Good Morning Yoga Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 8

Find Your Twist

35 min - Practice
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Description

Alana guides us through a twisting flow to encourage a fresh sense of circulation and movement in the body. We start with a few supine twists to warm the spine and move through standing balancing postures. You will feel refreshed and a new sense of ease in the body.
What You'll Need: Strap, Block

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(water rushes) Good morning. So in this practice I'd like to invite you or encourage you to find your twist. So we'll experiment with different shapes and twists, with the intention of creating a bit more circulation and movement through our body. So we'll play first supine on our back, finding some twists, and then move up to standing, finding some standing balancing postures, which can be pretty tricky, and then make our way back down. So join me on your back.

For this practice, you'll want a strap, and maybe a block if you like to use it. So come on to your back. And, as usual, as you make your way down, we'll start in windshield wiper. Stretch your arms over the top of the head. And this is always nice to just take a few moments to really dial in the length from your sit bones up through the base of your skull.

Bring the soles of the feet maybe as wide as your mat this morning. Allow for an inhale, exhale, let your knees fall to one side, coming onto the edges. Inhale, draw the knees up, and exhale over to the other side, finding the edges, and continue to move back and forth with your breath, and really invite some ease out through the pelvis, and the spine, and through the base of the skull. So you might find your head wants to move in one direction or the other. Just this first initial movement, checking in with your body, your hips, your spine.

It might feel nice to stretch and reach more through one arm and the other arm, beginning to draw your awareness towards your breath. A few more rounds side to side, you might let your eyes soften here, and then softening your sensory awareness inward. All right, so let the knees come back up to center, and then place the feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Let's draw our right knee into our chest. Take a moment to soften the shoulders down the back, and we'll just go ahead and bring our strap right around the ball of our, the arch of our right foot.

Take a moment, bring the strap there and just allow your right knee to bend and straighten a few times, just nice and easy, easing into the hamstrings, being attentive with your knee joints. And then eventually extend your right leg up towards the sky, flex the foot. Now you might keep your left foot on the floor to support your back. You might choose to extend your leg, which can be somewhat strengthening here as you really begin to draw your shoulder blades down your back. Back of the body lengthens, drawing the lower belly into your spine.

Nice, allow for an inhale, and then exhale, soften a bit through the fingers, the eyes. We'll bring the strap in our right hand round the right hip point, and then let it open out to the right for a few breaths, rounding through the left hip, breathing into where you feel it. If your left leg is extended, stay active there. Nice. Two more full breaths.

(woman breathes deeply) As you're ready, inhale, draw your leg back up through to the center and pause. Now switch your hand, so bring your left hand to your strap, bring your right thumb into your hip crease, lengthen the right side of your body, inhale, and exhale. Bring the leg across your body, just enough for you to feel the hamstring, that outer hamstring. You might stay here this morning, you might drop it all the way over into a twist. And usually it feels pretty nice to reach the right arm out from the heart.

As you inhale, like, stretch and reach through the arms and the legs. And then, as you exhale, soften the belly. And the gaze might come over your right shoulder, taking a few more breaths here in this twist as the left shoulder and the upper back releases towards the floor, finding a bit more length on that right side. On your inhale, draw your leg back up through the center line, stay here. Or, a little abdominal work, draw the chin in, and just walk your way up the strap, and then, releasing the spine and the head, remove the strap, keep the right leg extended, and then flex the foot, draw the belly into the spine, and slowly lower down, nice and slow, lengthening through the right heel.

Take a moment, relax, and release the effort. Palms might open. And observe the sensation down the right side of the body. Allow for an inhale. Nice full exhalation.

(woman exhales) When you're ready, bend the knees, bring the feet to the floor, draw your left knee into your chest. Bring our strap around the bottom of the foot. Good, and then extend the left leg up, and just allow it to bend and straighten, so you're easing into it, being attentive with your knee joint. If you have a tendency to kinda hyperextend through the back of the knee or lock the knee, you might just keep a slight microbend, and eventually extending your left leg up, flexing the foot. Keep the right foot grounded, or extend and reach through your right leg.

Yeah, soften the shoulders, lengthen the back of your body. Take a nice full breath into where you feel sensation, finding that length between the shoulders and the ears. Yeah, and then bring the strap in your left hand, ground your right hipbone, and then let it open out to the left any amount, kind of awakening the inner groin, and the hip, and the hamstrings. Staying active with the right leg, and breathing. (woman breathes deeply) About two more breaths here.

Notice where you can soften and release any tension or gripping. On your inhale, draw your left leg back up through the center, bring your right hand to the strap, bring your left thumb into your hip crease. Inhale, lengthen, and exhale, bring the leg across your body towards your right shoulder. So you're beginning to feel and find the outer hamstring here. You might stay here, you might take it all the way over into a twist.

And it might feel nice to reach and stretch your left arm out from the heart. As you inhale, lengthen the left side of your body, and exhale, really soften and relax the belly and the internal organs. Here you might let the gaze come over your left shoulder, and let it be as dynamic as you want it to be. You can stretch and reach, you can soften and release into it. Breathing.

As you're ready, inhale, draw your leg back up through to the center. Stay here, or draw the chin into the chest as you climb your way up the strap, bringing your forehead towards your shin, and then slowly releasing the spine and the head. Remove the strap, keep the left leg high, and then flex the foot, really stabilize your pelvis, and slowly lower the right leg all the way to the earth. Extend and reach. Nice, and then relax the effort, palms open, pouring your awareness through the body.

Allow for an inhale. Nice full exhalation out of the mouth. Really feels nice, breathing in, and exhale. Nice, let's draw our knees into our chest, rock a little bit from side to side. And then you might rock under your sit bones, or you might roll to your side and use your arms to press yourself up.

We'll transition into table top, so coming onto your hands and your knees, and take a few moments to spread your fingers wide, knees about hip-distance apart, moving here into cat-cow. Inhale, lengthen the spine, and then exhale, get round. Inhale, rolling the pelvis forward, arching, shoulder blades draw towards each other, and then exhale, curl and get round. You might draw the hips back towards the heels, and then inhale, rolling, arching. Exhale, curl and get round.

Moving, you're at your own pace, a few times. Really let the movement be interesting to you. You might begin to lean a bit from side to side, forward and back, like finding those sticky spots in the body. Inner and outer hips, ribs, shoulder blades, up through the neck. And then pressing back into a child's pose.

Draw your hips back towards your heels, soften your forehead towards the floor, settling in as you soften the jaw, sinking your hips back, breathing. From here we'll inhale back into table top, and then thread our right hand, our arm, underneath our left. From here, as you come onto the side, here at the right ear, you might press the left hand into the floor and twist open to the left. Breathing. Now, for me, this is like a pretty strong stretch through the rib cage, through the shoulder.

Do you need to feel more, you can press the ride hand into the floor, find length through the neck. Allow for an inhale, and then exhale, press your left hand into the floor, and come back up into table top, spread the fingers wide. Inhale, and exhale. Threading the left arm underneath the right. Press the right palm into the floor as you twist to the right, and see if you can bring your hips even with each other.

Nice. Coming onto the left side of the head, find that length in your neck. Breathing. Again, as you need to feel more, you can press the top of the left hand into the floor to kinda wake up and activate your left shoulder blade. Softening through the face.

When you're ready, press your right hand into the floor, and let it draw you back up into table. Again we'll inhale, roll the pelvis forward, arching the spine, and exhale, curl and get round. Inhale, roll the pelvis forward, arch, and exhale, curl and get round. From here, setting yourself up for plank pose, spread the fingers wide, draw the shoulders down the back. From here, tuck the toes and pause in plank, waking up the arms, waking up the legs, drawing the belly into the spine.

We'll take one more inhale, exhale, press back to downward facing dog, lengthening, breathing. (woman breathes deeply) From your downward dog, begin to slowly walk your feet towards your hands. Standing forward bend, soften the knees, forward fold, let the head release, let the arms release. Hands might find the elbows as you shift the weight forward into the balls of your feet. So, most likely, there's like a dull, achy stretch through the back body, in the spine and the legs.

Allow for another inhale, exhale, release the arms. Really slow, when you're ready, soften your knees, chin into your chest, and roll up, nice and slow, keeping your chin into your chest, and gently unfurl, feeling the heart, the shoulders, and the head. Nice, take a few moments to like draw your awareness down into your feet, and spread your toes. Good, bring your feet next to each other. Nice, and then, lengthening the spine, we'll inhale and reach the arms right up over the top of the head.

Take a moment to find the length in the front body, find the length in the back body. Yes, take a nice full breath into the rib cage, feeling the full breath in the torso, in the rib cage, drawing the ribs in, let the tailbone descend. We'll inhale here, exhale, bring the hands together and twist to our left, coming into a chair twist. Bring the right elbow outside of your left thigh, and then place the thumbs towards the heart as you twist. Sink down, draw the legs towards each other, navel towards the spine, and breathe.

Nice, from here we'll press into the feet, inhale, the arms up to the sky, free the arms, and then bring the hands together, and then exhale, twist to the right, left elbow, right thigh, pressing the palms together, breathing, you might shift the weight back towards your heels. Inhale, the arms back up through the center, and exhale, forward fold, releasing the head and the arms. Inhale, lengthen the spine, exhale, plant the hands, bend the knees, step your right foot back into a lunge, let the left knee bend. Plant the right hand, bring the left thumb into the hip crease, inhale, reach back for the ball of the right foot, exhale, twist to your left. You might stay right here and work to lengthen, you might bring your left hand up towards the sky, reaching up strong for the back right thigh.

Inhale, lengthen, exhale, release the left hand down. We're gonna walk the hands all the way over to the right. Bring the feet parallel with each other for a wide forward fold. Walk the hands far out in front of you, and then reach your hips away from your hands, finding a variation here of hammock. Nice and long through your spine.

Get a sense of rooting through the outer edges of your feet, and drawing the energy up the inside of the legs, the spine. (woman breathes deeply) Releasing the neck. Slow walk the hands back up underneath the shoulders and back to the front of your mat. So come back into the shape of a lunge. Lower your right knee down towards the floor.

And we'll inhale and come up into a lunge. Circle the arms up to the sky, reaching up and lengthen. Exhale, release the hands down, tuck the back toes, lift the back leg, bring the back foot in a little bit closer, we'll find a variation of pyramid here. Pressing into the ball of the left foot, draw the left hip back, the right hip forward, so you're squaring the hips. Inhale, lengthen the spine.

You might stay right here with a soft bend in your left knee, or exhale, bring the forehead towards the shin. And if you want and need to feel more, you can play with walking your hands back a little bit here. (woman breathes deeply) Nice, from here, walk the hands back to your front foot. And here's where, if you have a block, bring your block outside to the inside, or the outside of your left foot. Bring your hands on your hips, and inhale, come up to standing.

So, from here, we're gonna find revolved triangle. Inhale, the arms up to the sky. Take a moment to really lengthen your spine. And then exhale, we're gonna draw the left hip back as we reach the right arm forward. Press into the outer edge of the back foot.

Now your right hand might come to your block on the inside or the outside. As you press, draw the left hip back, and lengthen your spine here. Find a place where your neck and head are comfortable, you might look down towards the floor, straight ahead, or towards the left hand. Breathing. Inhale, exhale, look down.

Use your arms, your legs, to come all the way back up to standing, you're in this high pyramid shape. Bend the front knee and play with drawing, woo, drawing your right knee in, yeah. Balancing here, using the core muscles, drawing the navel towards the spine. Now a few options here as we play with balancing. You might bring your left hand outside of your right knee and play with twisting to the right.

You might play with bringing your left hand to the outer edge of your right foot, and extending your right leg towards straight, extending through your right hand, strong through the standing leg, breathing. Inhale. Woo, exhale, bend the right knee, and release the legs. Awesome. And take a moment to pause and feel your legs.

From here you might bring your block to the other side, or off your mat. Come up to standing and we'll reset. Hands together, clearing breath. Inhale, exhale everything. Moving with our breath, inhale, circle the arms up.

Exhale, forward fold, maybe a soft bend in the knees. Inhale, half-arch, lengthen, exhale, plant the hands, bend the knees, step your left foot back, we'll find a twisting lunge. Bring the left hand to the floor, right thumb into your hip crease. Inhale, reach back through the ball of your left foot as you begin to explore the twist to the right. Now you might stay right here, you might reach the right arm up towards the sky, back leg is lifting, breathing.

Find a place where the neck and head are comfortable. One more inhale, exhale, release the right hand down, we'll find the shape of wide leg forward fold. Walk the hands over to your left so your feet are parallel. And then walk the hands out in front of you. Reach the hips away from the hands, finding hammock.

Nice and long through your spine, long through the neck, pressing through the outer edges of the feet. (woman breathes deeply) When you're ready, walk the hands back underneath your shoulders, we'll go back to the front of the mat, spin onto the ball of your back foot, find the shape of a lunge, and then let your left knee lower down into a lunge. We'll inhale, circle the arms up to the sky, finding a low lunge, brightening up through the heart. And then exhale, release the hands around the front foot, tuck the back toes, lift your back leg, and we'll find that variation of pyramid. Pressing through the ball of the right foot as you draw your right hip back, squaring your hips, stay right where you are, or begin to fold forward.

Hands might walk back a little bit here as you lengthen your spine. Again, maybe there's a soft bend in the right knee. (woman breathes deeply) From here, walk your hands around the front foot and position your block so it's either on the inside of your right foot or the outside of your right foot for your revolved triangle. Bring your hands under your hips, we'll inhale and come up to standing first. Nice, and then inhale, the arms up to the sky, take a moment to lengthen here.

And then exhale, begin to reach your left arm forward, your right arm back. Pull your right hip back as you root and lengthen. You're rooting through the outer edge of the back foot, and bring the left hand to the inside of the foot, or the outside on your block, and then twist open. Breathe. (woman breathes deeply) Can you get a sense of breathing into the back of your body?

From here, look down. Inhale, come all the way up to standing, reach the arms up to the sky. Bend the front knee and play with bringing the left foot in. And kinda help it along. Draw the left knee in and take a moment to find your balance here.

Ground through the standing leg. And you might stay here, or you might bring the right hand outside of the left knee, left hand might stay on the hip as you twist to your left. You might play with bringing your hand to the outer edge of your left foot, extending your left leg towards straight, towards. This is a great place to smile. Extend, and you might extend and reach your left arm out.

Maybe the gaze comes over your left shoulder for fun. Inhale, lengthen. When you're ready, exhale, bend your knee, ground your feet. Awesome (laughs). Super fun.

Okay. You can bring your block off to the side if it's there. Ground through your feet. Spread your toes. Making our way down with a sun salutation, we'll inhale, circle the arms up to the sky, and exhale, forward fold.

Inhale, half-arch, lengthen your spine, and exhale, bend your knees, step back into your plank. Take a moment to pause in your plank, lower the knees, or lower through your chaturanga, keeping your elbows in, nice and slow. Inhale up, cobra, tops of the feet, peel the heart up, lengthen through the spine, and exhale, release. Locust, forehead on the floor, reach the fingers towards the toes, inhale, lift the chest, lift the legs, reach, draw the back body into the spine, and exhale, release. Slide the palms underneath your shoulders, tuck your toes, press up, and get round, child's pose, drawing your hips back towards your heels, taking a nice full breath into the back body, and you might release the arms down along your sides.

(woman breathes deeply) And then, from child's pose, slide the palms underneath the shoulders, chin into your chest, and slowly roll your way up, taking a moment to sit on your heels. From here, we'll transition onto our back, finding bridge with a supported bridge, so you might have your block nearby as you come onto your back. Here you might draw your knees into your chest for a moment, just releasing the back. Letting the eyes soften. Good, and then bringing the feet to the floor.

We'll find a bridge without the block at first, so spread your toes, heels in line with your sit bones, and then, from here, draw your tailbone under, press down through your feet. Rise up, lift your hips, feel the front of the thighs, stretch the front of your body, lengthen. Arms might reach towards your ankles, or you might roll and tuck your shoulders under your back, maybe your hands interlace as you lengthen through your arms. Lengthen the back of your neck wide through the base of the skull. Take a nice full breath here.

See if you can soften and relax any holding or gripping through the butt, and really feel that stability happen through your legs, like the muscles of the legs are drawing in towards your bones. One more inhale. On the exhale, release the hands, and slowly lower your back to the floor, feeling your upper back, your middle back, and your lower back. Take a moment, let the knees rest together. Allow for an inhale.

And exhale. From here, taking a supported bridge, so having your block nearby. We'll start on the lowest setting of the block. So when you're ready, press down, lift your hips, and then let your sacrum rest on the block, so it's like the lower 2/3 of the sacrum. And, after twisting, for me it's just really nice just to let the pelvis come into a neutral position, supported, to let the sacrum release a bit here.

Keep some integrity through your legs with the support as well as the arms. Now you might stay right here, with the block on the first setting, right. You might decide to come up onto that second side, drawing the shoulders under the back a little bit. And if this is, like, quite comfortable, you might choose to press up and bring your block to the third side. Again, if it feels like it's jamming into your back, it is, so really pay attention and listen, listen to what feels right for you.

It should be supporting your sacrum, that triangular bone that's wedged in the back of the pelvis, right there. Nice, and then reaching the hands towards your ankles. If available, you might even interlace, and taking a few moments to just really soften the eyes and receive the supports, wide across the chest, the throat. You might choose to stay here, you might play with bringing your legs up towards the sky. Maybe start with bringing one knee in, extending your leg.

Bringing the other knee in and maybe extending your leg. And your arms might reach down along your sides again. If available, you might interlace, and then let your sacrum receive the support, long through the neck. You might soften your eyes a little bit here. You can keep a soft bend through the back of the knees, or you can play with really extending the energy out through the toes and the feet.

Maintain the length in your neck. Now, whenever you're ready, we'll bend your knees if they're extended, find the shape of bridge. Reorganize your feet. You can release your arms, settling into that support again. When you're ready to release, press down through the feet, lift your hips up, remove your block.

Bring your block off to your side without turning your neck. Good, and then slowly roll down, nice and slow, upper back, middle back, and your lower back. From here you might bring the soles of the feet together and let your knees fall wide into a badhakonasana or resting butterfly shape. Maybe one hand rests on the heart, one on the belly, keeping the eyes soft. (woman breathes deeply) Slowly drawing the knees towards each other, hug the knees into the chest.

If it feels good, you might curl up for a moment, bring the forehead towards the knees. And then release. We'll take an easy spinal twist to release the back, rolling knees over to your right, releasing the arms out to your sides. Allow for an inhale. And then, as you exhale, soften and relax the belly, and you might gaze over your left shoulder.

With each exhalation, let the left shoulder release towards the floor. When you're ready, inhale, lead with the top leg, and over to your left. Inhale to lengthen, and exhale to soften. Right shoulder releases towards the floor, releasing, the gaze maybe over the right shoulder. Breathing into where you feel it.

Noticing how the twist, how the shape changes after just a few breaths. When you're ready, inhale, draw your knees back up through the center, draw them into the chest, and them stretch 'em out for a few moments. Relaxing all the effort through the mind, through the body, through the breath, allowing your awareness, your attention, to gently soften and expand. Now you're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. When you feel ready, begin to stretch your arms and your legs, and find a full-body stretch here as you lengthen.

(woman breathes deeply) Draw your knees in, gradually roll to your side, pause. And then press your hands into the earth, come up into a seat. (woman breathes deeply) Drawing your hands together, allow for an inhale. Exhale. (woman exhales) Namaste.

Thank you for your practice. Have a beautiful day.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Great way to start the day. A gentle twist enlivens the body and I feel ready for anything,
Wow, wonderful, Glenford! I always feel enliven after twists, too. A great way to start your day or refresh.
Great way to come home from vacation! Thanks.
Welcome home, Kit! So glad you are here and found your twist.
~ Alana
Great start to my day & interesting sequence too - thank you
Hi Chars Cowling! So delighted to be practicing together. Have a wonderful day! ~ Alana
First time and didn't know it was level 2. I might have shied away, but so glad I did the sequence! The twists I do quite well, and just substituted your 1/4 Sun Salutations, as full one is difficult. Like you said, "Awesome!". Thanks :)
Hi Jacqueline, So delighted that you gave this twisitng practice a try! I love the 1/4 Sun Salutations... such a lovely way to move with the breath, ground and center. xoA
Worked great as an evening practice. Namaste.
Namaste, Christel. I'm glad you enjoyed your evening twisting practice. It's amazing how even a few minutes of yoga a day can make a difference. P.S your profile picture is beautiful... the flowers in water. :) Warmly, Alana
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