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Season 1 - Episode 7

Unravel the Day

45 min - Practice
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Laura guides us in a more active evening practice to help us unwind any tension from our day and restore balance. We find Vriksasana (Tree Pose), Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon), and a few other favorites to expand, stretch, and reset.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Nov 22, 2016
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(water rushing) Namaste. We're gonna unravel the day, so this class is just for you. Work at your pace. It's a little bit more activity than some of my evening classes, but you get to be in charge of that and rest when you need to. Ready to get started?

Let's go. Come on to downward facing dog. Set yourself up to a comfortable place, and I want this downward dog to feel really yummy. So maybe you haven't had a downward dog today and you had a long day. So, stretch out the legs, open the toes up a little bit.

Maybe even move into the pelvis a little bit, heel to heel. Not only letting the legs bend, but moving the pelvis as well. When you really get the pelvis involved, I call it walking the cat. So go ahead and walk your cat. Come on down to your knees for just a moment.

Keep those toes curled under and push yourself back. Nice flexion in the toes. It should feel good, so keep with that general theme as we're unraveling here. All the way back up you go. We'll take a little moment here to open the pelvis, so extend your left leg up and back.

Take a few breaths here. Almost like somebody's tugging on your heel. On your next exhalation, I want you to keep lifting that leg, and then bend it back, open the pelvis for fire hydrant dog. You want to make sure you keep that standing leg stable. And just let yourself feel what is the most tight.

And sort o luxuriate in that sensation. Rolling yourself back down as you exhale. Coming back to that common ground of downward facing dog. Lower all the day. Keep the toes curled under and just lengthen the spine back.

(exhales) (inhales) (exhales) Inhaling and rolling back up the hands and knees. Keep that inhale going and back into our downward dog. Stabilize that left leg now and extend the right leg. Again, it's like somebody's tugging on the heel for you. (inhales) Nice, good breath in the upper body.

Let that leg start to lift now. Open the pelvis up. Keep stabilizing the standing leg. Make sure it remains like a strong post beneath you. (inhales) (exhales) Roll that leg back down now.

Get back to that stable pose of downward dog, and let's go ahead and come down to the knees, fully and back and rest in a nice child's pose. So, this includes resting the arms, and maybe kind of slogging the body a little bit to the side to side. Rolling a little bit and shifting a little bit from side to side. (inhales) (exhales) (inhales) (exhales) Take your time now. Ease your way back up to hands and knees.

Now, I'm knees are gonna be separated a little more than hips' distance. We're gonna take the right arm through to thread the needle, just to get a little opening through the shoulder blade. You want to stay comfortable in your neck. (inhales) (exhales) Every breath you take, you can allow that expanding of the ribs and just pay attention to that sense, so that each exhalation, you are unraveling a little more of the tension that the body may be holding from your experiences today. (inhales) (exhales) (inhales) (exhales) On your next inhalation, you'll roll yourself back up to hands and knees, and as you exhale, you'll go around opposite this time, threading the left arm through.

I'm stabilizing myself with that right arm. I'm breathing into my left ribs. (inhales) (exhales) On your next inhalation, back up you come into a more mild downward dog. (inhales) (exhales) Exhaling to your knees. You want the feet to lift here.

And let's come to a little half plank. So you're engaging the backs of the legs, and you're still pressing away from the ground. And if you want, you can do a little lift of the head and wideness to the collar bones. It feels kind of nice. And then let's sink back into a extended arm child's pose with the toes curled under.

And then all the way forward into a little cobra. Legs fully extending now. Nice and open in the chest. And here we go to one more downward dog. And I'd like to do a little bit of warming in the core body.

You gauge this for your energy, since I don't know what kind of day you had. You may find this is just as effective from the knees. So, you decide. The right leg's gonna come forward. If you need to be on that back knee, just drop that back knee, but you're hovering that front leg.

And then back you go. And choose again on this side. Maybe you want to stay in a full plank-type position with the leg forward. Or maybe you want to take the knee down. But don't let the front leg drop.

You're gonna keep hovering that front leg. And then back to downward dog. Let's go ahead and walk the dog, letting the legs bend. Let's (laughs) walk the cat, letting the legs bend and the pelvis sway. It kind of looks like a cat.

You ever notice how a cat doesn't have a butt? They don't have a booty at all. Little flat things. They sure can wiggle that thing from side to side. So imagine you had a cat's tail, and you were just swaying it from side to side.

And back to center. A nice rest is coming, down to the knees. Uncurl the toes this time. And back you go. Settle in as we did before, kind of sliding from side to side.

(inhales) (exhales) And concentrating on the exhalations of the breath. (inhales) (exhales) Place the hands again. Roll yourself up to hands and knees. And we're just gonna bring ourselves around and come to sitting on our mat. Now, in this position, this is called staff pose.

So, you want your legs to be straight and firm. But if you notice, if I over-firm my legs, my heels pop up. So we want the heels down, but the legs firm. So figure that out. That's my favorite yoga introduction.

Figure that out. (laughs) It's the best part of it. We have to explore in order to understand ourselves. And then from here, can start to lean back a little bit. Can grab your legs and hover the legs. Now, if you feel a little more vigorous this evening, you can straighten the legs.

If you feel like you want to hold the legs but bring them a little higher, you can do that. Now, we're gonna drop the right leg to the ground, and we're gonna hold on to the left leg. And I'm grabbing that with my right arm. Just making a nice twist to this side. How tall can you get in the spine?

That's always the question in the twists. We're not doing this twist as an excitement factor to the body, but really just to give the organs a little squeeze to help them regain neutrality from the day. And that leg comes back down, back to staff pose. So, here we go. So, we're gonna work on that second side this time.

Lean on back again. Support yourself if you need to. And then extend the legs. And feel the vitality in the legs. If you want to hold them, by heavens, hold them.

This is your practice. It's designed to unravel your day, and only you know the kind of day you had. So, I've released my left leg. I'm gonna hold on to my right leg. And I'm gonna reach up through my spine, turning and opening, lengthening through the back of the head.

Everything feels like it's just getting a nice hug. What a beautiful thing at the end of a long day. Exhaling, I'm turning back to center. Lower that leg down. Getting back into staff pose.

I want you to feel the collar bones open. And then your right leg is gonna bend. I'm gonna lay that leg out to the side. This is a beautiful release for the spine. So, all I want you to feel is that the body is just sort of folding over the front leg, to whatever degree it does that.

Be easy with yourself. And be comfortable where the body resistance starts to show up. This isn't about pushing through that resistance. It's about recognizing the resistance and being with that resistance in the body. This is how you unravel something.

Ever try to unravel a knot in a sweater or something? The harder you pull, the tighter it gets. So we're not going for that. We're going for let's let this stuff sort of make its way into a relaxed state. And things will go back to their natural place.

(inhales) (exhales) If if it's possible for you to close your eyes, go ahead and close your eyes. Few more breaths. And you can walk the hands back. Bring yourself up. Coming back to staff pose.

Ah, so much more quiet on the inside of the brain there. Second side, same. Bending the left leg and then laying it out to do side. If it doesn't lay all the down or feels uncomfortable hovering, you can stick something under there. And then, again, I'm just feeling like my body's just folding.

And as I feel that resistance rise in my body, I honor it. Oh, okay, hello. There is that resistance from all the things I did today. And by honoring, space moves in. And that spaciousness helps that knot to unwind itself and unravel itself.

Hands walking back to bring yourself up as you inhale. Back to your staff pose. And now we're gonna bring our body around for a downward facing dog. And this dog is a little bit different. I'd like you to drop to your elbows.

And I'm gonna put my palms together. So, I'm not interlacing. My palms are flat. And my legs go to straight. This is a nice place to walk the dog.

And even walk the cat. Although it feels a little more like a kitten. (laughs) 'Cause it's really short. So, just see if you can get that movement in the pelvis, that movement in the ankles. Back to a moment of stillness. Make sure the eyes are relaxed.

Down to your knees. Back up onto your hands. Coming into that little half plank. So I'm bring my legs with me. But I am drawing my belly in and up.

So I'm wanting to let everything feel supported. So this isn't maybe like the morning class where we're a little more vigorous. This is like, okay, body, everything's supported. And then from that support, you can do a little bit of arc in your back. And then back to a nice, mild downward dog.

(inhales) (exhales) And then let's drop to the knees, release the legs back, and come to a little cobra. So, it's like I'm pulling myself forward. I'm more interested in pulling myself forward than I am trying to be upright in my chest. (inhales) (exhales) Back to that mild dog. (inhales) (exhales) And down to your knees.

The right leg's gonna come forward here. And as your right leg comes forward, in order for your balance to feel comfortable, go ahead and make sure that foot's at least hips' distance apart with the other leg. And then both legs are gonna move towards straight. Now, reaching the ground might be a little tricky. So you can always put your hand on a chair or in some yoga blocks.

But we're working to keep the legs as straight as possible. And really, even if they don't fully straighten, if you're extending them to a place that feels kind of like that perfect spot when you yawn, that's what you're looking for here for the evening practice. Now, on your next inhale, I want you to bring more weight onto front leg. We're gonna shift forward and let the back leg lift. It's pretty easy to sort of fall into the hip, so I want you to bring that hip more to the midline and really stabilize the standing leg.

Ask a lot of your standing leg here. And then both legs bent. And we come to folding over. Long spine. Long legs.

Stepping back into downward dog. (inhales) (exhales) Have another side, so drop yourself slowly down to the knees. Opposite leg comes forward. For me, that's my left leg. Again, if you need a little extra support, can have your hands on something.

And if the legs don't go fully straight, don't strain to try to make them do that. As long as you're going to that point of resistance, that's plenty. To your legs, they feel like they're straight. And that's a perfect place to be for an evening practice like this. And then go ahead and bring a little more weight to the front.

You're gonna do this on an inhalation, inhaling, lifting the back leg. (inhales) Really stabilize the standing leg. Ask a lot of it. It can hold you up. But when you ask a lot of it, you engage a little bit the core body as well.

And then the whole posture feels stable without overworking any one thing. I'm stepping back now. (inhales) (exhales) A few breaths here in downward dog. So, in your downward dog, let's go ahead and come down to your knees. Keep the toes curled under, stretch the back.

And releasing back to the heels, and just let yourself rest for a moment, but keep the arms nice and strong. Any time you need a rest, this is a good one to do. And then to bring yourself up, you're just gonna walk your hands back. Come into a little squat. And come into a nice forward fold.

Kind of wiggle your way into that forward fold. And then the legs bent, you slowly make your way to standing. Gently bring the arms up. Nice long spine. And then the arms float back down.

And let's step to the middle of your mat. Here in the middle of the mat, you'll take your right leg up and you'll place your right foot on the thigh. If you're balance is a little wacky today, you can be close by a wall. And just place your hand on a wall. Palms come together.

And seriously, if your balance is wacky, please use the wall. Because your brain will do, it'll get to excited, and we're trying to calm all that stuff down. In your tree pose, the arms can come up and over if that feels nice. You can keep your hands at your chest for namaste. The fun part of this next little part of the sequence is I'm gonna ask you to release the leg but hover.

Bend the body forward. Place the left hand. So we're left hand, left foot. And then open yourself up to ardha chandrasana. It's kind of fun.

Once you've got all of your balance in place, you can straighten that standing leg. And then the hand comes down. Feet come beside one another. And nice forward fold. Roll yourself up again.

Nice long back bend. In the back bend, I'm still keeping a firmness to my belly. And the firmness in my belly helps everything move towards the midline. And it actually brings a lot of security to the back. Arms floating down.

We'll go to the opposite side. So I'll bear all my weight over on my right leg. And then I'll bend the left. Foot into the thigh, thigh into the foot. Here we are in our (laughs) tree pose.

A little breeze there, whoop. So, one leg's always gonna feel a little more stable than the other. Always use the wall if you need it. Feel that calmness that comes from allowing the body to move around a little bit. Then, of course, you can take the arms up if that feels good.

Or you can bring them back to the heart. But as we move into this half moon pose, you're gonna float that leg. So I'm floating the leg, floating leg, floating leg, getting closer to the ground. Okay, I'm at the ground. Right hand, right foot.

And the hand's a bit off to the side. So don't try to line those up. And then I move into this half moon pose, keeping this leg a little bent. 'Cause, really, I'm just looking for my balance 'cause what am I doing? I'm unraveling my day.

So I don't want to stress myself out on my practice. But the beauty of the balancing postures is it makes you focus. And that means you have to let go of your day to do that. Back to your forward fold. Nice long spine.

Legs bent, rolling all the way up. Keep the belly tone so the belly feels like it's moving in and up. You let the middle bone of the pelvis, the sacrum, deepen. (exhales) And go ahead now and bring your hands right to the heart in namaste. In this posture, we're just gonna do a little twist, and it's quite easy.

You'll take a little, like a baby step forward, but when you take the baby forward, you're weight's not on the front leg. You actually lean back into that back leg. And all we're gonna do first is just turn to the side. Then we're gonna turn to the other side. If you feel a little wobbly, just wiggle the foot a little more out to the side.

Back to center. And forward fold. Now, it seems visually very simple, but there's so much complexity going on and so much attention that the mind has to pay when you're working with twists in that way. All the way up we go. And that's a gift because when the mind has to focus on something, it has to let go of everything else.

Hands to namaste. Stepping that other foot forward, but the weight isn't born in the front. It's born toward the back, and the foot can move out so you're wider in stance. And first you turn to your right, and then you turn to your left. It's a really quiet form of concentration that takes place with these.

So, you sort of let the mind rest in that spot. Feet coming back together. Folding forward again. And rising back up again. (inhales) (exhales) So, one more time, we're gonna explore the tree pose, placing the right foot on the inner thigh of the left leg.

And just looking for that subtle movement of the body as a good thing because you're finding your way. Really, every day, we're constantly balancing everything. So when we get on our yoga mat and we're constantly having these little balance practices, it helps everything else. So, I'm gonna float the leg, and as I float the leg, releasing myself down. Remember, I'm standing on the left leg.

I place the left hand a bit out to the side because it's kind of become my other leg. And then I don't fully straighten the standing leg until I'm in the posture. If you can find one little moment of, ah, that's quite successful. Folding forward again. Rolling yourself up.

(inhales) (exhales) Leg number two. Bending my left leg, placing it on the right thigh. Kind of feeling it out. It's always an exploration. Take a look at the balancing postures.

So, feeling the subtleness of the movement. Your mind might compare it to yesterday's practice. But just keep letting it be here. Keep returning. It's gonna shoot out, but it'll come back.

The mind really loves the practice. And then I let it float, and I start making my journey down. My right hand's a bit out to the side, standing in that right leg, but keeping it bent at first as I move into this beautiful half moon pose. Then I ask that right leg to straighten. I'm not cranking my head and my chest to my maximum, because I'm trying to unravel my day. (laughs) You can't tighten the body and bind the body and knot up the body and unravel your day.

It doesn't really work that way. This is co-creative unwinding that takes place, between the body and the mind. Floating forward now. Rolling yourself all the way up. And getting as tall as you can.

And then lowering yourself down and bringing yourself to a squat. As you're here, I want you to kind of wiggle around a little bit, kind of like you're twisting yourself a little deeper into the earth. We started the seated sequence now. Let's see if you can release onto your bottom without too much fanfare, and then extend the legs back to that very yummy staff pose. Now, remember, don't get too vigorous so the heels lift.

They remain quiet. Collar bones are wide. Shoulder blades feel like they're supporting the heart. So they feel like they draw up and they're moving up a little into the heart. Now, I'm gonna bend both of my legs and come to cobbler's pose.

And in the cobbler's pose, you want to be comfortable. So if your cobbler's pose is really high, this is fine as long as you're comfortable. If you need to support, support with your own hands, that's fine. I'm gonna put my hands on my ankles. And just in the matter of a few breaths, I'm gonna allow myself to fold forward.

And really what I'm doing is, I'm letting my mind observe the exhalation. Because my mind equates exhalation with relaxation. And then I feel a certain level of resistance in my pelvis, so I stop. Grateful for the stretch that's going on in my back, for the sensations that feel so good in my legs. And no reason for me to strain, because I'm getting what I'm looking for, which is that unraveling effect.

And I'll slowly make may way up as I'm taking a nice inhalation. Arms will tuck behind me, and I'll open the chest. A little back bend. A few breaths here. (inhales) (exhales) (inhales) (exhales) And then back to center.

Extending the legs back to staff. Taking my hands back behind. Now, from here, we kind of call this beach pose in Florida. From here, I'm gonna allow my arms to be like two posts, and I let my collar bones wide and my shoulder blades move in to support the heart. And then I'll just lift my pelvis any amount off the ground, and then I'll settle it back down onto the ground.

And when I settle it back down onto the ground, I'm fully conscious to relax everything, which looks a little like this. You could call it a slump, but it's a conscious yoga slump. And you're gonna raise your chest and lift again. Any amount, you don't have to lift this high. And you come back down into that, it sort of to me feels like if I were the hammock.

And then one more time. Lifting any amount. You can lift a micro off the ground. That would work. And then again, releasing like I'm in a hammock.

And up we come. I'm gonna bend my right leg. And then the turn in the direction of the straight leg. So you can place your hand at the knee, at the calf, at the ankle, whatever feels good. But I'm feeling the length of the spine as I turn, so yummy.

My other hand, my left hand, might even wanna reach around and grab for my thigh. And then you can unwind that little twist and just lay yourself over the straight leg. Always, always, always stopping at the body's pushback. So, there's that pushback where you start to feel the resistance. And just be like, oh, okay, I got it.

Right here is where I need to be. Pressing yourself up back to staff pose. Now the left leg bends. I lay it out to the side. I'm careful not to feel like I have to make it all jammed up and tight.

Like, it just feels cozy there. Cozy is good for me. Then I'm gonna turn in the direction of that straight leg. Again, I feel like I'm lifting up. Where you place the hand is at the most perfect spot for you.

And then my right arm is gonna reach up and reach around. I could press my hand into my lower back, which feels nice. I could wrap it around to my hip, which feels really nice. You could even put the flat of your palm. So, figure out for yourself what feels really yummy, and do that.

No straining. Feeling like you're making more space. And then the unwind. And then that quiet fold over the leg. (inhales) (exhales) And slide back.

Ease yourself back up. You'll extend that bent leg and come back to staff pose. Yummy! Now, whatever works for you, bring yourself around. And let's come back to the downward facing dog. And come on down to your knees.

And we're just gonna lay on our backs. So bring yourself around. Come to lay on your back. Ah. Hello sky.

And then from here, my legs remain bent. So keep those legs bent. I'm gonna rest my hands. And as I inhale, I'm pressing the feet down and sort of feeling like I'm pulling them towards me as my pelvis lifts. And then I'll lower back down, just a little modest bridge.

And one more, pressing and lifting. And pelvis releases down. Now, go ahead and straighten your legs, and bring your arms overhead. I just want you to stretch. So, maybe the arms rest on the ground.

Maybe they don't. It doesn't really matter. I just want you to stretch for maybe a breath or two. And then relax your limbs. Relax your back, relax everything for a couple of breaths.

(exhales) Extend through the heels or the toes. You can choose yourself, and extend the arms nice and long again. Full body stretch. Feel the breath move through the body. And then as you exhale, fully relax.

Legs bent. One at a time. And then draw the legs into your chest. You can rock the legs a little bit from side to side. And then the feet come to the floor.

Now, if straightening your legs feels comfortable, do so. But if it's not so comfortable, you can leave the legs bent but widen your feet wider than you hips, and then relax your knees towards one another. Either one of these will work for the ending pose of relaxation. If your legs are bent, you can rest your hands on your torso if that feels comfortable. If your legs are straight, your arms rest at your side, but also you're comfortable.

So don't have any tension in the body. Just let the body completely relax itself. If the mind is interested in telling you stories, just observe your exhalation. You may notice that your breath becomes more shallow, and this is wonderful. You don't need a lot of oxygen right now.

You're just relaxing and letting that final piece of unraveling take place. Every exhalation is that opportunity for the body to unravel a little more deeply. Now, as you come out of your savasana, first I want you to just open your eyes. It's a deep relaxation, so don't move around too quickly. Just open your eyes first so you can remember where you are.

And then the legs can bend. And I'm gonna take my feet wide and relax my knees towards one another, and just wait here for maybe about five breaths. Again, letting my mind focus on the nature of that exhalation. How it feels. And then I wiggle the feet a little closer.

Take the arms overhead for a nice stretch of the arms. And I shift on the hips and roll onto the side. And you sort of keep rolling, keeping the head relaxed as you bring yourself up. When we have relaxation like this, we want to make sure that we don't jump up off our mat too quickly. And come to a comfortable seated position.

Once you get settled sitting, eyes closed. Always helpful to give the mind something to do, so focusing on that exhalation is just further reminder to let go of any stress, to unravel any complications. And the palms come to the heart. And let the eyes softly open. (inhales) Interlace the hands and turn the palms up.

And do a little wiggle. Sort of get yourself back fully to consciousness, fully in the room. And the hands come right at the heart again. Thank you for joining me and unraveling your day. Have a beautiful rest of your day, evening.

And peace out. Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Laura, This was a lovely practice. I am going to keep coming back to this unwinding and relaxing gentle flow. Namaste
Just lovely! Thank you!
"walking your cat" in down dog?? no
Thank you, Laura, I needed this today
Really enjoyed!
Gracias mi querida profesora, una practica especial para terminar la semana. Gracias, Namaste.
This was the first class of yours that I’ve taken and it was perfect for what I needed tonight. Thank you 🙏

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