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Season 4 - Episode 2

Awakening Flow

35 min - Practice


Awaken with a sense of gratitude. Alana leads us through a Vinyasa sequence of Surya Namaskar A and B (Sun Salutations A and B) variations, focusing on the intricate details during the flow. You will feel energized and awake.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(waves crashing gently) Welcome back. So in this practice we're going to move through Surya Namaskar A and B variations. I wanna really emphasize cleaning it up a bit. So, oftentimes the temptation is to kind of move quickly through sun salutations. And over time, as you're moving through sun salutations, the shoulders can dip forward, the back can feel cranky so we're gonna really play with and emphasize finding strength through the core and integrity through the shoulders.

Okay, so join me at the top of your mat and we'll just being in malasana a few times. So, at the top of your mat, begin to let your knees bend, feet wide. And depending upon the time of day it is, or your hips or your knees or your heels they might be off the floor, your heels, or grounded. And as you bend your knees, take a moment to pause. Soften what you can, relax the face and the jaw.

The hands might stay in front of you, the hands might come together towards the heart sinking down into the hips. (breathes deeply) Taking a breathe here. And for malasana uttanasana, extending the legs, you might toe heel the feet slightly closer and in this first forward fold, soften the back of the knees and let the head release. Let the arms fully release here. Taking a moment, you might nod your head gently yes and no.

Keep the back of the neck the base of the skull spacious. And then one more time you might toe heel the feet slightly wider for malasana squat pose sinking down into the hips. This second one might feel slightly different than the first. Again, depending on what time of the day it is for me, usually in the morning my hips are my sticky, my back is a bit more tight. In the evening a little more open and free.

Taking a breathe here, exhale, soften the jaw, let the hips sink down. (exhales) Wide through the lower back. And then as you're ready you might toe heel your feet under your hips. Again, bend the knees and release the head. Hands might find the forearms.

Let the elbows get heavy and take a few breathes here spreading your toes. Most likely there's a dull achey stretch through the back of the legs through the spine through your neck. Last few moments here allow your torso to get heavy. Working with gravity as you roll the weight into the balls of your feet. Head heavy.

Elbows heavy. Beautiful, release the arms, soften the knees, keep your chin into your chest, and then slowly roll up to standing, stacking the bones taking your time keeping the chin in. Good, and then let the heart lift and draw the shoulders down the back, taking a moment here to pause, feel your feet. Allow for an inhale. And exhale, (exhales) settling.

And then bringing your feet underneath your hips taking a moment to spread your toes wide apart and let's reach our arms out in front of us. Now, flex your fingers toward your face. Reach through your heels. Heels of your hands. Spread your toes.

And begin to bend the elbows bring the hands towards you as if you are lowering down into cobra or chaturanga. Draw the elbows into the body, into the ribs, and then draw the shoulder blades down the back. Again, the tendency is to do this as we lower. But can you feel that work that integrity through the back body and then let your tailbone descend toward your heels as you draw the navel in toward the spine. Good, inhale wide through the collarbones and then exhale press the hands and release the arms.

And shake it out a little bit, nice. And then arms along your sides taking a moment as you spread the toes begin to awaken the bandhas, so mula bandha, lifting up on the floor of the pelvis a bit. Uddiyana bandha, drawing the navel towards the spine. All right so as you awaken these inner muscles it creates in a sense this inner girdle of support. Like I've never worn a girdle but I have worn a corset in ballet so know that feeling of support inside as you feel that inner lift and then meet that lift with your breath.

So beginning to widen the breath into the ribcage. (inhales) stretching the lungs. (exhales) This ujjayi, this ocean breath. (inhales and exhales) Few more moments here. Maintain that lift, that awareness out through the pelvic floor.

Navel towards the spine. Tailbone descending toward the heels and the base of the skull or the back of the neck widening. (inhales and exhales) (inhales) And moving with our breath Surya Namaskar A as you're ready inhale reach the arms up, look up towards your hands, lengthen, and then exhale navel to the spine releasing the head, releasing the arms, finding uttanasana. As you inhale half arch, lengthen your spine. Let the shoulder blades draw down your back.

Exhale bend your knees step your right foot back into a lunge. Let the left knee bend. And we'll slow this down a little bit. Take a moment to pause here in the lunge. Root through your fingers.

And then step your left foot back. Take a moment to pause here in plank. Three full breaths drawing the shoulder blades down the back navel towards the spine the legs are super active here. Lower the knees shoulder blades down the back lower on to your belly for cobra. Inhale press your way up let the heart lift.

Exhale release. Tuck the toes come on to the knees and press back into your downward facing dog. (exhales) Walk your dog off a little bit. Then we'll take three full breathes here. Spreading the fingers reaching the hips away from the hands and then gazing toward your belly button so the back of the neck is soft and long.

It might feel nice to come up high on the balls of your feet. And then let the calves reach toward the heels, heels towards the floor. (inhales and exhales) As you're ready step the right foot forward between your hands. Let the left foot follow. Inhale half arch lengthen your spine and then exhale forward fold, uttanasana nice and easy.

Strong legs inhale circle the arms up to the sky. Take a moment to lengthen as you look up and exhale release the arms. We'll find one more round like that. Inhale bandha circle the arms up lengthen, exhale, forward fold, releasing the head and the arms. Inhale half arch, lengthen the spine.

Exhale bend the knees. This time we'll step the left foot back. Right knee bends, take a moment to pause here. Reach back through the heel lengthen forward through your heart. Plant the hands.

Step back into plant. Take a moment to pause here in plank. Back through the heel forward through the heart rooting through the fingers. Long through the neck. Lower the knees and lower all the way down.

Shoulder blades down the back inhale press up to cobra lift up the heart. Exhale release. Tuck the toes come up to the knees again. And then press back downward facing dog. Three to five breathes here.

(inhaling and exhaling) As you're ready step your left foot forward between the hands. Right foot follows. Inhale half arch lengthen. Exhale forward fold. Strong legs and back.

Inhale circle the arms up. Reach, lengthen, look up. Exhale, release the arms. From here Surya Namaskar B variations. As you're ready utkatasanas.

So, bandhas. Bend the knees, inhale, look up. Enable the spine exhale forward fold. Diving forward and in. Inhale half arch, lengthen.

As you exhale step back into plank. Take a moment to pause in plank. Now, you might lower on to your knees or lower through chaturanga. Keeping the shoulder blades down the back, navel toward the spine lowering down. Inhale to cobra or upward facing dog.

Exhale downward facing dog. From here, pivot on to the outer left edge of the foot. Inhale step the right foot forward between the hands. Reach the arms up towards the sky for Warrior 1, Virabhadrasana I. Good, release the arms.

We're gonna find a high lunge variation. So finding a spot to focus on come on to the ball of the back foot. Reach the fingers toward the toes toward the floor and then draw the shoulder blades down the back. Lifting up on the pelvic floor, breathing. Inhale, exhale, draw the heart forward, hands plant.

Step back into plank. Lower onto the knees or through chaturanga dandasana. Inhale to cobra or upward dog. Wide through the collarbones. Exhale downward facing dog.

Pivot onto the outer right edge. Step the left foot forward between the hands. Strong back, leg, as you inhale, rise up Warrior I. Singing down into your hip. Drawing the left hip back, the right hip forward as you gaze up.

Exhale release the arms with balance spin onto the ball of your back foot find a high lunge and then kind of pulse so you're lowering your hips reaching your fingers towards the floor. And the shoulder blades are drawing down the back strong through the legs, strong through the belly. And then heart releases, hands release. Step back into plank, lower onto your knees. Or through chaturanga.

Inhale to cobra or upward dog. Take a moment to pose if you're in upward dog, wide. Exhale, downward dog. Let's take five breathes in downward dog. Allowing any movement here.

(inhaling and exhaling) Find the fullness of your breath again softening through the back of the neck. Reaching your hips away from your hands. (inhaling and exhaling) After five breathes walk or hop forward between your hands. Inhale half arch to lengthen the spine. Exhale forward fold, uttanasana.

Bend the knees for utkatasana strong legs thighs towards each other inhale lift up look up. Exhale press down through the feet. Stand on your own feet. Release the arms. We'll find that again together.

Taking a moment to pause here to draw your awareness down into your feet. As you draw your awareness down into your feet make a commitment with the earth. Feeling the stability with your legs. Awakening the pelvic floor. Navel towards the spine.

Ujjayi breath. Together as you're ready bend the knees utkatasana inhale reach the arms up gaze up. Exhale forward fall releasing the head and the arms. Inhale half arch lengthen. Exhale jump or step back into plank.

Again, from plank you might lower onto the knees or lower through chaturanga keeping the elbows in the shoulders down the back. Inhale to your cobra or upward dog. Take a moment to pause, stretch the front of the spine. Exhale downward facing dog. Pivot onto the outer left edge, step the right foot forward between your hands.

On your inhale rise up to Warrior I. Take a moment to pause here. Little pulse as you sink down. Again release the arms, spin onto the ball of your back foot, find your high lunge. Little pulse here up and down.

This time from here we're gonna bring our hands down to the floor and lower our left knee finding a low lunge. But first inhale draw your hips back. Come on to your right heel. Exhale bend the front knee and sink in. Again, inhale draw your hips back, ardha uttanasana.

Exhale bend the front knee and sink in. One more time. (inhales) Exhale sink in. And then inhale reach the arms up towards the sky. We're gonna hook the thumbs.

So hook the thumbs and then begin to go down as you go up drawing the scapula the shoulder blades down the back as you lengthen the front of the spine. You might look up, breath wide into the rib cage. (inhales and exhales) Inhale exhale release the hands. Tuck the back toes, lift the back leg, plant the hands, step back into plank. From plank lower on to the knees or chaturanga.

Inhale to cobra or upward dog. Take a moment to pause lengthen stretch the front of the body. Exhale press back to downward facing dog. From downward dog, pivot onto the outer right edge. Step the left foot forward between the hands.

Inhale rise up. Strong back leg, gazing up. And then releasing the hands. Releasing the arms. Spin onto the ball of the back foot find the high lunge.

Find that support, that stability in your legs. Again you might play here with pulsing or bouncing. Really feeling that support, reaching the hands towards the floor. And then bring the hands to the ground around the front foot, lower the right knee. Inhale draw your hips back, come on to your left heel.

Exhale bend the front knee and sink in. Inhale draw your hips back. Exhale sink in. Inhale draw your hips back again. Exhale sink in.

As you're ready exhale reach your arms up towards the sky. Hook the opposite thumb go down to go up, lengthen. Again as you find that length through the front body you might find a slight back bed. Maintain that integrity, that lift, up through the pelvic floor. Navel toward the spine, breathing.

Inhale (inhales), exhale and release. Tuck the back toes. Lift your back leg. Step back into plank. Again, you might lower the knees.

Or lower down chaturanga. This time let's go all the way down to our belly. Tops of the feet on the floor. Tops of the hands on the floor. Inhale locust rise up, let the heart lift.

Let the legs lift. And then reach the fingers towards the toes as you draw the back body towards the spine and lift. Inhale, exhale release. Slide the palms underneath your shoulders, draw the elbows in, and from here we're gonna press our way up to upward facing dog. Take a moment to pause on the top of the feet.

Wide through the collarbones. Exhale downward facing dog. Five full breaths here. Spreading the fingers. Feel the length through your spine.

Soft and long for the back of your neck. (inhaling and exhaling) After five breaths, hop or walk the feet towards the hands. Inhale half arch lengthen the spine. Exhale forward fold, releasing. Bend the knees for utkatasana strong legs.

Inhale lift up, look up, lengthen and then exhale press down through the feet, release the arms. Again take a moment to pause (exhales). Take a moment to pause and observe, notice how you feel. From here we'll jump our feet underneath the hips. Inhale lengthen the spine and exhale forward fold.

Lift the left foot slide the left palm underneath the foot. Lift the right foot slide the right palm underneath the right foot. Okay inhale to lengthen the spine, draw the shoulder blades down the back and the exhale forward fold, padahastasana. Draw the shoulders blades up the back and as you fully release the neck you might play with rolling the weight into the balls of your feet. This can really be a nice wrist therapy after holding plank and chaturanga, breathing.

(inhaling and exhaling) Good, inhale, keep the hands where they are, keep the feet where they are, half arch lengthen the spine, look up and then let's get out of here. Release, let go. Soften the knees. Bring the hands on the hips. Inhale come all the way up to standing.

And then let's jump our feet together. Good, from here bring the feet wide again, we'll come into malasana like we did in the beginning, squat pose. And as you approach malasana again your heels might be lifted or grounded on the floor just depending on your body. You might keep the hands right where they are. Maybe they're on the knees, the thighs, or out in front of you, or hands together at the heart as you sink into the hips.

And as you ground a bit through the hips and the sit bones feel the length up through the spine. Thumbs might press up through the heart. Long through the back of the neck. Little softer through the face, breathing. (exhaling) From malasana making our way through the earth in whatever fashion you like.

I'm gonna release my hands come on to my sit bones. You might do the same or find another way. And let's come into baddha konasana from here bringing the souls of the feet together, knees wide in a butterfly. And as you kind of wobble into your sit bones, take a moment here to lengthen your spine and we're gonna open our feet out like a book bringing the forearms on to the thighs. Taking a moment to lengthen and then leaning forward.

The head might release. Elbows releasing towards the legs, breathing. Soft through the eyes. (deep breathing) And then as you're ready come on up and release the legs out in front of you. And this is where a blanket might come in handy.

You might choose to bring a blanket underneath your sit bones. And sitting on the edge to create a tilt through the pelvis. And from here, bend the right knee, and then, you might bring your foot into your elbow crease flexing the foot and then cradling your right leg. And I like to rock it a little bit letting the hip open maintaining that length through the spine nice and easy through the face.'s kind of encouraging the hip to gently open.

Good, and then let it release and we'll find janusirsasana A, so that right foot inside of the right thigh. The knee is at about a 90 degree angle. And take a moment here as you begin to lengthen and lean forward you might begin to traction and lengthen your spine and your heart forward. Breathing, and then only as it feels correct you might continue to lengthen the spine twisting towards the left over the leg. You might stay right where you are continue lengthening forward.

It's not so much about bringing your head towards your shin as it is finding this nice quality of length through the spine. And think about lengthening not only the back of your body but the front of your body as well and the head might begin to release towards the foot. (deep breathing) Breathing. Taking one more breath here. Inhale lengthen looking up and then come all the way up.

We're gonna spin and bring the right knee up. Bring the right foot on the floor and come into marichyasana C. Inhale reaching the left arm up and exhale twisting, hugging the right knee. Right hand is behind you either on the floor of the blanket. Inhale to lengthen the spine and then exhale twisting towards the right towards the knee that's bent and then bring a little flex into the left foot, lengthening up through the base of the spine and then softening the belly as you twist through the right shoulder.

Breathing into the shape here. One more breath. And then as you're ready let the gaze come over the left shoulder slowly unwind and release the legs. You can shake them out a little bit. And then second side bring the left knee in.

And then find that external rotation as you bring the foot into the crease of that right elbow, hugging your knee. And you might cradle it and rock from side to side. If you have a tendency to kind of round the spine and do this, find that bit of length as you roll the pelvis forward. This one can be a little awkward. Good, soft through the eyes, and then bring the left foot toward the left inner thigh.

Find that 90 degree angle. Inhale lengthen the spine and you might traction a little bit through the heart. And slowly folding forward. Breathing here. Finding length through the front of the body and if the foot is there you might bring your hands around the foot, you might release the forehead toward the shin.

Just finding an appropriate edge for your and breathing into where you feel it. (deep breathing) And allow the shape, allow the pose to invite you in. Good, inhale lengthen the spine looking up, and then coming back up, bring the left hand around the left knee. Bring the right foot or the left foot underneath you and then inhale reach the right arm up exhale twist toward your left. Right hand wraps around that left thigh.

Left hand behind you. Inhale lengthen and then exhale, twisting. And letting the belly soften here, flexing the right foot, gazing over your shoulder. And breathing into the twist. (deep breathing) Nice, one more inhale.

Exhale release the gaze. Over the right shoulder, unwind, release the left leg. Shake it out a little bit. (deep breathing) And then find your way onto your back. Hug your knees into your chest.

And just allow yourself to rock from side to side, the knees into the chest. And then moving here into happy baby, bringing the hands around the outer edges of your feet, letting the hips open drawing the knees toward the under arms. Back of the neck stays long. You might rock here from side to side. Easy through the face.

Letting the knees get heavy. Nice, inhale, exhale. Gracefully release the legs. And then release into shavasana. Taking a moment here, legs might be extended or you might choose to bend the knees to support your lower back in shavasana.

(deep breathing) Letting your eyes soften into the skull. Letting the back of the body release towards the support of the earth. And drawing your awareness towards your breath. You're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. You might take a few moments as you feel ready to move and transition to stretch and lengthen through the arms and through the legs.

And then drawing your knees into your chest. Rolling to your side, take a moment to pause on your side. Kind of feels nice. When you're ready press your way up. Just allowing yourself to linger in that quality of shavasana as you come up towards a seat.

Finding a comfortable seat. Taking a moment to allow yourself to settle and land. Gently aligning with your breath. Joining the hands together at the heart. Namaste.


Meredith W
This is my favorite class yet! Perfect speed for me, still level 1 but trying hard to improve! I love the extra explanation and the allowance of time to shift to each new pose. Thank you
Alana Mitnick
Hi Meredith, It warms my heart to read your post. I am so glad that you are enjoying this practice and pace. Thank you for being here, and please keep me posted. Enjoy! A
Johanna L
Thank you Alana. I wish you a beautiful day
Alana Mitnick
Hi Johanna, Thank you for your practice! It's beautiful here in Ojai, California..wishing you a lovely day in Sweden! xo
This is the most brilliant class to do whatever your level and however long you have been practising yoga. I shall do this class every now and again to reinforce the correct ways of the most frequent poses we do. Thank you for the reminders and the explanations which we often forget and my shoulders say an extra special thank you !
Alana Mitnick
Good morning, Emfortee! I am so happy to know that we are practicing together. Yoga is a lifelong practice. :) Take care of yourself and enjoy! ~ Alana
Frederic M
Thank you Alana. The pace was perfect for early morning. My mind feels calm and ready to welcome the day to come! :)
Alana Mitnick
Good morning, Frederic! I'm delighted to be practicing together. So happy to know that your mind feels more calm. Your practice is working. ~ Alana
John Jackson
Here practicing with you Alana. I loved this. Thank you. x
Alana Mitnick
Hi John Jackson! So glad you are here! Wishing you a beautiful day. xA
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