(wave breaks) Welcome. Today we're gonna use two blocks and a strap. And you just want to make sure that your two blocks are the same width. And you're gonna take those blocks, and you're just gonna set them near the back of your mat. We're just gonna leave a little space between them.
Don't worry too much about it now because it will all determine on, based on your proportions. And what we're gonna do, is we're gonna take our shoulder blades onto this first block. And then the second block is gonna be used to support the weight of the head. So as we come forward, just feeling in to where the bottom edge of your wings are, and allow the wings of the shoulder blades to feel into the edge of that block. And then we're just gonna schooch back a smidge, so that the rest of the shoulder blade falls back, so we're creating the shell for the heart.
And then reaching back with the hands towards that second block, and then just bringing it underneath the head. Now this height may not feel appropriate for you. If that feels like you're straining into the neck at all, you may want to flip it up a level, or perhaps even removing the block, or replacing it with a blanket. But as you allow yourself to settle, and take those little wiggles and adjustments, we're gonna take the legs wherever they feel comfortable. That may be remaining in a bend, that may be extending to long, a Baddha Konasana.
I know for me, one of my favorite spots here, is just a nice, easy, cross-ankled Sukhasana. So as you allow yourself to settle, take a nice, big, deliberate inhale. (breaths deeply) Exhale from an open mouth (exhales loudly) and just allow yourself to land. And this is a really nice spot to start to bring a little bit more breath awareness up into the ribcage, up into the upper lobes of the lungs. (exhales deeply) And then perhaps playing with these arms, starting to bend into the elbows.
Just a little bit more awakening here into the shoulders, into the chest. (exhales loudly) Continuing to allow that breath to rise up. (inhales deeply) (exhales loudly) Maybe even experimenting with allowing the hands to reach back and find one another. And as that occurs, you may need to readjust where those shoulder blades are. So it's a sense of almost bringing the shoulder blades in to kiss your spine.
That may be plentier. To take this a little deeper we can continue to walk the hands towards wrists, or forearms, or maybe even opposite elbows and allow that weight to drop. (exhales loudly) We hold so much tension in those shoulders from our modern forward-folding lives. So just taking a moment to counter that. (exhales loudly) And then from here, we're just gonna slowly start to play with some extension.
So from wherever you found your hold, we're gonna begin to take those arms long alongside the ears. Just reaching through the ribs, through those shoulders. And then these same sort of extension's gonna come through the legs. We're just gonna take one leg long, and then the other. And then begin to press forward with the heels pulled back with the toe nails like you're standing on the earth.
And then let the palms come together to join, creating steeple hands here. So fingers are gonna interlace, index fingers pointing back. And then gently squeeze those upper arms in towards the ears. Keep pressing forward with the heels, back through the toe nails, and just feel into that beautiful length that's been created in the body. Take another nice, big breath in all the way up towards the collar bones.
And as you exhale, let those arms soften and release out wide as they float along the sides of the body. And then stepping the feet back onto the earth, letting the knees bend, we're gonna take that left arm up towards the sky and then roll gently to the right side as we catch ourself with that hand and just pausing in fetal position for a moment. Pressing into the earth with that palm, lifting up. And we're just gonna take time to move those blocks off to the side. And as we move those blocks off to the side, just feeling in to the effects of that on the body.
(exhales loudly) We're gonna transition into a Table top position here. And as we come into Table top, just feeling that sense of width that's occurred through the shoulder blades. Take a nice, big inhale as the belly and the pelvis drop and the heart and the gaze rise. And then exhale coming into our rounded Cat. Again, feeling into that spaciousness between the shoulders.
Inhale, letting it lift to rise. And then coming in to a neutral spine as the toes curl under, press back into our first Down Dog. And as we play with this Dog, again, a little bit more shoulder awareness here by bringing our gaze towards the feet. (exhales loudly) And as the gaze comes towards the feet, just step those feet open wide, maybe to the width of your mat, or maybe even wider than the mat onto the earth. And as you find the width that feels right for you, pressing into those wide hands as if you're trying to stretch your mat forward, and then allow the heart and the head to really begin to drop. (exhales loudly)
Again, a little bit more awakening up into those shoulders. Take a nice, big breath in, (inhales deeply) exhale out. (exhales loudly) And then allow those feet to walk back. And then with those heavy feet, start to walk the hands backwards towards the feet themselves. Hanging into Uttanasana as we soften the knees and bring the belly towards the thighs.
Let the head relax, and then, take a hold here. Again, either a wrist, forearms, or opposite elbows just like we just did on the blocks. Let the head and neck relax. (exhales loudly) Big full breaths. So as you find that hold that works for your body, letting the chin come in towards the chest.
A nice deep bend of the knees as we roll up to stand, maintaining that hold. So the head's gonna be the last to lift as we stack up the spine. And then with that clasp that you found, allow the arms to continue to reach and rise up. Breathing up into the chest and the shoulders, feel the tail bone root. And then inhale, let the gaze lift up as well.
Take a nice, big inhale through the nose. (inhales deeply) Exhale with an open mouth. (exhales loudly) Feel the jaw release. Inhale all the way up through the finger tips, let the gaze follow. Feel your front body elongate.
And then with your exhale, allow yourself to open wide, swan dive forward. (exhales loudly) We're gonna walk those hands out back into the shape of Downward-Facing Dog, pressing back, (exhales loudly) feeling into the body. Letting the feet come a little bit closer together, bring that right leg up and back to hip height, pressing with the heel. Take another inhale to lift, and then as you exhale, we're gonna sweep that right foot forward and allow that left knee to lower to the earth, dropping the top of that foot. As we walk the right hands on top of that right thigh and knee, beginning to sink low through the hips as we open through the heart.
From here, we're gonna take the hands forward and we're just gonna hook the thumbs. And as we hook our thumbs, spread the rest of the fingers wide as if that thumb hook was to release, the hands would separate. So feel that sense of really pulling against that tension that's been created. Feel that width that happens through the shoulders. From here, inhale lifting up, kinda wiggle the head between those upper arms and continue to spread the fingers wide, feeling up into the chest and the shoulders.
(inhales deeply) Take an inhale, perhaps lifting up through the gaze as well. And then with our exhale, let the arms release and open. Now, perhaps your shoulders allow for an interlace. But if the shoulders are tight, I've gone ahead and brought a loop into my strap. And what I'm gonna do is take this loop and I'm gonna bring that behind me so that I can use that for a little bit more space (exhales loudly) through those shoulders.
Let an inhale, continue to lift up through the heart. Lift up through the chin as that feels welcome and then sink forward through that front right knee. Take another inhale to rise. And as we exhale, releasing the strap, bringing the hands forward, curling the back toes and step back into Downward-Facing Dog. Now, from here with an inhale, let that left leg reach up towards the sky, press back with the heel.
And then take that foot forward, dropping through the right knee. We're gonna take that same opening to the side. As we sink forward through the hips and lift up through the heart, let the hands come forward. And this time, take the opposite thumb on top. And if you don't remember, it's probably the one that's gonna feel a little bit funny.
It's one of those things that we do automatically every time. So find what feels funny and then feel the hands start to spread the fingers wide. And then inhale, reaching up, wiggle the head between the arms. Continue to lift through the chest, wide and through the shoulders, perhaps lifting through the gaze. Open and release through the jaw.
(exhales loudly) Take another inbreath. (inhales deeply) And then at your outbreath, open the arms wide. Again, taking ahold of our loop strap, bring it behind the back to open up the chest. Lift and expand, (exhales loudly) sinking low through the hips. As we release the hold of that strap, we're gonna use it again.
We're just gonna bring it right to the side of the mat. Hands releasing down, curl the back toes, step back, Downward-Facing Dog. (exhales loudly) (inhales deeply) This time, let an inhale, lift us up under our tippy-toes. And let an exhale, release through the heels. We're just gonna do that two more times with the breath.
(inhales deeply) Inhale to rise, and exhale to lower. (exhales loudly) Inhale to rise, (inhales deeply) and exhale to lower, (exhales loudly) allowing those knees to release towards the earth. Table top position, inhale to open and exhale to round. (exhales loudly) Neutral spine as the toes curl under, pressing back, Downward-Facing Dog. And once again, walking the hands back towards the feet.
Inhale halfway, exhale to fold. (exhales loudly) Soften the knees, finding that hold of opposite wrist, forearms, or elbows. Chin to chest as we roll up, maintaining that clasp, hands all the way up. Expand through the chest and the shoulders, root through the tailbone, open the gaze. Inhale, reaching to the sky, and exhale, opening wide, pausing into Darsana.
Inhale, reaching up. Exhale, fold forward. (exhales loudly) Inhale to lift, and exhale, walking back Down Dog to lower all the way onto the belly, through the knees, the heart. (exhales loudly) From here, bringing those hands under the shoulder, head's forward to the earth, a little wiggle through the hips and the buttocks. And then loop the shoulder blades back and down away from the ears, feel those elbows squeeze into the ribs.
Starting to slide the chin and the nose forward, begin to lift the heart. Begin to lift the palms. And as we squeeze the elbows in and back, feeling into that chest, begin to lift up through the legs, spread the toes big and wide. Take another inhale. And as you exhale, releasing to the earth.
(exhales loudly) Pressing up and back into Balasana, just for a beat to feel the length, inhale rising up, press back Down Dog, inhale, right leg high. Exhale, step right foot forward. This time, rotating our back foot 45 degrees into Warrior feet. Taking that knee over the ankle, we're gonna take that left arm forward, feel into that extension through the left side of the body and then windmill up and open into Warrior II. Pause here for a moment and just check in with that knee, over the ankle.
Feel into that sense of expanding, opening. From here, turning that right palm open, bring it up, over, and across the body as this left hand just simply slides down that left leg. Peaceful warrior, keep sinking into that front knee. Take another inhale here. Open up, we're gonna turn the hand.
We're gonna start to bring the hands back around as the hip points begin to turn forward. Now, again, maybe we're interlacing the fingers, or maybe we're taking ahold of that strap again. And as we bring that strap behind the back, starting to open up through the chest, lifting through the ribs, inhale, lifting the heart to the sky. Exhale from here as we feel into that lasso, start to extend the chest forward. Perhaps this is where you hang out.
We can let the belly rest on the thigh. Or to take it a little bit deeper, bringing the heart to the inside of the thighs. The head releases, neck releases, arms extend up. From here, lifting through the chest, release through the strap. Stepping back, plank position and back down onto the belly.
So as we release towards the belly, once again bringing the forehead towards the mat, loop the shoulders away from the ears. Press into the earth with the hip points. Inhale, lifting the heart and the gaze, rising up through the palms. Squeeze the elbows back and in. Start to lift through the legs, spread the toes wide.
Feel into that sense of expanding. Take another inbreath. And then let our outbreath release us to the earth. Pressing back, Child's Pose, just for a beat. (exhales loudly) Inhale to Table top, and exhale, Down Dog.
From here, inhale, left leg to hip height. Exhale, step left foot forward. Warrior II feet, bringing that knee over the ankle, extending forward through the right arm. And, again, feel this whole right side of your body elongate. Windmilling up and open into Virabhadrasana II, play with it, see what feels right for you on the side.
It may be completely different than the other side. And as we sink in and expand, let that front left palm lift. Reach it up, over, and behind the body as you feel this beautiful opening through this left side of the waist. Inhale, reaching forward and up. We're gonna start to rotate the hand back.
Feel how that brings the hips forward. Again, taking ahold of our lasso, bring that lasso behind the back. Adjust the feet as you need. Let an inhale, open through the heart, expanding. And then let your exhale bring you forward.
Perhaps pausing here, belly to the thigh, or bringing that heart to the inside of the thigh as the head and the neck release. Soften the jaw. (exhales loudly) Inahale, let the gaze rise, heart lifts. Releasing that strap back down and bringing the hands to either side of the foot, step back, Down Dog. From Down Dog, lowering knees, and coming back to the belly.
This time, from our prone position, we're gonna bring our hands back. Palms are gonna face towards the earth as we release the forehead down. And just feel that connection again with the earth. (exhales loudly) From here, it's just a slight walking of your fingertips downward toward your feet. And as you do that, you'll feel the length of the neck grow, shoulders moving away from the ears.
Pressing down through the hip points, begin to slide the chin and the nose forward, lifting through the heart. And then again, perhaps lifting through those straight, long legs, spreading your toes wide. This may be where you stay. Or maybe bringing those hands up, finding that sense of flight. And as we open up here in this variation of Shalabhasana, again that may be plenty.
Or perhaps the hands come back, fingers interlaced, we can find ahold of that strap. Take another inhale to lift, and as you exhale, let everything soften. Bringing the hands under the shoulders, take an inhale to peel up and an exhale to extend back, (exhales loudly) returning to your breath. (exhales loudly) Inhale rising up, exhale back into the shape of Down Dog. (exhales loudly) Big breath in. (inhales deeply)
Exhale it all. (exhales loudly) Hands, once again, walking towards the feet. This time, long arms, almost like an elephant trunk. Find a little sway. (exhales loudly) Find the space that's been created.
And then bending into the knees, rolling to stand as we press into the feet. Couple shoulder loops and then pause into Darshana. (exhales loudly) From here, allowing the hands to join at the heart center. And then allow the eyes just to gently flutter open. We're gonna play with a little bit of balancing now.
So sometimes the bare floor feels a little bit better than your mat. Some days are balancing days, and some days aren't. So feel free to use a wall, or a chair, or any other support that you need. And we're just gonna start by transitioning our weight over to that right foot. And as we do that, just give it a little bend into that left knee and feel the tendency of that hip to kind of want to sink out.
And instead, pull that energy back to the midline of the body. And as we feel that internal zipper start to lift and open through our heart, we're gonna bring that left knee up and in towards our chest. Now, again, this may be this is where you hang out, just playing with a little bit of balance. We're gonna take that knee and give it a hug towards our heart. And, again, feel that sense of lifting and widening through the chest and pulling back through the shoulders.
We're gonna play a little bit of dancer here, but we're focus more on the shoulder and less on the hip flexors. So we're gonna take our right hand to our right hip. Then left the left hand slide down the shin and take a hold of the outer ankle. Now take a moment to bring yourself back into alignment. Let that left knee join the right knee.
Let the left hip join the right hip. And then feel how this already is starting to roll the head of the shoulder back. So feel into that sense of dropping the shoulder down the back and away from the ear. Give a flex into that left foot. And as you do that, again, you'll feel that open the shoulder a little bit wider.
Perhaps this is where you stay. To take it a little bit deeper, let an inhale. Extend the right arm to long. And then let an exhalation start to take you forward. But, again, we're not focusing as much on the hip as we are focusing on that reaching back through the shoulder as the heel moves away from the buttock.
Take another nice, big breath in as the heart expands. And then as you exhale, lowering the hand, lowering the knee, and lowering the foot. Coming back to center, closing the eyes, and just returning to the body. As the eyes open, switching that weight over to the left foot, give a little bend into that right knee. Again, pulling that energy up and into the midline of the body, let the right knee lift.
Interlacing the fingers, hugging the knee as we pull the shoulder, head back and down. Left hand to the left hip. Right hand slides down the shin, takes a hold of the ankle as we bring the heel to the buttock. Take a moment to reset. Flex the foot back, feel the shoulder head release back and down.
Inhale, left arm to the sky. Staying here, or perhaps continuing on this journey forward by kicking the heel away from the buttock, feel the shoulder and the heart expand. Take another nice, big breath in. Rising and exhale, let everything lower, returning to the heart. (exhales loudly) Inhale, sweeping up to the sky.
Exhale, forward fold. (exhales loudly) Inhale, halfway. Exhale, walking forward back into the shape of Down Dog. Pressing into the earth, let an inhale, lift that right leg high. (inhales deeply) And now giving a bend into the knee, we're gonna begin to rotate this hip open.
And as we do that, left that weight start to shift more into the left hand. See how this right hand starts to get light. And as this right hand gets light, perhaps dropping over all the way into Wild Thing and continuing that expansive heart, big and open. Take another inhale. And then as you exhale, let that right hand come around, right leg extends.
Let the right foot join the left foot. Let an inhale, bring the left leg high. Give a bend into the knee, rotate the hip. Feel the weight ship into your right hand as the left hand gets lighter. Dropping open, lift to expand, rooting through the feet and opening through the heart.
Let an inhale, bring the arm across, leg follows, pressing back. Lower the left to meet the right, knees to the earth, and then back into Child's pose. (exhales loudly) (inhales deeply) Returning to your breath. (exhales loudly) So from Balasanam, slowly rising to a Table top position, (inhales deeply) and just keeping that spine nice and neutral. Shoulders over the wrist, hips over the knees.
Take that right arm and begin to extend it over to the right side, pressing down through the left hand to open through the heart. Feel the shoulder blades squeeze in towards the spine. And then with an exhale, Threading the Needle, bring that right arm under the left, lowering through the shoulder, the cheek, (exhales loudly) the ear. And then we're gonna take this left elbow and start to point it a little bit more to the sky and that will allow us for some leverage to continue into this twist, trying the heart and the gaze a little bit more up. From here, take another inbreath.
And then with your outbreath, allow yourself to sort of sink a little bit more to the earth. So we're gonna drop the heart. And then we're also gonna turn the forehead, so now my neck is nice and long. Take that left arm and begin to extend it forward and then encourage that left armpit to lower. (exhales loudly) Soften through this right hand.
Soften through the jaw. Allow the belly to hammock. From here, taking that left hand, and start to slide it forward. Bring it right in front of that elbow, pressing into the earth to lift up back into a Table top position. Inhale into the shape of our Cow, and exhale into the shape of our Cat.
Returning to that neutral spine, stacking the joints, let an inhale, extend left arm out and open. Again, press down, it's that sense of rooting to rise. Seems counterintuitive, but the more we push down, the wider we're able to lift up. Take another inbreath. And then with your outbreath, take that left arm, thread it under the right.
Lower through the shoulder, the cheek, the ear. Turning the right elbow more to the sky, continue into that twist. Feel the hammocking of the belly, the opening of the shoulders. Begin to lower the heart, and then eventually turning the forehead back to the mat. Take this right arm and begin to extend it forward, lowering the armpit towards the earth as we release.
(inhales deeply) Nice open mouth. (exhales loudly) Let the right hand come back, press into the earth, lifting to Table top. Inhale into our Cow. Exhale into our Cat. Inhale to a neutral spine.
And then we're just gonna transition onto our backs. So allowing yourself to lower, We're gonna keep the knees bent. As as we bent the knees, we're just gonna toe heel those feet open wide. And then allow the knees to fall to one another. And you'll feel how this really releases and grounds down through that sacrum.
Taking the hands back, we're gonna interlace the fingers under the head. It's almost like a pillow for the head, and again, feel the sense of widening through the heart and the shoulders. Let that right knee fall in and down towards the earth as the left knee opens to the sky. Inhale, knee to the sky. And exhale, left knee to fall.
Inhale, knee to sky. And exhale, to fall. (exhales loudly) And just continue this in your own rhythm of breath. And you'll notice how naturally and intuitively both of the knees start to participate. So just go ahead and allow both of those knees to start to windshield wiper.
And then we're also gonna bring the head and neck into play. So as the knees fall to the left, let the gaze turn towards the right elbow. And then as the knees drop to the right, gaze towards the left elbow. Take this one more time, and then we're gonna pause. So as the knee has dropped to the left and as the gaze turns to the right, this perhaps is plenty for you.
But if you want to take this a little bit deeper, we can take this bottom left ankle and just lift it up on top of this right thigh and knee. And we almost use it like a sandbag to deepen that awakening. And what I like to play with here is that sense of elongating through my side body. So taking that right arm and begin to stretch it back. And then take that left hand and bring it right over the diaphragm, so right below where those ribs meet at the sternum.
Just bringing the hand there and start to breath into the hand. Feeling it (exhales loudly) rise and fall with the breath. That sense of wringing out anything the body still has left that is no longer serving. And then releasing the hands back down along the sides, release the ankle. Return to neutral.
Let the knees open wide and just take a nice open mouth. (exhales loudly) Bring in the the hands back behind the head, knees towards one another, and then on over to the right side. Gaze towards that left elbow. Again, perhaps staying here. Or to explore a little bit deeper, bottom right ankle up on top of that left thigh and knee, just a little extra leverage.
And then extension back through the left arm to feel that length. Right hand coming onto that space where the diaphragm has a litle bit more freedom to move. Expanding (exhales loudly) and retracting. (inhaling quietly) (exhales loudly) Releasing through the arms, releasing through the ankle. Back to center, head, and wide.
Big exhale. (exhales loudly) And then keeping these feet wide, take a nice, big, wide leg. Expansive arms, almost imagining Da Vinci's Man in the circle. As you give yourself permission to take up some space, start to release the effort. And giving yourself as mch as you need here to just simply return.
Beginning to stretch the legs and arms long, when you feel ready, no rush, feel that sense of opening and lengthening. (exhales loudly) Giving a bend into the knees, rolling over to fetal position. And then in your own time, rising up to a comfortable seat. And as we rise to that comfortable seat, whatever that is for you and your body. Hands joining at the heart center.
And then bowing the head towards the heart, honoring the guidance of our hearts over that of our heads. Namaste.
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