The Yoga Flow Show Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 2

Ground and Root Down

35 min - Practice


Inspired by our root chakra, Kate guides us a fluid sequence to create a feeling of spiraling and rooting into the earth. This practice generates heat, strength, and a promotes a grounded quality in both the body and mind.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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(waves lapping) Greetings, this is a grounding practice to help you really root down in your body and get connected. It might be a good idea to have two blocks on hand especially if you're tighter in the hips and the hamstrings. So, what we, bringing our hands together in the Ksepana mudra with the index fingers extended. You can reach the index fingers into the ground and then turn your eyes in and up to the brow point and we'll start to slow the breath way down. So, this is the mudra of pouring out and letting go.

And it helps us to develop trust, trust that the universe will provide, that we'll be able to get our basic needs met, even to trust in the nourishment that we receive. So, you'll start to elongate the exhalations and then add a breath retention on the exhalation also known as Bahya Kumbhaka. So, as you hold the breath out, just sit with it for a few counts, completely emptied out before your next breath in to the nose. (breathing loudly) And pour it out through the nose. (breathing loudly) Holding it out for a few counts. Breathing in. (breathing loudly) Then we'll breathe in for om.

(humming) You can take your hands to your knees, let your eyes slightly open and we'll start to circle around to the right, almost like you're corkscrewing your tailbone right into the center of the earth and then you can reverse the other direction, feeling yourself get really connected to this very particular spot on planet that you sit upon right here, right now. You can take your hands just in front of the shins, inhale, reach the heart forward, then exhale, pull the navel back for a few spinal flexes. Feel that rocking sensation through the base of the spine and we'll turn, plant the feet onto the floor, the hands behind you and float the hips up for tabletop or altar pose, you can lower yourselves down, cross over the shins and rest back into child's pose, getting nice and close to the earth. Take a few deep breaths here, allowing your weight to drop in, to feel gravity, and you can look forward between the hands, shift unto the forearms and literally slither on out into a low cobra so the heart can lift, the elbows draw in, even press through the tops of the feet. With an exhale, move your hands forward, you may even release the third eye to the ground, full Pranam, then slide the hands back beneath the shoulders, press back onto your hands and knees, tucking through the toes, see if you get all 10 toes underneath you there.

So, you feel that the root system through the soles of the feet start to open. You may even start to slide your hips back so it's like a child's pose with the toes tucked, and then from here, you can start to lift your hips and pedal out into downward-facing dog. To feel a nice four-legged foundation start to grow here through the arms and legs, rooting into the earth evenly. Walk your hands backwards a few inches so that you feel even more connected, more rooted, then bring your left hand to the outside of the right calf, then start to peek underneath the right arm, then reach through the right arm, draw the thigh bones back and look up underneath you, drawing the navel in the up toward the spine, then reach the left hand into the ground and switch sides, right hand to the outside of the calf, traction to the lower back and replace the right hand to the front of the mat. Inhale, lift your right leg high and circle the right foot around in both directions.

You'll step the right foot to the outside of the right hand on an exhale and lower the left knee gently beneath you. Tenting the fingers of both hands, lift the chest and take a breath in. Then breathing out, start to straighten through the right leg, flexing through the right foot, feel that connection through the right heel into the ground. You might melt into a little deeper crooked half splits, feeling here, observing that awakening through the back of the right leg between the heel and base of the spine. We'll crawl back to a lunge, tuck the left toes, inhale, lift the left knee and the right arm high, circle it overhead and then exhale your way back into downward-facing dog, ripple through plank pose on the inhale and sit back into child's pose on your exhale.

Slide through the small cobra, breathing in, then pressing back, downward-facing, breathing out. Reach the left leg high, inhaling, start to circle the left foot around. Stepping the left foot to the outside of the left hand, and easing on in, tenting the fingers, opening the heart and then exhaling your way into that root chakra awakening. Reaching through the left heel as you pull the left toes back. We'll climb into our lunge, tuck the right toes, reach back through the right heel and inhale the left arm high, and then circle your way back into your downward-facing dog.

Inhale through plank and empty into child's pose. Slide through your cobra, breathing in and press back to downward-facing, breathing out. Inhale the right leg high, step it directly to the outside of the right hand. We'll take right arm up on the breath in and then step your left foot to the outside of the left hand and sink on down for Malasana. You can reach through both feet evenly, inhale you are way up to stand and bring the hands back through prayer and to the ground.

Right leg steps back on your inhale, Chaturanga on your exhale. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana or upward-facing and exhale back to downward-facing. Send the left leg to the sky, breathing in, and step it wide to the outside of the left hand, inhale, the left arm up and circle it forward, back into Malasana, reaching down to rise, inhale, and settle back down close to the ground on your exhale. The hands come to the floor, inhale the left leg back and exhale your way through your Chaturanga. Upward-facing on the inhale and downward-facing on the exhale.

Take a full breath, in here, you can bend through the knees. Lift to the balls of the feet and then float to Malasana right at the top of the mat. If your heels don't quite come down, it's okay, keep lifting through Mula Bandha, your root lock. Now, bring your hands in front of you and then turn the toes parallel, breathing, lengthen the spine, then try to walk your hands to your feet, maybe even catching your big toes for yogi toe lock. Draw the crown of the head a little closer to the ground by bending the elbows out to the sides, and feel the energy lifts through the inner leg lines, shifting your weight into balls of the feet to bring your hips little more in line with the ankles.

And from here, you can let go of your feet, bend through your knees, inhale you way up to stand. Take the Ksepana mudra again and feel that reaching through the feet. You can take the hands back to the heart. So, let the feet just on the insides of the mat, you can even flare the toes above the ground slightly, we're gonna practice what's called stationary crow. So, it's a Kundalini Kriya for the root chakra, the arms inhale high, feel the strength of the legs beneath you, and then exhale your way into a flat back.

So, you'll try to make a straight line between the tailbone and the index fingers. You'll start to feel a lot of heat building in your legs, savor that. There's this energy connecting you to the earth. Perhaps, helping you to heal your relationship to the physical, even to your own body. You can bring your hands down just in front of your feet, breathe in here, flat back, Chaturanga, step or float your way back.

Roll it open on the inhale, send your hips high on the exhale. Reach the right leg up, breathing in. Go ahead and step it forward between your hands on the breath out. Left heel spins down, hands on the Ksepana mudra, rise up for Warrior I, then reach the hands straight out in front, almost like a humble warrior but with the hands forward instead of behind you. Navel lifted, hips squaring underneath.

And we're gonna swivel the shape to the left so turn the right toes in to a giant wide straddle forward bend with the index fingers actively reaching away from you. From here, start to soften the knees, feel the energy rise up the inner leg lines and we'll come all the way up to stand, feeling that structural support underneath you. You'll pick up the left toes, feel the left heel dig into the ground, turning to the back of the mat and open up to Warrior II, suppressing down against the space around you, stacking the shoulders over the hips, flip the palms, inhale to Reverse Warrior. You can exhale your way through Chaturanga or skip it at any time and meet back in downward-facing. Inhale, the left leg high, step it forward, breathing out.

Right heel spins down, inhale, Warrior I with the index fingers extending, reach it out toward the back of the mat, drawing the navel in and up. Then the left toes will turn in, slide around to the side, a nice stable, symmetrical foundation, and then soften through the knees, root down to rise up, breathing in. Spin the right toes around, find your focus, back to the top of the mat for your Virabhadrasana II. Flip the palms, inhaling, Reverse Warrior you can come down to your Chaturanga, we're meeting downward dog, a little faster, right leg high, breathing in, step it forward, breathing out. Warrior I, inhaling, reach it forward and swivel.

Soften the knees, inhale, take it up, spin the left toes around, Warrior II into triangle. You might even shift your gaze up toward the right hand, feel a little longer through the left waist. Breathing in, Reverse Warrior and breathing out, moving it through or step it back. Left leg high, inhaling, step it forward, exhaling. Rooting down through your Virabhadrasana I, reach it forward, swivel to the side, soften the knees, inhale, climb up through center, and then turn, triangle pose.

Now, shoulder blades draw together on your back, the strength rising up from the soles of the feet, through the legs into the hips. You can soften through the right knee, inhale your way into Reverse Warrior and take it on down. Then take a full breath in, and empty out with sigh. From here, you can rise to the balls of the feet, gaze forward, step or float to the top of the mat. Inhale to a flat back and empty into your legs and come through chair pose, breathing in, and that nice electric shape in the body, and then come to stand for mountain pose, grounding through center you can let your weight shift into the left leg slightly and then pick up the right knee, then draw the right knee close, you can even circle the foot around here.

You manually rotate out through the right hip. Setting your foot on the inside of the left leg, either above or below the knee. You can level off the hips, take a moment. Find your standing leg, and then reach your arms high, branching out into your tree shape. So, feel a root system beneath you.

Don't be afraid to sway with the wind. Then we're gonna check on a special variation. It's a whole body mudra expressing Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. So, you can take your right hand around your left elbow, and then the left hand in the Jnana mudra, and soften the left leg, your standing leg, the right leg moves forward and this represents the elephant's trunk. So, it's Ganesha, the beloved elephant-headed Hindu deity, associated with the root chakra.

From here, with soft knees, step your right foot back, start to straighten your left leg and even flex your left foot for pyramid, a variation of pyramids, you feel that contact through the heel all the way up toward the pelvic floor. Now, we're gonna swivel into the ground, right around to the other side, digging right into the earth. Shift forward into the right foot, lower your left knee down and circle your way around into Ardha Matsyendrasana. Then take a few deep breaths here. Coming back to that sense of sort of spiraling into the ground and the arriving in your body.

When you unwind, the hands come behind you, your left foot can come to the floor, open up the right hip and then lift up for one-legged tabletop so the right leg can stretch up to the sky as you reach into the left foot. Stretch the right foot forward and come up onto your fingertips so the fingers are tented to lift your sitting bones off the mat. So, just on your left foot if possible. Now, reach your hands around your right foot and potentially balance here with the sitting bones floating up as you root through your left foot. So, there's a nice triangulation going on to keep the balance and then you can lower your sitting bones down happily, and then start to bring the leg into a little closer.

Now, let it go. We're gonna wander on toward the inside of the left leg. So, bring your left foot as close to the left sitting bone as you can. So, left heel is right in front of the left sitting bone, reach the left arm forward, you're gonna internally rotate the left arm, take it around the front of the left shin if you can, and then reach your right hand back for your left hand. You're welcome to use a strap if the hands done come together.

You can take a breath in here and then empty into Marichyasana I. The left knee is hugging close to the left upper arm, getting nice and close to the earth there. On your way up, you can bring your left leg with you, so the left leg sort of bundled up under your arm and then literally crawl underneath yourself, under your leg so getting two elephants in today. Take your hands on either side of your hips so the pressure through the palms of the hands and then the opposite lift through Mula Bandha is gonna help to give you a little floating elephant trunk shape. When you put yourself down, bring the left foot against the inner right thigh.

Left hand back to the top of the mat, press through the left shin and open everything up. Feel that stretch through the whole right side of the body. Now, stay with me here, we're gonna swivel back around to the top of the mat to downward dog so just spun around in place here, and lift to the balls of the feet with an inhale, gaze forward, step or float to the top of the mat. Inhale, roll the heart open and empty into your legs. Come through Utkatasana, breathing in and Tadasana, breathing out.

And then shift your weight into your right leg. You can pick up your left heel, draw the left knee in, and wake up the feet then rotate the left thigh bone out, find your tree pose, smooth out your breath, then grow bigger, stronger, more connected. Then breathing into the sides of the rib cage and take your left hand over your right elbow. So, you're literally creating a box around your head. The square is actually the shape of the root chakra.

Both knees can soften as the left leg moves forward and the right arm creates a trunk for your Ganesha mudra. Step the left leg back, the hands come down, straight into the right leg and bow in. Swivel to your left this time. So, the toes pick up so you can spin around on the heels and then continue twirling around to the left for Ardha Matsyendrasana. See if you can get both sitting bones even on the ground, and then indulge in the breath in and the breath out.

The hands come behind you onto the mat, the right foot in front of you, inhale for one-legged tabletop. Start to move your weight forward, you can tent the fingers, pressing through the right foot, catch the left foot in your hands. If the wrists are not crossing, uncross them. You can use the strap, shoulder blades draw together, heart lifts, inner leg lines strong. Use your bandhas, your Mula Bandha and your Uddiyana Bandha here to stay afloat and then you're gonna lower down, lift the left leg a little closer into your body and then set it down in front of you, scooting the hips back, aligning the right heel on the right sitting bone, reach it forward, spiral the right shoulder in, reach your hands around you.

Take a hold of yourself in every way (laughs) and then empty into the left leg. Even out the breath, bowing in, honoring where we come from, our tribe, our mother, the planet. Come on, bring it with you as you climb up and under the right leg. So, here we go, elephant trunks pose take two. Pressing to the ground, lift your hips so the belly scoops in and up.

You may even find a little swing here. You can put it down, the right foot comes to the inner left thigh, right hand to the back of the mat, roll it open. Then the left hand comes down, you swivel into your downward-facing dog, coming back to balance. From here, we're gonna move into child's pose. Take a rest and you may wanna scoop forward slightly on your mat for the next part and possibly have your blocks handy.

So, we're gonna start with the toes tucked for a little extra root system opening. It's like when you repot a plant, you've gotta pull the roots apart, I like to think about that when I practice this. And then you can bring your hands into Ksepana mudra. Take your index fingers straight up, feel your tailbone lengthen straight down. Try to stack the shoulders over the hips and then smooth out the breath.

You might even come back to that breath retention on the exhalation. So, even when the arms are reaching upwards, the spine is reaching upwards, there's this downward current that you're calling upon, you're channeling to help you really arrive in your body. You can circle the arms down sort of clearing the space around you. You'll probably wanna come under your hands, untuck the toes and take all pitter-patter there to loosen up the feet. Now, if you have a knee injury, absolutely use a block underneath your hips.

We're gonna sit back into Virasana. (breathing loudly) Some of us might even recline. You can take your blocks here underneath your shoulder blades and under the back of the head for support. You might rest here. If your thighs are very open and your knees are healthy and your seat is on the ground, you might even lie back completely reclined without the support of the blocks but this is what I prefer for my body anyway.

So, feel the ground in this here allowing the earth to support you. And you're gonna help yourself up slowly and set the blocks aside. Moving back onto the hands and coming onto your backs for plow pose. So, you're gonna lie back, bring the knees in, and then shift the feet overhead, pressing your hands into the ground, you can dig your toes into the earth like you're planting something here. Take a few deep breaths into the upper back.

You might even bring your hands into Ksepana mudra, pouring out, letting go, and roll that one vertebra at a time, hug your knees into your chest, Apanasana, and then let your legs stretch out one at a time, opening up into Shavasana. Try to let go of the holdings so you can just spread out completely empty into the earth beneath you. If you have time for a lengthy Shavasana, I would absolutely recommend taking it. If you don't, you can start to bring your feet onto the ground and roll onto your right side, pausing in fetal pose. It's like your rebirthing yourself.

You can press into your left hand and come up to sit, back into Sukhasana, easy pose, and we'll finish with a different mudra. The right hand is pointing down and literally touching the earth, the left hand is pointing up. You can allow the eyes to close, this is the Bhumisparsha mudra. It's literally about claiming the earth, the space we're taking up. All right to be here, all right to have and be nurtured and even prosper.

I wish that for all of you. Namaste.


Gigi M
2 people like this.
Such a Lovely sequence! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
A super sequence - loved it !
Would love to know more about Suprana mudras but can't anything on the web. Any suggestions? Jav
Helene B
Thanks Kate, I love your classes: so original and deep - Are you sometimes in NYC teaching???
Kate Duyn Cariati
Hi Helene, yes I am sometimes, but don't have any trips planned at the moment. Will keep you posted!
Helene B
2 people like this.
Yes please - keep me in touch when you come to NYC and are planning to teach some classes (maybe at Laughing Lotus) !!! that would be awesome -
Eric K
Creative transitions. Balanced and energizing. Thank you.
Elissa P
Kate: you put the fun in funky. thanks for the creative flow.
Kate M
Love your creative sequencing! Love the way you play with movement metaphors like the Ganesha shapes here, relating it to the Muladhara. Very cool!
Kate M
Your transitions are always a little bit unexpected and magical. This is a beautifully creative exploration of the theme of grounding... Love the prayerful way you integrate the hand mudras. Many thanks, again : )
Britta U
1 person likes this.
You are my inspiration from the first time, I met you at LLNY. Thank you ;)
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