation with a chair.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Wall, Block

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(waves softly crashing on the sand) Hello and welcome back. So we'll begin with some balancing at the wall with a block. A foam or a wood block is fine for this. So the first step is to, you might bring the hand on the wall, and then we're gonna start with our right foot. So stepping up on the block.

And, for me, my foot fits perfectly on the block. But you might find your toes hang off the block, which is fine. So stepping down onto the block. Step down, press through the foot, and then let the spine lengthen. So this is quite stabilizing on the hips, strengthening on the legs.

And then finding a spot to focus on. And then release. And we'll do this about five times, pressing down through the foot, lifting up, being aware of core muscles, the belly as you lengthen. And then bend the knee and step down. And continue step, press, and you're gonna firm the standing leg as you lengthen up through the spine.

And this is a lot more work than it seems. And finding a spot to focus on, and then release. We'll do this a few more times. You might find that keeping your hand on the wall feels best for your balance today, or you might play with letting the hands, the fingers lift off the wall. Bend and release.

We'll do that two more times. Step, press, hold, again lengthening. Notice if you can soften a bit more through the face and the jaw. This is quite a bit of work on my standing leg right now. And then release.

And the last time we're gonna hold, step, press, lift. And as you hold the hand might stay on the wall. You might play with reaching one arm up towards the sky. And depending on your balance today, you might play with reaching both arms up, lengthening, breathing, and then release. And then standing on both feet and just see how you feel.

And see what you notice, observe any sensation through the legs down through the feet. Good, and then find your way to the second side. So might turn and bring the opposite shoulder to the wall. I'm just gonna move the block off to the side. And then as you're ready you'll step up with the left foot.

Step, press, lift, and then lengthen. And you'll feel the left side engage here, lengthening up, finding a spot to focus on. Notice if your shoulders are up here, softening the shoulders, and being mindful and aware of the core, of the belly. And then bend the left knee and release. And about five times step, press, and lift.

And then release. And lift. As you press down lengthening, breathing, and your fingers might get light from the wall as you balance. And then release, and about three more times. And release.

Step, press, lift, you can firm the standing leg. Letting the heart feel bright, the shoulders soften down the back, and release. Do it one more time, pressing down, lifting, lengthening. And you might begin to bring one arm up towards the sky. And, again, depending on your balance and how you're feeling today, you might play with reaching both arms up, breathing, lifting, finding your wall, and then stepping down.

It's a lot of work (laughs). And then, again, relax the effort, stand on both legs in Tadasana, and drop your awareness, your attention down into your feet. And as you bring your attention down onto your feet, can you get a sense of dropping down below the feet? Below the mat. As you lengthen up through the spine.

Okay, and so this balancing work is in preparation for a Tree Pose at the walls, so showing a variation. So I'll just bring my block off to the side. And props are wonderful but they can become obstacles. (laughs) So just bringing that off to the side. And then the same action of bringing the right foot forward, just like it is on the block.

And then you might bring your hands on the wall, and just begin to rock your weight forward and back. So you're feeling the bottom of your foot, and then as you're ready, spreading the toes ground for the standing leg, and moving towards Tree Pose, a variation. So allowing your left hip to open. And here you might bring the heel towards the inner ankle, the calf, or the upper thigh. And that same action with the block of pressing down, lengthening up through the spine, you feel that work in the standing leg, awareness on the core.

You might keep one hand at the wall, one hand at the heart. Or reach one arm up towards the sky. And depending on your balance, you might play with reaching both arms up. Breathing. And then as you're ready release.

And taking a moment, you might shake it out. (exhales loudly) And then finding your way to the other side. So stepping the left foot forward and rocking your weight forward and back. Remembering that feeling of the block underneath you. And then you'll step, ground through the standing leg, spread the toes, let the right hip open.

And as you approach Tree Pose, the heel towards the inner ankle, or the calf, or the upper thigh. And then as you begin to lengthen up through the spine, you might bring one hand at the heart, one hand on the wall. Perhaps one arm up towards the sky, or both arms up. And because this is a different side, it might be different on this side. So the wiggling, the wobbling is strengthening on the ankle muscles, the foot muscles.

So as you find a spot to focus on, allowing the movement, the energy in the body to happen. Breathing. And knowing that the wall is there for support. And then as you're ready, releasing, and shaking it out. And from here you might find a wall dog, a right angle at the wall, or simply pause in Tadasana.

So we'll close this standing sequence with a standing twist with a chair. So bringing the back of your chair to your wall, you're gonna stand behind your chair. And then bring your right foot on the chair, so the leg closest to the wall. And then find that right angle with the knee and the ankle. And then make sure there's a line from the hip down to the foot, so it's stacking.

And then I'm gonna bring my right hand to the wall. Take a moment to lengthen up through the spine. And then begin to twist towards the wall. So I'm gonna bring my left hand on my right knee as I begin to twist towards the wall. And you might keep the standing knee slightly bent, and that right hand on the wall for support, as well as to press in and help me turn towards the wall.

And my shoulders are drawing down the back and engaging the belly a bit. And then exhale and softening the belly as I twist. And looking over that right shoulder. And you might keep your left hand on your knee there. You might prefer to bring both hands to the wall as you twist.

The emphasis here is to really lengthen as you exhale and twist. And a few full breaths here. And notice what's happening in your hips as you twist towards the wall. Usually that right hip will wanna draw back. And then lifting my heart towards the wall.

Breathing. And then as you're ready, you'll slowly unwind. And then releasing the right foot down. And that's a lot of work on the standing leg. (Exhales loudly) And then I'll turn, we'll find the other side.

So walking around your chair. And I'm gonna bring my left foot up on the chair, so the leg closest to the wall. Ground through the standing leg, lengthening up through the spine, I'll inhale. And then exhale twisting towards the wall. I'll bring the right hand around the left thigh, the left knee.

Again this left hand is just there for support. And then eventually I'm pressing that left palm into the wall as I twist towards the wall. And lengthening, lifting, and then exhale, softening the belly, twisting towards the wall. I feel quite a bit of work happening through the belly and the standing leg. And then a nice stretch through the shoulder blades.

And you might keep that right hand on the knee, or you might prefer to bring the hand to the wall as you lengthen. Breathing. And finding a place where your head feels connected. So I'm beginning to feel the heat rise here. It's quite a workout.

Okay, and then as you're ready, you'll slowly unwind. And taking a moment before you release that left leg down. And then release. (exhales loudly) And now from here you might continue to find a chair dog or a wall dog variation. And let us know how it goes.

Thank you for joining. Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Thanks for using a block & chair. I have these props at the community club where I teach so will teach this tomorrow. Thanks, lorraine

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