Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 7

Active Beginner

35 min - Practice
16 likes
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Emily shares an accessible practice designed to build heat, flexibility, and energy throughout the whole body. We find simple sun salutations, lunges, standing postures, gentle forward folds, and backbends. The practice will result in feeling satisfied and nourished.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

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(waves shoring) Welcome back. This practice is going to be a dynamic moving practice to just help you build a little bit of energy. So you'll need two blocks and a blanket for this practice. And we'll start our practice sitting in a vajrasana, or a kneeling seat. And we'll place our blocks underneath our hips.

So you'll just bring your blocks just between your ankles, and you can stack them on top of each other and then just have a nice seat. And this should give you enough room for your hips and your knees, but if you feel like you need just a little bit more, you can fold a blanket or put a small pillow on top of your block pile. And once you get comfortable, just take a moment and close the eyes, and just rest your hands on your thighs. Tune in to your breath. And just begin to feel your breath moving in and out of your body in steady waves.

As you're here, just checking in and noticing how you feel on an energetic level. Allow your breath to deepen, breathing and filling the entire capacity of your lungs. And on your next exhale, bring your hands to a prayer position in front of the heart. And then as you inhale, sweep your arms out and up. Bring in the palms together over head.

And then as you exhale, just draw that prayer right down through the center back to the heart. Let's just do that a few more times. Gathering in the breath, gathering in energy. Nice full breath in. Drawing the hands right down through the center as you breathe out.

(breathing deeply) Let's take on last round just like that. (breathing deeply) We'll make our way out to our hands and knees. And you can pad underneath your knees with your blanket if you'd like. I'm going to give myself just a little bit of cushion for underneath my knees here. Making your way onto the hands and knees, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips, stretch your hips halfway or all the way or somewhere in between back towards your heals.

Let your forehead come down to your mat or toward you mat. And then as you breathe in, pull with your hands and inhale, bring yourself back up to hands and knees and slightly lift your chest. Exhale, lower your head, stretch the hips back towards the heals. Inhale, gently pull with your hands and bring yourself back up to your hands and knees finding that nice little lift in the chest. Exhale as you stretch back.

And inhale making your way back up to your hands and knees. Gentle pull with the hands to lift the heart center. Last time, exhale, stretch your hips all the way back towards your heals. And then this time, as you inhale, float yourself up to your hands and knees and find that slight pull with the hands to lift your chest, and as you exhale, tuck your toes under, lower your head, stretch your hips halfway back towards your heals. And then lift your knees up, coming into downward-facing dog pose.

As you inhale, shift forward, bringing your shoulders over your wrists. Set your knees down, and with your exhale, lower all the way down to your belly. As you inhale, slide your hands back behind your shoulders. Lift your chest pressing the pubic down towards the floor. And then with your exhale, press yourself back to child's pose.

You may need to adjust your knees a little bit to get back onto your blanket. We'll do that again. Inhaling, floating up to the hands and knees, gently pulling with the hands, lifting the chest. Exhale, tuck the toes under, lower the head, stretch your hips halfway back. Lift your knees coming into downward dog.

Inhale, float forward, bringing your shoulders over your wrists. Set your knees down, and exhale, lower down to your belly. Set the tops of your feet down, slide your hands slightly back. And then as you inhale, lift the chest, just coming into a nice low cobra pose. Exhale, press your hips back towards your heals.

Crawl your knees back onto your blanket. Make your way into child's pose. Last one like this. Inhaling, floating forward to the hands and knees, gentle lift in the chest. Exhaling, lowering the head, tucking the toes, shift your hips halfway back, straightening the legs as much as it feels comfortable in down dog.

Inhale, float forward to plank. Set your knees down and exhale, lower down to your belly. Set the tops of the feet down. Press the pubic bone down, inhale, cobra. And exhale, press yourself back to child's pose.

On your next inhale, float yourself up to your hands and your knees. And then as you exhale, tuck your toes under, stretch your hips halfway back, drop your head, lift your knees, and find downward-facing dog. And again, you can keep your knees nice and bent here in your down dog. Spread your fingers really wide apart. Roll your apart arms away from one another.

Give yourself a few really nice deep breaths, and just notice how this pose can really help you to start to build a little bit of heat and energy in your body. On your next exhale, walk your feet slowly up towards your hands. And just bend your knees really deeply here and let your torso drape out over your thighs. As you inhale, keep your knees bent. Let your head hang and slowly being to roll up.

If you need more support, you can always bring your hands to your thighs and press yourself up. Making your way all the way up to stand, and finding mountain pose. And then we'll just move our blanket out of the way and find our blocks so that we can use them for our half sun salutations. So we're bring our blocks back up to the front of the mat now. And we'll stand with our feet hip width apart.

And starting in mountain pose, feet are parallel, toes pointing forward, weight slightly back in the heels, low ribs are dropped down, crown of the head stretching up away from the tailbone. Hands join together in a prayer in front of the heart. As you inhale, sweep the arms out and up. And with your exhale, bend your knees, hinge at your hips, and fold forward. As you inhale, bend your knees deeply, let your hands go down, turn your palms to face one another.

Exhale everything out, and then on your next inhale, draw the shoulder blades together, bend your elbows back of the neck long. Exhale, fold all the way forward. And then as you inhale, bend your knees, lift your chest, sweep your arms out and up and rise all the way back up to stand. And let's just dive right back down. We'll bend the knees, we'll hinge at the hips and fold forward.

Allow the palms to come down towards the floor. Bend the knees deeper, reach the hips back. On your next inhale, squeeze the shoulder blades together to grasshopper pose. Back of the next nice and long. Exhale, hands to the blocks.

Or if you'd like to bring them to floor for your forward fold, you're welcome to here. Knees bend, inhale, sweep the arms out and up, rise all the way back up to stand. One more time, exhale. Bend the knees, hinge at the hips, fold forward. This time just let your hands come down to the floor, palms face one another.

Knees bend deeper, chest lifts. Draw the shoulder blades towards one another. Exhale and fold. Press through the feet, slight bend in knees, lift the chest, inhale, sweet the arms out and up. And then as you exhale, allow the arms to come down alongside the body and come back to mountain pose.

Let's move our blocks away from our mat to give us a little bit more space. And then come back to mountain pose. Once you're here, step your left foot back and spin your back heel slightly in and down. We'll come into warrior one. So your feet are just a little bit wider than heel to heel in your alignment.

We'll start with a straight front long, and we'll raise the arms up. Have your hands shoulder width apart, you palms facing forward. Take a nice big breath here, and as you exhale, bend your front knee, bend your elbows. Press through the legs, straighten the legs, straighten the arms on your inhale. Exhale, bend the front knee, bend the elbows.

Inhale, arms and legs straighten. Exhale. It's like your making cactus arms on your exhale, and then reaching for the sky as you straighten your legs, straighten the arms. Exhale. One more like this.

(exhaling deeply) Good. Inhaling. Next time your exhale, let's come into that warrior one with cactus arms and just keep the elbows bent here. Back of the neck long. Drawing the lower belly back towards the spine. Breathing deeply here.

Exhale, release the arms down. Step your back foot up to meet your front foot and find mountain pose. On your inhale, step your right foot back, spin that back heel slightly in and down. Straighten the front leg, raise the arms up. Hands are shoulder width apart, palms turned forward.

Full breath in here, and as you exhale, bend your front knee, bend your elbows. Inhaling, straightening the front legs, straightening the arms. Exhale, front knee bends, elbows bend to cactus arms. Inhaling. And exhale.

Let's do two more just like that. Inhale, everything extends. Exhale, bending the elbows, bending the front knee and really drawing the belly back. Last one. This time inhale, straighten the legs, straighten the arms.

Exhale into that warrior pose with cactus arms and draw the belly back. Anchor down through your back heel. Pause here, take some really nice energizing breaths. (breathing deeply) Good. Exhale, release. Step your back foot up to meet your front foot.

Pause in mountain pose. And just feel the effects of that movement and breath. You may feel your body temperature increasing a little bit. Maybe you have a little more energy building. And then let's find our blocks again.

And we'll turn sideways on the mat and stand with our legs really nice and wide apart. And then place a nice bend in your knees and bring your hands down to the floor with your blocks underneath them. And we'll pause here just so you can have a moment to allow your legs to get used to being in this wide forward fold. And you can stay right where you are, or you can start to walk your hands forward. So it's almost like you're going into down dog.

I actually call this double wide downward-facing dog. You're gonna let your hang as you reach your hips back. You're always welcome to keep a nice little bend in your knees here. Reach the arms forward. And just notice, you're really making a lot of space through your side body and through your abdomen and your chest.

So really allow your breath to get super full, really deep. (breathing deeply) Good, and then on your next breath in, just walk your blocks back so that your wrists are underneath your shoulders again. And then let's walk the right hand on the block just underneath the face. Place your right hand down. Take a nice big breath in, and as you inhale, sweep your left arm up.

And as you do that, really think about spinning your chest towards the left and drawing that right shoulder down. Breathing deeply here. (breathing deeply) Next exhale, set your left hand down. Walk your right wrist back underneath your shoulder and walk your left block underneath your face. And then as you inhale, spin your chest to the right and sweep that right arm up.

Draw the left shoulder down. Reach the hips back. And you can always look down in these poses if it is too much on the neck. (breathing deeply) Next time you exhale, set both of your hands down. And one more time, just pause with your wrists underneath your shoulders.

And you may find that you want to turn your blocks down so that they're a little bit lower. (breathing deeply) Good, and then let's walk our hands back a little bit closer to our feet. We'll bend our knees and bring our hands to our thighs and just press ourselves all the way back up to stand. And then just step the feet together. And then grab your blocks and take them with you as you step up to the front of your mat.

And you'll place your blocks down little bit wider than your feet. And from here, take a nice big breath in. Sweep your arms out and up, and as you exhale, bend your knees, hinge at your hips and fold forward. With your inhale, step your left foot back, and set your knee down on the floor for low lunge. And you can always pad underneath that knee if you need to.

Can slide that right foot a little bit further forward. Slide your blocks back so your wrists are under your shoulders. Lift up through the low belly. And you can stay right here or maybe you'd like to bring your hands to your front thigh, or maybe the arms come up alongside the ears. (breathing deeply) And the next time that you exhale, lower your hands down.

Tuck your back toes under and step your back foot up to meet your front foot. And then as you breathe in, step your right foot back. Set your right knee down for low lunge. Top of the foot down. Lift through the low belly.

Either walk your hands back and keep your hands on your blocks, or slide your hands up to the front thigh, or maybe the arms stretch up alongside the ears. Take some really nice full breaths here. Energizing the pose here a little bit more with the breath. (breathing deeply) And then with your exhale, bring your hands down to your blocks. And this time, just slide your left knee back alongside the right knee.

And slide your blocks off to your side. And from here, just take your blanket and have it folded into quarters just like I have mine, and just have it handy. You'll need it in just a moment. And then lay all the way down onto your belly. And bring your forehead to your mat and your arms down alongside your body with your palms turned up, thumbs pointing in towards your hips.

And just let your shoulders relax. And then we're just going to do a series of lifts into locust pose. So as you are ready, on your next exhale, just press your pubic bone down towards the floor, draw your navel towards spine. And as you inhale, lift your legs, your chest, and your arms up. And as you exhale, lower all the way back down.

Try to maintain that connection to the abdomen here. Inhaling, lifting. Exhale, lowering all the way down. We'll do three more like that. Inhaling, lifting up.

Exhale, lower all the way down. Inhale, legs, chest, arms up. Exhale, lower all the way back down to the floor. And then just one more time. Inhale.

Locust pose. Exhale, lower all the way back down. And then just slide your hands beneath your shoulders and press yourself up to your hands and knees. And you'll take that blanket that you folded into quarters right across your mat, and you'll have your low belly and the tops of your hips on your blanket and your pubic bone off. And then from here, slide your right elbow underneath your shoulder and your forearm parallel with the front of your mat.

And then begin to bend your left knee. Flex your left foot. And then start to reach back for your left ankle. Now if you can't reach your ankle, you can just start to create that action of reaching the hand and the ankle towards one another. Breathe deeply here, flexing the foot, drawing the heel in towards the back of your hip.

Pressing the pubic bone down towards the floor. And as you exhale, slowly lower all the way down. And then let's change arms. Bring your left forearm foreword. And then slowly bend your right knee, and start to reach that right arm back.

Reaching for that ankle, it may or may not touch. And if it does, you'll hold on to your ankle, flex your foot, and draw the heel in towards the back of your hip. As you're doing that, press your pubic bone down towards your mat. And then with your exhale, release and lower all the way down to your belly. Slide your hands back so that your fingertips are behind your shoulders.

And then press your hips back so that you come to your hands and knees. And you may need to open your blanket up here so that you can give yourself just a little bit more cushioning across the middle of your mat. Crawl your knees onto your blanket. Touch your toes and walk your knees apart. And then begin to shift your hips back towards your heels for wide-knee child's pose.

And you can put your elbows down on your mat. And then you can also let your hips start to stretch back towards your heels a little bit more. And if it's comfortable, you can begin to walk your elbows forward, let your head hang, and take a few really nice deep breaths here. (breathing deeply) Slowly, as you inhale, walk your hands back up. Draw the knees towards one another, and then just shift your hips off to the side.

And you'll move your blanket so that you can use it as a nice neck roll. And I'm just going to turn around so that you can seem me a little bit better here. You'll need your blocks again. And you're just gonna come down onto your back. And you'll bring your blocks so that your blocks can support your thighs.

So one block under each thigh, soles of the feet together and knees come apart. And if you need more, you can always add another blanket or a pillow on top of your blocks. You'll let your head rest on your blanket, and just allow yourself to breathe here. And just allowing this nourishing supported pose to help to recharge your batteries a little bit. Think about drawing the breath down deep and feeling your abdomen expand as you breathe in.

And relax as you breathe out. (breathing deeply) Staying with these nice, nourishing breaths. Just feeling your breath revitalizing your being. And the next time that you exhale, slowly draw the knees back together. And then let's just slide our blocks off to the side again, and draw the knees in towards the chest.

And you can just stay right here hugging the knees in with your hands, or, if you'd like to come into a little bit of a deeper pose here, you can reach your hands down for either your feet or your ankles, drawing the heels in towards the belly, and allowing the knees to move apart. (breathing deeply) And then the next time that you exhale, release your ankles or your feet. Bring your feet back down to the ground. And then you can either lay here with your knees bent and your feet hip width apart, or else stretch our your legs for final relaxation. Take a deep breath in through your nose.

Open your mouth. Sigh your breath out. (exhaling) And let yourself rest. You can stay here for as long as you would like, or else begin to deepen your breath. And slowly begin awakening your fingers and toes.

And then bending your knees and making your way over onto your side. And using as little effort as possible, press yourself up to a comfortable seat. And that may be coming back into that kneeling pose on your blocks. And joining the hands together in front of the heart, thank you for sharing your practice. Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Thanks Emily. The slow pace was perfect to focus on the energy generated by the poses. Wonderful!
Thank you Frederic! I am so glad you enjoyed this practice!
I’m practicing this series with you for the second time because I like your pace & instructions
Lorraine Marek Thanks so much for letting me know! I am so happy you are back for a second time! Enjoy! 
Thanks, Emily, for this nice practice! Kind regards!
Sandra Židan I am so happy you enjoyed this! 

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