30 Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 15

Day 13: Stoked Core

20 min - Practice


Give your core a work out, awaken your power center, and break a sweat with today's fiery breath practice and abdominal-focused yoga sequence.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(ocean wave sounds) Hey, welcome back to Yoga Anytime. This is your good friend, Robert. Ready to take you through number 13, this is practice number 13. We're going to start with blocks, so grab your two blocks and place them like so. Stack them.

It really makes the seat that much more comfortable. We're only going to sit for a brief period, enough to do what's called Kapalabhati breathing, breath of fire. Basically what we're going to do, when you get settled in your seat, 10 times, this is going to be a quick little intro. We'll work with it down the road also. It'll generate some heat and focus right here, right in the power center, the power source.

So it's like your'e pumping your stomach, okay. So just try one time with your..., take a breath in with your nose. (air blowing out of mouth) And you can blow, like a sharp little blow, let the lips open just a tiny bit, or if you prefer keep the mouth closed and let the nose be the exit. Let's try that one actually. All right, so together, you and I.

Breathe in though the nose, pull the stomach in as you exhale. (short breathing sounds) And it's a passive inhalation, so mindful that you don't... (short breaths in and out) Let's just try 10, see how it goes, see how you feel. And then we'll move on. All right, take a breath in through the nose and exhale.

(short breathing sounds) Blow everything out. If it felt weird, go back to your regular breathing again. Like me, maybe it's the talking and doing it, but there's a slight little head rush that I just got. So if you felt that, I'm right there with you. Like I said, that was a quick little dabble, a little bit of focus here.

That's what we're going to work on. We're going to work on core for day number 13. All right, so don't worry about what we just did. Little intro, move the blocks away. We're not going to need them.

And come to lie on your back. Go ahead and lie on the back. Hug the knees into your chest, and begin, let's take as we always do before we start moving, right. You can bring your feet down, bring the palms together. Bring them to your chest.

You and I together will take one breath in. And a breath out. Right on, good, now we can begin. So to start off with go ahead and extend your left leg out, draw the right knee in. And as I said we're going to do a little bit of core, so do what feels right.

Do what feels appropriate. Good, switch legs. Squeeze the left knee in toward the body as you extend the right leg out. Good, let's do one more on each side. Go ahead and squeeze the right leg in, extend the left leg out.

Maybe begin to lift that left leg up off the mat as you hug the right knee in toward you. Keep the neck long. Okay, now extend the right leg out, hug the left in. And if you have to gage where it feels best as we move forward doing these, as it gets a little more difficult. How high do you want that extended leg?

Do you want it up straight or halfway down or hovering? Okay, now lift your shoulders up off of the mat. Good, you can even try this hands free. Begin to let the hands come out like so, right, straight out, little angle. Now exhale the right in, inhale, exhale the left.

Inhale, exhale the right. Keep your shoulders up, keep bracing through the belly. Good now cycle, left, find whatever breath works for you, but I prefer you get an exhale as you draw the leg, if it's the right or the left, okay. So give me an exhale, exhale, lift your shoulders a little higher, good job. Good job, like your kind of like biking a little bit, right, like pedal the legs out, either straight, diagonally or a little higher.

(breathing sounds) Keep breathing, try to relax through the neck as much as you can. Just a little something, right, just a little something to warm up the belly. Good, how about three, three, keep lifting the shoulders. If it bums out the neck or the back or anything, let those shoulders come down, one more. One, one, and relax.

Good, hug the knees in just a little bit. And then right away go ahead and bring those knees away from you, legs at a 90 degree angle, all right. And begin to lift your shoulders up as high as you can and reach up to the ceiling. What you're going to do is not lower down all the way, you're going to stay up, okay, so reach up on the exhale. Get up as high as you can.

Then lower down maybe an inch on the breath in, exhale, reach up two. We'll do ten. Inhale, exhale, three. Inhale, exhale, four. Inhale, exhale, five, good job.

Exhale, six, keep reaching. You can also take the hands behind the head to support the neck if you'd like, good. Where we at? Six, if my count is ever off it usually benefits you. Seven, eight, nine, 10.

Stay lifted, you can bring the hands behind the head. And now kind of bicycle the legs out like we were doing before. Go ahead and just shoot them straight out, a little bit more of an angle. Lift the shoulders, lift the shoulders, straight out and in. Good, keep that healthy tension in the belly.

Good, for three, three, two, two, one, one. Nice, let it all relax. Bring the feet down to the mat. Take a breath in, exhale everything out. Bridge pose, it'll be the opposite, right.

Now we've been kind of contracting here, now we're going to open up. Press the feet, which are below your knees, parallel to one another, pointing straight away. Press into the feet to lift up and walk like we've done before, walk those shoulder blades toward one another, good job. Rest your hands on your waist, maybe your rib cage. Find a focal point for your gaze.

Breath in, breath out. Stay very interested in how your feet ground down. Lifting through the hips. If you feel like your lower back is kind of tricky, you can lower down a little bit. Loosen the glutes, right, shake the booty loose a little bit.

And then reenter with very minimal, minimal gripping in the seat. Okay my friends, we're going to begin to reach the right shoulder blade out, the left shoulder blade out. And as we usually exit, lift the heels, tuck the tailbone a little bit, and then roll on down. When you land, breath in, and breath out. Right on.

Now hold on to the backs of the legs, all right. Hamstrings, and like a rocking horse, right. Like a rocking horse or a rocking chair, begin to rock forward and back. As sort of like as safe as you can mindfully, but a little energy, rolling back along the back body all the way up to sit, and with a little momentum coming back, mindful that you don't go too far back. You know, just watch the neck.

Let's go one more time. Back, forth, back, and forth, nice. A little attention in the belly. Come on over to your hands and knees. Hands and knees and tabletop.

Let the belly drop down. Then on the exhale, lift the abdominals, just three times, right. So on the exhale, pull the stomach up up up up up. Carve out as much space as you can in your belly, your midsection there. That's the exhale, inhale, let the belly drop.

Lazy belly. Exhale, pull it up. Inhale, drop it down. Exhale, pull it up. Pull it up higher, higher to where it's uncomfortable.

You're really activating as many little muscles as you can, all the layers in that abdominal region. Pull, pull, pull, pull, pull. And now cat cow only two rounds. Belly down, cow pose, lift the seat, arch the back. Breath in, exhale, round it out, cat pose.

Good, deactivate the core, let the belly drop, arch the back and now activate, pull the belly up as far as you can. Good, inhale back to neutral. Bring those forearms down. We've done this once before. I'll set you up, forearm plank.

It's about two solid breaths, as much and as hard as you can go, with one breath rest. I'll guide you through it. What you don't want to do is start with your butt up like this, so what I want you to do is watch my pelvis and look at my belly here. Right, what you're going to do is you're going to make it different, you know, make it basically look a little different, not so lazy and tilted. Tailbone draws back and immediately this starts to grip and brace.

My lower back is not arched anymore. I press the one leg back, press the other leg, right left. And I press those heels back. You're doing the same thing, and now you're pulling your toes to your elbows and your elbows to your toes as if you're kind of fastening the entire posture together. And that's going to make you shake and tremble a little bit, which is cool, that's good, you're working.

Take one breath here, exhale, bring those knees down. Inhale, now exhale, fire away. Fasten the posture together. If you feel discomfort in your back, lift your butt up a little bit higher. Stay away from lowering like so.

Okay, one more breath. And exhale, good job. Breath in and breath out. Fasten, hold, plank, good. On the next exhale, set the knees down.

Take a breath in, exhale, fire away. Core, and for me what I do is I'm gripping like crazy, but I'm also kind of bouncing. It helps me kind of hold the pose for a little bit longer for some reason. It distracts me. Okay, on the exhale, knees down.

Breath in, breath out, and go. Almost finished. Hold, get stronger with every single breath you have. Good, exhale, down, last one. Here we go.

Take a breath in, and exhale, fire away. Nothing else matters right now. Just your breath, your strength, your abdominals, your health. Let everything else go. Take a breath in, and now exhale the knees down.

Good, and from here, to rest, we're going to come into a puppy pose, right. So let the seat rise up directly over the hips, and stretch your arms out in front of you. Let your forehead come down. Maybe take the gaze forward. Lifting, lifting the chest, and then exhaling.

And if you're watching me, you can see I'm the opposite of the forearms, like now my seat is way up and my stomach is lazy. That's what I'm going for. Okay, core is getting a little attention today. I love it. Come forward, here we go, side planks.

We've done these before, so let's take a moment to set it up. It's a side plank, forearm plank, okay. I love it, I'm getting a little sweaty here. It feels good. I hope you are sweating and working just as I am.

Okay, so elbow below the shoulder. You can keep a knee down, stagger your feet, or stack, I like to stack. Now here, roll the chest open. You can keep your left hand on your hip or your left arm high. Stay here for the duration of five dips, or join me in the dips.

Meaning lower the hips, breath in, and exhale, lift up and pull that left arm overhead. Good, inhale, lower. Exhale, grip through the belly. Brace to lift. Inhale, lower, exhale, and this is number four.

Inhale, lower, exhale, five. If it's difficult, perfect. It's meant to be difficult. Go up one more time, and switch. Now my back will be to you, but I'm still watching you.

All right, so come on through, good job. Right arm up, and you choose, feet stacked, take a break, rest. But I'm right here, join me if you're ready. Stay just like so or lower down. And lift, one, inhale, exhale, lift two.

Breath in, breath out, three. Breath in, lower, breath out, four. Breath in, lower, and five. Sweep the right arm around, good. Back into forearm plank.

Bring your fingertips to touch. Press your heels back. Soften through the middle of your back through your shoulder blades. Don't push too far away and don't sag too far, right. Find a little middle ground.

In fact, you can kind of move up and down a few times. Okay, one more breath, breath in, and now exhale. Bring the knees down, slide back into a gentle child's pose for a moment. Wiggle the hips side to side. Take a full breath.

Okay, now my friends, all right. One more thing to kind of keep targeting this area, dolphin pose, we've not done it yet. We're going to do it now. Do your best, it's a lot of fun, and it's not easy. All right, so it's a forearm plank, but we add like the downward dog position.

So get your positioning. Stack the elbows underneath the shoulders. Lift the knees and then lift the bottom. Keep walking those elbows underneath the shoulders. You're going to want to slide out a little bit.

Now here, for most people, you're not going to be able to get the heels down. It's pretty difficult. It's not really that interesting anyway to bring them down. It's not going to change anything. So what I want you to do is bring your chest towards your toes.

Keep stretching through there. Lift the right leg high if you're with me, and now exhale, come to a forearm plank. Either keep it like so or bring the right knee to the back of the right arm, like you're hovering really low. Pull the belly in, good we're going to do five. Inhale, send it high, exhale, bring it in.

Inhale, exhale, three. Inhale, exhale, four, good job. Inhale, exhale, five. Step back, forearm plank. Readjust, dolphin pose.

Left leg high, inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale, as far as you can. Breath in, breath out. Breath in, breath out. Last one, inhale, exhale.

Knee to the elbow, knee to the elbow, knee to the elbow, hold. Shoot back into plank, knees down, sphinx pose. Okay, you and I, take a breath in, breath out. Good work, let's take it down a little bit now. We've done enough for the core.

Let's stretch out the shoulders. So this I simply call like a prone shoulder stretch. So for the first one, I'll do my left arm, so you can see better. So reach the left arm out quite aways, right. Right hand is over here to kind of help push myself over onto the shoulder.

Push myself over gently. You can take that right foot, bring it over, step on the opposite side of the leg, or lie down. Depending on your mobility, lie that right leg on your left. About half way through you're going to walk that arm over more. Take one full breath here.

Breath in, breath out. Roll over, stretch the right arm out. Just kind of float right on over. You can take some time, take some time to get there. You can see my left leg is opposite of the right.

Left arm supporting me. Head down, good, one breath. One full breath here. Exhale, good, come on out. Take an inhale into cobra, and let's take a few breaths in child's pose.

Bring the seat back as far as you can. This will be where you can take your final relaxation. Let the forehead rest on the wrists. Take a deep breath in and exhale everything, all right. (breathing sounds) I'm going to grab my block, just one.

And you can stay in child's pose or feel free to, feel free if you'd like to end the practice with a stretch, some sort of stretch that feels good, a twist, a seated posture. But for now, while I'm here, let's connect, all right. You and I, press the palms together, and let's applaud. Applaud yourself, pat yourself on the back. Close it out, number 13 is the books.

Good job, namaste, peace.


Lianne M
3 people like this.
that was was a lot more challenging strengthwise.
Robert Sidoti
Good job Lianne! Strength is pretty darn important:)
Kathleen C
4 people like this.
I don't know what that fire breath thing was but it completely freaked out my five cats LOL!!
Jill E
1 person likes this.
Wow, that was a whopper Robert - challenging practise, thanks for extending my abilities!
Robert Sidoti
That is so funny Kathleen! 5 cats huh?? Do they walk around you and your mat while practicing? :)
Robert Sidoti
My pleasure Jill! I like the way you put that ... "extending my abilities"! Happy to be of help and service!
Luisa C
3 people like this.
Wow! Tough one! :) I must say this is the most consisitent I've been in anything for a long while! 13 days! Woohooo!
Thanks Robert!
Kathleen C
3 people like this.
My cats LOVE yoga! I have to put out extra mats for them otherwise everyone tries to crowd onto mine!
Maria Elena D
WHOA! this one was the most Challenging thus far :) Thank you Robert. Good day everyone!
Elaine Fox
2 people like this.
Someday I'll be able to do all those side plank ups-and-downs as slowly and deliberately as you do -- but not yet! LOL
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