Keepin' it Real Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 5

Functional Flow

40 min - Practice


Robert guides us in a strengthening practice designed to focus on supporting our functional movements in our day-to-day lives. Weaving in Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations), we move through a challenging practice including push-ups, squats, lunges, and twists, before settling in to a seated meditation and Savasana. You will feel strong, alive, and present.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Alright. Hey, how are you? Nice to see you again. I am going to offer, I'm so happy to offer this sequence. Okay. I'm a big fan of functional movement. So let's keep it super simple. Functional movement, how we move in our daily lives. We generally have a moment where we push, right? So the push or the press is one movement. Even if it's like an accidental thing where you fall down to be able to like kind of brace your fall, that could be that have the strength and awareness. Pull, some kind of pulling, right? So pressing, pulling, lunging, you know, lunging to go pick something up, possibly squatting, same concept. Hinging. So we bend over quite a bit. How can we do that effectively? And twisting, rotating. Okay. One obvious one, you're in your car, right? Going in reverse. You know, so that's very one sided. So let's, we'll do both sides today. And then the last one, the seventh is gait and that can be looked at as walking, running, jogging. So in this practice we will, we'll try to get the gait in there as well. So we're going to weave some sun salutations in with very specific movements to help you develop a strong functional sense of movement. Does that make sense? Yes. All right. Okay. So thanks again for joining me. Awesome. Front of the mat. Okay. Tidy up, right? It's always important, friends. Tidy up. Which feed about hip width? That's a, that's what I like. I like hip width. Okay. Stand tall. Close your eyes. Take a few breaths. With your eyes closed, lift your toes. We'll take a few moments to build a standing pose. That's pretty functional as well. Spread your feet wide. So connect to the bones of your feet. So we've got a good platform there grounded. And when you lift your toes, can you feel some muscular attention up through your, your shins, even your calves, squeeze the quads, your thighs a little bit. So the idea, right, is to get super strong and sturdy and grounded in your legs and put your toes back down. Imagine for a moment, there's a piece of newspaper underneath your feet and you're trying to gently rip it apart. Don't go full a hundred percent, but just, just enough to engage the outer edges of your legs and up into your, your glutes. Okay. Now, if you draw your ex or extend your tailbone down in the direction of your heels and your pubic bone up. So we get this little adjustment in our pelvis. So the pelvis is no longer forward or severely back neutral. This will help to engage the core and lengthen through your low back as well as through your hip flexors, stretching long through your hip flexors. Okay. I know it's a lot, but stay with me. It's good stuff. We can apply it later. Now inhale, get tall. Don't change anything you've just done, but get tall, long and stretched out in the upper part of your body, your torso, shoulders down, palms facing forward. Again, I've got my eyes closed because I think it's just, it's almost a balancing pose. Palms facing forward. Try to rotate your thumbs out quite a bit. Flare your fingers out a lot. Like really like spread them wide and reach your fingertips to the ground, to the floor. Squeeze your triceps a little bit. I know it's a lot of cues. Catch what you can catch. Open the chest, engage your upper back. Low ribs though. We got to kind of reverse it for a moment. Take those low ribs and pull them in towards your midline. There's no arching here at all. Good. Last little cue is chin down a little bit, head back just a little bit. Palms pressing towards your side body. Good active strong pose. Remember this pose when we come into pushups and a few other poses. Okay. Let's begin with a little warmup. Inhale from this position.

Reach up, can open your eyes. Exhale, slight little bend in the knees, forward bend. Here's your first hinge or forward bend. Good. Inhale, lift up halfway, lengthen your spine. Still a hinge movement, which is one of those functional movements. Exhale, step back into plank pose. Close your eyes and remember where you just were in mountain pose. Can you apply those same principles here or most of them anyway? Push your heels back. Raise those thighs. Extend or lengthen your tailbone in the direction of your heels and your pubic bone up towards your navel. Belly engaged, long spine, pull the shoulders back, neck long. Lean, don't change anything, but come onto your toes. That'll shift your shoulders forward on your exhale, lower all the way down. Point your toes back, lift your chest on the breath in for a little baby relaxed cobra pose and curl the toes, push through the hands, strong belly all the way to downward dog. That's the exhale. Good work. We're going to be coming through this, these movements quite a bit. So I'm moving slow now so that when we move forward, I won't cue as much. Okay. Downward dog, walk up to the front of the mat. Exhale, inhale, lift halfway, exhale, fold, rise all the way up, breathe in and exhale, palms to the chest. One more like that. Breathe in, stretch up, reach up, exhale, forward bend. Inhale, lift halfway, press into the knees or the shins, lengthen out through the spine. Exhale, plank pose, heels back, tailbone toward the heels, belly tight, right? Nice and secure. Shoulders forward up onto your toes, lower halfway down this time. Upward facing dog on your breath in. From here, let the shoulders kind of like collapse for a moment up into your ears and then roll them back. Then like with your arms a little bent and push and straighten the arms, push the chest forward, lift the knees and thighs. Upward dog, breathe in, exhale, downward dog, walk up to the front of the mat again. So I like to kind of come up onto my fingertips, tip toe, tip toe, land, exhale, inhale, lift halfway, exhale, fold again, rise all the way up, breathe in and exhale, palms to the chest. Let's build on that. Breathe in, reach up, exhale, forward bend. Inhale, lift and lengthen halfway. Exhale, step the right foot back, high lunge, inhale. Okay. Let the arms relax for a moment. We said lunging was one of the functional movements. So instead of having this super long lunge, left leg ultimately will be at a 90 degree angle and the back as well. So the idea here, the legs, let's work on the legs first, feet or hip width. If you bend your right knee in the direction of the ground and press back up, right? Bend the right knee down, press back up. So it's a little lunge up and down, split lunge thing. Now we're going to add some arms, reach forward. Okay. Inhale, bend the right knee toward the floor, maybe touch it, right? And as you exhale, come back up into the lunge and row the arms back. So both legs kind of like straighten out and you pull this imaginary bar back with a real intention to strengthen your back here.

Okay. So we get the lunge and the pull in this one. Inhale, lower and reach. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Two more. Breathe in, push through that left heel, breathe out. Last one, inhale. Good. Inhale the arms high, drop the right knee a little bit, hold the pose. Good. Breathe in and then exhale, the hands come down to the mat, step the right foot up to meet the left. Exhale here, forward bend. Inhale, lift and lengthen halfway, always making that adjustment in the spine. Exhale, fold, come up again halfway, breathe in, step the left foot back. Get your distance. You can start off like so, just so you know, you don't want that knee, the left knee too far back. So 90-90 is a good safe setup, I think. Arms out in front of you, breathe in and exhale. Push through the right heel to target the right glute. Exhale, come up, straighten both legs and really pull back. But don't pull back so much that you arch your back.

Keep the tailbone directed down. Okay. Belly tight. Inhale, lower. Exhale. Exhale. Five from here. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. So a little balance too, apparently. Breathe in, breathe out. Two more. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Arms up, lower a little bit, hold the lunge. Breathe in. Exhale. Hands come down, step back into push-up position. Pause. Here's the gate. Okay. So right knee to the right elbow. Left knee. Right. On the exhale preferably. Left. Every time you bring the knee in, it's an exhale.

As best you can. Unless you start to move a little faster and then you'll have to kind of coordinate your breath the way you need to coordinate it, right? But while we're moving slowly, deliberately, knee to elbow, knee to elbow. Ten. Ten. Good. Nine. Nine. Eight. Eight. Seven. Seven. Six. Six. Good work. Five. Five. Four. Four. Three. Three. Two. Two. One. One. Pause and plank. Breathe in. With control, lower down. Move through cobra as you breathe in. Breathe out, lower down. Lift your hands up off the mat. Pull the elbows to the heels.

Head neutral with your spine. Keep the hands lifting. Elbows to the heels and high. Lengthen the back of your neck. If you're looking forward, it might be unnecessary. So keep the head in line with the spine. Lift your chest a little bit. Good. Lower down on the exhale. Inhale, lift the chest cobra. Exhale, downward dog. Nice. Okay, so far, right? We've got some hinging going on with the forward bends.

We just worked on a little bit of the gait, that knee to elbow stuff. Do some lunging and pulling with the arms in the lunge, right? So now, up to the front of the mat, kind of finish off this cycle here. Fold, exhale. Inhale, lift halfway. Exhale, fold. Rise all the way up. Breathe in and breathe out. Palms rest at the chest. Okay, inhale. Arms reach up. Touch the ceiling. Get tall. Extend the tailbone down toward the heels and exhale. Forward bend. Stretch the legs. Stretch the low back. Inhale, lift the chest. Half lift. Step back into plank pose and pause.

Okay, so whether you want to do these on your knees or in plank without knees, 10 push-ups. This is the press or the push strength. You're going to breathe in as you lower down and breathe out as you come up. Inhale, lower down. Exhale, up. Inhale, lower down. Exhale, up. It's important that you draw, get back. Let me bring the knees down for a second. And no, not because I'm tired. If you come into that plank, whether you're on your knees or not on the knees, regain your composure in that mountain pose. Okay. Don't let the low back sag here. So knees or not, both are perfect and awesome. Push-up position. So you can see, take a moment to look. Not this, right? So heels back, tailbone reaching in the direction of your heels. Now we'll start with 10. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. And if you are, try not to lock the arms out every time, right? Keep a slight little bend. That's three. Exhale, four. Exhale, five. Exhale, six. Exhale, seven. Exhale, eight. Good work. Exhale, nine. Exhale, 10. Pause and plank, breathe in. And exhale, lower all the way down. All the way down and pause. Good. Take the hands, take a short little rest. Stack the hands or stack the forearms. Rest your forehead for two or three breaths.

Okay. Now a very deliberate pull. You may or may not have done these with me before, but we call them locust rows, okay? It's the pull. So gaze down toward the mat. No need to look up. Really try to refrain from that as much as you can here. While reaching forward, long spine, strong legs, lift your hands up off the mat. The arms lifting, shoulders working here. Lift your chest a little bit. On your exhale, 10 times, create resistance. Create resistance, this imaginary bar, and pull. Almost like a pull-up too. You could like pull that bar so far, that elbow has reached so far back toward your heels or toward one another that your chin is above that bar, right? Good. Inhale, reach forward. Exhale, pull up. Inhale, reach forward. Exhale, pull, pull, pull. Good. Six more. Breathe in, breathe out. Inhale, reach. Exhale, lift and pull. Keep the legs active. Breathe in. Exhale. Do three more. Breathe in and strong. Breathe out. Two more. Inhale and exhale. Last one. Inhale, exhale. Lift, lift, lift. Reach back, palms facing down, thumbs out. Option to interlace your fingers. Open the chest. Good. Rock from side to side if that's helpful to get into the posture. And relax.

Inhale, lift for cobra. Exhale, tabletop. If child's pose feels necessary, take child's pose. Three rounds of cat cow, even out the spine. Inhale. Exhale, cat pose. Pull that belly up and in. Draw your tailbone down. Spread your back out a little bit. Inhale and exhale. Strong. Breathe in and breathe out. Inhale to neutral downward facing dog.

Really, really, really good. And so, I mean, listen, in my point of view, it's very beneficial to have that strength and that body awareness. So for whatever it's worth, if it's new to you, keep practicing, figure out how to apply that more and more into whatever you're doing, your daily exercise, your yoga, your fitness. Okay, let's finish off with the front of the mat. Nice slow walk. Exhale, fold. Inhale, lift halfway. And exhale, fold. Rise all the way up, touch the ceiling, get tall. And palms to the chest, exhale. Okay, so from here, I'll face you, squats. We haven't really done any squatting yet, so one of my favorites. If you may have done these with me, maybe not. Feet out wide, not too too wide. Open up those toes 45 degrees. Okay, chest up, heart up, tailbone lengthening downward. All right, here we go. Let's do 15. Breathe in, lower, and breathe out. You can change up the arms too. Sometimes bring them down, right? Inhale, reach forward this time, bring them out. Exhale. Inhale, exhale, pull the elbows in. Inhale, exhale, arms down, open up the chest. Inhale, exhale, arms out. Inhale, exhale, arms out again. Breathe in, breathe out. Elbows in, exhale. Let's do four more. Inhale, exhale, exhale, nice. One more time, breathe in, and exhale. Yeah, good job. Okay, back up to the front of the mat.

Mountain pose. Can you for a moment draw back into your feet, your legs, your pelvis, your low back, core, spine, shoulders, all those what I believe to be important areas in mountain pose. One last sun salutation ending in a forward bend. So breathe in, get tall, maybe even tip back just a little bit. Exhale, forward bend. Inhale, lift up halfway. Okay, exhale, step back into plank pose, lower down, your choice, cobra or upward facing dog. Exhale, downward dog. One last slow stroll to the front of the mat, maybe coming up on your tiptoes. Belly nice and strong there. Exhale, fold, inhale, lift, half, and now land forward bend.

You've got options with your hands. Hold on to opposite elbows. Maybe take your hands behind your head just to encourage that lengthening in the back of the neck. Scratch your head. You can hold on to opposite wrists behind your calves. Feel free to bend your knees. Don't feel compelled to straighten those legs, especially if it's really uncomfortable.

Straightening one leg out, straightening the other. Another option is bending your knees quite a bit so that your belly or chest is on your thighs, right? And then if you walk your fingertips underneath toward the arch of your foot, stepping your toes on your wrist crease. So not only does this give like a good overall stretch in the legs, back, shoulders, and arms, but with all of that wrist work, right? Downward dog plank. It's a good wrist stretch for five, four, three, two, and exhale, fold, fold, fold, fold. Good. Release the hands. Okay. From here, we're going to make our way down to our seat. So I'm going to open up the feet. So take your feet pretty wide on the mat. We've already done the squat, but it's another opportunity to squat down, maybe even pause in the squat for a moment.

This malasana deep sumo squat. Press the palms together, lift your chest, and you can press those elbows into your inner thighs. A little leverage those knees out. Similar sensation is like a happy baby. If you're familiar with that pose. Okay. Now some of you may already have your butt on the ground. That's cool. Some of you may be six feet off the ground. Wherever you are, lower down to your seat, land and create some kind of cross legged position. So once you've landed in your seat, you've created a shape that feels appropriate for you with your legs. I'm going to keep my legs crossed for now. The one final movement, functional movement, right, is the twist. So let's twist here. If you take, let's start off like this. Palms at the chest, spine long. Okay. Breathe in and exhale. Pull the stomach in a little bit. Contract and exhale. Twist and rotate to the right. Good. Keep rotating to the right. Take the left hand to the right thigh. Okay. Right hand back behind you. With this position, it's easy to kind of just like fall into it, but I encourage you to really like lift, lift the chest, roll the shoulders down, lengthen the spine, and then finish off the twist by possibly looking over the right shoulder. I have this view of the California coastline, which is pretty amazing. So I'm going to hang here for a little bit longer. You may be looking at your closet, so you're going to have to use your imagination. Good. Now take the gaze forward first and then release back to center. All right. Good job. Let's do the other side. Bring your palms to the chest. Lengthen. Lift. Breathe in. Exhale. Little contraction in the belly. Meaning pull the stomach in a little bit. Rotate to the left as far as you can without using your hands. See where that mobility is. Pause. Right hand to your left thigh. Okay. Right around the knee. Left hand back behind you. So this is like, you know, I was going to say it on the other side, but I didn't want to assume. Let's assume you are driving, but you're on the right side, not the left side, right? Why would I assume? Like just because I drive on the left side doesn't mean you do. So I'm going to assume that we're in reverse right now. Okay. And I know that sometimes when my back is tight, it's in my neck is uncomfortable. It's not that fun. So this is just one practical use for twisting right now. All right. Creating some healthy mobility in your spine, your neck, shoulders. Look over to your closet again. No, you might be looking out. I don't know. Where are you?

Okay. Good. Take the gaze back forward. Maybe take a little gentle counter twist and then a little gentle counter twist. Okay. Okay. It is like I said that like, where are you? It is kind of cool for me to be here. And I don't know where you are, right? You could be anywhere. But what's really nice is that I'm right here and you're right there and we are able to make some sort of connection. So that's super cool to me. So thanks for showing up. All right. So we're going to end with a couple more little, little poses. But what I kind of ask you to do is take a moment, close your eyes, rest your hands on your thighs, maintain a nice long spine and posture. Easy flowing breath.

So the breath is flowing easily and comfortably in and out of your nose. If you're able to do the next couple postures, right, with your eyes closed, I invite you to keep your eyes closed. If you need to open your eyes and peek and see where we are, go for it. Let's take the right hand out to the right, out beyond your right hip. Take your left hand, reach it up, up toward the ceiling, creating this sensation or this stretch up through the left side of your waist, right? Your rib cage. You can place the hand, your left hand at the back of your head to reach the elbow up instead of the hand. That's up to you. So we've got this posture, right? We have the breath. So what I invite you to do is just like, let your senses like really open up like what you're hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling. And just kind of be a silent witness, not really controlling or having any sense of like outcome or expectations, but just in the experience as it is.

So maybe it's just the breath that you're focusing on or the stretch. And if you're right now, you're like, well, what am I supposed to be doing to this? Right? Elbow up, stretch the side body, switch sides. This meaning like, so now the left hand is out, right elbow reaching up, hand behind the head, right hand behind the head. And we're exploring a side stretch up the right side of the body and wherever else you can find really. So searching, exploring, feeling, breathing. And it's not necessarily anything you have to do, right? Maybe you choose to look at it as an opportunity for yourself up from the busy day of work to do lists. Okay, good. Come back up to center. Okay. Take the hands back behind you, fingertips pointing back, press the chest up, maybe even lift your chest, lift your chin. Good. Back up to neutral position. Lean back, draw the bottoms of your feet together.

Now I find it more accommodating to bring my heels a little farther away from my seat, but walk up onto your sit bones, hold onto your ankles or your shins or the tops of your feet, lift your chest, breathe in, stay right here, right? Or exhale, lean forward into it. There's two, there might be more, right? But two schools of thought. There's the lengthening of your spine, leaning forward, meeting the restriction, right? And then letting the upper body kind of round into it. What you've done there is kind of lengthen through your low back. And then another one might be just letting your chin drop toward the chest and then kind of curling very gently into it. I'm preferring that one now for myself. So still in that practice of paying attention to what simply is, and it sounds a little bit like a cliche. We hear it all the time, be in the now, live in the now, but really like, can you practice that right now and be okay with it not being that exciting, that many awesome things going on? It's quiet. There's a gentle stretch. You're breathing. Your thoughts are coming and going. But you're here. You're fully here now.

Before we depart, take a full inhalation. Exhale, all you have, especially anything you might be holding on to. And then roll yourself back up to sit. Keep the legs like so, or cross them once again. And we'll take a short, doing no pose meditation. And so for a long time, personally, for me, I thought it was more complex than what it really is. Imagine yourself as an absolute silent witness, and you're just watching what is happening. But you happen to be in your body. So what's going on in your body, around your body, in your house, in your building, wherever you are, what is? It might be helpful for you to watch your breath as it arrives. The full inhalation. Maybe even pausing, holding your breath for a moment. What does that feel like? And then the exhalation as it departs from the beginning all the way as it trails out. Let's do that three times together. Breathe in. Hold and retain the breath for a few moments. Exhale. Be with it. It's like you're sort of like accompanying it as it leaves the body. Good. Two more. Breathe in. It's like you're the host. Welcoming the breath in, holding it for a moment, sustaining it. And then all things, all good things have to come to an end, right? So exhale. Host the breath out. One more time. Breathe in. Hold. Feel. And exhale. And draw the palms to your chest. Allow your forehead to drift down toward your fingertips as a gesture of gratitude for your ability to move how you were moving today, for your breath, how you're able to breathe today and right now, and for your life as it is now.

And I'm not just saying those words. I mean it 100 million percent. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Have a beautiful day.


Heike S
2 people like this.
I Love This Simple And Strong Practice.
Your Thoughts About Relaxing
Thanks A Lot
You Make My Day Better!
Robert Sidoti
Awesome, so good to hear Heike ! Your comment made my day better too:)
Eric K
2 people like this.
This was great. Strong. Present. Ready for the day.
Robert Sidoti
Thanks for practicing with us Eric ! Feeling strong and present gives us a good fighting chance for a happy and successful day:)) Peace and respect, Robert
Ayla C
1 person likes this.
I love this strong practicing. Iam feeling very good.
Robert Sidoti
So good to hear Ayla! I too am a big fan of the strength building practices, it's important to find a nice balance between the flexibility yoga is so often associated with and building strength you can use in your daily life:) Have a beautiful day!
Erika H
2 people like this.
I always get more than I expect from practicing with you, Robert Sidoti -- and I've come to expect a lot! Thanks for being you. Please don't stop offering us more videos!
Robert Sidoti
Good to know this Erika, I appreciate you sharing this:) I am in, let's keep this going! Good hearing from you!
Erika H
2 people like this.
Ha! I didn't know that I'd "liked" this -- and commented on it, 3 months ago -- until I finished it again today. Still a winner! And I sat down to laugh when you said, "Nooooo, not because I'm TIRED...." Thanks again!
Robert Sidoti
Still a winner, I like that Erika!
Never because I'm tired, I don't get fatigued or tired, haha:)
Happy you're still around!!
1-10 of 25

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial