The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 7 - Episode 8

Flow to Bird of Paradise

35 min - Practice
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Description

Sarah guides us in a dynamic sequence that flows towards Svarga Dvidasana (Birds of Paradise). We flow through a series of Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) and balancing postures, creating freedom in the hamstrings, hips, and shoulders.
What You'll Need: Mat

Transcript

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(waves rolling on shore) Welcome. So in this practice we're going to flow towards Birds of Paradise, a standing posture Birds of Paradise. So along the way we'll do some shoulder opening, some hip opening, hamstring opening and just flowing and building some heat and strength in the body. So if you would join me you will come to the back of the mat and start in a Forward Fold. So just take your feet about hips distance apart and then allow the torso to drape down over the legs, let the head get heavy.

And then you might interlace the fingers behind the back, drawing the shoulder blades together, shifting a little bit more weight into the balls of the feet. And then just keep the knees nice and soft for a couple full deep breaths here, allowing an easy inhale through the nose. Maybe opening the mouth, sighing it out, clearing breath. And then put a big bend in the right knee and start to straighten through the left as you start to open your heart toward the left, so twisting to the left side. Good, and then come back through center and we'll switch sides.

So start to bend through the left, straighten through the right and open your heart and your chest towards the right side. Good, and then slowly come back through center, release the hands down and then take a nice stroll to your first Downward Facing Dog. So spreading the fingers wide, pressing back through the heels, and then any movement here that feels good. So you might pedal it out from side to side, you might swivel the heels one way and the toes the other, whatever you need here to start to feel into the backs of the legs, creating some space and opening in the back body. And then when you're ready, start to step the feet back toward hips distance apart.

And then we'll shift the weight forward to Plank pose, coming to the top of a push up here, draw the shoulders over the wrists, press back through your heels. We're going to hold here for three breaths, so draw the navel to the spine and take your hips just about the height of your shoulder blades. Keep reaching the crown of the head toward the front of the room. Allow for an easy inhale through the nose. And then exhale, shift back, Downward Facing Dog.

Let's do that a couple more times. Inhale, shifting forward, Plank Pose. Exhale, hips lift up and back, Downward Facing Dog. Good, one more, inhale, shifting forward, exhale, shifting back. Beautiful and then from here start to lift the right leg all the way up and back behind you.

Let's put a bend in the right knee, opening up the hip, and just drawing your heel in toward your butt but pressing evenly through both hands so that your shoulders are starting to square toward the front of the mat. And then on your next inhale start to straighten out the leg, square the hips, look forward and step your right foot all the way through between your hands. Lower your back knee down. Come onto your fingertips. Lift your heart, inhale to lengthen.

Good, as you exhale come onto your right heel, lift the right toes up and draw your right hip back. Good, inhale lengthen, come half way up. And then exhale, keep the length in the spine and fold over that front leg. Relax the head and the neck. Just a couple breaths here, keeping a softness in that right knee.

Good, and then we'll inhale to re-bend through that front leg, tuck your back toes, step to Downward Facing Dog. Good, and we'll move to the left side. So inhale, left leg sweeps all the way up and back. Bend your knee, open the hip, draw the left heel in toward you and then keep pressing evenly through both hands. Good, inhale straighten out the legs, square the hips, look forward and step your foot through between your hands.

Lower your back knee down, inhale to lift the heart. And exhale, draw the left hip back, coming onto your left heel, flex the foot, spread the toes. Inhale to lengthen through the spine, come halfway up, and then exhale, folding. And again, softening through that left knee so you're not locking the joint. Good, and then inhale, we'll rebend, tuck your back toes and just step back to Downward Facing Dog.

Beautiful. Good, from here come high up onto your toes, put a deep bend in the knees, look forward. And then your choice, you can step, or lightly hop to the front of the mat, coming into a Forward Fold as you exhale. And on an inhale, come halfway up, lengthen, find Ardha Uttanasana, and then exhale, just folding right back in. Let's do that two more times.

Inhale, come halfway up, your fingertips can stay on the Earth or maybe come up toward your shins. And then exhale, fold back in. Last one like that, inhale come halfway up, offer your heart, and then exhale, fold. Good, root to rise, inhale, arms sweep all the way out and up. Then, exhale, hands to your heart.

Good, moving through Surya Namaskara B, Sun Salutations B. Inhale, sink your weight back down into your heels. Lift your arms up, find Chair Pose. And then exhale, hands come to the Earth, straighten out the legs, fold. Inhale, lengthen, come halfway up.

And then exhale, plant your palms. For this first one, just step back to Plank Pose. And then your choice, you can lower the knees down to the Earth or shift forward just a little bit more so the shoulders come over the wrists and then bend the elbows, come halfway down, Chaturanga. Hug your elbows in and then flip over the toes, lift the heart, draw the shoulders back, Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, Downward Facing Dog.

Inhale, reach your right leg all the way up and back. Exhale, look forward, step the foot through between your hands, spin your back heel down and lift up to Warrior One, inhale. Just taking a couple breaths here to sink down into that front knee, soften the shoulders, hug your floating ribs in. Good, and then let's take the hands behind our back and interlace the fingers behind the back. As you inhale, lift the heart.

And then exhale, Humble Warrior, folding over that front leg, three breaths here, two, last breath. Good, press down through the feet as you lift all the way back up, Warrior One, look up, lengthen, maybe press the palms together above your head. And then exhale, hands come down, spin onto the ball of the back foot. Step back, lower halfway down, Chaturanga. Inhale, Cobra, or Upward Facing.

Exhale, Downward Facing. Left side, inhale, left leg lifts. Exhale, step it on through. Spin your back heel down, Warrior One, three breaths. Two more breaths.

Good, and then again, take your hands behind the back. This time, take the opposite thumb on top. Inhale, lift your heart. Exhale, keep the legs and find Humble Warrior, folding over that front knee, three breaths here. Last breath.

Good, on your next inhale, root to rise, come all the way back up, Warrior One, release the hands, look up, lengthen. Maybe press the palms together. And then exhale, you'll step back to Down Dog, or lower through. If you're lowering through, come halfway down, Chaturanga. Inhale, Cobra, or Upward Facing Dog.

And then exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Take a couple full deep breaths here. Good, and then we'll come to the front of the mat. Through inhale, come high up onto the toes. Bend the knees, look forward, step or lightly hop to the front of the mat.

Inhale, lengthen, come halfway up. Exhale, fold. All right, back to Chair pose, sink the weight back into the heels, lift the arms and strengthen the legs, hands to heart center. So moving through one Surya Namaskara A. Inhale, reach the arms all the way out and up.

Exhale, soften the knees, flat back, fold forward. Inhale, half lift. Exhale, plant the palms. Step, or lightly hop back, vinyasa. Inhale, Cobra or Upward Facing.

Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Good, inhale, sweep the right leg all the way up and back. And draw your right knee to your right tricep. Hover, coming to the top of a push up. Good, inhale, sweep the leg all the way up and back, Down Dog Split, and this time, step the foot all the way through between the hands.

Spin the back heel down and open it up to Warrior Two. Good, so front heel to back arch alignment. Find that gaze right over that middle finger, and soften the shoulders, good. So I'm going to take the left arm and bring it around the back so that you're in this half wrap, and it might come to the top of that right thigh or just somewhere behind the back. And then flip your front palm, keep the bend in the front knee and inhale, reach all the way up and back for Reverse Warrior.

Good, and then reach all the way up and over, hinging forward at the hips, to Extended Side Angle with that half wrap. You're going to roll that left shoulder back. Few full deep breaths here, you can look up, or if that doesn't feel okay in the neck, you can always bring the gaze down toward the Earth. Good, and then look down, root to rise, we'll come all the way back up to Warrior Two. Release the arm, straighten through the front legs, parallel your feet and then swivel your left toes toward the back of your mat, right heel comes slightly back as the right toes come in.

Reach the arms out and then this time we'll take the right arm behind the back, flip your front palm, inhale and find Reverse Triangle Pose. Good, and then exhale, hinge forward at the hips, shift your right hip back and then bring that left hand down to the shin, the ankle, maybe the Earth. Roll that right shoulder back, maybe take the gaze up toward the sky, and find that opening in that right shoulder. Couple full breaths here. Beautiful.

So option to stay right here or start to bring your gaze down beyond your front toes and we'll put a nice bend in that left leg, look forward. You're going to reach forward just about 12 inches so that your left hand's going to come right under your shoulder. Lift the right leg up and back for half moon. You might keep that wrap as you choose to or you can reach the arm all the way up. Let's see if you can start to stack the shoulders, so rolling that right shoulder on top of the left.

You can keep the gaze down if you want to test your balance. Start to look towards the side or maybe even up toward your fingertips. Good, then take the gaze back down, soften through your standing leg. Step all the way back to Warrior Two, wheh. And then straighten the leg, parallel the feet, find a little release here.

So take your hands behind your back, interlace, draw the shoulders back, lift your heart. Feet are slightly pigeon-toed, and then hinge forward at the hips and fold. Let the crown of the head get heavy, melting down towards the Earth. And as you're in this fold just keep engaging the muscles in your thighs to lift up on the knees. Deepen the breath.

Good, and then using the hands with a nice long spine come all the way back up. Good, turn your right toes out, find Warrior Two. And we'll just circle the hands down to the Earth. Come onto the ball of the back foot. And then step back, Plank pose, slowly lowering.

Inhale, Upward Facing Dog or Cobra. And then exhale, rolling over the toes, Downward Facing Dog. Coming right into the left side. Inhale, sweep the left leg up and back. Exhale, draw the left knee to the left tricep, hover, top of a push up, draw the navel to the spine.

And then inhale, sweep the leg all the way up and back. Good, step the foot through between your hands, spin your back heel down, front heel to back arch alignment and then circle it open, Warrior Two. Good, finding just about three full breaths here. Might look down and make sure you can see that big toe, so that the knee, the outer knee is coming toward that pinky toe side of your foot. And then take your right arm this time, wrap it around your back, find that half wrap, flip your front palm and inhale, reach up and back.

Reverse Warrior, and then keeping the wrap, we'll reach forward into Extended Side Angle. Take that right shoulder, roll it back. Maybe take the gaze up. Keep grounding through the outer edge of your back foot, breathe. Good, and then look down, come all the way back up, Warrior Two.

Start to straighten through your front leg, that's going to feel really good. Parallel your feet, release your hands, and then spin your right toes to the back of the mat, left toes in slightly, about 45 degrees. And then swivel that back heel out, reach your arms up to the height of your shoulders. And then this time take the left hand behind your back, find that half wrap, and see if you can draw that right hip back slightly, torso facing toward the side of your mat, and then flip the front palm. Inhale, reach up and back, Reverse Triangle.

Good, and then shift forward, reach up and over. And then maybe keep that wrap by rolling that left shoulder back, finding that half wrap here or you might release the arm up to the sky. Couple breaths, keep engaging the legs. Good, and if you had the wrap on the first side we're going to transition into Half Moon. Your choice, you can bring that hand to the hip as well.

We'll start to bend through that front leg. Reach forward about 12 inches and then transition, nice. Again, can you roll that left shoulder back so that you're stacking the shoulders? And then you might play with the gaze toward the side wall, maybe the ceiling, Half Moon. Good, softening through the front knee, softly step back, Warrior Two.

Straighten through the front leg, parallel the feet, slightly pigeon toe. So, a couple options here, you can bring the hands to your hips or maybe your inhale and lift as you fold. Maybe the hands come down to the Earth. You can take your peace fingers and wrap them around your big toes. Now, some of you, if you want to go upside down will find Tripod Headstand.

So you'll bring the hands down, head comes down toward the Earth, very top of the head, bending the elbows, getting light in the feet, and then lifting the legs all the way up, couple breaths. Slowly transitioning on down if you're upside down and then we'll bring our hands to our hips. With a long spine come all the way back up, heel toe the feet in a bit. And then take the left toes toward the left, come back to that Warrior Two. Good, and then circling the hands down, steeping back, flowing through, vinyasa.

Inhale, Cobra or Up Dog. Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Few deep breaths here. Good, from here come high up onto the toes, bend the knees, look forward, step, hop or float front. Inhale, come halfway up.

Exhale, folding. Chair pose, sink the weight down into the heels, lift the arms and then straighten the legs, draw the hands to the heart. Good, so let's come into a standing balancing pose here. So, first just start by grounding through the feet, spreading the toes, feeling all four corners of your feet. We'll bring the hands to the hips.

So find length in the spine, a softness in the shoulders. And then we're going to hug the right knee into the chest and again draw the shoulders back, find length, and then find all four corners of that standing foot. Draw the low belly in and up and then you might bring that left hand to the hip, right peace fingers to the right toe, big toe, and then maybe straighten out the leg any amount, you can keep a bend in the knee here. Just finding your edge. And draw that right shoulder back, find your balance, find your gaze.

It might help to bring that left arm out to the left. Good, and then either stay here or open up the leg to the side, keep rolling that right hip under as you lift. Good, come back through center. Yeah, if you fall out just come back in, it's all part of it. Release both arms up, lift, and then hands to the heart.

Just take a breath, let go of that first side. And then we'll come right into the other side. So again grounding through the feet, bring the weight into the right foot. Bring your hands to your hips. Hug the left knee in.

Draw the shoulders back. Then right hand to the hip. Peace fingers to the left big two. And then straighten out that leg any amount. Draw the left shoulder back, flexing through the foot.

And again, maybe add the right hand, maybe open up the leg to the side. And then slowly come back through center. Right arm lifts up, left arm lifts up, lift up a little bit higher, inhale. Exhale, hands to heart center, nice work, good. And then let's just take one clearing vinyasa here take it to the back of the mat.

Inhale, arms sweep all the way out and up. Exhale, Forward Fold. Inhale, lift halfway. And then exhale, your choice, you can step or hop back through the vinyasa, or maybe step right back to Downward Facing Dog. Good, so moving toward our peak pose.

Inhale, the right leg all the way up and back behind you. Exhale, bring that right knee back to the right tricep. Come to the top of a push up and then inhale, the leg sweeps all the way up and back. Good, step the foot through between the hands. Spin your back heel down, circle up, Warrior Two.

Good, and then again, we'll take that left hand behind the back, find the half wrap, flip your palm. Inhale, reverse. Exhale, reach up and over, Extended Side Angle pose. Spin the left shoulder back. You can stay right here.

Otherwise, we'll take that full wrap. So the right hand will come underneath, we'll take hold of the left wrist and then draw the left shoulder back, maybe take the gaze up toward the sky. Couple breaths here, and again you're welcome to stay right here. Otherwise, we'll bring the gaze down beyond the front foot. Step that left foot forward so that you're paralleling your feet toward the front of the mat.

And then take your weight into your left foot. Start to lift the torso up, coming onto your right toes, straighten out through the left leg. Draw the shoulders back, find your balance first, and then if you want to you can start to straighten through that right leg. Focus, breathe, try not to hold the breath. Birds of Paradise, good.

Slow transition, bending all the way down, set that right foot down. And then we'll step back, Extended Side Angle pose, left foot steps back. Release, come up to Warrior Two, reverse, start to straighten through the front leg. Find Reverse Triangle and then circle it down. Your choice, step back, vinyasa, or Downward Facing Dog.

Maybe lower halfway down Chaturanga, Cobra or Upward Facing Dog on the inhale. Exhale, Down Dog. Take a couple breathes here, let go of that first sigh. Good, and then we'll set up for the left side. So left leg lifts, inhale.

Exhale, left knee, left tricep, hover. Good, inhale, up and back. Exhale, step it on through, Warrior Two. Good, and then this time, we'll take the right hand behind the back, find that half wrap, flip the front palm, inhale, reverse. Exhale, Extended Side Angle pose.

Right shoulder draws back, just the left arm underneath. Then hold onto that right wrist and draw that right shoulder back, couple breaths. Good, so stay here or gaze down, step the right foot forward, start to parallel the feet toward the front of the mat, and then bring the weight into that right foot, lift the gaze, lift the torso, stand tall through that right leg. You might stay right here or maybe start to lift that left leg any amount. Breathe.

Good, and then lower slowly come on back down, step back, release the hands, come up to Warrior Two. Sweet release, straighten through that front leg, Reverse Triangle. And then circle down. Last vinyasa here if you want it otherwise Downward Facing Dog. Good, take a full breath in, open the mouth, sigh it out.

Lower the knees down, sink your hips back, Childs Pose. Good, and we'll roll slowly up, sitting on our heels, just feeling that rounding in the spine, lifting the heart, softening the shoulders. And just sit off to one side, take the legs out in front of you. Come into Revolved Head to Knee pose. Just draw the left leg in, bending the knee, taking the sole of the left foot to the Earth.

We're going to open the right leg out to the right. So from here, we're going to take the right hand to the left ankle and inhale, reach the left arm all the way up. And then reach all the way up and over. You might take hold of the foot or maybe the outside of that right foot and then start to rotate the chest, bending through that left elbow, maybe take the gaze up toward the sky. Getting a few full breaths here.

Similar side stretch as in Birds of Paradise but it feels a lot more juicy and relaxing. On your next inhale, find your way all the way back up and just sit with that, sit with the effects. And then straighten out the left, bring the right knee in. Take the left leg wide, and then again, just draw the heel in toward you. And this time we'll take the left hand to the right ankle and reach the right arm all the way up, tilt over, maybe take hold of the toes or take the right hand to the outside of the left foot and revolve.

You'll take your gaze up toward the sky, keep a softness in that right elbow. Let's take about five full deep breaths. If I could only have one pose for the rest of my yoga life this might be it. Good, inhale, come all the way back up. Good, and gather the soles of the feet together, knees go wide, let's find Baddha Konasana.

So inhale, lift the heart. And exhale keep the length in the spine, draw the chin in towards your chest. Find that natural rounding the low back. You might use your elbows to open up the legs a little bit wider. Inhale, come all the way back up.

And then we'll roll down onto our backs, so bring the soles of the feet to the Earth, bend the knees, reach the arms forward, reach the heart. And on the count of ten we'll roll down slowly. So ten, see if you can keep the feet connected to the Earth, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, beautiful. Hug, your knees in and just gently rock side to side, massaging the low back. And coming into Plow Pose, bring the palms facing down and we'll take the legs up and over the head.

Good, so you can keep the palms facing down. It might feel good to interlace the hands here, rolling the shoulders underneath you, just keeping the gaze straight up, chest toward your chin. Try not to move the head from side to side here, couple breaths. Good, so flatten out the palms, bring the palms to face down. We're coming into Fish Pose, so as you roll down your butt is going to land on the tops of your hands.

So slowly rolling all the way down, keep the hands under your butt and then straighten out the legs, bring the heels down, point through the toes, bend the elbows and come onto the top of your head, lifting the chest and just finding that heart opening and then tucking the chin, releasing the arms, and then we'll set up for a final resting pose, Shavasana. If there's any last pose that you'd like in your practice. Feel free to take it here. Otherwise, straightening out the legs, relaxing the feet open to the sides, bringing the palms to face up and softening the shoulders. Bringing the awareness and attention to your face and you soften a little bit more.

Soften the jaw, tongue, space behind the eyes, forehead, finally, softening the breath, going back to that natural rhythm of breathing that's already occurring without any effort, miracle of the breath. Shavasana, let go, let be. And then gently start to bring the awareness back to the body, just inviting any organic movement back to the fingers, toes. As you inhale, reach your arms all the way up over your head, pointing through the toes, growing an inch, and then exhale, sigh it out the mouth. Soles of the feet come to the Earth and just gently make your way to one side, just taking a moment on your side to pause, check in, notice.

And then making your way to your comfortable cross leg seated position, at the front of your mat. You can go ahead and gather your hands together at your heart, just thanking yourself for showing up for you, doing your practice, being present. I'm so grateful you're here. Thank you so much, namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Thank you for this wonderful practice - it was invigorating and fun. I was a little intimidated (maybe by the pictured posture), and left it to the last one in the show season...

I will return to this show season again. Thank you. :)
Dear Lori, Thank you so much for sharing and I'm so glad you enjoyed the practice! I totally agree that this pose can seem intimidating, and hopefully I offered enough alternatives along the way! Looking forward to continuing to practice together. All the best, Sarah xo

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