The Yoga Flow Show Artwork
Season 6 - Episode 5

Earthly Hips

35 min - Practice


Shelley guides us into a fluid and grounded earthly flow to awaken and open the hips and hamstrings. We flow towards the arm balances, Visvamitrasana and Bhujapidasana (Shoulder Pressing Pose), to establish our connection with the earth. You will feel rooted and connection
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

(waves crashing) Greetings, Yoga Anytime tribe. Thanks for coming back. We're gonna be progressing on the first progression that we did in this season. The sequence that was really based in the earth element and opening up the hips and the lower body. Today's practice will be kind of an exploration on that.

We'll stay close to the ground, might even roll on and off the edges of our mat and do a little four by fouring together. So let's enjoy. Let's begin. Bring your hands to the pelvis, soften your knees, and come down into you malasana, your high malasana. As you inhale, just circulate the arms out and up.

Feeling the wave of the breath come over you. And as we start to circulate the breath, you can stay deep in your malasana, like I'm doing, or if you prefer to keep the legs a little straighter and stay a little higher, that's absolutely fine. Just allow that pulsation to begin in your roots from your feet all the way up to your fingertips. As you exhale, returning back into your base. Inhale.

And exhale. I always love to begin with just some simple movements linked with the breath that allows us to set the tone and the mood for our practice. When you feel the earth element inside of your body, it's a bit of a slower, more mythic pace than a faster flow. Allow yourself to just slow down a little bit and take the time for a full inhale and a full exhale. From here, just bring your right elbow to your knee and as you inhale extend the left arm up and over the ear.

Feel the length from the side body. As you exhale, like you're calming the surface of a lake or a river, reach across the horizon and inhale. Sweep up and over. And exhale to calm the surface of a river. And take this a few times.

I always love to acknowledge my wonderful teachers that I've experienced along the way. This particular opening was a really beautiful gift that Shiva Rae taught me as part of her elemental flows. We'll progress it into some rhythms that have come out of my own practice and exploration as a surfer and modern dancer and yogini. As you exhale, just take your hands to the front of the mat. Come to a runner's lunge and step back to downward facing dog.

Start to feel that treading of the earth in your feet and bicycle peddling through the feet and the knees and just kind of digging your toes down into the soil of your mat. Letting your jaw, your head relax. Your hips trace a bit of a figure eight in the space behind you. When you find steadiness and stillness in your downward dog, just pause there for a breath or two. Really fill up from your base all the way up to the tips of your fingers, your toes, the hips.

As you exhale, just release down, heels dropping down into the earth and relaxing into your practice today. Let's go ahead and inhale to sweep the right leg to the sky. As you exhale, step it all the way through to a warrior one base. Set your back foot on about a 65 degree angle and as you inhale, feel that same wave of the breath lift your heart. Then straighten the front leg and drive back down into a parsvottanasana.

So in the first progression we did this with the back knee down, but in this particular sequence we stay a little higher, but it still has that feeling of tunneling down towards the ground and then rising up like you're coming up through a wave, and exhale to dive down. Stay here for one extra breath. Then as you exhale, bend your front knee, shift back to plank, and let's move through a simple vinyasa, lowering the knees, followed by the chest and hips. Inhale to open your heart in kind of a low, grounded cobra. Relax your head and neck, and then exhale release back through your hands and knees to your downward dog.

Let your inhale take the left leg to the sky, then exhale, coil, and step all the way forward to a warrior one base. Inhale coming up through the wave of your breath, rise up to straighten the front leg. Really ground down through the back foot as you reach forward and down. Just take that twice more, inhaling to rise and exhaling. Bend your front knee, inhale, grounding down, rising up and then tunneling back down.

Let's stay here for an extra breath. Softening the front knee, stepping back to plank, inhale, shifting forward, lower the knees as you exhale, lower the chest and hips at the same time. Inhaling to rise, low cobra. Then exhale to release. Back to down dog.

Let's take that cycle just once more. Inhaling the right leg and exhaling to step it through. Inhaling to rise, and just churning cycling back down. Bending the knee, inhale. Maybe starting to go just a little bit deeper into your fold.

A little bit deeper into your lunge. Definitely a little bit deeper into your breath. Deep inhale as your shift forward, then exhale to lower knees, heart and hips down at the same time. Rising up low cobra. Exhale folding back.

Last cycle on the left side, big inhale. Empty out. Starting to find that really nice balance of relaxation inside of your effort. So even though we're really starting to attune our attention to the movement of the body, the movement of the breath, we're allowing a little bit of relaxation, maybe a lot of relaxation to flow through your perception. Nice big inhale through the nose.

Through the nose exhale to lower down. Inhale rise just enough to feel a little bit of work in the back, a little bit of opening in the front. Then exhale. Downward dog and hang out here for a breath or two. You can always feel free to drop down to child's pose at any time of course.

Especially if you're feeling like, you know, there's been some work involved, I need to take a little break for a moment. Sometimes one breath in child's pose can make all the difference. Then coming back to your downward dog, let's inhale to the toes and exhale, just press the left heel down, the right heel stays lifted. Inhale to the toes, exhale opposite heel presses. Inhale to the toes, this time stay high and take the right leg to the sky.

Open your hip, bend your knee, and then exhale step all the way through to a runner's lunge. Let's move on to our first standing sequence here. Take your right hand to the sky and open up into a simple twist. As you exhale, just thread your top arm down and through the space between your hand and your foot, reaching towards your back foot. As you reach you might notice the heel wants to come down.

You can let it. As you come back into your twist, lift the back heel and open your chest. Then exhale, threading underneath, let the back heel drop down. Inhale to rise one more time. As you exhale and reach through, you reach through so much that suddenly your base changes and oh my god, is it true?

Yes, you're in a warrior two, amazing. You come right up into your warrior two. Take a deep inhale and reverse your warrior. Then as you exhale elbow to knee, top arm alongside the ear, turn your back heel in. You might heel toe your foot in a little bit so we can pick up our line of energy here through our high malasana.

Inhale to reach up and over, then exhale. So you probably notice with my practices there's always the element of water present, whether we're working with earch, fire, air, and ether, being a water woman, I can't resist bringing a little bit of the water elements into every practice. Inhale, reach up and over. This time as you exhale, walk your hands to the back of the mat. Take your left leg to the sky.

Rise up onto the tippie toes. Open you hip, bend your knee, then exhale step it all the way through. Left hand opens, heart opens towards the ocean here, so beautiful. As you exhale, thread underneath and just let the back heel naturally pivot down. The hips are kind of happy here.

As you turn into the twist, pivot on the ball of the back foot. Exhale to reach underneath you. Once more inhale to open. Let your crescent twist start to turn and morph its way into your warrior two, reaching forward and up, here we are again, it's amazing! Reaching into your reverse warrior on an inhale. Then exhale the elbow to the knee, top arm sweeps the horizon as your back heel heel toes in.

Inhale up and over. Exhale and by now you're feeling your base. You're feeling your legs, your roots, and your hips pretty well, which is what we're looking for is just to start to ignite a little action, a little fire in our base. This time as you exhale, just come to prasarita padottanasana. Place your feet parallel and your hands shoulder width apart.

Inhale to lift your heart. Exhale, forward fold. Let's stay here for three breaths. You're welcome to hold the sides of the feet, the big toes. Or you can lace the fingers behind your back and extend your arms up and over into gravity.

Allow the crown of your head to drop down. It might even touch down to the earth and create a nice little connection here. Or it might be a little further away, which is absolutely fine. Wherever you're at is where you're at. Just enjoy dropping into gravity, dropping into your roots.

If your shoulders feel a little limited here, if you're kind of fighting your own shoulders, do grab a strap or a towel and separate your hands wide on the strap or the towel and then extend over your head. You'll actually get a lot more freedom through your shoulders. So let's stay here for one more good breath. Kinda wiggle your shoulder girdle around a little bit. Then exhale release your hands.

Place 'em underneath your shoulders and lift your chest. Bring the feet a little closer together, just a touch wider than hips width apart and bend your knees. We'll go into a little mini preparation for bhujapidasana. It's a great way to open up the shoulders, the hips and hamstrings. You reach your hands through the middle of the ankles, cup the back of your heels here, the back of your ankles, and snuggle your knees towards the front of the shoulders.

Snuggle the shoulders towards the back of the knees. As you sink down, you can look forward. As you exhale, lift the hips and gently press your knees inward to glide along the outer triceps. Really open up between the shoulder blades. Let's do that just a couple more times.

Inhale, sink down, let the chest open wide. And then as you exhale, lift your hips, press your knees against the upper outer arms. Once more. Inhaling, almost like you're sitting down on your elbows. Exhale to rise, gliding your knees down the triceps.

Deep breath right here. Exhale, release your hands. Walk your hands to the front of the mat. Step back to downward facing dog. From here let's progress into kind of an interesting entry into our standing sequences.

Let's take the right leg to the sky on an inhale. Open up your hip and bend your knee. We're very slowly going to turn into a little kind of a flipped dog, but we'll roll through it. So as you roll to the outer edge of your left foot, bring the ball of the right foot onto the floor off the edge of the mat. Then slowly lower yourself down.

It doesn't matter. Now we're four by four, we're going off the edges of the mat. So stay where you are, no need to center yourself. Extend your right leg out, and if you can on a nice open angle from the left, reach up through your side waist, then exhale sweep the horizon and just land in a little upavistha konasana. You can hold your toes, you can hold your ankles, shins, knees, whatever you got here, but do let your heart melt down any amount towards the earth.

Maybe even bowing your forehead down on the earth. As you inhale, sit up nice and tall, leading with your heart. Then exhale, place your left hand on the left edge of the mat, bend your right knee, and just come back to downward facing dog with one leg high on an inhale. As you exhale step all the way through and lower the back knee down. Leading with your left arm, let's come up into a kneeling warrior two.

If your knees's sensitive, you can always put a folded towel or blanket underneath the left knee. Reaching up and back into a kneeling reverse warrior. This time as you exhale, go ahead and just snuggle. There's that shoulder behind the knee situation again we were just working with in our bhujapidasana prep. Cup the back of the ankle, snuggle your shoulder in behind your knee, then plant your palm flat and flare your elbow out to the side.

Now the most important little hint I can give you here when you start to lift this foot up is to rotate your chest and hips away from your right hand. So as you lift up, let your spine and your hips just roll on the axis of the upper right arm and lift. Pop a little wheelie there. You might hang out right here, you might grab the outer edge of your foot and start to extend into a little kneeling visvamitrasana. It's related to the seated parighasana that we did in our first practice.

So nice deep breath in, extending long through your leg. Then exhale slowly release. Place your foot down and step back to downward facing dog. With your new right leg. Let's enjoy the left side.

Inhale the left leg to the sky, exhale, open the hip, bend the knee. Start to slowly pour your weight into the edge of the right foot. Let the ball of the left foot come off the mat, we're four by fouring again. Then extend your left leg out into a nice wide angle. Circle the horizon and come into your upavistha konasana.

Any level here is fine. Staying lifted or further down. Take one cycle of breaths. Then leading with the heart, inhale to rise. We come out of it the same way that we went into it, just in reverse.

Bend the left knee, inhale up and over, coming into your downward dog with the left leg high. Exhale step it all the way through and lower the back knee. Leading with your right arm, come up to your kneeling warrior two. Inhale to reverse your kneeling warrior. As you exhale, snuggle your shoulder in behind the knee.

We're just kind of playing around, paving the way in our body for some deeper arm balances, hip opening, side waist opening for later. So as much as you can snuggle, sometimes I feel like I'm putting on a little leg backpack here. Put your leg backpack on and then plant your left palm, elbow flares out to the side. Now we roll our chest and hips away from the left hand. You're welcome to stay right here, enjoy this little balance, or you can hold onto the outer edge of the foot and start to extend long through the left leg, rotating the heart towards the sky.

Nice deep length through the side waist, through the hip and hamstring. Take a full breath here. Then as you exhale, slowly come down. Step back to downward facing dog. Deep cycle of breaths.

Inhaling rise to toes, and then exhale, bend the knees, look forward. Hop your feet around your hands, coming into a little bit of a malasana. Let's take a moment here to come up to standing. Grab your blocks if you have a couple of blocks. It's a really helpful prop to use when we're starting to play around with coming into bhujapidasana as newer practitioners or even if it's in your body but maybe it's been a little while, right?

We want to come back into it slowly. So place your blocks right behind your heels. I like to use the lowest height, personally. As you exhale, come back down into your malasana. Reach your hands through your ankles and cup the back of your shins.

Here we have that leg shoulder backpack again. Start to snuggle your shoulders behind your knees. Some of us are going to enjoy resting the heels of the hands on the blocks, sitting down, and moving through this little progression that we did earlier, stretching through the hamstrings and hips. Some of us might sink down, snuggle the shoulders in a little more, place your hands on the blocks and just sit back on your elbows. Your toes might lift up a little bit and start to come off the mat.

One foot, maybe the other. Play a little bit and have a sense of humor about it, that's key. You can always work with crossing the toes and squeezing your knees into the upper arms. Rounding through the spine and kind of hanging out here, defying gravity. If you happen to roll back and land on your tush, well, it's built to land on.

Most of us have padding there, so it's alright. Slowly release and come into your forward fold. You can slip your hands right underneath your feet. A little padahastasana. Give your wrists a break.

Then relaxing into your forward fold, knees can be bent or legs straight. Let's enjoy a couple of breaths here in silence. Take three good breaths. Inhale to lift your chest, release your hands from underneath your feet. Then you can take your blocks and just sit them to one side.

I always like to place them kind of out of the way of your mat in case you decide, we're gonna four by four again, so we don't want to run into these things. Come back to your forward fold, inhale to lift your chest and let's exhale, simply step it back to downward facing dog. Sweep the right leg to the sky on an inhale. Exhale, open the hip. We're gonna come back into, I call this little vinyasa an upavishta vinyasa.

So roll to the outer edge of your foot again. Let the right foot slowly come down, then have a seat. Inhale, lengthen the right leg long, the right side waist long. Exhale really sweep the horizon, and come down maybe a little deeper than the first time you were here. Inhale to lift your chest.

Exhale maybe pull yourself in a little bit deeper. Once more inhale to lift. Exhale, just opening up through the hips, connecting down through your heart, your hips, maybe your third eye, into the earth. Inhaling to lead with your heart as you rise up. Bend your right knee, plant the left palm, and just come up and over into downward facing dog again.

We'll go right into the left side. Inhale the left leg to the sky. Open your hip, slowly roll to the outer edge, slowly come down to your seat. No need to rush. Then really create space between the left leg and the left fingertips.

Sweep the horizon and let's come on back down to mama earth. Inhaling just a little lift. Exhaling to go in a little deeper. Inhaling using the back body to rise just a touch. Exhale to drop down.

Staying here for one cycle of breaths. Lengthening through the spine, inhale to rise and let's come back out of it the same way we went in. Just tossing your weight up and over into your downward dog. From here rising up to the toes and gratefully coming back into child's pose. Ahh.

Deep breath into the low back. Exhaling completely. Walking your hands in towards your knees, rolling up your spine. From here just turning. I'm gonna turn and face you, but you can keep facing the same direction.

Coming into a seated version of pigeon. If you prefer a typical pigeon, grounded down, forehead in the sand, feel free. But otherwise it's kind of nice to just take some of these shapes and change the relationship to the earth. Seated, balancing, upside down. So let's lift up our right foot and start to bring the sole of your foot towards the opposite shoulder.

You can kinda open and close the gate a few times. Go ahead and just place the sole of your foot either in your hands and draw it towards the center of the chest, or at the crease of the opposite elbow, and you can wrap around your shin like a little baby here. The biggest adjustment that we can make on a physical level inside of any asana, any shape, is in the tilt of the pelvis. So feel your pelvis tilt forward and upright. Of course the biggest bigger adjustment that we can make in any asana whatsoever on an inner level is an attitude adjustment.

So maybe with a deep breath in and a little nod to that inner knowing of okay, what's the tone like in there, what's the attitude like. Coming back to that very simple place of just breathing and being inside of a shape. This is a wonderful place to stay and breathe for a couple of extra breaths. If you'd like to come into the cousin of our kneeling visvamitrasana that we did earlier, you can just open up the gate and it's the same pathway in. You just cup the back of the ankle and put your leg backpack on your shoulder, right.

Flip your hand over to the outside edge of your foot. Place the right hand down like a kickstand. Just like we did in the kneeling visvamitrasana start to extend long through the leg. At the same time, just turn your heart towards the sky. Ahh.

You can even pulse in and out if you like, if that feels good to you. Inhaling to lengthen through the leg, all the way through the toes. Then slowly coming back down, ahh. You can place your foot in a little half padmasana if you like for a moment. Take a deep cycle breath in.

And exhale completely. Receiving that information, that fresh wash of prana and energy that comes from our roots. Change sides. Go ahead and take your left foot up. Hold onto the outer edge of the foot and just start to open the gate of the hip, of the hamstring here.

Placing your foot towards either the center of the chest or the crook of your right elbow and draw it in. Lifting up out of the sitz bones, out of the pelvis. Feeling that nice long spine, lifted heart. Deep inhale here. In exhale, you might stay right here, this might feel fantastic, right?

Or you can open up the gate and start to just dive into that path that we were on on other side. So slinging your leg backpack up and over your shoulder as high as you can get it. This might feel good to hang out here for a little bit. Or you can take the outer edge of your foot, create a little kickstand with the left arm. Inhale, start to string the bow, elongating through your left leg, opening through your chest.

As you exhale, backing out a little bit. Inhale, lengthening through the side body, through the breath. Then exhale and just moving slowly and sensitively so that you don't miss one moment. Coming into it just deep enough so that it feels a little bit salty but a little bit sweet. Nice deep inhale here.

Then exhale. Slowly bring your foot back down and let it land in a little half padmasana. Ahh. Deep inhale. Exhale, relax the shoulders.

Then taking your foot, let's just take one simple twist here. If it's comfortable for you to stay in a half padmasana or even come to a full padmasana, feel free, right. Anything goes when you're four by fouring. If you prefer a more neutral sukhasana, just choose a comfortable seated position. Then take a seated twist here, turning to your right, cross the opposite hand over the opposite knee and sit tall.

Let it be kind of a subtle twist as you look over the back shoulder. (breathing) Deep inhale to sit tall. Exhale slowly release. Maybe change the crossing of the legs. Then turning your twist to the opposite side.

Inhaling to rise. Exhaling to turn. Take one more breath here. Exhale slowly, come back to center. If you would like to adjust once again, make a little bit more comfortable of a seated position, or maybe even just come in padmasana for a moment.

Go ahead and do so. Set yourself up so you're comfortable. Taking your right hand, the peace fingers of your right hand, just touch your third eye, give yourself a little circle there, a little third eye massage. Then take your left thumb and seal off the right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the left side.

Filling your lungs completely. With the remaining two fingers, seal the left nostril, open the right, and exhale. Inhale through the right side. Seal the right, open the left, exhale. Just take a couple more rounds here, balancing our energy as you inhale through the left side.

Seal the left, open the right, exhale. Inhaling through the right. Seal the right, open the left, exhale. Let's take one more full round together, inhaling deeply smooth and slow. So refined as you inhale.

Seal the left, open the right, subtle and slow, long exhale. Inhaling through the right one last time like this. Seal the right, open the left, exhale. Just release, just a simple check in with our nadi shodhana, alternate nostril breathing. Let the backs of the wrists just rest on your knees.

You can sit tall, close the eyes. Take a moment or two here in stillness. Taking five deep breaths. If you prefer to lie down in a classic shavasana today, please feel free, but otherwise stay here and just feel that very deep sense of calm, peaceful stillness inside, reconnecting the brain, the heart, our roots, to mother earth. Feeling that silent recognition.

The spaciousness within you. The spaciousness around you. Receiving three more of the deepest breaths you've taken all day today. (breathing) And you're welcome to stay here for much longer if you like. If you feel complete, bring your hands to your heart.

That very wonderful kind of secret feeling whenever we take a moment to slide into meditation. Whether it before a few minutes or several, it's like this secret visit to the mountaintop, to the grand meadow, to the big ocean. So feeling that sweetness inside of you. Thank you so much for sharing your presence and your practice with me today. Have a wonderful day.



Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Challenging but survived. I even managed a smile! Now I feel gently prepared to have a beautiful day one breath at a time.
Shelley Williams
Hey GLenford! thanks for the comment....especially the part about the smile :) That's how I take each day, breath at a time!

Christy Li
1 person likes this.
Love the green outfit and the lovely unique flow from pose to pose, thank you.
Kit & Dee Dee
Wonderful way to start our day! Thank you.
Kate M
2 people like this.
So sweet to come back to your sequencing. Such a treasure! Thank you, Shelley : )
Shelley Williams
Kate Hey Kate!!  Welcome back! Happy May to you!! 😚 
Christel B
Secret little visit to the mountaintop is a nice ending.Enjoying the repeated flows in the whole flow.  Mahalo

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