Flow Sweet Flow Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 7

Flow and Grow

35 min - Practice


Kari guides us in a yummy side-body focused flow, bringing special awareness and attention to finding opening in the waist, spine, and hips. We begin in a supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), before moving into a slow flow to awaken and lengthen the side body and waist. We finish with a sweet rest and restore in Savasana (Corpse Pose).
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video

Feb 12, 2017
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Welcome. Thanks so much for joining me today. We're gonna be using a rolled blanket and two blocks for this practice. And you're just gonna wanna roll up your blanket short and fat. I like to call it the short fat burrito roll.

So we're gonna take that horizontally on our mat and we're gonna start off supine on top of that blanket roll in a supported bridge pose. So just taking your time to allow that blanket to come down and find that spot to support underneath the bottom two thirds of your sacrum. So settling in, snuggling that sacrum down into the blanket. And then allowing the arms to release, and just take a moment to land. Nice, big belly breath.

Exhale everything. And then we're just gonna start off with a little play and massage. So were gonna take that right knee up towards the heart, and then just crossing that right ankle over the left thigh and knee. I'm gonna keep just a slight little dorsiflexion to that right foot as we send the knee forward and away from the belly. And just start to feel into that outer right hip.

Again, taking an inhale, and then with our exhale, keeping the left foot grounded, we're just gonna start to roll to the left side. So I'm just rolling on over to the pinky toe side of my grounded left foot, and then we're just gonna start to explore rolling the hip and the buttock into the edge of the blanket. And then with an inhale, coming back to center, and with an exhale, exploring that same sort of roll, knife edge side of the foot, over to the right side. And you can kinda play with this and see what feels good and right for you in this moment. Just a nice little massage into the soft tissue, into any tension, and feel free, if you find somewhere really interesting to kinda wiggle around and explore some different motions.

We'll just take this side to side a few times with your rhythm, your breath. And then when that feels complete left to right, releasing that ankle from the thigh, allow that foot to ground, coming back to that supported bridge. Big deliberate inhale into the belly, exhale from an open mouth. And then playing with that on the other side, so an inhale bringing the left knee to the heart, flexing into that foot as we cross the ankle over, and then just start to explore sending that knee forward, and just see what this side has to tell you. I know for me it's almost always quite different over here.

So as you're ready, just starting that side to side rolling with the breath. And as we start to massage the tissue of the buttocks and the hips into that blanket roll. Maybe this is only an inch or two side to side, or maybe it feels more appropriate for you to take it a little bit deeper towards a twist. So if that's the case, you can even come all the way over to the side, really getting into the outer edge of that hip, maybe even letting that sole of the foot come to the earth. Inhaling back through center, so really just see what feels good.

And again, as that feels evened out left to right, returning to neutral, allow the ankle to release, foot returning to the earth. Big, deliberate inhale. Exhale to rest. And then from here, starting to walk the heels in a little bit closer to the buttocks, pressing down into the earth as the hands float down to that blanket roll. Lifting up through the hips, towards that bridge, sending the knee forward, and then just pause here for a moment to counter that, to allow that lumbar spine to come into some gentle compression.

And then reaching down with the hand, let the blanket roll to the side, and then we're just gonna slowly lower down, upper back, mid back, low back, tailbone. Take a moment to allow the pelvis to ground. And then as you're ready, just rolling yourself on over to the side, we're gonna use this blanket roll again, and we're just gonna take that blanket roll now to the back of our mat, and come up onto the sit bones, and do a nice easy seat, so whatever that means for you and your body. Perhaps the ankles are tucked underneath the knees, perhaps the shins are stacking, so just see what feels right. Take a moment to really root and ground, a little shimmy through that sense of connection, and then allow the spine to grow tall from that groundedness.

Take a nice big inhale, exhale to soften, and then allowing that right hand to come on over to the earth on the right side. And as you do so, you may already feel how that left hip kinda wants to follow, so what we wanna do is bring a little bit more awareness to anchoring and grounding through that left side, and then let that left arm with the palm turned open to the sky to reach up and extend, and just pause here for a moment and feel into the yumminess of waking up that side body. Bringing the gaze up, widening through the heart, maybe this is where you stay. But if if feels good for you today to take that a little bit deeper, we can just let that right hand continue to walk out, that left arm to continue to extend, but again, just anchoring through that outer hip. With an inhale, let the gaze look up towards the underside of the arm.

And then with an exhale, let that gaze drop down towards that right hand. Soften into the jaw, and then root to rise, pressing down to lift up. And then let that left hand release, and again just pause for a moment, and feel into the effects. And then when you're ready, let that left hand come on over to the earth, let the right palm lift up, open, and then extend. And again, just pause and feel.

Anchoring through that buttock, reaching up through the ribs, really feeling those intercostal muscles within the ribs expand and lengthen. Take another in breath, and then with your out breath, just let that exploration come on into this side. You may end up at a totally different angle, which is absolutely fine, just again, see what the body's asking for. And as we anchor that outer right hip, gaze lifting up on the inhale, and then gaze turning down on the exhale. Take a moment to soften the jaw, and then pressing into the earth, rooting to rise, inhale to lift, and exhale to release.

Let an inhalation bring both the arms up now, feel the lift of both the side bodies, the chest, another breath in as we're holding that imaginary beach ball between the hands, we're just gonna start to fold forward with our hips as the hinge. And as we fold forward, again, still holding that beach ball, check in with the anchoring of the hips, and then feel back into the length. Maybe even a little reaching side to side sometimes feels nice. Take another in breath to open, and then as you exhale, let yourself fold forward, palms to the earth wherever they end up. And then take a moment to soften the neck.

Again, soften the jaw. I like to sometimes even play with my mouth here. A lot of unconscious tension is held in the jaw. Few more breaths. And then allowing the hands to slowly walk back closer to the body, tucking that chin up into the chest, jalandhara bandha, that chin lock engaging as we slowly, tenderly roll up the spine.

Letting the head lift, letting the shoulders loop. And then in your own time, allowing yourself to transition into all fours, tabletop position. And as we come over into tabletop position, just taking a moment to stack up the joints. With an inhalation, allow the heart and the gaze to rise up, that pelvis and belly to drop, and just take a moment here to feel into that low back. With an exhale, coming into our rounded cat.

Inhale, lifting, and opening into our cow. And just start to find that sense of fluidity in the spine. Let an inhale return us to neutral. Curling the toes under, let an exhale extend you back to that first down dog of our practice. Big deliberate inhale, exhale from an open mouth, let the head and neck relax.

And then nice and slowly, just starting to step those feet forward towards the hands, softening the knees to give those hamstrings a break. As we fold forward, uttanasana. So from uttanasana, let that chin again come into the chest, slowly rolling up that spine as we press into the earth with the feet. Big shoulder loops here at the top. And then with an inhale, let those arms reach up and extend, and just feel again that side body lengthen, and just like we did when we were seated, maybe reaching a little right and a little left, just side to side.

And then as we open up, we're gonna take a hold of the right wrist, turning the palm forward using that left hand, and just press down with the feet as we lengthen up through that right side. Let the tailbone drop. Take another in breath, and then with the out breath, starting to extend on over to the left. And as we extend to the left here, you can kinda let that head rest on that bottom arm, and then I like to shift my weight into that outer heel a little bit, and it's almost this sense of pressing the hip over to the wall, just again coming into that side body. And then inhale, rising up through neutral, switching holds, so again, palm facing forward, feel into the length first, and then as we anchor through the feet, start to extend over to the right side, and then again we can shift that weight a little bit more through the outer left foot and left hip.

Head can rest on that bottom arm. Let an inhale bring us back to center, let an exhalation open wide, swan dive forward, release. Inhale halfway to lift, exhale to fold. Placing the hands down, step back into a plank position. Pause here for a moment and just start to fire up the body.

Take an in breath, and then let your out breath lower the knees. Coming down through the chest and the chin as we slide forward into a nice bhujangasana. Just opening through the heart, maybe even tilting the chin up. Exhale, releasing to the earth, pressing back through child's pose just for a beat to find the length. Rising up, and back, downward facing dog.

From this down dog, let an inhalation reach your right leg high. We're gonna give a bend into that knee, and then again, feel into that side body as we open, see if you can bring a little bit more breath awareness into the ribcage. Releasing back and down as we press through the heel, let an inhale lift the foot a little higher and then let the exhale sweep that foot forward. We're gonna lower the left knee, and this is where you're gonna wanna grab a hold of your blocks. And as we grab a hold of our blocks, bringing them to either side of that right foot, as we come to either side of that right foot, just starting to sink forward through the hips.

Let an inhalation lift up through the heart, and then as you exhale, we're gonna walk the hands back, we're gonna press that heel forward, pulling the toenails towards the face, and just feel into that length of the hamstrings. Blocks are coming back under those shoulder heads. Take an inhale to lift through the heart, and then let your exhale lower you down, dropping belly towards the thigh, nose towards the knee. Soften the mouth. Inhale, let that gaze rise up.

Exhale, let that foot return to the mat. Bringing those blocks forward, rooting down through the hands, curl the back left toes, step back into that plank position. Take an inhale, exhale, lower down through the knees. Bending the elbows, chest, chin, as we slide forward, rolling the shoulders back, bhujangasana. Exhale back to the earth.

Pressing back, balasana, just for a beat, feel the length. Rising up, and then back again into downward facing dog. From downward facing dog, let an inhalation lift that left leg high. Give a bend into the knee and then rotate the hips open, and feel if you can breathe into those ribs. Returning, extending, and then stepping that foot forward as we lower the right knee.

Again, coming into our blocks, sinking forward into the hips as we lift and open through the heart. From here, let the hands walk back, using the blocks. Start to extend that left leg forward, press with the heel, pull back with the toenails, and then feel into that sense of leveling off the pelvis. Let an inhalation lift at the heart. Let an exhalation lower us down.

Belly to the thigh, nose to the knee. Soften the mouth. Let an inhale lift the gaze. Rise up through the heart. Return the foot to the earth, bring those blocks forward.

Rooting through the hands, back toes curl, step back, plank position. Take an inhale, and then exhale, go ahead and lower all the way to the belly, maybe lowering slowly through chaturanga dandasana, so squeezing the elbows into the rib cage, keep pressing back with the inner arches of the feet as we lower all the way to the mat. We can go ahead and move the blocks out of the way now. And as we move those blocks out of the way just to give yourself a little bit more room what we're gonna do is start to extend forward on the earth. So dropping through the nose and the forehead, and begin to creep the fingertips out.

Now again, come back into that side body lengthening. I like to kinda lift one arm, and then the other leg, find a little bit more length, almost as if someone's pulling you in traction. And as we find that sense of lengthening, settling back down, big belly breaths here. Starting to spread the fingers, root down through the palms and the knuckles, and then start to press down evenly through the front hip points and the pubic bone. With an inhalation, start to slide the chin and the nose forward.

Begin to lift the gaze, and then just peel the heart up, palms are still grounded, hip points still grounded. And as we find this spaciousness, this sense of lifting the armpits away from the floor, keeping the gaze soft, we're gonna start to lift up and open through the right arm, and then start to play with the lift and the length through the left leg, again as if someone's pulling you. And then spread the toes wide on that left foot, reach back with the ball of the foot, take another nice big breath into lift, and then exhale to soften and lower. Root through the hips, the palms, lift the gaze, lift the heart, feel into that extension. Left arm this time, and then right leg, feel into it growing long, and then spread the toes, spread the fingers, feel into the lift as well as the length.

Take another inhale, and exhale, let everything soften. Now, that may have felt like plenty for you, just one side at a time, but if it feels like it would serve you to take that a little bit deeper, into what I like to refer to as Superman pose. Start to lift the gaze, lift the heart, lift the armpits, root through those hip points, as we extend forward through both arms, both legs. Spread the toes wide, spread the fingers wide. See if you can find a little bit more length as well as height.

Take another in breath, and then let your out breath release you to the earth. Soften the effort. Let the hands come under the shoulder heads, pressing back into child's pose. Pause here for a moment. Countering that for the low back.

Rising up, all fours, and then in your own time, back into downward facing dog. Take a big breath in, full breath out. Take another nice big breath in, exhale from an open mouth, releasing the jaw. Let the feet walk forward, back towards the hands. Soften and bend the knees.

Now, this time with those feet hip-distance apart, the weight of the hips sweeping back, inhale, take the arms forward. Pause here for a moment in this modified utkatasana, and we're just working on dropping the tailbone and lifting up through that belly. Feel that sense of elongating through that lumbar spine, feel the heart lift, the shoulder heads pull back. Turn the hands in to face one another, and then pressing into the earth, rooting to rise, inhale to lift the heart, lift the gaze. Exhale, releasing the arms down.

Inhale, let those arms come up, and similar to what we did before, we're gonna grab a hold of that right wrist, and as we grab a hold of that right wrist, we're gonna give a slight bend into this opposite left knee, so it's gonna feel a little funny to start. But as we bend into that left knee, we're gonna take that right foot and we're gonna cross it behind the left. And what I'm working towards is pressing into the outer edge of my foot, so the pinky toe side of my right foot. And then I'm gonna start to squeeze my legs in and together like a scissor. Feel that sense of opening and widening and lengthening through that right side.

Soften the mouth. And then again, softening into a slight bend of the left knee, let that right foot step back out, let the arms release. Inhale, opening wide. Holding onto the left wrist, palm facing forward, now give that slight bend into that right knee, again, it's gonna feel a little funny. And then taking that left leg back, try to find the outer edge, the pinky toe side, press into the earth and then start to squeeze into the legs like a scissor.

As we squeeze into the legs, start to lift open and lengthen through that left side. And then let an inhale soften, lift, and let an exhale release. Inhale all the way up, lifting the heart and gaze, exhale, swan dive it down. Inhale, halfway. Exhale, fold, step back all the way into dog this time.

And as we find downward facing dog, let an inhale bring that right leg high again. Give a bend into that knee, open up through that side body, and eka pada, this time let that foot get really heavy. We're almost using it like a paperweight to really open through the side body. And then rotating forward, let that right knee remain in a bend as we bring it forward to the right wrist. Pigeon prep.

Now, as we walk that left leg back to find length, if that right hip and buttock is hovering off the earth for you, this is a really great time to use your blanket roll again. You can just bring that blanket roll right underneath the hip as it's needed. We're gonna start off with a little lift. Our tendency when we come into pigeon is to collapse to the floor, so what we're gonna play with here instead is lifting up, letting the heart lead, and as that heart leads, start to feel the shoulders release, let the chin and the nose tilt up, feel that yummy, gentle compression into the lumbar spine. Take another inhale, and then as you exhale we're gonna slowly walk forward, and what we're gonna do instead is take our left elbow, and we're gonna bring it to the mat directly underneath our left shoulder.

And as we bring that left elbow right underneath the shoulder, you're gonna take that left hand and you're just gonna cup a hold of your right knee. And as you do that, we're gonna find a sense of pulling the knee towards us, but the knee itself doesn't really move. What happens instead is the sense of twisting deeply and internally from the belly. And as you continue to pull the knee towards you with the hand, as that belly starts to twist, you'll see how you naturally start to get a little bit closer to the earth without collapsing. So keep playing with that, and then we can take that right hand out, and then continue to feel into that sense of twisting from the inside out.

And then as you get lower and lower, as you start to find where your edge is, maintaining that, let that right arm now extend out, and see how low you are already to the earth. And then release the left hand, let it join the right hand and allow the heart and the head to relax. Softening the jaw. Returning to the breath. Slowly walk the hands under the shoulder heads.

Keep that sense of heaviness through the heart and head, chin to the chest again as we roll on up through the spine. And again, lift through the heart, tilt the chin and the nose up, take a big open mouth exhale, with a ha. Let the gaze come forward, let the hands root, ready to take some body weight. Curling the back left toes under, press back with the heel and pause here for a moment with the hip flexors extended, with that knee lifted, and then press back into down dog. And just take a moment to pedal out the dog, and feel the effects of that on that right leg.

Lots of prana, lots of extra blood flow and circulation, should feel nice and yummy. And then with an inhale, let that left leg lift up, give a bend into the knee, rotate the hip, breathe into those ribs, maybe even turning the gaze. Keeping the knee bent as we rotate the hips down, take that left knee now forward to the left rest. Start to extend back slowly through the right leg. Now remember, this side may be totally different, so even if you didn't need the support underneath the hip and buttock on the other side, you may want it here.

And as you feel into that, again we're gonna start to rise up. The sense of pulling the ribs up away from the thigh, the lifting of the heart, and then even the lifting of the chin, the nose. And then exhale coming forward. Right elbow now is gonna drop underneath the shoulder, and then that right hand is gonna cup a hold of that left knee. And again, it's this pulling action, but the knee doesn't move, but what happens is this internal twisting, this wringing out sensation.

Starting fresh. And then that left hand can extend out from the knee, and we can continue to turn lower, twisting, deepening, until again, you find your edge. And wherever that is, simply taking the left arm forward, and then release the right arm to join it. Let the heart and the head soften. Release the jaw.

Shoulders dropping away from the ears. Deep belly breaths. Let the hands walk under the shoulder heads. Chin to the chest, press into the earth, rolling on up through the spine. Tilt the chin and the nose up, big, open-mouth ha, to release.

Bring the gaze forward, root the hands, curl the back toes, and then press from the heel, and pause here for a moment, just finding the length there through the hip flexors. And then with an exhale, pressing back downward facing dog. Again, pedal it out. Releasing down onto the knees, and then sweeping the feet on over to the side as we lower ourselves back down onto the mat. And as we lower back down onto the mat, just take a moment to soften and release through the spine.

Let the right knee lift up in towards the heart, give that right knee a hug. And then as we hug that right knee, again, we're gonna cross that ankle over towards that reverse pigeon shape, and just send that knee forward, similar to what we did at the beginning of our practice on that roll. From here, again, similar to what we did on that blanket roll, that burrito, we're gonna take the arms wide, and we're just gonna start to rock from side to side. Now again, this may only be an inch or two, or you may start to come all the way to the earth. And if that happens, if that feels appropriate to roll on over and allow the right foot to ground, continue to send that right knee forward and then perhaps taking your left hand, reaching down, grabbing a hold of the right ankle, and sliding it up the thigh.

And as we do that, send the knee forward, and you'll get this nice sweet little awakening into the TFL. Big, full breath. And then release the hold, let the knee slide back down, and then allow yourself to unwind, releasing the right ankle, pause for a moment and just feel the effects. When you are ready, left knee lifting towards the heart for a hug. And then crossing that left ankle over the right thigh and knee, sending the knee forward, opening up through the arms and the chest.

A little side to side, rocking and rolling. And then as we roll to the right, perhaps allowing ourselves to come all the way over to bring the foot onto the earth. Send that knee forward, and then take the right hand down to find a hold of the ankle or the shin, and we just slide it up the thigh. Send the knee forward, big deliberate breaths. Release that hold, let the foot slide down, unwinding to center.

Releasing that ankle. Again, pause. Let both the knees now lift up into the heart, give yourself a hug. Little rocking and rolling around that sacrum, and then starting to extend the body to long, to rest. Restore, and return.

Those last little wiggles as we drop the shoulders. Release through the toes and the fingers. Softer into the mouth. And giving yourself as much time as you need to return home to yourself. And when you're ready, starting to awaken, slowly with gentle movements.

Stretches, reaches, maybe even a yawn. Let the knees bend, rolling gently to your side. Pressing up, and returning to a nice, comfortable, easy seat, whatever that is for you and your body. Taking a moment to settle. And then feel back into the length that we found through the side body, through the spine.

And then just let that head gently perch on top. Letting the hands join at the heart. Taking a moment to thank yourself for showing up, which is always the hardest part. Namaste.


Darlene M
2 people like this.
"Yummy" practice for post hiking "issues"
Dannette W
2 people like this.
That was a beautiful release thank you!
Kari Sims Anthon
Thank you so much for joining me Darlene and Dannette! Xo Kari
Silke S
The massage in the Reclining Pigeon Pose is awesome. I loved the stretch at the end, also in the Reclining Pigeon Pose, twisted to the side, while grasping the ankle to pull the foot in a higher position. Thank you !!!
Kari Sims Anthon
Thanks for being with me on this journey Silke ❤️
John Jackson
A beautiful, calming practice thank you! Loved the pigeon! X
Darlene M
Very nice. Thanks, kari
Catherine R
A very blessed way to start my day.
Jean P
I feel like a new person thank you I can now seize the day!
Fabian H
wonderful practice :))
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