Yoga Power Hour Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Backbending Flow

60 min - Practice
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Sarah guides us in an energized sequence designed to get our juices flowing and awaken our heart. We flow through a creative pattern that targets the hips, core, and back body. You will feel more energized, fluid, and ready for your day.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(waves crashing) Welcome back. Welcome to the Power Hour Show. This class is going to focus a lot on back bending. We'll be trying to open up the front of the body and, as always, finding a flow, a rhythm with the breath and with the postures. So come to a comfortable seated position whether you're sitting criss-cross or on your heels, like I am, lifting up into your chest, making sure that you feel rooted, you feel, relaxed into your seat.

And then we'll just start with a nice easy side stretch, taking your right hand outside of your right hip, hand or fingertips to the floor, whatever works for you, and inhale, reach your left arm up, make space from your left hip bone all the way up to your left middle finger. And then as you exhale, just lean a little to the right, you don't have to go all the way to the floor, you can let your head hang. Take it nice and easy, breathing into the side of the body, it might feel nice for you to bend the elbow, opening up a little bit, just making yourself comfortable. And then as you're ready, coming back to the center, pausing, and doing the same thing on the other side. Reaching up, making that space in the side body first, and then as you exhale, leaning a little bit, maybe you go further on this side, maybe you do less.

Listen to what feels right. Starting to deepen the quality of your breath, arriving into our practice, slow and steady, bringing it back up. And then from here come onto your hands and your knees, we'll go through a few cat cows, to warm up in the spine, pressing your fingers firmly into the mat, drop your belly towards the floor as you inhale, lifting your gaze, and as you exhale, round your back like a cat, your head is the last thing that drops. Inhale to tilt, and exhale to round. Take your time here, maybe going back and forth, at your own pace, feeling out the body, listening to the breath.

Inhaling to tilt, one more time, and exhaling to round. Moving back to a neutral spine, take your right foot behind you with your toes tucked, and spin your left foot to the floor. Right hand stays on the mat, and then just start to push your hips forward, and casually bring your left arm up, opening the chest, lifting up, and then spinning that left arm up and over, maybe even taking it behind you, swinging in front of the body. Again, natural movements are okay, opening the chest, hips, pushing forward, and then coming back down to the center, and we'll try the other side. So the left foot steps back, which is more for balance, the right foot presses into the floor, spinning the right arm up, just a nice easy plank, half plank.

I think of it as like a morning plank, stretching, waking up the shoulders, taking it for a little spin. But really keeping that right foot firm and strong in the floor so that you have a foundation. And then rolling yourself back, tucking both toes, bending at the knee, and sending your hips up into a downward facing dog. As you feel more comfortable in your down dog, work stillness into the posture, equal and opposite work in the arms and legs, sending the thigh bone up and back towards the wall, you can see when you head is relaxed. Belly pulls toward the spine, and push the floor away from you gently with your hands, let your shoulders move up towards your ribs, take a big inhale and a big exhale here.

And then coming up onto your tip toes, imagine you're going to press each part of your spine towards the ceiling as you roll forward, shoulders move over your wrists, hips drop, chest pulls through, shoulders spin out, and then going back the way we came, belly towards the spine, rounding back, settling in to the dog. We'll do three more, go at your own pace, I'll talk you through it, inhaling, rounding forward, shoulders over the wrists, hips drop, chest sends forward through the shoulders, exhale, belly lifts up, hands press into the floor, rolling back to the dog. Last time, inhale, rolling forward, slow and steady, hips drop, chest lifts, eyes go up, exhale, rolling back, rounding the back, finding the dog. From your down dog, looking forward, walk your feet up between or behind your hands, separating the feet, lengthen, and exhale, fold. Take opposite hand to opposite elbow, hang for a moment, let your shoulders be heavy, let your head relax.

And then we'll roll, very slowly, all the way up, let go of your elbows, and think really heavy in the shoulders and in the head, the head is the last thing that's going to come up, pressing the feet into the floor, slow and steady. Gently stacking the hips over the knees, shoulders over the hips, and lifting the head. Arriving, in your Tadasana, shoulders relaxed, down and back, a little snuggle between the thighs and calves for support. Breathe into your ribs, belly pulls towards the spine. Walk your feet a little closer together, touching perhaps, if that feels okay, and as you inhale, sit all the way back, sweep your fingers alongside your feet, reach your arms back up into a chair pose, shoulders away from the ears, bringing your weight back into your hips, into your heels, maybe your palms touch, maybe your arms are wide.

Try and find a connection to your breath, to your core, a little, (makes sucking sound), in the low belly, take an inhale here, and as you exhale, fold forward over your legs, let your head drop. On an inhale, look forward, plant your hands on the mat, step back into a high plank, shoulders over your wrists, pussing forward, elbows in, exhale, Chaturanga, inhale, up dog, lifting your gaze. Exhale, roll back, down dog, left foot turns 45 degrees, right foot steps up. Take the time that you need to make sure your legs are stable, and as you inhale, reach yourself up, into a warrior one, palms touch, connecting to that back heel as you move the right knee forward, shoulders away from your ears, and biceps a little forward of your face. Take an inhale here, and exhale, bring your hands to the floor, step back to plank, lower down, Chaturanga, inhale, up dog, and exhale, down dog.

Same thing on the other side, right foot pivots, left foot steps up, make sure that you're stable, inhale, lifting up, palms touch, taking the time that you need to adjust, starting to feel a little lift in the chest, as the shoulders come together behind you. On an exhale, bring your hands to the floor, step back, shoulders over the wrists, trying to keep your gaze forward, exhale, Chaturanga, inhale chest sends itself through the shoulders, eyes up, exhale, down dog. Let your head and your neck relax, send your weight back into your heels. Look forward between your hands, step up, between or behind them, inhale, halfway up, exhale, fold. Inhale, pressing all the way up, exhale, to release.

Release your hands, stand with your feet close together again, and inhaling, sitting all the way back, swinging the arms back up, palms touch, if possible, belly pulls in, take an inhale, and as you exhale, fold forward, letting your head drop. Inhale halfway up, exhale, step or jump back, Chaturanga, inhale to your upward facing dog, and exhale to your down dog. Left foot goes 45 degrees again, bring your right foot forward, as quietly as you can. Left foot is nice and snugly into the mat, inhale, reaching up, warrior one, finding that nice stability in the legs, interlace your fingers, turn the heels of your hands open towards the ceiling, take an inhale. And as you exhale, hinge forward for one, shoulders draw away from the ears, two, gazing forward if possible, three, pressing into your right heel, four, five.

Inhale, pressing back up, and then spin your left heel 90 degrees, finding warrior two, looking out over your right middle finger, taking the time, as always, to make sure that you're comfortable, that you feel good, supported in the legs, supported by the breath. On an exhale, spin your hands to the floor, step back, Chaturanga, inhale, up dog, and then we'll double down, tuck the toes, Chaturanga, inhale up, looking over your left shoulder, looking over your right. Exhale, down dog, turn your right foot 45 degrees, and again, as quietly as you can, step your left foot up, so that you're really using your belly muscles, inhale, reaching up, warrior one. Trying to breath through the nose, keeping the shoulders back, so that we're starting to lift the chest, finding that back bend here, interlace the fingers, turning the heels of the hands open, inhale, and exhale, fold. One, it's a big long line of energy from the right heel to the hands, two, three, four, five.

Inhale, pressing up, spinning that right foot open, warrior two. You want your shoulders to be stacked, more or less, over your hips, the left knee moves forward, slow and steady in the breath. Take an inhale, and as you exhale, right hand spins to the floor, stepping back, elbows squeeze in, Chaturanga, inhale up, doubling down, tuck your toes, belly lifts, Chaturanga, inhale, up, exhale, down. Whenever you get to the dog, keep your head and your neck relaxed, send the hips up and back. Look forward, bend at your knees, jump or step up, sit down.

Rolling onto your back, wobbling a little bit, making sure that you're comfortable here, and then planting your feet just behind your hips. Press your tailbone into the floor, so you feel this heavy weight here, take your legs up, belly button move towards the spine, and then see if you can straighten your legs, keep pressing down into the sacrum, and what I like to do is just keep my hands here, on my belly, so I can feel this sort of tightening. Turn you heels together, point your toes, so you're in kind of like, first position, but with toes pointed, hips are starting to turn out, (makes sucking sound), with the belly, and then alternate, right heel, left heel, right heel, left heel, right heel, left heel, keep suctioning your legs towards one another, see if you can go a little bit faster, keeping that rotation, (makes sucking sound), and keeping the tailbone pressed in. It's not easy, it's okay to bend your knees a little bit, and make it a little bit nicer on the hamstrings. Coming back to the center, and again, we're going to imagine, almost like you have a corset around the ribs, keeping the heels pressing together, sacrum presses down, lower your legs about 45 degrees, come back up.

One more time, lowering you legs, come back up and then let's see if we can alternate, taking the legs towards the floor, coming back up. Taking the legs towards the floor, (makes sucking sound), with the belly, coming back up, with your hands on your belly, you can kind of feel what your abdominal muscles are doing, and you want to keep the belly moving away from, whoops, your shirt, coming back to the center, bend your knees, wobble a little bit, side to side, and start to rock and roll on your spine, giving yourself a lot of momentum, so that we can stick our landing, back to chair. Belly pulls in, exhale, release. From your standing position, step out with one leg, so that you have a pretty wide stance, check your heels, see that they're more or less in the same line, turn your right toes away, squeeze towards the inside of the mid-line of your body, so that your legs are engaged, enter or reach your arms out away from your body, take an inhale, and as you exhale, dip to your triangle, right peace fingers to your right toe, hand to your calf or to the floor, left arm reaches up. Keeping the stability in the legs, and seeing if you can maybe even spiral a little bit with the left ribs, taking a few moments here, just to breathe, extending up, shoulders back.

On an inhale, coming up, and we'll just go to the other side, pivoting the legs, you shouldn't need to change the stance, leaning out, and exhale, dipping hand to the floor, foot or calf, it's okay to do something different. What you do with your gaze is up to you. Breathing in and out through the nose, keeping the integrity in the legs. On an inhale, coming back up, taking your hands to your hips, and turning both your feet out. Take a moment to get your wiggles and wobbles out, the balance can be tricky here, but when you find it, root into your feet, exhale, lunge, try and keep your breastbone lifting, and moving the knees towards the outside of your foot, so towards the baby toes side.

Inhale, stand up, exhale, lunge, one more time, inhale, stand up, squeezing everything in towards the mid-line, exhale lunge, take your right elbow over your left, wrap your wrists, shoulders move back, elbows and wrists lift up. One, two, if you're feeling spunky here, you can lift your heels, three, you can always change your mind, four, five. Inhale, stand up, touch your palms over your head, exhale, other side, the idea is to move the wrists and elbows away for two, maybe deepening a little bit, three, again maybe the heels lift, four, five. Heels back down, inhale, reaching up, and exhale to release your arms, turn your toes back in, check the line of the heels, right toes turn away, and then imagine that you've put a corset around your ribs, so you feel everything kind of (makes sucking sound), in, reach the arms out, one more time, exhale to the triangle, right hand to the floor, foot or leg, reaching up, looking up, taking your time, let's turn the left hand away from you, and reach the left hand for your right hip, shirt, pants, whatever is there, so that you have something to hang on to, really keeping the leg strong, opening the chest, looking over the left shoulder, hanging out here, feeling the work in the legs and in the core, so that if you wanted to, your right arm could come up for one, two, maybe the left arm three, four, five. Bend your right knee, take your right hand to the floor, left arm reaches up, and then once more, take that left hand down, bring your left knee to the mat.

Right elbow on your right leg, left hand to your hip, this can be a little tricky for hips and low backs, take your time with it, the Yoga's not going to go anywhere, so go nice and slow, option one, stay here, option two, your left hand reaches for your left foot, just for a moment, and then making yourself look like a Yogi, forefinger and thumb pressed together, lifting the chest, and reaching the chest forward, softening your gaze. Let go of that back leg, if you were hanging on to it, tuck your toes, and then let's find our eagle arms again, right arm over your left, the back toes are important, press into the right heel, lifting up, into your low lunge, staying committed to that front leg, elbows and wrists move away, as you feel ready, really snuggling that right foot into the floor, pull your elbows toward your chest, step into your right leg, as you float your left leg up, reaching your arms out for warrior three. Taking an inhale here, exhale, hands to the floor, walk your right hand, just a teensy bit away from your right foot, and then trying to pull something up from the floor, with your right hand, take your left hand to your hip, opening your chest, keep that left leg really active, maybe the top arm comes up, it doesn't have to, taking an inhale here, and exhale, left hand to the floor, left hip closes, steps to the mat, right leg goes up and over, shake it out a little bit. Option one, stay here, this feels nice, option two, your right leg drops, as your left foot turns and the hip pivots, both hips push up, right arm reaches back, for a revolved dog. Right arm is relaxed, and then very slowly, rolling back the way you came in, finding the dog, inhale to plank, exhale, Chaturanga, inhale up, exhale down.

Big, full breath. From your dog, looking forward, stepping or lightly hopping up, feet between or behind the hands, inhale halfway up, exhale full, let your head drop, as you inhale, push into the legs, coming all the way back up, palms touch, exhale to release. Stepping out, with one leg, and now we do the other side. So turning the left toes away, right heels are facing, or the right toes are facing out, reaching your arms out, and again, putting that corset on, a little, (makes sucking sound), with the lower ribs, and the lower belly, dip, dip, dip, dip, dip, all the way to one side, peace fingers to the left toes, calf or floor, reaching up, and again, make sure that what you're doing is supported by your legs so that if you wanted to, in a moment, as we turn that right hand around, and reach back for the hip, the shirt, the pants, whatever is there, that you can just, start to experiment with the left arm coming up, for two, three, maybe the right arm as well, four, five. Bend that left knee, bringing the left hand to the floor, and the right arm reaches up once more, bringing a little relief to the hamstrings perhaps.

Right hand goes to the mat, right toes turn in, right knee goes down, and again, we come back up into this Yogi genuflection. You can stay here, this a lot for hips, so as hamstrings. If you feel like it's possible, without great effort, the right hand can go to the right foot, and again, making yourself look like a Yogi, forefinger and thumb pressed together, gaze softens. To be comfortable here, you have to sometimes give something away a little bit in that left hip, so that we're not really gripping or trying to do the pose, but rather releasing into it. Letting go of the back leg, if you were hanging on to it, and again, tucking those toes, so that, that leg is ready, reaching the arms up, shoulders back, left elbow over the right, or do what feels different for you.

Elbows lift up, wrists lift up, looking up, and lifting up, moving your left knee forward, finding a little baby back bend here, committing to the lunge, and then stepping into your left foot, floating your right leg up, shoulders back, whoops, reaching your arms out, and trying to imagine you have wings, like sort of sprouting where your shoulder blades are, so you stay really light in the chest, take an inhale, exhale, hands go to the floor, the right leg stays in the air. Left hand goes in front of your left foot, right hip pivots and stacks, right hand goes to the right hip, chest opens, belly moves towards the spine, maybe reaching up, maybe not. You can always bend your left knee, don't worry about balance, it comes and goes, looking for stability in the core. Slowly bringing your right hand down, sending your right leg back, and bringing the left leg up, a dog at a fire hydrant, shaking it out, stay here, or turning your right toes, lifting up, into the hip, left arm reaches back, opening the chest. And slowly, coming back the way you came in, finding a dog.

Looking forward, jumping, or stepping up, laying down. So place your hands on your belly, sort of where your lower ribs are, and you can kind of mush your ribs together, as you suck your belly away from your shirt. When we do core work, the belly tends to look a little bit like a bread loaf, if you're not engaging with the belly, so we're going to try and keep our gaze trained down, and our hands are going to try and minimize that bread load feeling in the belly, as we float the legs back up. So this time, toes are flexed towards the body, sacrum presses down, take an inhale, exhale, lower your heels down, inhale, exhale back up, take an inhale, keep sucking down, pressing down, exhale, lower down, inhale, and exhale up, that's two, exhale, inhale, exhale up, three, four, five. Reach your arms up, let's make it a little more interesting, keeping the belly pulling in, exhale, lower your heels down, inhale, exhale up, reach up and touch your calves, and exhale back down.

Inhale, exhale, head and shoulders lift up, inhale, exhale down, take your time, inhale, exhale, reach for your calves, back down, ankles squeeze together, exhaling, one more time, full extension, belly pulls in, inhale, exhale, reach up, pull your knees in, rock and roll. And again, giving yourself a little bit of momentum, rolling up, sticking your landing, standing up, and releasing. I'm going to turn around, and come back up here, standing with your feet, more or less together, shoulders relax, belly draws in, maybe even close your eyes and notice how you're feeling in the belly, where the energy is going in your body, as you're ready, open your eyes, inhale, reach your arms up, palms touch, exhale, fold forward. Inhale, halfway up, shoulders back, hands to the mat, don't worry if your don't feel like you get all the way to the Chaturanga, just try and keep the shoulders really stable, looking forward, jumping or stepping back. Inhale, pushing the chest forward, up dog, and again, spending some time here, looking over the left shoulder, wiggling the hips, looking over the right shoulder, wiggling the hips, exhale, roll back.

Looking forward, rolling to plank, lowering slowly, all the way down, pressing the tops of your feet into the floor, so that your toenails touch. Fingers in the same line as your chest, first things, (makes sucking sound), with the belly, tighten the legs up towards the bones, so you feel like you leg is really solid, and then exhale, inhale, peel your chest up, squeeze your elbows in, like you're holding chopsticks in your armpits, elbows touching the sides of the body. Exhale back down, we'll do that two more times, think about making length, so that as you come back down to the floor, it's like you're getting taller, take an exhale, inhale, peeling up. It's the breastbone that goes forward, the belly pulls in, legs are really stable and strong, exhale, lengthening back down. One more time in this cobra, exhale in, inhale, peeling up.

Exhale, slowly back down, wiggle a little bit, make sure your low back is okay, feeling strong. And thinking about these movements as being initiated from the low back, the core, and then extending energetically out into our extremities. Kick your feet into your hands, and see if you can get your knees a little closer together, and as you inhale, lift your chest, keep your knees and thighs towards the floor for the moment, and then rock forward onto your belly, kick your legs up into your hands, keep the belly nice and strong, keep your gaze down, let go of your feet, keep your arms extending out, keep you legs extending back, and think about the back of your thighs lifting up, belly towards the spine, and exhale. Woo, to release, wiggle a little bit, we'll do that one more time. Pressing your feet back into your hands, it's not about how high you get with your legs, but moving with integrity with your breath, big exhale.

Inhale, lift up. And then really strong in the legs, this time, arms out, keeping the legs lifting, lifting the chest, and exhale to release, wiggle a little bit, side to side. And then pressing your hands into the floor, rolling up, sitting on your heels, lifting your chest, taking a moment, and just assessing how you're feeling, in your low back, we have a couple of options coming up, and you can choose what feels best for you. On the knees, and if your knees are tender, you can double your mat up, and toenails, once more, pressed down. So in the back bend, whatever is on the ground, roots down, so the toenails are even working a little bit, hip bones are moving forward, and I'm just going to think about sending my breastbone up, keeping my chin tucked, moving into Ustrasana, taking an inhale, and exhale, leaning back, opening the chest, reaching my hands for my heels, and letting my head drop last.

It can be challenging to breath here, take your time, as you're ready, coming back up, pausing, and then tucking your toes, sitting back, noticing how that felt for you. Option two, do it again, but maybe make your heels a little higher. Chin tucks, (makes sucking sound), really pressing down, and leaning back, opening the chest, reaching for your heels, head goes back, chest goes forward. You can change once you're here and you can bring your hands together, keeping your legs really strong, slowly coming up, pausing. And then taking your hands to the floor, like we did in the beginning, and rounding your back, wiggling a little bit.

Inhaling to tilt, and exhaling to round, inhale to tilt, exhale to round. As you round, press the top of your head to the floor, reach back as you tuck your toes, reach for your heels and pull. Rounding in to your back for a moment, and then releasing into a child's pose, forehead to the floor, rocking a little bit, hands back, or arms forward, whatever you like. As you feel comfortable, rolling yourself up, and transitioning, so that you're on your back once more, pulling your knees in, and planting your feet behind your hips. Press the pinkie side of your hands into the floor, so we've been working the legs a lot, the hamstrings and the glutes, and we move into a bridge, we want to really access those muscles, so the belly pulls in a little bit, press the feet in, lifting up, thighbone goes up, everything else moves down.

Try and imagine here, that you're squeezing something between your thighs, like a block, so that you have a little resistance towards the mid-line of the body. Slowly back down, one more time like this, inhale, lifting up, noticing what it feels like to breath here, pressing the shoulders down. And slowly back down, cross your right ankle over your left thigh, keep your right foot flexed so the foot is still in play, the right knee moves away from your body, and the left foot presses really firmly into the floor. As you inhale, lift your hips, try and keep your hipbones even, or as even as you can, a good tip is that usually the leg that's crossed is the hip that's down, so lift up a little bit more, if it's possible, extend the right leg up, press the shoulders down, and then slowly bring it all back down. Change sides, left ankle crosses over your right thigh, and I press my ankle into my leg as well, to get that resistance, keeping the foot in play, pressing down, into the foot, lifting up.

There is no need to extend the leg, there's no prize for doing that, listen to what feels right for your body, it's okay to stay here, if it's okay, leg goes up. Slowly back down, left leg to the floor, option one, stay in bridge, work the legs, bring the hands underneath you, interlacing the fingers, and really firing up here, totally fine. Option two, for those of you that have a little more flexibility in the shoulders, and feeling a little more spunky about your back bends, placing the hands alongside the ears, and always making sure that there's no hair underneath your hands, pressing the feet into the floor, as your hips lift, the arms press up, head and neck relax. You can walk your hands in, and you can play with your weight a little bit, see how you're feeling in the hands, in the feet, the back bend is about really strong legs, keeping the belly pulling in, maybe leaning your weight to one side, you can take a hand to the heart, you can reach back down. I always like to try both sides, but we know that the body is not equal, don't be worried or stressed if it feels different, or harder or easier.

Taking a big inhale, and as you exhale, lowering back down from wherever your were, the bridge, or the wheel, pulling your knees in, wobbling a little bit side to side, taking the time that you need, to make yourself comfortable to get grounded again. And the legs go up, and just a really simple pull of the legs, towards the torso, but keeping the hips on the floor, so you're grounding the tailbone, almost like an upside down Paschimottanasana, an upside down forward bend. Releasing a little bit into the low back, bending the knees, rolling yourself up, and I'm going to flip, so I face this way, but you can stay the way your are. Extending your legs out, we'll pull your right leg in, and your left leg on the floor. Ground that thigh down into the mat, so that your left leg is really active, take your left hand in front of your right knee, your right hand behind your low back.

Think about your belly, and your breastbone, twisting, look over your right shoulder, breathe deep, if your shoulders feel a little more generous, you can take the left elbow outside of your right knee, but that can sometimes add a little too much torque, the elbow is also fine. Keep some awareness on your left side, very slowly rolling back, and just change sides, right leg goes out, left knee pulls in, left hand comes behind you really strong in that right leg, and again, elbow around the knee or hand to the knee, and maybe looking over your left shoulder. Take your time with it, it's as though your left shoulder is just slowly being drawn back, as you grow taller through the top of your head. And then slowly back to the middle, both legs out, if your hamstrings or low back are tight, you can keep your knees, or your feet, a little bit separated and your knees bent, just a nice, easy forward bend, hands to the feet or ankles, lengthening, and folding forward. Let your head drop, keep your eyes open, and send your attention towards the back of your body.

Big full breath. And as you're ready, lifting back up, and you can just lay down on your back, I'm going to flip once more, so I go this way, laying flat, pulling the knees in, rocking a little bit side to side. Extend the left leg out, right knee pulls in, just for a moment, giving it a little bit of a snuggle, and then pulling your left leg up, wrap your right knee around your left, wrap your ankles, if it's possible, pull both knees in towards your belly, and as you exhale, drop your legs to the left, getting organized on the left side, head relaxes. So you can kind of heavy here, like, (exhales), right arm goes, close your eyes, and release into your twist, soften the breath, soften the muscles in your face. Very slowly, roll yourself back to the center, uncross the ankles, but keep the knees crossed, take your hands to opposite ankles and pull down, giving yourself a little squeeze here.

For some bodies, this isn't going to feel nice, that's okay, you can widen the knees, or you can do thread the needle, right ankle over the left thigh. Release your hands, take your legs in the air, go wide once, and switch. Again, getting organized, bringing the knees towards your shoulder as you go down, relaxing, taking an inhale, and then exhale, reaching back out. It doesn't matter where you turn your head, whatever feels more natural for your body, this is the part of the practice that, for many people, is just as hard, if not more difficult, than the really physical stuff, because as the body slows down, the brain picks up speed. Take big belly breaths, and let your left shoulder drape down into the floor.

When you're ready, pulling your knees back to the center, uncrossing the ankles, but keeping the knees crossed, or taking that variation, left ankle over the right thigh, pulling down, and again, this is personal, it's flavoring to taste. For some people, you really can pull in a lot, for other people, staying a little further back, is the name of the game. Letting go of your grip, untie the legs, take the feet back in the air, one more time, going wide, take a hold of your legs, just behind your knees, bend, and take your hands, either to your ankles, or to your heels, or to your toes, for happy baby. You can use your elbows to separate the knees, pressing down into the tailbone, some variation on happy baby is always good, the leaning a little to the right, kind of pressing the back body towards the floor, breathing there, and rolling width-wise across your tailbone to the left side, pressing there. Rolling back, bringing your knees together gently, taking your feet to the floor, widening your feet, knees together, you can let your hands relax, and then just swish your knees, like windshield wipers.

Nothing super technical about this, just releasing a little bit in the hips. And then walking your feet together, and separating the knees, relaxing here for a moment, maybe even taking your hands to your belly, and breathing towards your hands, is a way to start facilitating your own relaxation. For some people, it's comfortable to stay like this for Savasana, you're welcome to do that, otherwise, knees go together, the legs go down, palms turn open, adjusting so that the body is comfortable, this is an opportunity to take up space. And perhaps one of the only times in your day when you get to lay on the floor, and not engage with anything, take advantage of that. Soften your cheeks.

Relax the center of your palms, as though, they've been pinned to the mat very gently. Muscle sliding away from the bone, everything moves down, we let gravity and time do the work for us now. It's not about not thinking, that's impossible, but rather of being aware of where your mind is going, and trying to pull yourself back every so often, the softness in the belly, the feeling of your eyes rolling back. Staying as present as possible. Relaxing into the moment.

I'll stay here with you, I'll let you know when it's time. When you feel ready, there's absolutely no rush, you're welcome to stay where you are, if you can, if you're able, but when you want to, place one hand on your belly, and breathe into it. At some point, bend your knees, reach your arms up, stretch, and roll to one side, taking the fetal position, getting a little cuddly with yourself, relaxing. If you're moving up to seated, just placing your hands on the floor, pushing yourself up, and finding a comfortable seat. Relaxing your hands in your lap, closing your eyes, keep your belly soft, there's nothing to hang onto anymore, but sit tall, sit with integrity in the body.

And this balance of effort and ease, this is the real core power, take a moment to acknowledge it, acknowledge the work that you've done. Thank you for practicing with me, Namaste.

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Excellent!
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I love the combination of pace and effort in your classes. Thank you so much!
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Thanks - great practice!
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Sarah, Amazing class. Love the imagery you use in your instruction. Thank you. Danielle
Ali
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I enjoyed the plank, up-dog, down-dog warm-up and the ‘morning side-plank’, and really loved going from bow to locust. Lovely practise, as ever. Thank you.
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Ali morning side plank one of my all time faves 🙌🏻 And floor back bending I just love — I feel so much more in control, what about you? Thank you for joining!  
Ali
Yes, absolutely, it feels like my body is quite happy to give me a backbend, and eases in, and luxuriates!

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