Yoga for Depression Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 10

Vibrant Flow

25 min - Practice


Denise guides us in an energetic flow to bring a little more vibrancy into your day. With the support of blocks, we build toward a stable and aligned backbending practice. You will feel refreshed and enlivened.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

About This Video

Jul 02, 2016
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(waves crashing) Welcome back. This is a practice designed for anytime you feel yourself a little low on energy or motivation, and many of us, with our hectic lives, could use a little more energy from time to time. So, by all means, whenever you feel like you need to take a break, please do so, listen to how your body's feeling, and honor that. All I ask is that you make an attempt to stay through the end of the practice, because that's kinda where it all comes together, and the whole point of us allowing the benefits to really integrate at the end. So for this practice, you will need two blocks.

Have them available... And we'll start off in child's pose with the toes together, knees slightly apart, and one block out in front of you. Let's take the block in between your palms, thumbs, coming up towards the ceiling, and then rest your head to the mat. And starting to turn your attention inward towards your breath. Deepening as you take the breath deep into the belly.

And exhale, release. Inhale, fill the belly, fill the back body. Feeling the low back expand... And release. Inhale, take the breath into the belly, expand into the chest so that you feel the back ribs open.

And exhale, release, down through the chest, out of the belly. And three parts to this next breath, breathe into your belly, take it in to the ribs, then all the way up into the shoulders, so it's like the shoulders get a little wider. And exhale down through your shoulders, out of the chest, squeeze the breath out of the belly as your belly button comes up towards your spine. Take in a big inhalation here, and as you exhale, start to firm your hands in towards the block, reach the block a little farther away from you so that the forearms come up off the floor. And then work the arms here so the arms are active and engaged, elbows are dropping down towards the floor, the triceps are reaching towards the floor, and the biceps are coming up towards your ears.

And then slowly start to lift the block up off your mat. And exhale, set it down. So maybe just an inch or so, big breath. And raise the block off the floor. And release.

Set the elbows to the floor, take in a big inhale here, firming your hands into your blocks, and start to raise the block off the floor with bent arms so the block comes back behind you. It's tempting to want the elbows to splay out to the sides, but keep them hugging in towards center, and then reach the block back down. Inhale here. Exhale, we raise the block, draw it back behind you, hugging the elbows in. And exhale, release, down.

And once more, hugging in towards the block, elbows hugging in towards the midline of your body, reaching up, and then set it down. Making your way up and taking your blocks, placing one of 'em back between your feet... And having a seat so the block is wide, and your outer ankles are hugging in towards your blocks, and we'll bring your other block in between your hands. As you inhale here, reach the block out in front of you, and then take the block all the way up overhead. Notice here how this tends to take us out of our natural alignment, it sends us into a backbend, and so think about lengthening through the back of the neck, so we have a lot of space for the neck and shoulders, and draw your ribs in towards the body, so we keep the low back a little happier.

A little engagement for the low belly as we start to draw the pubic bone up towards your belly button, towards your sternum. So your tailbone is reaching down towards the block, we're feeling really solid here in the center. And then once again, as you exhale, bend your elbows, wrap them in towards your face as you reach the block back behind you. Bringing it back up, and setting your block off to the side for the moment. Bring your hands back behind you, step your right foot out.

Reach your knee away from you as you lift up your hips and find an opening in that left quadricep, wide across the chest. Exhale, release, down. Tuck that right foot back underneath, step the left foot out. We press down into your left foot, reach the knee forward, lift up, check out how that right quadricep is doing compared to the left, and exhale slowly, release. Tuck that foot back in, and then reach your hands out in front of you, a little wider than you would for normal cat and cow.

So typically we go underneath your shoulders, think about taking your hands and placing them just a palm's distance above that. So as we take cat and cow, inhale, shoulders draw back, and we tilt at the hips. We get a little more opening in the upper or midback, exhale, we round through your spine. Inhale, draw your shoulders back... And exhale, rounding.

Inhale, think about dropping your heart towards your mat... As you widen across the collarbone, and then exhale, raise the heart up towards your spine. Inhale, look forward. And exhale. Look inward.

And make your way back, block back between your feet once more. Keep your other block handy... As we come to lie flat onto your belly. So the block's still hugging between the feet, back between your ankles. Hands right by your sides, draw your elbows back, shoulders back, and we keep those same actions that we mentioned before, of engaging the low belly, so pubic bone coming up towards your sternum, ribs drawing in as you press away from the mat, keeping your neck long.

Exhale, and fold. Try to find a sense of width across the low back, so your outer hips wrap down, inner thighs wrap up. And exhale, release, down. I'm gonna keep the low back happy and spacious as you press up... And then exhale, release.

Grab a hold of your second block... Place it out in front of your hands... Elbows wrapping down, wide across the chest, big inhale here... And then reaching both blocks up off the mat. Strong low belly, if you feel this in your low back at all, imagine engaging the low belly even more.

Exhale, set it down. Big breath, hands come up, feet come up. Exhale, release. And one more, we lift, gazing out ahead, long neck. Exhale, release.

Set your blocks off to the side as you roll your way up. Hands underneath your shoulders, curl your toes under, lift your hips up way back to downward facing dog. Just allowing your spine to be long here, the head hanging heavy, 'cause it provides a little traction for your spine. And then walk your hands back... Into a standing forward fold.

Inhale, take your arms all the way up overhead. And exhale, hands to your heart. Inhale, reach your arms up. Exhale, lift and fold. Breathe in, lift halfway, exhale, walk your hands out...

To high push up or plank pose, drop your knees, flatten out your feet, drop your elbows and forearms, and make your way into sphinx. As we press down into your feet, imagine the block between them, so that we're firming in towards center low back, really wide, inner thighs reach up, outer hips wrap down, shoulders draw back, and the collarbones widen. So the front of your body's wide, collarbones are smiling... And you breathe. Notice the engagement of the low belly, scooping up the lower abdominals.

And exhale, hands right by your sides, curl your toes under, lift the hips up and back, downward facing dog. Bend your knees, look forward, and hop or step your way up to the front of your mat. Inhale, lift halfway, exhale, fold, strong through your legs as you come all the way up, and get empty, hands to your heart. Bring your hands to your thighs and drop them down towards your mat, and inhale, reach your arms up here for a little bit of breathwork. We'll take in a big inhale and start to pump the breath out. (fast breathing) Maybe dropping down a little bit more into the hips.

Exhale, fold forward. Notice the effects of the breath. Inhale, lift halfway, exhale, hands down, step your way back, and lower towards your mat. Inhale, we start to press away from your mat... And exhale, release, back down.

Inhale, reach the toes away from you, rounding into the feet, imagine the block back between your ankles as you firm in, maybe coming up a little higher, and exhale, release. You have the option to start to come up off the knees and thighs, shoulderblades pressing into the back, bottom tips of the shoulderblades, widening your upper back, low back is happy as you reach the tailbone towards your heels, engaging your low abdominals, and exhale, release. Curl your toes under, take it all the way back, downward facing dog. Inhale, breathe, your right leg up into the air. Exhale, bring the knee all the way to the forehead.

And take it all the way back. And step it all the way through so we round out the spine, bring the toes all the way up between your hands, and we drop that back heel, inhale, the arms up... To warrior one. Grab a hold of your block here... Block between your hands and your warrior one.

And then we reach the arms up towards the ceiling, and just as before, wrap the elbows forward as you take the block back behind you. It'll be tempting to take the elbows out, resist that by hugging the arms in as you reach the block back. Straightening out... And dropping it back. Strongly drawing that right thigh back in towards its hip, pressing through that back leg...

As you work the opening of the chest. Block off to the side for the moment, right leg up and back... Downward facing dog. Inhale, take your left leg up into the air. You know what's coming so strongly exhale, knee in all the way towards your forehead, then take it all the way back behind you.

Then use the exhale to step the foot all the way up between your hands, back foot grounds down, we'll grab a hold of the block, inhale, reach up strongly, warrior one on the left. So firming the hands into your block, drawing your left thigh back, pressing through that back leg strongly, and we bend at the elbows as they wrap forward towards your face. And reach it back up. So the back of the neck is long. Ribs are drawing in towards the body, and we're scooping your low belly to keep the low back happy.

Remembering to breathe. (breathing deeply) And set your block off to your side. Hands down to your mat, left leg up and back, downward facing dog. Shift forward, take the knees down, or bend at the elbows and lower to a low push up, just hovering, flat now, your feet, we press away from the mat, cobra or upward facing dog as the shoulders drop back. And then exhale, legs take you back, downward facing dog.

(breathing deeply) Empty out all your breath, look forward, and hop or step your way up to the front of your mat. Inhale, lift, exhale, fold, rise up all the way... And drop back into your chair. (breathing deeply) Press down into your heels, hands together in front of your heart. And step off to the side...

Taking a look at your feet, either bringing the toes together, or if it feels better for you, bringing the feet hip distance... We'll drop back into chair here... And bring your hands together in front of your heart. Big inhale, exhale, let's take a twist to the right. Pressing into the hands...

Gazing over your elbow. And trying to stabilize the center of the body. Inhale, get longer... Exhale, deep in the twist. And then make your way back to center, exhale, fold forward.

Inhale, lift halfway, exhale, drop back into your chair. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, we twist to the other side. Pressing into your hands, trying to line the hands up with the center of your chest, and notice how the hips kinda wanna go along for the ride, so we draw your right thigh back in towards its hip to keep us in the center as we twist, then take the opening further up the back. And exhale, back to center... Fold forward.

Inhale, sink back into your chair... Hands together, let's come all the way down. Balancing on the balls of your feet. Pause here, and if it feels comfortable for you, perhaps try closing your eyes. Infusing this pose with a deep reverence for all the amazing things that your body can do.

And all the ways that it surprises you. And blink your eyes open... Have a seat... And grab a hold of your blocks. So we'll make our way onto our backs...

Feet hip distance... Lying back... Block between the thighs, so midway between the knees and your hips. We'll press down into your feet, reach your knees away from you as we lift and roll the pelvis up off the mat. And then exhale, release, down.

Pressing into the heels, reaching the knees away, active in the hamstrings, relaxed in your glutes, and exhale, release, down. Dynamically coming up and down into bridge pose with the legs engaged, holding onto the block. (breathing deeply) And if you have a sense that this feels like a good enough of a backbend for you, feel free to grab your second block and place it underneath the hips to make this a supported bridge. Continuing to engage the legs as you draw in, the inner thighs rolling down to create a lot of space for your low back, the low back should feel supported and happy here. For those of you who would like a deeper backbend...

Bring your blocks and place them... Up towards... The top of your mat. We'll reset your feet, drawing your heels in, so you can reach them with your fingertips, and then as we did before, we reach the arms up, bend at your elbows, wrap the elbows in, as we take the hands to the blocks. Take in a big inhale here...

Press into your feet, reach your knees away from you, and make your way up onto the crown of your head. Legs are active... Knees not splaying out to the sides, but drawing in towards center. Palms firmly into the blocks, elbows wrapping in. And if you're breathing easy here and would like to extend the arms, big inhale and exhale...

We come up into wheel. So the back of the neck is long so you can breathe, ribs are drawing in towards your body, low back should feel spacious... As you engage the lower abdominals. Breathing... And then slowly, exhale, bring the chin in towards the chest...

And make your way down. You have the option to try this a couple more times, or for those of you who would like... Another option... You can give... The blocks, place the blocks underneath your feet to create a little more space for your low back if your wrists are feeling okay.

We bring our hands back, fingers pointing towards your shoulders, elbows wrapping in. Grounding into the blocks with your feet, big inhale, exhale, reach the knees away from you, we lift, pause up on the crown of the head. So reset the shoulders here, shoulders on the back, big inhale, exhale... Extending up into your wheel. So the back of the neck is long, ribs are drawing in, and we're engaging the lower abdominals, pubic bone coming up towards your sternum, towards your belly button...

So the low back should feel spacious. Breathing here... And exhale, slowly, chin in towards your chest. And release your way down. You can try another couple rounds with that, or if you're feeling pretty comfortable with the attempts that you've made...

You can take the block between your thighs... Ground into your feet, reach the hands up towards your shoulders, fingers pointing towards your shoulders as the elbows drop in. Big inhale here, reach the knees away from you, we come up onto the crown of the head. The block not allowing your knees to splay as you're engaging in towards center... And then once again...

Extending the arms into full wheel. So the back of the neck is long, ribs drawing in, low belly engaged, and a few breaths here. And then as you're ready, slowly release, chin in towards your chest. Roll your spine down... Set your blocks off to the side.

Bring your left knee over your right, and drop your knees all the way over to the right. Coming into a twist. The gaze can shift back over your left shoulder. Inhale, make your way up through center. Recross your legs, right knee over left, big inhale, exhale, we take the knees all the way over to the left.

Make your way back to center... Hug your knees in... And roll your way up. Extend your legs out in front of you... With the knees bent.

Draw your shoulders back, and take your hands back behind your knees. Big inhale here, we extend to parallel with the right leg. And then extend to parallel with the left. Trying to keep the length of the spine, back of the neck long... Low back happy, maybe extending all the way to straight.

And maybe reaching the arms forward. Option to come back to parallel... And release down... Or take it back up. Option to lower to a hover.

And make your way up... And lower... And come up, and lower... And come up. The strength of the center of the body stabilizing the low back...

And hug the knees in. Make your way back onto your mat... Soles of the feet coming together, knees opening out to the sides... And reclining into cobbler's pose. Noticing the effects of your practice.

Feeling the warmth. Noticing your heart beating. Feeling the energy coursing through you. Starting to shift from doing... Into being.

And as you're ready... Extending your legs out into savasana. Perhaps there's a sense of energy flowing a bit more freely through your body. Minus some of the tension that you started with. And then allow the body to dissolve as it drops away.

Until it's as if all that's left is your breath. And your light. Let the breath be effortless. And stay here for as long as you'd like. Whenever you decide that you're ready to come up, make sure to draw your knees in...

And roll to one side. Transitioning slowly... Soaking up the benefits of your practice. Use your arms and hands to make your way up... And check in.

Noticing the vibrance... The energy... And a sense that you created... A lift in your mood. Bring your hands together and bow to each other with namaste.

The light in me honors the light in you.


David G-
Another supportive practice. The bridge pose is so inspirational to watch, and you provided some cool alternatives with the blocks. Hope your new year has been meaningful. Namaste
Denise Antonini
Thank you David Goldstein! Wishing you health and equanimity for the year ahead. 

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