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Season 1 - Episode 10

Twist for Energy

30 min - Practice


Laura guides us in a twisting practice to raise our energy and brighten us up. In this slow practice we move from the ground up, finding length in the spine in seated and standing twists.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(waves crashing) Namaste. So this morning we're gonna look at some twists, some upper body and lower body twists. This will really bring the energy up. I want you to remember that as we twist, we are thinking of bringing the energy up because this is a morning practice or at least a practice to brighten us up. Okay?

So here we go. The front of the mat. So we'll start out with this wonderful extended mountain pose. As I reach my arms up, I'm gonna bring my ribs in. Go ahead and let the feet descend, and let your hands reach, and just feel a little bit like a rubber band that's being stretched.

Nice early morning feeling. As you exhale, you'll fold yourself forward. Then we're gonna walk the hands. Walk your hands around to your left to begin. Now as we walk the hands around to the left, you walk about as far as you'll go, you're creating this really beautiful spiral in the spine.

When you get there and it feels good, relax the head. Notice there's a little bit of something different going on in the legs, so create an equal balance of weight in both feet. Another breath here. Just notice where the body's starting to wake up. Let the legs bend.

Now just a tiny bit, we're gonna scoop the arms back up. Coming again to this full bodied stretch. Heels, feet descending, hands rising. Remember the ribs are coming in and I have this feeling that the belly is drawing in and up. I'm just getting taller and taller.

Then let yourself fold forward, exhaling as you go. Walk your hands around to your right this time. You walk the hands around, you're not trying to get as deep of a spiral as possible. You're walking around until you sort of feel like you're giving yourself a hug. Because getting a hug feels bright.

Anything more than a hug feels a little bit not bright. (laughing) Notice that balance in the legs and in the feet. Go ahead and relax the neck fully. We can investigate even how is the breath feeling? Bend the legs just a tiny bit. This actually helps to ease the flexors in the hips.

As you inhale, bring yourself all the way back up again. Nice reach, ribs in, belly drawing in and up. Exhale, the arms coming down. Go all the way. Then just sorta notice how that feels.

Alright. Now this next one, you go as deep as you like or as light as you like. You can even use a couple of blocks. We talk about that in the tutorials. So if you feel like you need that, get that.

But we're gonna do what I call the dad cross. So when my dad sits at the table, he crosses his legs like this. So you do the dad cross and then you start to bend the body down toward the floor. What I want you to be comfortable is in your knee. Your hips might complain a little bit.

That's okay, they'll get over it. So be here and if it kinda helps, I like to get my foot on my arm and they can press into one another. I don't want you going so deep as all the way into a squat, even if you can, because we are trying to get a lot of juice in that standing leg. It works hardest if it's just a little bit less than 90 degrees or greater than 90 degrees. A few breaths here.

Go ahead if you can, you can see my toes, push the foot into the arm. Then as you bring yourself up, you're gonna be inhaling and sort of float yourself till the feet come down. Then bring your arms back up. (inhales and exhales) Other side, dad cross. It's a little bit of a balancing act too so it's kinda fun.

Your bend at the pelvis and the knee at the same time. So it's sort of a little gentle floating down. This time my left leg, my left foot is pressing into my right arm. I'm dropping the pelvis. Really you're gonna feel most of the sensation probably in that left rump.

If you are, congratulations. If you're not, that's a miracle. So. (laughs) You know, you've had a miracle this morning already. (inhales and exhales) Breathe, breathe. Notice the sensations, notice the breath.

Keep pushing that foot into the arm, and the arm back into the foot. (inhales and exhales) Make sure you're not so smooshed into your leg that it compromises the breath. As you inhale, you're gonna float. Place both feet down. Arms coming up.

Exhale the harms. (exhales) Roll your way all the way to your downward dog. (exhales) In the downward dog, we'll walk that dog a little bit. It's a lot of sensation for the pelvis. We got the outer and the inner.

Then sway the hips as well. You know this is what I like to call walking the cat. (inhales and exhales) Then down, down, down you go. Hands and knees, keep the toes curled under. Press back into the feet.

Give yourself a good press through the hands. Then walk your hands back, back, back, and bring yourself into a squat. If that's tricky, just get to a squat. It works. Your body evolves so beautifully with the practice.

You'll see that as you just keep returning, keep returning. So in this particular squat, I'm gonna take my hands off the ground. This makes the feet wake up a little bit. Then down we come. Come all the way down to your knees.

Sit back on your heels. If you need to sit on a block, you can sit on a block here if sitting on the heels is too deep. Bring that left leg out. So with the left leg out, I'm lining it up to where it gives me balance. So you might want it out a little bit.

Don't have it right up against the other leg, not necessary. If the balance is wacky, then you're not really getting the full benefit of the twist for this. So remember everything is moving in and up as I move into this little twist. So I feel my belly draw in and up, and I start to go a little bit more into the twist. You're always listening for, there's a little bit of an internal resistance when we go into twist.

You wanna honor that. If you'll honor it, more space will be made for you. If you don't honor it, the body just sort of locks down and says, "Wait a minute, that's too much." It's possible, you could take your left hand, reach it back behind you, lean back a little bit and clear a little bit of space. I like to kinda clear the belly space a little bit. Then bring yourself around.

(inhales and exhales) This next part is quite fun. So I'm coming back to center. Moving out on that exhalation allows the body to sorta go. (exhales) Then I'm gonna launch myself forward and come to standing on this left leg. So it looks just like this. (inhales and exhales) I'm squeezing the inner thighs.

So as you squeeze the inner thighs, narrow the hip points and draw the belly in and up. (inhales and exhales) A few more breaths. We've talked about how the muscles deepen into the bones, so everything you're feeling very alive. The back leg now bends and place that right foot beside the left foot. Then we're gonna come into a nice little squat.

Right where we were before. If you'd like to interlace the hands, roll the palms out. We'll be hands free for this little squat. If that's super challenging, you can always be like on your fingers, they still help. But they can't help that much so you're still teaching the body.

(inhales and exhales) Hands coming down now, shift yourself forward again just as we did before. Down onto your knees, uncurling the feet. This time, we'll free the right leg. We'll bring it into that squat. Take it out a little bit if you need to.

So we want space for the pelvis to be able to move around. You do wanna have that sense of collection and rising up after you're in the pose. But getting in there, keep a lot of space there. So I'm turning, turning, turning to the right. As you turn to the right, you're lifting the spine.

(inhales and exhales) It's possible a few of you might like to lean back into your hand, clear a little belly space, and then bring yourself back up. Just notice in the body where the tightnesses are and how they're melting, melting and melting. On that exhalation unwind yourself. We're gonna come to standing on the right leg. So as you inhale, you'll bring yourself forward.

Start to stand on that leg, lifting the left leg back. As you exhale, you release into the posture. Everything is very attentive. The muscles deepening into the bones. The inner thighs are squeezing together.

The belly is drawing in and up. Couple more breaths, spreading the toes. Go ahead and bend that right leg just a little bit and place the left leg, the left foot beside the right foot, and come back to that nice squat. (inhales and exhales) Again we'll try a hovering squat if that feels good to you. I always like to interlace my hands and extend them out.

It's sort of a arm's act, there's a little bit of a counterbalance so that feels good. Then place the hands and step the legs back. Downward facing dog. Here you might choose to be still which is always fine or if you wanna walk the dog, you can walk the dog. Swaying the hips allows you to walk the cat.

They both need exercise. Although the cat will tell you it really doesn't. Then down you go to your knees. Bringing yourself into a nice quiet child's pose. Counting three breaths as you rest here.

(inhales and exhales) Planting the hands, up you come again to hands and knees. Curl the toes under. Here we go, we're walking our hands back again, coming to that nice squat. The squat, hands free. We try today or try this section palms together.

A little different. So the feet become so intelligent and not just the feet. There are hundreds of signals passing between the feet and the brain back and forth right now. Crossword puzzles are great but if you wanna really make your brain sharper. (laughs) Try to squat without use of your hands. Lots of information.

Hands come forward now. Down onto your knees, uncurling the toes. Left leg comes up again. Same rules apply. I'm gonna take this sequence to its next level.

So turning again toward that left leg. Inhaling and getting nice and tall. If you like, you can lean back, make a little extra space. Move that belly and open the chest. The turning of your head, don't crank your neck.

Like the turning of the head that you wanna feel also for that moment where it starts to have resistance, and then to stop right before that. Exhaling, bringing yourself out of the twist, we're gonna move forward again all the way back up to this lifted leg posture. Squeezing the inner thighs together, reaching both legs. Keeping your hands there for stability. If getting the hands to the floor is tricky, remember you can always use a block.

(inhales and exhales) So I'm making this triangle between my two hands and my one foot. That gives me the ability to take my left hand to my hip, standing on the left leg. You have your left hand on your left hip. Begin to turn the chest in the direction of that straight leg. Squeeze the inner thighs together.

Lengthen the spine and open that left chest. If that feels good and you wanna take the arm up, go for that. If it doesn't feel so good, or if your chest is a little low and arms here, this is also fine. But don't crank the shoulder. (inhales and exhales) Both hands coming down.

Right foot comes down beside the left foot. All the way down to our lovely little squat. You choose the hand position, can be here. Get the counter balances nice. Could be here.

(inhales and exhales) Hands coming down. Bring your knees down, uncurl the feet. Moving on to the second side, the right legs comes into a squat. Same rules apply so if the right leg needs to go out to the right a little bit for stability, do that. Inhale, lengthening the spine.

Exhale, and turning in the direction of the spine. It's always like you're taking the lid off, off of the jar, when you're moving into twists. That way there's lots of room for the spine. Could be you wanna lean back, make a little space for the hip, a little space with the belly. Then turn back into the posture but always rising up as you turn.

(inhales and exhales) Even as you exhale here and come back to center, there's still a sense of lift. Hands come forward. Come to standing on that right leg. Extending the left leg back, making that nice little triangle with the two hands and the foot. Muscles deepening into the bones.

Squeezing the inner thighs together. That squeeze of the inner thigh gives you a little extra stability so you can take your right hand to your right hip. (inhales and exhales) On your next exhalation, you can begin that journey of turning in the direction of that standing leg. Opening, opening, opening the chest, and following the movement of the chest to determine where the arm goes. (inhales and exhales) So be comfortable in that arm.

It's a lot of work, these twists. But they're nice and warming, kind of like these flowers. As you exhale, both hands come down again. Left leg comes beside the right foot and back to that nice squat. (inhales and exhales) Catch a little extra breath here.

Hands come down and as your hands come down, you're gonna step quietly back to downward dog. Do a little walk the dog. Maybe a little walk the cat. (inhales and exhales) Rolling down to your knees, keep those toes curled under, and reach back. Come to this little modified child's pose.

Just a couple of breaths here. Then uncurl the toes and sink back for a couple of more breaths of child's pose. So as you inhale, you bring yourself up. Let's move right into a solitary downward dog. Feel the pelvis reaching back.

Then down you come to your knees. We're gonna do a really yummy twist. So I'm gonna take my right leg and thread it in between my arm and my left leg. I like to do that from a little bit of a downward dog space. So it looks like this and then you slowly lower onto the right hip.

So give that a try. Once you've lowered onto the hip, you make a L shape with your two legs. Just bring yourself to your forearms. (inhales and exhales) There's integrity in the left leg as it's extending back. Integrity in the right leg as it's extending.

(inhales and exhales) You can pull a little bit with the elbows to have a little more length to the spine. Very yummy pose. (inhales and exhales) A few more breaths here, just letting our body rest from the previous sequences. But also taking advantage of how much those sequences helped to open the outer and the inner hips. Then to bring yourself out, you just soften the legs and let them both bend a little bit.

They curl a little bit and then make your way to downward facing dog. Feel that long spine as one singular downward dog. Then shift yourself forward, threading the left leg through, coming onto the left hip. Extending, again making that L shape with the two legs, and keeping both legs very, very awake. They're very active, muscle deepening into bone.

I'm gonna use my elbows to lengthen the spine. So as you press the elbows in, you'll feel the weight of the pelvis will kinda hold itself and then ah, you get a little bit of lengthening through the torso. (inhales and exhales) The legs stay vigorous. That little tension, that little traction that you're creating with your elbows and the weight of the pelvis, keep that consistent as well. Then to come to downward dog, you'll soften your legs again so they kinda curl slightly.

Bring yourself into downward dog. Again, a quiet singular dog. Moving on down to your knees. Uncurl the toes and release back into a child's pose, just to neutralize the twist for a couple of breaths. Inhale, slide your hands back.

Bring yourself up to sitting, sitting on your legs. Remember if this is uncomfortable, you can always put blocks underneath your pelvis. I'm gonna take my hands back behind for this modified camel pose. This I love so you have two options. You can lift the chest only and press the shins.

Or you can lift the chest, and lift the hips, and press the shins. Take about three breaths here. Keep pressing the shins. On an exhalation, you'll lower yourself back down. Roll yourself forward to downward dog.

Three breaths here. Lower to your knees. Walk your hands back. Walk yourself right into that little squat. Three breaths here.

(inhales and exhales) Then back down you go. Knees coming to the floor, uncurling the feet. Hands going behind, choose your camel. Choose your camel wisely. (laughs) Don't get the ones that like to spit on ya. Just tellin' ya.

Press the shins and open the chest, open the chest. Down you go. Shifting forward to your downward dog. Nice, even breaths. Walk your hands back now, coming back into that squat.

Now let's lower to the floor. So lay on your back with your legs bent. You're gonna take your feet about as wide as your sticky mat. Your hands can rest on your body. The legs are bent of course.

Then both legs are gonna shift to the left. Then bring them both back up and both legs will shift to the right. The breathing sequence is to inhale the legs up and to exhale the legs down. Inhale the legs up. Exhale the legs down.

Inhaling up. Exhaling down. Inhaling back up again. Walk the feet a little closer to each other now. We'll just take the feet, press them down into the ground and let the pelvis lift.

You might feel yourself roll a little on your shoulders and that's just fine, go for that. You're creating firmness around the hips and the buttocks but not overly so. Just enough for what you need to create the lift is fine. Lowering yourself down, draw the legs towards the body and just hold 'em with your arms. Feet returning to the ground, pelvis rising.

Let's count three exhalations here. One. Remember don't overdo it. Two. And three.

Lower at that exhalation. Draw the legs into the body. We'll take three exhalations here. One. Two.

And three. Stretch the arms and legs out. The nice lengthening, take a couple of breaths. Just reach, reach, reach. Then relax, relax, relax.

Bend your legs, place your feet to the floor. Gently roll yourself to the side and bring yourself up to sitting. When you come to sitting, sit in a way that feels comfortable to you. So you may know to sit up on some blankets is more comfortable, feel free to do that. You rest your hands on your lap or you might interlace your hands in your lap.

Either way. These final moments of the practice, you let the body grow still. Sometimes even if the mind is very hectic, it's okay if you give it the task of just observing the stillnesses that it can find in the body. It can be very soothing. And the palms coming together now.

Let your eyes softly open. Yay you're back. Have a lovely day. Peace out. Namaste.


1 person likes this.
You are too good, Laura Tyree!
1 person likes this.
I so enjoyed this thoughtful, steady practice. Your sequencing of the postures is perfect, tremendous. And that sneaky approach to revolved ardha chandrasanah (one of my least favorite poses ever...) is the best! I found myself there, opening, enjoying it! Thanks so much.
1 person likes this.
Very challenging for a newbie stiff old bird like me. Sure gave me a workout. It hurt so good! Thanks Laura x
Hahah You bet Cheryl!
Lovely practice, so perfect for coming out of writing time. Thank you!
Laura, you're the best! Thank you for this lovely practice. xo
1 person likes this.
I love your interesting flows and variations, Laura. I especially liked that scissor posture from down dog.
I loved that new-to-me twist

Interesting practice! Thanks, Laura, for sharing it with us! Namaste! 💖💗💝

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