Welcome to Yoga Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 11

Happy and Healthy Hips

60 min - Practice


Margi guides us in a juicy hip opening sequence for beginners. Providing clear and concise instruction, she leads us through seated, standing, and balancing postures with a focus on finding space in our hips. You will feel awesome.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

About This Video

Jul 26, 2016
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Hello and welcome back. This is a practice that's going to open hips in very profound and incredible ways. You'll walk off of your yoga mat today with an extra spring in your step. I wanted to start by telling a little Buddhist story that I really like. And it's a story of two monks who are walking in the woods.

And they had taken vows. One of the vows that they had taken was to not to touch women. They're walking in the woods and they come to a river and alongside the river there is an old, quite frail woman. She needs help getting across the river. But they vowed not to touch women, so they are like, seems like we should be helpful, but had to make this vow.

They made the decision to indeed help her across the river. Pick her up, carry her, drop her off. They continue their walk and a couple of hours later, one of the monks says to the other monk, I'm not feeling great because we we made those vows and then touched the woman back at the river. I'm just feeling uneasy about that. And the other monk said, are you still holding onto that lady?

I left her back at the river. I told me husband that story and now when I'm fretting about something, from the past, he'll say to me, why don't you just leave that at the river? And although it's a little bit annoying, it's more helpful than annoying. We attempt to let the past, let what's already happened, things that we can let go of. We attempt to let them go.

Let's start by just letting the eyes close. And take a moment to check in with yourself. Check in. Just like you would sit down with an old friend and say, hey, how're you doing? And you would listen.

Just ask into your own self. How am I today? How am I right now? The beautiful thing about the yoga tradition is that anything that's happening in this moment in your life is your teacher. It's meant to be happening.

So however you find yourself, it's fine. It's where you're supposed to be. You belong right here. Notice how your mental state is. If it feels busy or perhaps lethargic or somewhere in the middle.

You can notice how your emotional state is. How your energetic state is. And then begin to deepen your breath. And we're gonna use the breath like a a eraser erasing the chalk board of all of the thoughts in the mind. See if you can spot your attention right on to the sensations of the breath.

And for this practice, we are going to use part of the time, Ujjayi breath. Which I have a tutorial on in another section. So feel free to refer to that. But just a quick review, it's a breath that sounds like listening to a seashell. Or fogging up a mirror.

However you do it with your mouth closed. And just a slight closing at the base of the throat. After your next exhalation, let your eyes gently open and have two blocks. I'm gonna put the two blocks onto the floor. And so for what we're gonna do, the blocks need to slide.

So you'll probably want to be sitting on mat with a pelvis elevated. But the blocks on the floor so that they can slide. If that's not your case, if you have a sticky floor or blocks that don't slide, you can also just walk them when we do the sliding part. And we're gonna sit in Sukhasana. So the hips grounded, the shins crossed right at about the center of the shin.

And the knees, more or less over the feet. So different than when the thighs are wide and the feet are pulled in. This bringing the legs in makes it a little more profound on the hips. Then you're gonna place your hands onto your blocks. Lift the front of the spine.

From the pubic bone to the navel to the heart. And then let the blocks slide forward. And as the blocks are sliding forward, the pelvis is turning over the thighbones. The low back is drawing in. Try to keep the low belly somewhat long.

And it'll be different for every single body that's watching this. It's different for me now than it was for me two hours ago when I did it earlier. Just listen into your body and find a place where you find a nice stretch through your hips, through your back through your arms. And then connect into your breath. Three breaths.

Inhale. Exhale one using the sounded breath if that works for you. Inhale. Exhale two. The poses are always kinda morphing, evolving, changing.

Maybe at some point you get a little permission from your body to go further along. Inhale. And exhale three. And then use some abdominal strength to roll yourself back up. And we're gonna do the same thing, except we're gonna take it on a diagonal.

So the blocks can go over to the side. And sliding them out along the ground. If you don't have blocks, it's perfectly fine to be up on your finger tips. That's like little imaginary blocks when you're up on your finger tips. In this one there's a twist.

The abdomen is twisting from right to left. The back of the right ribs descend down. And it's tempting, since a lot of energy is going on the diagonal for the right hip to get pulled up a little bit. Try to anchor down through the right thigh and the right hip. Connect to your breath.

Continue to connect to your breath. Even when I'm talking, you let it be breath centered practice for yourself. And then with your next inhalation, again the abdomen helps draw you back from here. Right hand to left knee, left hand behind you. Just a simple twist as you inhale.

Lengthen the spine as you release your legs. As you exhale, just explore the spine. Notice where it might give you a little more rotation. Breathe in. Exhale.

Somewhere along the rib cage turns a little bit more. One breath here, inhale. And exhale. And then as you inhale come back to the center. So in hip opening, usually, the leg that's in front, that hip gets more stretch.

So there's a second side to this party. Other leg in front. Sukhasana, legs crossed in the shins. Get your blocks, or with your finger tips. Keeping the roots rooting down, roll your blocks forward.

This side might be quite different than the other side, it's fine, it's normal. Relax the legs as much as you can, let the legs feel like they're part of the earth beneath you. Like you're doing this out on the beach near the water and the legs can sink a little bit more profoundly down into the sand. Connect to your breath. One nice thing about Ujjayi breath is that there's a distinct silence at the end of exhalation and at the top of the inhalation.

In that silence, your mind may find a little space. With you next inhalation. The abdomen pulls you up to sit. You turn onto the diagonal, keep rooting down through the left hip, the left thigh as you reach on the diagonal. You feel a long length, like a paint brush brushing from the left hip through the left side of the back.

Through the back ribs, through the shoulder. Through the arm to the left finger tips. We don't have muscles that connect those points but we do have fascia that connects the entire body. It's kind of like Saran Wrap in the body. And everything is connected to everything through your fascia.

Inhale, come all the way up. Twist. Right hand behind you, left hand to the right leg. Breathing in, notice a little silence, and then breathe out. And the silence.

Two more breaths here on your own. With your next inhalation, come to the center. We're gonna do one more forward fold before we're shift gears. And do Baddha Konasana with the soles of the feet together. What we've just done is opening the outer hips.

Baddha Konasana opens the inner thigh, the inner hips. We're gonna do the block slide one more time. Hands to the blocks. And coming forward. See if you can be very curious about what's happening, what you feel.

And we use the curiosity and the wonder about the body to keep the mind anchored, to stay present, to stay here. With your next inhalation, drop your tailbone and roll up to sit. It's a good moment in the yoga practice. Either in a class or watching a tape when your teacher decides to be quiet. Because it's a time for you to then go in and be your own explorer.

I think of my job as being like tour guide. I'mhowing you points. But then there's point when you as a tourist have to go meander in the dark alleys by yourself. Maybe not the really dark alleys. Okay.

So we're gonna come over onto hands and knees. Please put your props neatly to the side. And come to your hands and your knees. Do a couple rounds of Cat and Cow. Thinking about initiating from the pelvis, since we're working on the pelvis in this practice.

Inhale to Cow Pose. And as you exhale, lift your belly round into Cat Pose. So the pelvis initiating. Begin with the pelvis, the rest of the spine a result of the pelvis turning upwards. And then when you get into Cow Pose again, the pelvis begins the journey, the rest of the spine goes along for the ride.

Just a couple more. Pelvis. Pelvis. For me I've done a zillion Cat Cows, but to give it a specific focus, like starting with the pelvis, draws my mind in in a new and a fresh way. Which is important when we do a lot of these poses day after day, how can we find freshness?

If you wake up with the same person in your bed day after day how can you find freshness? Okay coming into a neutral spine. We're gonna take the knees wide, as wide as the mat. And then pull the pelvis back down to the heels as far as it will go. Let your hands move back just a little bit, so that your hands can press into the mat and that will help you release down through your lower back and through your sitting bones, down into your heels.

Walk your hands back. I'm gonna bring the knees in, tuck the toes under. Press into the hands, lift up onto your legs. And bring your forearms to rest onto your upper lower part of your thighs. You can let your toes turn out slightly.

Feel a little abdomenal support. The spine is long, the thighs sink. For some of you, depending on the situations of your knees and your hips today, you might sink down into a lower squat. This is accessible to some people who have certain kinds of bones. The certain kind of femur bone, thigh bone and hip socket.

Other people will never quite come into a low squat. Okay. From here, hands down. If you need to have your hands on blocks, that's an option. We're gonna do a forward fold at the feet here as wide as the mat.

The knees can be bent or the legs can extend into straight. You can also go back and forth in between the two. But have an emphasis of the spine just pouring like juice pouring out of a pitcher. The spine pouring out of the pelvis, the crown of the head dropping from the heart. From here, bring your hands to your hips and come up half way.

Pause at the half way mark. The knees, perhaps better for most people to have the knees a little bit bent. And then drop your tailbone as you lift your head coming all the way up to stand. Stand with your feet together and we're going to come into Vrikshasana, which is Tree Pose. So bend your left knee.

Open it onto the diagonal, keeping your hips facing forward and bring your heel right into your inner right leg. See if your left heel can be right on the inseam of your right leg and we'll bring the hands together in front of the heart. There's other options for Tree, pulling the foot anywhere up the leg. If you wanna pull it all the way up to the upper inner thigh, that's another option. Stabilize strongly through your right hip as you lengthen your spine.

And to feel this a little bit more as a hip opener, push into the pinky side of your left foot and your outer part of your heel. Engage your left gluteous, your bun a little bit. And see if you can feel that that externally rotates the leg. I have a side facing standing pose show on the side facing poses with this engagement. I can feel that strong external rotation of that leg.

Without letting the pelvis turn. Bring your left knee forward. Mother may I take a giant step forward to the middle of the mat, yes. And then the right leg comes up into Vrikshasana. You find your version of Tree Pose.

In Tree's, sometimes I think about when I go bowling with my kid, they put bumpers alongside the bowling alley so that the ball never falls into the gutter. And this is kinda like Tree Pose. You wanna, if you fall out, just be like you have a gutter guard. So you come right back into the pose. If you can let go of any sort of post traumatic stress of falling in second grade.

And just gather yourself. Let go of that, you can leave the trauma of falling back by the river. Find your breath. Find that external rotation by pressing the outer right foot into the left leg. Engaging the right gluteous muscle.

And then bring your knee forward. Step all the way to the front of your mat. In the next sequence that we are going to, there's a slightly tricky transition that I just want to show you. And then when we do it together, you'll have a little teaching to go on. Perhaps it won't be difficult, if you just take a moment.

I'm just gonna break down Triangle Pose to Half Moon. So we'll talk about the Triangle, coming into Triangle later. But we'll come from Triangle pose. I'm gonna have you lower your arm. That's just kind of getting on thing out of the way.

We'll look down. I'm gonna try to take any sort of variables out of the pose. This foot comes half way forward so that the arm can move forward of the block. And then you transfer, you can also be on finger tips. And then you're gonna transfer your weight onto the foot.

So that this toe can get light. This is a big, exciting balancing pose. If it feels like, you feel nervous, feel free to keep your toe on the ground. That's Half Moon. Or you can play with lifting the leg up.

You wanna keep the right toes pointing straight forward. The right leg may or may not straighten. And then the other arm lifts up. Half Moon. Okay, from there, we're gonna bring the hand down and step down and come up.

Don't decide yet how that's gonna go for you. Especially if you've never done it. Just blank slate, we'll see how it goes. So have your blocks near the front of your mat. Tadasana, find your breath.

Find your feet. Find the crown of your head floating up. And then release your hands down by your sides. As you inhale, sweep your hands out and up, lifting the chest. As you exhale, fold all the way over your legs, hands to the blocks or to the floor.

Bend your knees. Left foot steps way back to a lunge. Be bold in that step back. From here, left heel rotates to the ground, so the left hip opens. And the right hip is actually opening as well.

And then we're gonna do a big cartwheel up into Warrior Two. Just take a moment, peek at your right leg. You should be able to see your right big toe on the inside of your right knee. Otherwise, probably indication that the leg is not in its correct rotation and the knee is collapsing in. So keep that length, inner thigh to inner knee.

We're gonna move a little bit. As you inhale, straighten your front leg and reach up. And as you exhale, bend your front knee and reach out. The knee stays tracking the whole time. Stay in Warrior Two.

Anchor your legs. Reverse Warrior. Left hand to the left leg, we arch back. Exhale, Side Angle, forearm to the thigh. Inhale, Reverse Warrior, let your spine be like the wind.

But the legs like a mountain. Fluidity in the upper body, stability in the lower body. Staying in Half in a Side Angle. The belly rolls up. Tailbone lengthens towards the back heel.

Find a place for your gaze, that there's no strain on your neck it can be anywhere. Be your explorer in your body. Where does this work for me? From here, reverse Warrior. And then as if someone's holding onto your right finger tips and pulling them.

Let that straighten your front leg. Take a big breath in. Exhale, the pelvis tips, right hip creases back, bring your right hand to your block. Triangle Pose. Extend your legs, extend your arms.

And let your spine lengthen. Here we go, left hand to the left hip. Bend your front knee. Scoot your back foot half way forward. Then you can easily place your hand onto the block about a foot and a half in front of your baby toe.

Then get your weight all the way onto your right foot. And just check in with yourself. Keep breathing. Maybe the left leg lifts. May the right leg straightens.

Maybe the left arm goes up. And then the left hand comes down. Maybe to a block or the floor, and the left foot steps right near the right foot. Let's take the feet about almost mat distance apart, definitely wider than the hips. Hold onto elbows, hang forward.

Notice how your Ujjayi breath feels with your lungs which are now upside down. After your next exhalation, hands to hips. Come up half way, make sure you're not jamming into the backs of your knees. And then come all the way up to stand. We have a second side.

Let's bring the blocks back onto the mat if they're helpful. The blocks are always meant, all the props are meant to support you, they're meant to help you. They're never meant to aggravate you or be in the way. So if you ever feel like your blocks are just not serving you, just lose them. It's completely fine, they're to help us, they're supposed to be our friends.

Breathe in, lift your arms. Breathe out, fold forward. Knees bend, right foot takes a bold step way back to a lunge. From there, the top of the thigh turns to bring the heel to the ground. The right arm comes up and around as you come into Warrior Two, the right sitting bone gets heavy.

Peak at your left knee, make sure that it's not caving in. Inner thigh is long, the knee is going right over the center of the heel. Inhale, straighten your front leg. What a view of the ocean. Exhale, bend your front knee.

Whether or not you have a view of the ocean, I encourage you to feel a watery, vast quality inside of yourself. Exhale, you bend. And now the legs become the earth. The spine like the water. Reverse Warrior.

Side Angle. Pausing in Side Angle. Rooting into the back foot. Lengthening the tailbone towards that back heel. Notice when you do that, the abdomen picks up.

Turn the abdomen up towards the ceiling. Breathe. Reverse Warrior. Feeling the fascial connection from the left finger tips as they pull back and straighten the left leg. And then the pelvis tips over the thighbones, bringing you into your Triangle Pose, Trikonasana.

Same, similar pose, too. Side Angle back heel grounds. Tailbone towards the back heel. Abdomen rolls from left to right. And make sure you're not straining the front knee.

This is called Triangle, the next one is Half Moon. Or Ardha Half Chandrasana. Bend the front knee. Scooch forward so that you can easily move the block. Get your weight up onto the back toes.

Take a breath. It's just a yoga pose. Float the back leg up. Maybe. Maybe the front leg straightens.

Very strong tendency for the left leg to turn in. If you feel like that's going to happen to you, keep your left knee a little bit bent. Make sure your left toe is pointing straight forward. Maybe the left leg straightens. Similar pose to the rest.

Tailbone lengthens towards the back heel. Abdomen spins from left to right. The arms radiate with excitement and joy. Right hand down. Step down.

Rest. Either Uttanasana, Standing Forward Bend, or you could take your two blocks and come down into a little squat rest. I sometimes like to bow my head and rest my third eye in between the eyebrows on my thumbs. Okay. So we've already done a big, one big balancing extravaganza, we're just gonna do one more balancing pose.

You're gonna take the right ankle, cross it over the left knee. Okay, if this just feels like, you can put your hand on a wall, perfectly fine. You could also have you toes on the ground. It's very much in the family of Tree Pose. From here, you can either stay or bend the leg that you're standing on.

Like you're doing Chair Pose on the leg you're standing on. And you can either stay or bring your hands onto your front shin. You can stay or bring your forearms down to your front shin. Two more breaths here. And we try to reserve enough energy to come up with some kind of grace.

It's tempting to just be like, I'm out of here. But we're gonna try to kind of keep our composure in and out. It's the transitions in all of life that can be a little dicey. So left leg into the number four. Again, you have your options, hand on a wall, toes to the ground.

The hip creases cut back, so you can keep your left leg, left foot flexed so, there's energy in that foot that helps protect the knee. And you find the place that works for you on this side. Maybe different than on the first side. Okay. Come to the front of your mat if you're not there already.

We're gonna float the arms up. Exhale. Fold forward. Step back into Downward Facing Dog. And this time with Dog, bend one knee, bend the other knee.

Let the hips kinda slide from side to side. And then come to two straight arms, long spine, pelvis reaching up and back away from the rooting of the hands. Take a big breath in. And then as you exhale, shift your weight forward and step your left foot to the outside of your left hand. If it doesn't make it, hold onto it.

Pull it the rest of the way up. Not a problem. And then lower your back knee down. You're welcome to stay right here. Another option is to have your block maybe on the lowest height, or maybe the medium height, and to bring your forearms down onto your block.

And depending on the structure of your hips, for some of you, it might be very easy just put your forearms down onto the ground. If you are a very loose person like that, then it's actually tricky when you're very loose to practice yoga. If you do find yourself just easily collapsing into this pose, you wanna lift your right thigh a little bit. Draw the left thigh in and find a a container for your flexibility. For this version of the pose, there's a couple ways, many ways to do every pose.

But we're gonna let the left thigh open out to the side a bit. A bit depends on you and your body. And rolling a little to the pinky side of the left foot. The foot, the shin, the knee, the thigh, the hip, working in harmony to open. And imagine that you have a an elephant in your left back pocket.

Heavy through the left hip. I usually say a brick, but I upped it right now to an elephant. That might be a little too much. Shoulders slide down. Any amount of chest opening in front of the spine, opening is good.

And then feel what it is that you feel. And breathe into those sensations. Come back up onto your hands if you're down on your forearms. Keep your pelvis heavy as you straighten your back leg. When you do that, you might feel some hip opening in front of the right hip.

From there, lift your pelvis, press into your hands. I feel a little like I need to be oiled fr a second, but then I feel oiled already. In the transitions sometimes coming out of a deep hip opener, it takes a moment, but it's worth it. Second side. Shift forward.

The right foot steps to the outside of the right hand. This is a similar position to all of those squats that we've been doing. Back knee to the floor. You pause, you check in. You see if you can get used to it.

This side again, might be different that the first side. Forearms can come down onto a block or onto the floor. Also of course, completely fine to stay up onto your hands. And then letting the leg, the right leg work as a unit. The right thigh falling open to the side, it definitely ups the intensity of the hip openings so you do as what works for you right now.

I always think a lot in my practice of a tattoo I saw once on a student that I had and it said, may my life flow from me like a river not forcing and not holding back. It's Rilke poem. And in this practice, many people are forcers. Other people are people who hold back. So we wanna just play with balancing our tendency.

One more breath here, stick with it. If you're on your forearms, come back up onto your hands. You can move your block over to the side. Straighten your back leg against the resistance of the pelvis. And then lift your pelvis, step back into Downward Facing Dog.

Pause in Dog pose. If Dog pose is mystifying to you, well first of all, good. The yoga poses are all mysterious. They're meant to be like unending puzzles for our curiosity. And that being said, I also have a tutorial on Downward Facing Dog, talking about the specifics of the pose that you're welcome to peak at when you have moment.

Really lift the right leg up, any amount. And then bring the knee forward, bring your right knee close to your right wrist. The right foot a little bit over to the left side of your mat. So your right shin is on a diagonal. And then scooch your left leg back.

Probably helpful for many of us to have a folded blanket underneath, just underneath the right sitting bone. Not so much underneath the thigh, but under the sitting bone. And then look at your back leg and make sure it's parallel to the side of the mat and that the toes are pointing straight back. So that it's not rolled out like this but it's very parallel moving straight back. And then begin to walk yourself forward.

Again, for those of you who are looser, the pose is more intense if your right foot goes further up. So you find a place that is a good opening. Not too tight, not too loose. Not forcing, not holding back. Come down, maybe your elbows find the floor.

Maybe your arms reach out and your forehead can rest onto the floor. See if in this pose, you can stay focused. Drawing your attention right into the pelvis. Drawing the breath right into the pelvic bowl. As if your lungs sat right in the bowl of your pelvis.

If this pose is causing you any strain, or discomfort on your right knee. Do this one. That you've probably seen before. For some people, this pose doesn't work for the front knee. Okay, let's come up.

Lift the back thigh. Pull back, Downward Dog. And go right away into the second side. Left leg lifts. Hip opens.

And then the left knee close to the left wrist, finding the angle for your left shin that works best. If your left hip is off of the ground supporting it can be very helpful. 'Cause when you have something to sit in, you can release. You can imagine sitting on an imaginary couch is not as comfortable as sitting on a real couch. You want something to sink into.

Check your back leg, make sure the right leg is parallel to the outer mat. Back leg pointing straight forward. And then lengthen through the front of the spine as you begin to come forward. Pause anywhere along the way, just like when you're a tourist. You might see a building that interesting to you.

Pause, take it in with soft eyes. Bring your hands back. Come up. We're gonna transition out of this one differently. We're done with our Dog poses for this class.

We're gonna roll all the way over. So you took the blanket away from your hip. Roll all the way over to that left hip and swing your right leg around. You're gonna step your right foot to the outside of your left leg. It might still be helpful, a couple of options.

One is to sit up on your blanket if your pelvis feels very unbalanced. Another option is to keep your left leg straight. Perfectly fine, same kind of pose. Okay, we're gonna twist. You're gonna take the left crook of the elbow around the right knee and bring the right hand behind.

Come back to the center. Lean back. Bend your left knee. The right ankle is on top of the left knee. This reminds me of the standing balance that we did when we had the legs like the number four.

Let your legs rock a little bit from side to side. This gets more intense, I don't know if you need it more or less intense. It's more intense if you have your pelvis further forward and your low back coming in. It's a little less intense if the foot is further forward. And then try to draw your low back in.

Lift your chest. And again, rock the legs a little bit from right to left. You can notice where the hip feels more free, where there's some resistance. And we try not to avoid the resistance. That's like the great lesson in yoga, to not run fast from challenger.

Or chafing feelings. We're gonna stick in there 'cause we can learn a lot. Take your ankle. Bring it on the other side of your knee. And then scooch your left foot over to the side.

And here we are sitting like we started in Sukhasana. Perhaps for some of you, upping the hip opening intensity of Sukhasana a couple of things. One, if your back is rounded, you might wanna put a hand on your low back and see if it feels like it's falling back. If that's the case, sit up higher. Because you wanna be able to draw the low back in.

Another option which will intensify the hip openings, put your foot right up on top of the block. This is kind of on its way to ankle to knee where the ankle comes up over the knee. So you can pick your, I was gonna say pick your poison, but it's really not poisonous at all, it's the opposite, it's like vitamin. You can pick you vitamin. Make horseshoes with your hands, press the tops of the thighs down as the spine lifts up.

For some of you, it might be just perfectly fine to just sit here, meditate, on your breath, on your heart, on your hips. If you wanna up the intensity, you will fold forward and not folding forward from the heart collapsing and the head dropping. Folding forward from the pelvis, tipping over the thighbones. You might rest your forearms onto your shins like we did in that Standing Pose. So very incredible thing about yoga that I want you to listen to what I am saying, but more than that, I want you to listen to what your own body is saying.

Okay, with your next inhalation, come up. Lean back, lengthen your legs out in front of you. Interlace your fingers, just sweep the arms up lengthening the spine. And then release your arms down. Half seated spinal twist, or Ardha MatsyendrÄ쳌sana on the second side.

We'll bend the left leg and then the right leg maybe comes in or maybe it stays straight. If it does come in and you wanna sit on something, you might wanna put the thing behind you so that it's not in the way of your foot that's folded in. So as best we can, we balance our two sitting bones down and lift the column of the spine up. Wrap the right elbow over the left knee, lift and turn. Your neck is one of the very flexible parts of your spine.

So you don't wanna over jam your neck. As a matter of fact, staying in this twist, just look over your front shoulder for a moment. And then when you turn your head back just go to a place that feels gentle on the neck. And if you took any twists out of your neck, see if you can find it somewhere between your naval and your throat. And put a little more twist into that region.

Coming out with space, the organs get a good wash of fluids when you come out of a twist. Lean back. Step your right foot onto the mat, left ankle right over the right knee. Again, it's less challenging if your right foot is forward, more challenging if it's close. And then rock the baby shin from side to side, notice the result in your hips.

If you find a place that is particularly intense, you might wanna pause there. Give it a little time to open. Okay, we're gonna take the left foot, slip it to the other side of the knee. Toe heel the right foot over to the right and come into Sukhasana. I'm gonna go over these a little bit more quickly this time, since I was in detail on the first side.

Sukhasana with the block. Or sliding the foot into ankle to knee. If you can get your foot up, but your knee is up and your spine collapses and your hip is up, it's not worth it. You wanna try to take the steps to opening your body without overdoing. There's no point in going to a very extreme pose if you can't have a sense of lift in your heart and chest and spine.

Horseshoe hands, root the hips down. Spine lifts up, find your breath. And as you exhale, we tip forward. Maybe an inch is enough. Shoulders relaxed.

The tipping is coming from the pelvic bowl rolling over the top of the thighs. At a certain point, bring your hands out in front of you, or forearms onto the front shin. Might be nice moment to close your eyes. And imagine that you could trace the path of your breath as it comes right in through your nose, draws back through your sinuses, goes down through your throat into your lungs and then it spreads down into the sensation of the low back and hips. Let's inhale, come up.

Lean back. Extend your legs out in front of you. And we're gonna come to lie down. So after all those forward folds, we're gonna do a supported Bridge Pose to open the front channels of the body. This one takes the, if you have a ponytail, it's helpful to take it out.

And then lift your pelvis, the blocks have three heights. Why don't we actually start with the block on the lowest height. Since we've been doing the forward folds and just see how that feels. Heels underneath the knees. I recently taught a beginner series where I teach in Berkeley and I taught this pose and one guy got into it and he said, oh my god! And I was like, oh no, what's he gonna say?

I was worried. He said, this feels so good! And I always think about him when I come into the pose. It's possible it doesn't feel good to you. If that's your case, not a problem. We're all very different.

You just come out of the pose. If you feel like, I'm gonna turn the block one facet higher. You can do that. The arms can rest beside you or they can rest onto your body. Sometimes it feels good if you're on the taller side, it's hard to get the block under, but once it gets under, it can feel very good sometimes for some bodies to bring the block onto the highest height.

We'll come out by lifting the pelvis, moving the block to the side. And lowering down. So we'll come into now a twist. Shift your pelvis a few inches, six inches, perhaps to the left. Draw your knees in.

And bring your knees over to the right. Right hand can help anchor the legs. You can also, if it feels like too much on your back, You can put your block or a blanket in between your knees. And let's come into that horseshoe hand again. And press the very top of your left thigh away from your head.

As you do that, spin your belly from right to left. And then reopen your left arm to the side. Having the left arm a little higher than shoulder height helps to open the pectoral muscles of the chest. Breathing deep breaths in and out. After your next exhalation, come to the center.

Shift your pelvis to the right. Draw your knees in and take your knees over to the left. So shifting the pelvis first. Then you have your head and your chest and your pelvis is one line. The spine is aligned and within that alignment, we rotate.

Again, horseshoe right hand lengthens the top of the right thigh bone away from the right waist. It might feel good in the low back and hip to do that. Creates a little more space in the lung. And then opening the right arm a little bit higher than shoulder height. A few breaths here.

After your next exhalation, come onto your back. Hug your knees for a moment into your chest. Rocking from side to side. And then bring your feet onto the floor. It's more relaxing for the body to have the joints bent.

So we're gonna put a blanket underneath the knees. It'll be easier on the hip joints, the knees joints, the ankles. Move your shoulder blades down your back, you might wanna lift your pelvis, lengthen the low back. And then rest, either with your palms facing up or your hands onto your belly. If you have a cloth or a T shirt, a pillow, it's nice to cover the eyes in Shavasana.

And in Shavasana, there is absolutely nothing to do. You move into this state of action and doing that we are normally in. To a state of simply being. Give yourself permission to release completely. The body, as well as any grip on the thoughts or the mind.

If you have time, I encourage you to stay a little bit longer after that intense hip opening practice. If you do need to get up and move forward with your day, let your breath deepen. If the deepening of your breath encourages your body to move in any way, just listen to that. Sometimes stillness is better with the deepening of the breath. And do as your body wants.

And when you're ready, bend your knees. And with soft hips, roll over to the right side. Take a really true physical, mental, emotional pause on your side. And then roll a little more towards your belly and use the strength of your arms to bring you up and find your seat. So we started this practice by checking in.

I invite you to go in again and just notice how and if this time on your yoga mat has effected your mental state. Your emotional state. Your physical sense. And one thing that is so awesome about a yoga practice, and I feel like this is across the board, happens to pretty much everybody, as things that we come in with, like the monks touching the woman, things that we come up with that seem like big monsters, after a practice, sometimes they just seem like a little ant. So hopefully this has created a little bit of respite for you from any things in your life that are big.

And maybe in this time before you go back to your email or to turning on things. Maybe just take two or three minutes and just be in this state with yourself. Your post yoga pehraps calmness. Sometimes things can be revealed when you don't even know they're coming. Thank you so much.



1 person likes this.
You are one of my favorite teachers and I loved taking this class. You have such a calming presence. I look forward to more videos from you! Thank you
1 person likes this.
Thank you Karen. I deeply appreciate your kind works, and I am thrilled you are practicing with me!
I am again reminded of how masterfully you integrate everyday-dharma, humor and sense of calm into your precise and thorough instruction. I am reminded of how I emulate you in my own teaching, regard you as a mentor and am grateful to have you here at home with me.
So sweet Melisse. Your kind words are much appreciated. I miss you! xo
Another masterful class!! What Melissa said in the comment resonates my own sentiment about you and your teaching. Sometimes I feel like I'm plagiarising you so much in my class! So happy I get to practice with you again on a regular basis.
Plagiarize away. That's what I'm doing from my teachers!!!
And I am so happy you are watching. Means a lot to me. xo
Thank you for this! I really love your teaching style, your calm voice, and giving us enough space to explore on our own, and giving different options for different bodies. It's hard for me to stick with a teacher or allow myself to finish the whole video if I don't like the teacher's voice, yours is soothing and grounding. I'm looking forward for more videos from you!
Siewli Wow... what a beautiful message. Thank you. I am glad to be a guide on your path. Love, Margi
2 people like this.
Amazing class!!! I joined yogaanytime thanks to your 30 day code. In a town with out much of a yoga community, this website has been my saving grace. Thank you for teaching!!!!
1 person likes this.
Perfect practice for a hot sultry day!  My hips feel so good and I feel peaceful.  
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