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Season 4 - Episode 5

Warrior Flow

40 min - Practice
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Move slowly and consciously with the breath. Alana leads us through a warrior flow to build strength and energy in the body and to start to feel rooted and supported by the earth. You will feel grounded and expansive.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Welcome back. So in this practice we're gonna find a warrior flow. So as we move through Surya Namaskara A and B, I'll invite you to move slowly and consciously with your breath. So we'll explore that together and then we'll move through some standing postures to focus on stability and grounding through the legs to find a bit more freedom up through the spine, some more expression for the body. So let's start by coming to the top of our mat, drawing your awareness down into your feet.

I'm just taking a few moments here to practice feeling grounded. It's much easier said than done, to draw your awareness down into your feet, spread the toes. And then from that sense of grounding, begin to lengthen and lift, awakening the pelvic floor, mula bandha, the base of the spine, the perineum, drawing up through uddiyana bandha navel towards the spine feeling an essence of that inner support as you begin to lift up through the heart, drawing your shoulder blades down your back, away from your ears. And then can you find a bit more length from the back of your heart right up through the base of your skull, the occiput? Drawing the chin slightly in.

And from here beginning to bring your awareness towards your breath deepening the breath. So awakening the pelvic floor mula bandha, uddiyana bndha. And then deepening the breath, finding that ocean breath, the ujjayi breath. As if you were sipping the ocean through the nose. Soft breath perhaps in the back of the throat.

With each breath gently stretching, expanding the lungs. And then from this base of support within moving with our breath, finding a variation of Surya Namaskara A moving at your own pace on your inhale, begin to circle the arms up, lengthen, look up, reach up. Exhale, navel towards the spine nice and slow. Uttanasana forward fold. You might soften the knees here in this first bend and fold.

Inhale half arch lengthen your spine. Draw the shoulder blades down the back. As you exhale bend the knees, plant the hands, step your right foot back into a lunge, let the left knee bend. Step the left leg back. Take a moment to pause here and plank.

You might lower the knees or you might lower down through Chaturanga. Keeping the elbows and shoulder blades down the back, let's meet on our belly for cobra. Tops of the feet on the floor, shoulder blades soften down the back, inhale press up to cobra, heart lifting, wide through the collar bones, elbows into the ribs. And exhale release. Tuck the toes come under the knees and then press back into downward facing dog.

Let's take about two or three breaths here walking it off. You might come high up unto the balls of the feet. And then as you're ready, step the right foot forward between the hands, step the left foot forward. Inhale half arch, lengthen your spine, exhale forward fold Uttanasana. Strong legs, inhale, circle the arms up to the sky, lengthen look up, reach up.

Exhale release the arms. Again, inhale circle the arms up, lengthen lift, exhale forward fold. You might soften the knees, release the head and the arms. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. Exhale bend the knees, step the left foot back.

Bend the right knee and then step the right foot back. Take a moment to pause and plank. Again, you might lower the knees or keep the elbows in, integrity through the shoulders, lower onto the belly. Draw the shoulders down the back. Inhale press up, cobra, heart lifting.

Exhale release. Tuck the toes, come on to the knees, and press back downward facing dog. A few breaths here. Again, you might walk it off. Lengthening the spine.

Gazing towards your bellybutton, towards the navel. Back and the neck lengthens. And then stepping your left foot forward between your hands, right foot follows, inhale half arch, exhale forward fold. Strong legs, inhale reach the arms up. Lengthen lift, look up.

Exhale. Release the arms. Take a moment to pause. Draw your awareness back down into your feet to ground feeling that support and stability. And from here moving through Surya Namaskara B variations.

Spreading the toes as you're ready, inhale bend the knees, Uttanasana, reach the arms, look up. Exhale forward fold, Uttanasana. Inhale half arch lengthen. Exhale bend the knees, step back into plank. Take a moment to pause here and plank.

Again, drawing the shoulder blades down the back. You might lower the knees or lower all the way down onto the belly. Again, inhale to cobra, pressing lifting the heart. Exhale release, moving towards Shalabhasana. Forehead on the floor, fingers towards the toes.

Inhale lift the heart, lift the legs, reaching the fingers towards the toes, soft through the neck, exhale release. Slide the palms under your shoulders, elbows in. From here the transition is to press up towards upward facing dog lifting the heart. Exhale release. Take a few breaths here.

Moving towards Virabhadrasana I Warrior I, pivot on the outer left edge. Step the right foot forward between the hands. Inhale rise up Warrior I. Pressing the hands together, sink down to the hips. As you inhale pulls up lift a little bit.

And then exhale sink in, five breaths. Inhale lift up. Exhale sink in. On your own breathing, on the inhale lift. Exhale sink in.

This is very grounding and stabilizing. Inhale lift, exhale sink in. One more time, inhale lift a little. Exhale sink in. The transition from here, we're gonna extend the right leg towards straight, open the hips to the left to keep the hands where they are and then pivot unto the outer back edge of that right foot now.

Bend the left knee, Warrior I on the second side. So the left knee is bent sinking down. Inhale and lift. Exhale sink in. Inhale lift.

Exhale sink in. Root through the outer edge of your back foot as you lift. Exhale sink in. One more time coming up. And sinking in.

Take a moment to pause here moving towards Warrior II, Virabhadrasana II. Opening it up. So in Warrior II, the right foot is turned in, the left foot is turning out. The left knee is bent and you're sinking down into the hips. Inhale, draw the shoulders up around the ears.

Exhale, soften the shoulders down the back. Can you find a bit of fluidity through the shoulders, through the torso? Drawing the shoulder blades down the back, let the palms open. You might gaze over that right hand, left hand. Letting the sit bones drop towards the floor as you draw the navel towards the spine.

Good, one more breath here and then extend the left leg towards straight. Bring the left foot and the right foot out. We'll find Warrior II on the other side with the right knee bent sinking down into the hips and then facing the front of the mat. Aligning with your breath, sit bones descend. Maybe feel nice to let the palms up the shoulder blades draw down the back breathing.

Again, you might play with inhale coming up a little bit. Exhale sinking in. This is a ton of work in the legs. Where can you soften in the shape? One more breath inhale.

Exhale, we'll release the left hand down. Bring the hands around the outer edge of that right foot and then step back into plank. Take a moment to pause and plank, strong and active. Shoulders over the wrists. Lower the knees or lower down Chaturanga.

Strong through the arms all the way onto the floor. Inhale press up to cobra. Exhale release. Forehead on the floor, tops of the fingers on the floor, inhale rise up Shalabhasana, locust, lift. Exhale, beautiful, release.

Slide the palms under the shoulders, elbows in the transition from here. If you'd like us to press up to upward dog, take a moment to pause, lift the thighs wide through collar bones, stretching the front of the body. Exhale press back downward facing dog. Take about five full breaths here. Reaching your sit bones away from your hands, softening through the back of the neck, letting the thighs press and reach towards the back wall.

Remember the Ujjayi breath. Nice, from here, bend the knees, walk or jump forward between the hands, your choice. Inhale half arch. Exhale forward fold. Bend the knees a lot as we come into Uttanasana.

Inhale reach the arms up. Gaze up, drop the sit bones. Exhale press down through your feet, ground, release the arms slowly and pause. Feel yourself here in this moment. If it's useful draw your attention back into your feet.

Notice the beating, the sensation through the heart, perhaps the heat building in the body, the quality of your breath, the natural alignment of your body in this moment. And then finding a second round together, as you're ready spreading the toes lengthening up through the spine. On the inhale bend the knees for Uttanasana. Inhale, reach the arms up. Lengthen.

Exhale release. Uttanasana. Inhale half arch lengthen the spine, exhale bend the knees, step back into plank. Again, you might lower onto the knees or through Chaturanga. Dundasana all the way under the belly.

Draw the shoulder blades down the back for cobra. Press up through the heart and lift. Wide through the collar bones, exhale release. Forehead on the floor, inhale rise up, Shalabhasana locust. Feet lifting, hands reaching towards the toes.

Back of the neck is soft. Exhale release. Slide the palms underneath the shoulders, elbows in. If you like, press your way up into upward facing dog, pause. Active through the thighs.

Exhale press back downward facing dog. A few breaths here in downward dog. From here we'll find that warrior flow on the other side, pivot on the outer right edge of the foot, as you're ready step the left foot forward between your hands. On your inhale, rise up, Warrior I. Again, bringing the hands together, we're gonna find that pulsing action.

Inhale rise up a little bit, lifting. Exhale, sink down a little bit. Breathing. Inhale rise up, exhale sink down. A few times with your breath, make a commitment with the back foot drawing the left hip back the right hip forward awake through the bundas.

Good and then press into the ball of the left foot, extend the left leg towards straight, open it to the right, and we're gonna pivot on to that back foot, spin it over the back of the mat so the right foot is forward, the left foot is back. And then bending the right knee setting up for Virabhadrasana I, Warrior I, sink in. Inhale, come up a little bit. Exhale sink down a little bit. A few times like this with your breath.

One more time. Inhale rise up, exhale sink down moving towards Warrior II, opening it up to the back of the mat, so the right knee is bent, the left leg is extending. And then reaching the arms out, shoulder blades soften down the back. You might spend the palms up, find that external rotation through your shoulders. Send that right knee back so you're scissoring the legs, let the tailbone descend.

A few more breaths here. Again, maybe that pulsing action. Inhaling lifting, exhaling settling. Inhale lifting, exhale settling. The next time you lift, press into the ball the right foot, turn the right foot and left foot out, Warrior II, last side.

Bending the knee sink down. Inhale, rise up a little bit with a breath. Exhale sink in a little bit with a breath. Four more times like this. Again, can find that scissoring action through your legs, left knee drawing back that internal rotation with the right thigh.

Good, one more time inhale. Exhale release the right arm down. Hands around the front left foot. Step back into plank. Take a moment to pause and plank, shoulders over the wrists.

Lower the knees or lower through Chaturanga. Take a moment to pause here and then release onto your belly for cobra, tops of the feet, shoulders soften. On your inhale, let that inspire the lift up through the heart. Exhale release. Forehead on the forefingers towards the toes.

Inhale lift the heart, lift the legs. Draw the back body up towards the spine, lift, soft through the neck, active through the entire body as you lift. Exhale release. Slide the palms under the shoulders, optional upward dog. Pressing down, lifting up, wide through the collar bones, thighs lifting, front body stretching.

Exhale press back to downward facing dog. Beautiful work. And again, take about four or five breaths here in downward dog, most likely you'll feel some heat through the legs, through the entire body, through the spine and the arms. And suddenly I can feel like downward dog is like an active rest pose. And don't waste a single breath, let it be full, let it be smooth.

From here you might walk your feet towards your hands or play, and it's all about play, bending the knees then jumping forward. Inhale to lengthen your spine. Easy on the neck, exhale forward fold to release. Bend the knees again, Uttanasana, strong legs thighs towards each other. Inhale lift, reach up, lengthen, look up but keep the neck soft.

Exhale press down through the feet. Stand on your own ground. And take a moment to pause here and settle. So from here we're gonna step out feet wide into Parsvakonasana bringing the left and the right foot out. You might know this as side angle pose.

I'm taking a moment to lengthen the arms and then bend the right knee. Have the knee track over the big toe or slightly behind and then bring your right forearm onto your right thigh, or the hand might find the floor or a block and then reach the left arm up and over. Again, feeling that support for your legs, grounding through all edges of your feet and you might gaze up towards the fingers or towards the floor. The most important part of this posture, the most important thing is to breathe in whatever shape you're in. Good, let the inhale carry you up.

Take a moment to pause, right foot and left foot out. And I say that for myself as a reminder to breathe in the shape, bending the left knee. Again, sinking down as if you're approaching your Warrior II, for side angle you might bring your left forearm under your left thigh or left hand on the outer edge of your left foot. Reach the right arm up out and over, and breathing here, most likely one side feels more open, more free than the other. Notice what feels real and true for you here.

Last few moments you might play with rolling the left ribs up, rotating the torso a bit, finding that length. And on the inhale reach for the top right arm, come all the way up. Turn the left foot in. We're gonna revolve it to Parivrtta Parsvakonasana. Okay, so bending the right knee, put on to the outer edge of the back foot.

Inhale the left arm up. And as you exhale, twisting, bring the the elbow across that right thigh, hands pressed together in prayer. Reach back through the left heel, forward through the heart as you soften the belly and twist towards the right. The gaze might look up. Now, draw the belly up towards the spine.

Feel that support through the bundas. With each breath you might deepen the twist on the exhale. Gaze down, inhale, reach with that left arm, come all the way up and then pivot. So right foot is the back foot now. Turns in, left knee is forward.

Bending the left knee, inhale, reach the right arm up. Exhale, twist, bring the right elbow across the left thigh. Inhale to lengthen, exhale, soften the belly and twist. So as you sink down into the twist, draw the belly up towards the spine again. Make that commitment with the outer edge of the back right foot.

Press the palms together into the heart as you twist long through the neck, breathing. On your inhale reach the right arm up, left arm up, turn the toes in, we'll come into a wide leg forward fold. Prasarita Padottanasana. Slide the hands down the legs, release the hands out in front of you, inhale lengthen the spine, and as you exhale bring the head, crown of the head, towards the floor. You might keep the hands under the shoulders or walk the hands back so that the heels of your palms, your hands are in line with the heels of your feet.

And then head towards the floor. You might play with rolling the weight towards the balls of your feet, letting the sit bones lift up towards the sky. About five breaths here. Reaching the shoulders away from your ears, so up the back. Then one more breath here.

As you're ready, strong legs, hands on the hips. Inhale, come all the way up to standing. Take a moment to pause here. Make any adjustments with the legs and the feet, and then reach the arms up to side. We'll find the second variation.

Find the internal rotation, and then interlace the fingers. Inhale, go up through the heart wide, through the collar bones and the throat, and then exhale, fold forward. Head towards the floor, and the reach the arms up out and over. Then you might play with rolling the weight towards the balls of the feet. Gazing towards the navel will help to release the back of the neck.

Good, strong legs on the inhale, reach the arms up and then release. Take a moment, release the arms, good. And then turn the feet the out. And then bend the left knee, and we're gonna sink down coming into Skandasana, and moving from side to side. Inhale coming up, exhale to a side.

Inhale coming up, exhale over to the other side. I'm just moving slowly here with the breath as we move unwind towards the end of our practice. Making any adjustments with the feet. If you feel any pressure or pain in the knee, definitely back it off, you might work slightly higher. You can play working without your hands on the floor.

And then eventually come into center, toe-heel the feet slightly wider than your hips for Malasana, squat pose. Then depending on your body, your Malasana might be right here with your forearms on your thighs, or you might bring the hands out in front of you and play with sinking down. Your heels might be lifted or on the ground just depending on your body. And the hands will rest together in prayer, pressing the elbows into the thighs, lifting up through the heart, sinking into the hips and then really let the jaw soften here easy through the neck and the eyes. Can you feel that quality of grounding through the lower body?

Landing, and then the settling. From here we'll release to the earth in whatever way you choose. So, I'm gonna release my hands behind me and then come onto my sit bones, and this is kind of a natural Baddha Koá¹?Ä쳌sana shape. Bring the soles of the feet together, it might be slightly wider for this one, more in like a yin variation with the heels out from the pelvis. And just a few more moments hanging out in this kind of relaxed Baddha Koá¹?Ä쳌sana, feeling that external rotation in the hips, the opening through the pelvis.

And then from here, we'll transition onto our backs, so you might bring your hands around your knees, spin onto your sit bones, and then roll onto your back. I'm moving here into windshield wipers, bringing the soles of the feet wider than your hips. And reach the arms over the top of head. Take a moment to lengthen, lengthen, inhale exhale at the knees, follow one side finding the edges of your feet. Feet are wide, inhale the knees up to center, exhale over to the other side.

And then a handful of rounds moving with your breath. Inhale the knees up, exhale to a side. Inhale, knees up, exhale over to the other side. And your head might wanna move with your knees or away from your knees. I'm feeling a nice, and release through the lower back.

And just a few more round side-to-side. And when you're ready, draw your knees into your chest. And we'll find in a spinal twist the eagle-rat variation wrapping the left leg over the right leg, rolling onto your right side. It might stack your shoulders and your hips, and then reach the left arm up, and let the shoulder release towards the floor feeling the left side of the body lengthen as you inhale. And then exhale softening the belly, find some ease up through the neck, and the gaze might look over your left shoulder.

And starting to allow the muscles to soften and relax around the bone. Few more breaths here releasing into the twist, with each breath allowing yourself to settle here. Spacious between the eyes. Slowly as you're ready unwind, comeback up to center, hug the knees into the chest, and then switch. So, wrapping the right leg over the left leg, rolling onto your left side, stacking the shoulders and the hips, stacking the arms, and then inhale at the right arm lift, shoulder releases towards the earth.

Inhale, lengthen the right side. Exhale, soften the belly releasing into the twist, and the gaze might look over your right shoulder. Soft and relax in the base. Last few moments, see if you can consciously relax or soften any gripping through the hips, through the legs, through the feet, the ankles. As you're ready, slowly unwind back to center.

Hug the knees into the chest that it might feel nice to curl up, bring the forehead towards the knees, round into a ball and then release. Good, and then I'm extending the legs up towards the sky. It might feel nice to flex. The feet drawing the toes towards the face. You might bring your hands around the back of the thighs to support your legs.

Now you might stay here especially if you're working with any cervical tension or misshift. If appropriate, you might find Halasana, plow pose, drawing the chin towards the heart, and then pointing the toes. And the hands might release alongside, you might interlace the fingers, and tucking the shoulders under. And taking a few breaths here in Halasana plow. If you're in plow, release the interlock at the fingers, and begin to look up towards your toes as you slowly roll down.

Using your abdominals, you can use the hands for support as you lower the spine, and then lowering the sacrum and the pelvis. Bending the knees, and then releasing into Savasana extending the legs, and extending the arms. Relaxing any effort in the mind, the body, the breath. And allowing your attention, your awareness to gently expand. And you're welcome to stay here as long as you like.

And if you feel called to transition, start by inviting the breath to lengthen. And let that inner movement, and form the movement through the body. Maybe through the fingers, the toes, lengthening, and then rolling to your side taking a moment to pause and linger in this quality of rest. And the gently as you're ready, pressing your palms, your hands into the floor. And just take a moment to sit together, grounding through your sit bones, lengthening out through the spine.

And feeling sensing the support that is beneath you and all around you. And joining the hands together at the heart, let's take an om together clearing breath, inhale exhale. Breathing in. (humming peacefully) Namaste.

Comments

Alana, this was such a beautiful practice for me this morning! You are one of my favorite teachers here. I love your presence and attention to detail . I have learned so much from you already, and intend to keep practicing with you.

Namaste,
Christine
Love the deliberate pace of this practice. I feel stronger and more centered, as opposed to racing through a flow too quickly. Love your classes, Alana!
Christine, I am so delighted to be practicing together. Please keep me posted on your yoga journey. Namaste, Alana
Hi Elaine, It warms my heart to hear that you are feeling stronger and more centered in your practice. So glad to be in this together! Keep me posted. xoA
I love all of your practices, you are also my favorite instructor! This practice however may be an all time favorite for me, I think I could happily engage with this every day! :) You have made such a positive difference in my yoga.
Dear Tina, Your story and journey is inspiring! It is truly an honor to be sharing what I love and believe in. Your comment is so encouraging and inspires me to keep practicing and teaching. Please keep me posted. Warmly, Alana
Found a deeper relaxation in this practise. Much more wonderful understanding and letting go. Bless you for your sincere guidance Alana.
Wonderful, Simon. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!
Thanks Alana! I loved holding the poses for a longer period, allowing to more deeply engage into them. Namaste!
Hi Frederic! Wow, you are a dedicated yogi. :) Namaste, Alana
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