Welcome, thanks so much for joining me. Today we're just gonna need one block for our practice. We're gonna be using it between our knees, so I prefer a squishy block just cause it's a little bit more forgiving for the inner thighs. But whatever you have will work. So we'll go ahead and take a hold of our blocks and start off on our back.
So as we lower onto the spine, just giving a bend in to the knees, and then we're gonna take the block at its skinniest, and place that between the inner thighs and knees. And just finding a spot where you can find a nice firm grip, starting to awaken those abductors. And then just feel into the lower back, beginning to press into the earth. So it's a slight tilt up of the tailbone towards the knees, to depress that lumbar spine towards the floor. And as we do that, allow the arms to open up nice and wide.
We're gonna press the palms into the earth and just feel widening into the heart. And just close the eyes. Start to connect with your breath. And then as you feel the belly rise on the inhale, and release on the exhale. Continuing to awaken those inner thighs by squeezing into that block.
And pressing the lower back towards the earth. From there, just begin to gently lift the knees and the feet up off the floor. And we're gonna start to flex into those feet. So pressing forward with the heels, pulling back with the toenails. And then we're just playing with finding where 90 degrees feels like it's for and at in your body today.
So that sense of bringing knees over the hips, and you may even want to lift the head and just check in with those thighs, and then bringing the heels forward from the knees, as we continue to squeeze into the block and widen through the chest. Take a nice big inhale. And then as you exhale begin to lower those knees on over towards the right side. But we're continuing to root though the palms, the shoulders, and the chest. And then we're just gonna hover here with those knees off the earth, feeling the side body awake, keep pressing with the heels.
And then on an inhale bring it back through center. Again, rooting that low back to the earth. Take another inhale, and as you exhale begin to drop those knees to the left, feel the chest and the shoulders depress down. Squeeze in through those inner thighs. And then again let an inhalation bring the knees back to center.
Big exhale when you get there. Take another in breath, and as you exhale those knees on over to the right side this time, we're just gonna play with taking that bottom right leg to extension. And as we press through the heel, really firing up by squeezing into the block, both on a downward motion on that top knee, but also lifting up through the inner thigh. Give a bend back into that knee, let an inhale bring you to center. Release and exhale when you get there.
Dropping on over to the left side, and again extend that bottom leg to long. Press with the heel, squeezing down as well as up. Allow that knee to bend. Inhale back through center. Big exhale. And then allow the knees to soften and the feet to return to the floor.
And just feel that sense of lighting, a little bit of that agni, that belly fire. We're gonna reach up with the hands now, take ahold of the block, and then we're just gonna take the block and extend it up and over head. And just feel that stretch out the belly. Inhale, let the belly rise. And exhale let the belly fall.
And as we feel into that length, once again playing with that lower back, so it's a sense of tilting up through the tailbone to really root down. And as we root down, again lifting the knees, this time extending the legs to the sky. Press up with the heels, feel that belly depress, take a nice inhale, and as you exhale we're going to open the legs wide, bring the chin to the chest and bring that block forward. And just pause here for a moment. And again, feel that low belly pull to the spine and that spine pressed to the earth.
With an inhalation, bring that block back over head. And then with an exhalation we're gonna lift and round, this time to the right side of the legs. Pressing into the low back, inhale back through center, and then with our exhale lifting and opening to the left side. Inhale back through center. And with this next exhale again opening the legs wide, bringing the block forward, pressing, rooting, inhaling back over head.
Go ahead and let the block rest there as you bend the knees, hug the knees to the heart. Release the feet back to the earth. And just pause. Big breath in, full breath out. Now with that belly fire awakened, let the knees roll on over to the side, and we're gonna transition ourselves up into a table top position. We can go ahead and set that block off to the side now.
From our table top position, let an inhalation lift our heart and our gaze, dropping through the pelvis. And really feel that stretch out that belly that we just awakened. And then with an exhalation, chin to chest, rounding through our cat. Inhale to lift and open. Exhale to squeeze and round.
Inhale to lift, and with this next round we're gonna bring the right knee in to meet the nose. Again, awakening that belly. With an inhale let that foot lift upward towards the sky. Start to lift through the heart, widening across the collar bone. This may be where you stay.
Or we may take that left arm forward, just to start to challenge the balance. Again perhaps staying here. Or to find a little release to those hip flexors, that we just worked with those lifted legs, you can take that left hand back, and find a hold of the right foot. And then just gently kick the foot into the hand, to open and expand through the chest. Again, stretching the belly and those hip flexors.
With an exhalation extend both arm and leg to lung. Let the gaze drop, straight lines of energy into sun bird. Take another inhale, and then exhale, lower the hand, lower the knee. Let an inhalation open and stretch through the belly and heart. Exhale, rounded cat, inhale, lifting your breath.
Your rhythm. Th next time we come towards our rounded cat, we're gonna bring the left knee towards the nose. And as we squeeze the knee towards the nose, awakening the belly, inhale foot to the sky, lift through the chest, widen the collar bone. Perhaps staying here, challenging ourselves a bit by extending right arm forward. Or, bringing that right hand back, see if that foot's available to you, and the gently kick the heel away from the buttock to find a sense of space.
Take another nice big inhale, and then exhale extend both arm and leg to long. Pressing with the heel, and then dropping through the gaze. Take another inhale, and exhale lower the hand, lower the knee. Soften the buttocks back towards the heels. And then just give those shoulders a break as well by stacking the hands and letting the forehead rest.
Softening into balasana for a few beats. So from balasana, just take a moment to open the mouth and relax the jaw. Switching from effort to effortlessness for a moment, and then rising up into all fours, curling the toes under, and pressing back to our first down dog of the practice. And just take a moment to just pedal things out. Perhaps shake through the head, or wag your tail.
And then with an inhalation, we're gonna let that right leg float upward towards the sky. Eka pada. And we're not working so much on height as we are working on extension. So pressing back from the heel, pressing forward with the hands. And then that same motion that we just played with from table top position.
We're gonna bring the nose in towards- or the knee in towards the nose rather, and as we do that we're gonna shift our shoulders forward over the wrists. And then rounding through the shoulders to squeeze. With an inhalation, push back, find the length. And then with the exhalation shifting forward, knee towards the nose, shoulders over the wrists. One more, inhale back, find the length.
And as you exhale this forward, we're gonna bring the gaze up as well. Between the hands, and then step that foot there. It may take a little while to get there. And then rotating that back foot 45 degrees, anchoring that right knee over the ankle, taking that left arm forward and then wind milling all the way up into warrior two. As we sink in to virabhadrasana two, flipping that front right palm, reach up, over, and across the body.
Feel that open up, that side waist that we worked. Now keeping this extension back through the spine, we're gonna press into that front right heel, and take this leg to long. See if you can find a little bit more reach. And as we stabilize through those legs, inhale that right arm forward, and let the left arm lift up. So trikonasana preparation now through the legs.
We're gonna take that front right palm, again open it to the sky, and then take this left arm, reach up, over, and across the body. And it's almost as if we're holding an imaginary beach ball between the hands. And as we do that, start to turn your heart a little bit more to the sky. Feel that side waist working to hold you up. Anchoring through those feet.
Take another inhale, and then as you exhale lower that right hand, extend the left arm up, utthita trikonasana. Big, wide, and expansive. And then allow that left hand to lower, hips to turn. Step back, downward facing dog, and pedal it out. Take a nice big breath in, exhale it all. Slow it down.
Let an inhalation bring that left leg up to the sky. Again, working more on length rather than height here. Press back with the heel, widen through the shoulders. And then with an exhale, bring that knee forward towards the nose, as you shift the shoulders over those wrist, squeeze and round. Inhale, reach back, find the length.
Exhale, come forward. Inhale to long. Exhale forward, bring the gaze forward, and then step that foot. Rotate the back foot 45 degrees. Take that right arm forward, up, and open, all the way to that lifted virabhadrasana two. Take your time to settle into it.
Find that space. From here, turning left, palm open. Reach up, over and across the body. Feel that beautiful, expansive rib cage. And then keep that reach as we press into the front heel, take the leg to straight and see if you can find a little bit more length.
From here inhale, lifting the torso. Turn that left palm open to the sky, let that right arm reach up, over, and then across the body, Again, like we're holding a beach ball between the hands. Anchor through the feet, and then start to turn and open through the heart. Big full breaths. Take another inhale, and as you exhale, lower the left hand, reach up through the right arm, and then open through the chest, lifting through the gaze, as that feels appropriate.
Perhaps letting that left hand just simply extend. Take another in breath, and then with your out breath let the right hand float forward, hips turning, palms grounding, step back down dog. Again, big, deliberate inhale. Exhale with a (deep breath), slow it down. Letting the knees drop to the earth, softening once again back into balasana.
Allow the hands to stack, the forehead to lower. Come back to the breath. As we take a moment to again return to the effortlessness, softening, and when you're ready, rising back up. Pressing back into downward facing dog. Let an inhalation lift and extend back again through that right leg, pressing with the heel.
Take an inhale to lift a little bit higher this time. And then with your exhale, step that right foot forward. And then we're gonna toe heel that right foot to the outside of our mats. So over to the right side, and as we do that just placing the hands directly underneath those shoulder heads. So finding those nice, straight arms.
As we reach back through that left heel, let the chest and the chin extend forward. So this variation of lizard, I always like to think of a lizard with it's long tongue and it has something yummy it's trying to get out in front of it. So that really helps me start to open and extend through the chin and the throat. Take another nice big breath in. And then as you exhale, lower your gaze.
We're gonna bend the elbows in towards the belly. And as we bend in towards the belly, starting to lower perhaps even touching the nose to the mat, but try to keep that back knee lifted, and then press up, and then reach back. Again, pedaling it out. With an inhale, let that left leg lift. Reach with the heel, feel into that space.
Inhale a little higher. And exhale, sweep that left foot forward and out. So towards the edge of the mat. Take your time to set up. Shoulders over wrists, wiggling back through that right leg so it's long.
And then again, like that hungry lizard. Reach the chest forward, widen the collar bones. Open up through the throat. Take another inhale to extend. And then exhale, lowering the gaze.
Bending the elbows in towards the belly. And maybe this is where you stay. But perhaps continuing to challenge by lowering, touching that nose to the mat, and then pressing up. Step back. Big breath in. Exhale it out. Rounding forward, into a plank position, and then from plank position, we're gonna lower the knees, we're gonna lower the elbows, the chest, and the chin.
Take a moment to wiggle into the floor. Release the effort from the legs and the belly and the buttocks. And from here, with hands right under those shoulder heads, looping them back and down. Press into the earth, to rise on up through the heart, perhaps even tilting the chin and the nose up, to feel that extension. And then exhale releasing all the way back down to the earth.
From here, bringing the elbows underneath the shoulder heads, and we're just gonna interlace the fingers here as we stack ourselves up. So just check in with where those elbows are. We're trying to get a nice straight line with that humorous, the upper arm bone, and as we interlace the fingers, we're just creating this nice solid base here through the forearms. And as we create this nice solid base, you'll feel that start to activate up through the chest and the shoulders, the upper back. Now from here what we're gonna play with is curling the toes under, and as we curl the toes under, we're gonna press back from our heels, and as I do that you'll see how my knees start to lift up away from the floor.
You'll see how my quadriceps, the front of my thighs, start to lift and engage. And then I'm gonna drop my gaze so that my neck isn't straining. And I find it's nice to just kind of shake the head out, and even a little expiration of the jaw. And as we release the tension from the neck, and from the face, start to feel that lifted action of the navel to the spine. So slight uddiyana bandha, that sense of pulling inward and upward.
And I find that using a little bit of sucking action, helps to remind me to feel that lift. Now as I find that lift, keep pressing back with the heels, what I'm gonna do now is start to peel my belly up off the floor. My hips are still lowered though. So you'll see now that my belly and my ribs start to come up off the floor. Take another inhale, and then as you exhale, press back to lift up.
Forearm plank, engaging through that low belly. Take another inhale, and then exhale lower the knees, the thighs, the hips, the tops of the feet. And then extend the heart forward as we open up the palms. Pull the mat towards the heart as the collar bones widen, sphinx pose, just to counter that effort. Take another nice big breath in.
Exhale it out. And then once again lower the gaze, bring the hands together, interlace the fingers, press down through those forearms and elbows. Feel the belly start to lift, curl the toes under. Press back from the heels, feel the knee caps rise. Thighs engage, soft in the mouth.
Suck up through the belly, start to peel the belly and the ribcage up off the floor. Feel into that engagement, and then root to rise, lifting through the hips. Pressing back, big full breath, soft in the mouth. Take another inhale, exhale lower the knees, the thighs, the hips, the tops of the feet, release the palms, open the heart. Take another inhale, and exhale.
Now feel the shoulders move away from the ears. Take one more breath in, and then as you exhale allow yourself to soften. Stack the hands. Come back to that effortlessness. Feel the belly press into the earth as you inhale. And deflate as you exhale.
Hands coming under the shoulder heads, press up and back towards balasana. And for this balasana I'll invite you just to open the knees a little bit wider, so we have this nice V-shape through the inner thighs. And as we do that it gives us space to allow the belly to collapse. A little wiggle forward to release the effort from the shoulders, and the chest. Perhaps resting the chin or the forehead on the mat.
And then allow the gaze to rise forward, bring that right hand out in front of your face, so more center. And then we're gonna take this left arm and it's gonna come under the belly, through the legs, like I'm trying to grab a hold of my feet. And then as I pull the arm back, I'm gonna turn my gaze, so I'm looking under that right arm pit, and then lower the cheek and ear to the mat and just let everything soften. Encourage the right armpit to relax, so as you allow the belly to soften and the heart to drop, just taking a few breaths here. And then pressing into that right hand, allow the left arm to slide out and through, and then just replacing left hand at center.
Right arm through the knees, like you're trying to grab a hold of those feet, and then turning the right cheek to the mat, encourage the left armpit to sink. Soften the effort. And then pressing through the left hand, let the right arm slide forward, take a moment here to lift through the heart, widen the collar bone, feel that sense of space, and then exhale. Let the heart and the head release. From here, keeping the forehead down, hands are gonna slide back under the shoulder heads.
Chin to the chest as we roll our way up onto the heels. Take a couple shoulder loops just to release. Maybe even a little intuitive movement through the head and the neck. And then we're just gonna transition ourselves onto our backs. And as we transition onto the back, allowing the knees to bend, the feet to be on the earth.
And from here with an inhalation, we're gonna let those arms float up and over head. And again, just feel into that sense of widening through the side body, stretching out through the belly, reaching a little from the right, and then the lefts hands, and as we do this start to walk the heels in just a little bit closer to the buttocks. We're getting a little bit deeper bend of the knees. So we're just coming in to preparation for setubandasana with those feet. And I'll invite you just to slightly turn the toes inward, so we have that sense of grounding.
And from here, as we root through the feet, begin to peel up slowly through the hips, through the low back, through the mid back, through the upper back. Be sure to keep a little space between the chin and the chest, so we're not compressing there through that cervical spine. Feeling into that lift, and then with an exhale as we begin to lower through the upper back we're also gonna let these arms start to lift and then eventually lower along with the spine. So as the low back lowers, the tailbone releases, the palms also release. And we're just gonna do that a few times with the breath.
So as we root through the feet, let an inhalation peel up through the hips, as well as the hands. Start to find a little bit more lift, a little bit more rise as the arms pull back. Open through the heart as we root through the feet. And then let an exhalation start to lower, as the arms also float back down. We'll do that another time with your breath, your rhythm, inhale to rise, feel into that length, send the knees forward, maybe even a little bit more height this time.
And then as you exhale slowly, releasing, all the way towards the earth. Bring the knees on into the chest, give yourself a hug. A little rock, and roll, and circling of the knees. Perhaps even opening those knees wide, just to release the effort from those inner thighs. And then bringing the legs back together, and eventually to long.
As we extend out through those legs, wiggling down through the arms and the shoulders, fingertips and toes. Big, final, deliberate inhale. Exhale everything. Dropping back into the effortlessness. And giving yourself as much time as you need here to rest and restore.
When you feel ready, starting to reawaken sensation and movement, fingers and toes. Let the knees start to bend back up into the heart, as you give yourself a hug. Perhaps even lifting the chin to the chest and squeezing out that belly. The head release, rolling to the side. And just take a moment here in side lying to allow the belly to soften.
Returning to fetal position, perhaps that first position we all once knew, and then rising up, slowly, in your own time. And as we come to a comfortable seat, I'll invite you to bring the palms together. And then just creating that last little bit of fire. Starting to rub the palms, creating friction between the hands as the breath quickens, keeping the eyes closed, and then cupping those warm palms into warmth and darkness. Taking a moment for both gratitude and humility.