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Season 9 - Episode 9

Courageous Flow

30 min - Practice
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Mary Beth leads us through a sweet and invigorating flow practice in preparation for Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 or One-Legged Arm Balance with options for modifications. We begin by opening the hips and warming the body with Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations). We then move through a variety of standing postures before moving into our peak posture to strengthen the arms, wrists, and abdominal muscles. You will feel open, strong, and brave.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi yogis, great to see you. Let's take a moment to just close the eyes, bow your head toward your heart, and take three deep breaths in and out of your nose. Grounding your energy. Allowing yourself to arrive. Allowing yourself to settle.

And once you open your eyes you'll come onto your back in Supta Baddha Konasana. So this posture, preparing us to come into the arm balanace Eka Pada Koundinyasana Two, quite the mouthful. So bring the soles of the feet together, your knees open, you can place one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly and just take a few deep breaths, just continuing what you started in your cross legged seat. Up sweeping your breath along the back of your throat, making your breath full and expansive. So as we focus out energy on the breath, just allow any thoughts, any worries, any preoccupations, just to fade into the background.

So the breath becomes your primary focus, your sole focus. Gather your knees into your chest, Apanasana. Then reach down, catch the outer edges of your feet in Happy Baby and just rock a little side to side. And you'll extend your right leg out to the side and bend your left knee drawing your heel toward your midline and then you'll simply switch and take it over to the other side. So I call this Ecstatic Baby.

Just moving side to side, really organic movement and you don't have to straighten the leg all the way. Just feeling into your hamstring, which we will be focusing on opening all throughout this practice. Come back through center, Happy Baby. Hug your knees back into your chest. Then bring your hands behind your knee, so right at your hamstrings.

Keep you feet about hip distance and just rock up and down your spine a couple times. And then you'll rock up to a Yogic Squat. So you turn your toes out, heels in. You can ground your hands on Earth and then hands at your heart and prayer. Drop your bum as you lift your chest up.

Press your elbows into your knees, but then press your knees back into you elbows. Hands to the mat. Turn your toes forward, keep your feet rather wide, with your knees bent, drop your head, just let your arms dangle for a couple of breaths, and then shake your head side to side a couple times, release your neck. And then keep you knees bent as you roll up to standing, really slowly, stacking your spine, taking your time with it. Roll your shoulder heads up and back.

Good and then you'll make your way to the top of your mat. Hands to your heart. Surya Namaskara A, inhale, to stretch up. Exhale, to fold forward. Inhale, to lift your chest.

Step back and lower Chaturanga. Inhale, to pull forward, Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, to press back, Down Dog, breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in.

Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Inhale, to bend your knees. Exhale, to spring your step.

Inhale, to lift, flat back. Exhale, to fold. Inhale, to rise. Exhale, to your heart. Inhale, to stretch up.

Exhale, to fold forward. Inhale, to lift your chest. Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, to Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, to Down Dog, breathe in.

Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. And once more. Inhale, to bend.

Exhale, to spring our step. Inhale, to lift. Exhale, to fold. Inhale, to rise. Exhale, to your heart.

Inhale, to stretch. Exhale, to fold. Inhale, to lift. Exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, to Up Dog.

Exhale, to Down Dog, three breaths. Inhale, to bend. Exhale, to spring. Inhale, to lift. Exhale, to fold.

Inhale, to rise. Exhale, to your heart. Feet together, sit back into Chair, breathe in. Exhale, to fold forward. Inhale, to lift.

Exhale, Chaturanga. Step back, or land with bent elbows. Inhale, to Up Dog. Exhale, to Down Dog. Lift your right leg.

Right knee, to right tricep. Give it a tap, bring your shoulders over your wrists. Inhale, to extend the right leg up. Exhale, to step to your thumb. Rise to Crescent Pose, stand tall.

Lean forward, Warrior Three. Inhale, to rise up, straighten the left leg, lift to hip height, come back through Warrior Three. Hand to your shin, standing split. Step back into a Runner's Lunge. Back to Plank, Vinyasa, or skip.

Left leg lift. Left knee taps left tricep. Inhale, to stretch up. Exhale, to step forward. Rise, to Crescent.

Warrior Three. Standing, create an L shape, lift from your low belly. Back through Warrior Three. Standing Split. Back into a lunge, back to Plank.

Lower, inhale to Up Dog. Exhale, to Down Dog. Breathe in. Sigh out. Lift your right leg.

Right knee, right tricep. Slide down to your right wrist. Back to your tricep. Inhale, to extend. Step forward.

Rise to Crescent pose. Warrior Three. Standing, lift from your left leg. Back through Warrior Three. Standing Split, reach for your calf.

Back into a lunge. Back to Plank, lower. Inhale, to Up Dog. Exhale, to Down dog. Left leg lift.

Left knee, left tricep. Slide to the wrist. Back to the tricep. Extend as you breathe in. Step as you breathe out.

Rise to Crescent Pose. Warrior Three, nice and slow. Come to standing, lift from your low belly. Warrior Three, take your time. Standing Split, hands to the Earth or to your calf.

Step back into a lunge. Back to Plank. Lower halfway. Inhale, to Up Dog. Exhale, to Down Dog.

Breathe in. Sigh out. Lift your right leg up. Draw your right knee to your right tricep and bring your shoulders right over your wrists. You can hang out right here building your low belly strength or extend your right leg out, shift forward and float your left leg up.

Slowly extend, and step to your right thumb. Rise to Crescent Pose. Warrior Three. Standing. Warrior Three.

Standing Split. Back into a lunge. Back to plank. Lower. Inhale, to Up Dog.

Exhale, to Down Dog. Left leg lifts. Left knee to left tricep. Shift forward, stay here, or play with extending the leg out. Shift forward, you can lift the back leg up.

Then stretch it back. Step to your left thumb. Rise through Crescent. Warrior Three. Come to standing.

Warrior Three. Standing Split. Back into a lunge. Back to Plank. Lower half way.

Inhale, to Up Dog. Exhale, to Down Dog. Rest in a Child's Pose. Take a few deep breaths in. A few deep breaths out.

Make your way back to Downward Facing Dog. Lift your right leg, open your hip, and then step to the center of your palms. Pivot your back, heel flat, rise to Warrior Two, and take a moment to ground into your feet. Drop into your thigh. Extend your arms away from one another with equal effort.

And straighten the right leg, heel toe the back foot in. Stretch forward, hand to your shin, or the Earth. Left arm reaches up. Left hand to your hip, look down. Float up, Ardha Chandrasana, and then bend your lifted leg if you can.

Catch your ankle or the top of the foot, Chapasana. Extend your leg back out. Step to Warrior Two. And circle your hands down. Heel toe your right foot over to the outer edge of the mat.

Slide your back heel back, so you're on the ball of the foot and then drop down to your forearms and take a few deep breaths here. You can drop your back knee for a few breaths if you'd like. Then you'll straighten the arms, if you dropped your back knee lift it back up, hug your right knee in toward your tricep and then slide your right shoulder behind your calf and you can hang out right here on your fingertips or even send your arms out like airplane wings or bind at your low back, and take a couple breaths. And then option to move into Eka Pada Koundinyasana Two again so plant your hands shoulder distance. Work your shoulder.

Right behind the calf, and then extend the leg out, and this can be plenty, you can hang out right here, working the hamstring straight or lifting the left leg up. And then you'll extend back. Right leg reaches high and shin across the top of your mat, to rest in a Pigeon. Fold forward. Drop your head down, and soften.

You're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like. If you'd like to move into a variation you'll weave your left arm underneath your right arm and drop down to your shoulder, you can drop to your ear, or slide a block underneath and then maybe bend your back knee and catch your foot, just rolling the right shoulder a little bit. An intense stretch, so perhaps just moving into the twist, or just moving into the quad stretch if that serves you better. Then you'll release, and step right back to Down Dog, and just move your body in an organic way. You just had a lot happen on that right side.

So pedal out the legs, can give your head a shake, and then crawl your hands back to meet your feet and slide your palms underneath your feet as you fold. Slide your hands back out, walk back to Down Dog. Lift your left leg up and open up your hip. And then step wide, between your hands, Warrior Two. Drop down into your thigh.

Straighten your left leg, reach forward, hand to your shin or the Earth, right arm stretches up. Then look down, right hand to your hip. Ardha Chandrasana, lift your right leg up. Option for Chapasana, catching your foot. Release.

Step to Warrior Two. Then circle down. Wiggle your left foot over, hands to the inside of your foot, and keep the back knee lifted or tap it down. Depends on what intensity you're looking for right now, and that might vary practice to practice as you take this class again. So you can come down to the forearms here, you could lift the back knee, you can drop it down.

It's all about what you're looking for in your practice. And you hug your knee toward your tricep, lift your back knee up, you can crawl your shoulder behind your left calf, stay here, you could bind at your low back or send your arms out in like airplane wings. And then drop your hands down if you'd like and play with straightening your left leg. You can even have the back knee down and just work straightening the left leg or lean forward and float the right leg. And you'll extend it back, take it out a little bit.

And place your left shin across the top of your mat for your Pigeon stretch. And then fold forward. And if you'd like to take the variation you weave the right arm underneath the left, drop down to your shoulder, to your ear, to a block. If you want to go deeper you bend your back knee. You catch your foot, then you stay here for a few breaths.

Remember you can take either part of this instead of the whole. And the whole might be too intense, just play it by ear. As you unwind, release, and you'll extend both legs forward. Flex through your feet, ground your thighbones down and then fold forward, see if you can catch the outer edge of your feet or your calves and drop your head. Then as you lift up you'll make your way onto your back.

I'll just spin around so you can see me better. You'll plant your feet on the Earth. Knock your knees together for a moment, just to land, and feel your feet on the Earth. The movement of your breath. Then press through the fronts of your heels.

Lift to either Bridge or Wheel, it's up to you. Whatever feels best. I'm gonna stick with a Bridge Pose, pressing the shins back, keeping the buns soft, and lifting your heart toward your chin. Extending as much length as you possibly can. A sense of space.

Then bring your lower back down, and drop your knees over to the right and look out over your left shoulder. Back through center, knees to the left, look to the right. Back through center, give yourself a squeeze. And then soften into Shavasana. Extend your legs long, bring your arms by your side, palms facing up.

And just letting go of and effort that remains. And start to deepen your breath. Roll to your right side. And press on up to sit. Fold your palms together at your heart.

And bow your head, taking a moment to honor your body, breath and practice. And deep breath in. A big sigh out. May there be peace in your hearts, in your homes and in our world. Namaste.


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