Ayurveda: Practices to Feel Like Yourself Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Vata Morning Practice

25 min - Practice
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Description

Ali guides us in a flow sequence designed to balance vata energy in the body. We move through a series of grounding postures including warrior poses, wide stances, and squatting postures to feel stable and sturdy. While this sequence can be practiced at any time during the day, it is specifically great for mornings when you may be feeling a bit spacey and want to invite in grounded energy.

Ali has created a Vata playlist on Spotify to go along with this practice.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Transcript

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Namaste. I'm Allie. We're going to begin in Sukhasana today. Legs are crossed, and we'll start off with what I call Sufi circles, and this is an exercise from the Kundalini tradition. You'll just start to inhale forward and around, and exhale back and around, and inhale forward and around, and exhale back and around. And you'll just stay with that. And try to make the circles as smooth and full as possible. And there's no wrong here, so if you want to let your head drop in with it, you can do that. Anything that feels good, just a way of getting your breath and your movement starting to open up. And after you've done that for a few rounds, I don't know, maybe ten or so, you can start to take it in the other side. Big circles. Forward and around, and back and around. Nice and smooth. And as you're doing this, see if you can keep the hips anchored and the tailbone dropping down. Last couple of rounds of this. Nice and easy. And then come back to the middle. And one or two breaths right here. Just simple breathing, sitting, preparing. Preparing for your day. Preparing for whatever it is that you need to get done today. And in a very grounded way. Come off your block. If you're sitting on one, you can slide that off to the side. And then we'll meet up in a child's pose. So coming right down. Wide legs, big toes together, arms out long in front of you. And you might even turn the palms upward here. A little bit more of a gesture of surrender. And if there's an intention that you want to set, you could do that here. And then come on forward onto your hands and your knees. And we'll start off with some gentle cat-cows. So on the inhale, arch the spine and look up. And on the exhale, let the spine round and drop your chin in towards your chest.

And then you'll stay with that. Inhaling and arching and exhaling and rounding. And as you're doing this, see if you can get a sense that the feet are pressing down, the shins are dropping down. You're feeling the spread of your fingers that you're very supported here. And rounding the spine. And then come back to a neutral spine. You'll tuck the toes under and from the lift of the hips, lengthening out the legs, coming into downward facing dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana. When I'm doing a vata practice, I like to keep my legs a little bit wider than usual in my down dog. It just gives me a sense of feeling more stable and sturdy. From there, lift up the heels and let's roll out to plank pose. Nice and long and strong. And press back into child's pose. Knees come down, hips to heels, arms out long, head dropping. Inhale back onto your hands and your knees. And exhale, tuck the toes under, lift the hips, downward facing dog, tailbone reaching high. One more time like that just to get some flow going. Roll out, plank pose. And press back, child's pose. Still pressing down through the tops of the feet and the shins. Inhale back onto your hands and your knees. And none of this needs to be rushed. It can all just be very soft and graceful. Inhale your right leg up. Open up the hip and the knee, flex the foot. Be very deliberate with the way that you use your feet. So I'm working on to square off the shoulders and I'm contracting the back of my right leg so that I open up the front of the hip. Stretch the right leg back up on your inhale. On the exhale step it wide of your right hand and we're coming into a wide lunge. Peel open your right arm in an easy twist. And then just a couple of breaths there and the gravity of the hips dropping a little bit here. Opening up the chest. Bring your right hand back down. Step back downward facing dog. Lift up the heels and roll out, plank pose. Pressing back, child's pose. This time we're coming forward into a baby cobra so you can just lengthen yourself out onto your belly, draw the shoulders back, press into the fingers and move through bent knees into downward facing dog again. So it's just easy on the joints, gentle and let the head drop. And then those wider legs for the down dog again. As you're ready, left leg up. Bend the knee, flex the foot, open up the hip. Working to keep the shoulders as square as possible here. And then lengthen the left leg back up and step it outside of your left hand. Coming into that wide lunge, peel open your left arm and twist. And a couple of breaths right there. Letting the whole left side open up. And then left hand down and step back downward facing dog. One more time, rolling out, plank pose. Press back, child's pose. Looking forward, slide out onto your belly, pressing into the tops of the feet, baby cobra. Pull the shoulders back and then again through bent knees into downward facing dog. And from here we'll start to take a nice slow walk forward. One step at a time. Coming all the way towards the front of your mat. And when you get there, heel toe your feet about as wide as your mat and angle your toes out slightly. We're coming into a squat and it's early to be coming into this squat with the backs of the arms opening up the thighs. So if you do need a block here, you can just grab a block, place it underneath your sitz bones, and hang out there for a moment. And my knee people, this would probably be a good one for you. When you're done with that, a few breaths right there. We're going to lengthen out the legs and parallel off the toes. Soften your knees, keep your head heavy, relax your arms, relax your jaw, and roll your way up and you can keep your head heavy, your arms heavy, pressing the ground away with the feet. And when you get to the top, give the shoulders a big roll, forward and up and back and down, and then sweep the arms all the way up, palms meeting above the head, reach up and on the exhale, release your arms down by your sides and you can have a moment in these wider legs just to be in your Tadasana. A couple of breaths right there. And when you're ready to move, inhale, reach the arms up and on the exhale, follow your prayer through you and fold forward over your legs, hands down towards the ground. You can bend the knees as much as you need to there. Step your right foot back into a lunge and look forward. Downward facing dog with your breath out. Lift up your heels and roll out, plank pose, and then you'll lower either Chaturanga or to the ground. Come into upward facing or you can stay with Cobra and downward facing dog with your breath out.

Reach your right leg up. Step it outside of your right hand again. Right away, step your left foot outside of your left hand and come back into your squat. Palms together, opening up the thighs. Bring your hands down, lift your hips up high, lengthen out your legs, parallel off your toes. Again, tucking the chin, roll your way up to stand, sweep the arms up and release your arms by your sides. Again, like that. Inhale, reach the arms up and on the exhale, pull a prayer into you, folding forward. Send your left leg back into a lunge. Downward facing dog with your breath out. Lift up the heels and roll out, plank. Bring Chaturanga. Inhale, upward facing dog and exhale back, downward facing dog. Reach your left leg up. Step it outside of your left hand. Step your right foot outside of your right hand, come back into your squat. Bring your hands down, lift your hips up high, lengthen out your legs, parallel off the toes and roll up. And then we're just going to stay in motion like that. Inhale, the arms up right away this time. Exhale, folding forward. Send your right leg back and right into down dog. Plank pose and lower. Keep it nice and smooth. Inhale up, upward facing dog. Exhale back, downward facing dog. Reach your right leg. Exhale it outside of your right hand. Step your left foot outside of your left hand, come back into your squat. Hands down, hips high, long legs, parallel toes, soften the knees, roll up. Smooth, full breath. Inhale the arms. Exhale, folding forward. Send your left leg back and downward facing dog. Rolling out into plank on your inhale, lowering halfway. Exhale back up, up dog. Exhale back down dog. Reach your left leg up. Step it outside of your left hand. Step your right foot outside of your right hand, come back into a squat. Hands down, hips high, long legs, parallel toes, soften the knees and roll your way up.

Last time with this inhale, reach the arms up. Exhale, folding forward. Send your right leg back, looking forward, downward facing dog. Plank pose, lifting the heels, legs stay strong for Chaturanga. Inhale into upward facing dog. Flip the toes, reach through the heart and exhale back, downward facing dog. Take your right leg up. Step it outside of your right hand. Step your left foot outside of your left hand, coming back into a squat. Hands down, hips high, long legs, parallel toes, soften the knees and roll up. Last time inhale. Exhale, folding forward. Step the left leg back. Right into down dog. Plank pose, lower it down, rising back up. Hips high, down dog. Take your left leg up. Step it outside of your left hand. Step your right foot outside of your right hand, come back into your squat. Hands down, hips high, long legs, parallel toes, soften the knees and roll up. At the top, reach the arms up. And have a moment back in your Tadasana. And then you'll step the feet together and come into Utkatasana. Sinking the hips back, reaching up through the arms. And again, just a moment to feel the legs underneath you. And then fold forward over your legs. Come onto your fingertips and lengthen out your spine. And then you can hop, but I like to step for this one. Coming through Chaturanga, inhale up dog and exhale back, downward facing dog. And we'll start our standing poses. Lift your right leg up, step it in between your hands, spin your back heel down. Come on up into warrior one, reaching up through the arms. And if the shoulders need more space, you'll just keep the arms apart. Lengthen out your right leg, take your arms back behind you, lift your head, lift your chest, lean back on your inhale, deep bend of your right knee, arms stay winged back behind you, folding forward, drop your head. Send your left arm forward, up and over, we'll come into warrior two, you might need to adjust the back foot. And then turn your right palm up and lean back into peaceful warrior. From there, hands come down to the ground, step back, and we'll take it through a vinyasa. And if the vinyasa feels like too much today, skip it, hang out and down dog, and we'll meet you on the other side. Reach your left leg up, step it in between your hands, spin your back heel down, come coming up, warrior one, reaching up, and then lengthen out your left leg, take your arms back behind you, a moment just to lift the chest, and then deep bend of the left knee to fold forward, drop your head, let your neck go, coming back down towards the ground. Right arm reaches forward this time, circle it around, coming into warrior two, nice wide stance, turn your left palm up, lean back, peaceful warrior, reach through the side waist and then let your hands come down to the ground, step back, vinyasa, or right into your downward facing dog. And then we're just going to build on that sequence. So lift your right leg up, we'll start off exactly the same, stepping forward, spin the back heel down, coming up into warrior one, lengthen out your right leg, arms come back behind you, lift the head, lift the chest, that's your inhale, deep bend of the right knee folding forward on your exhale, stretch your left arm forward, chase it up and over, let's come into warrior two, leaning back into a peaceful warrior, and this time we're coming right into extended side angle uttita parsva kanasana, so forearm to the right thigh or right hand down to the ground or a block, sweep the left arm over your ear and then stay long in the entire left side of the body, keeping the shoulder blades dropping down, the legs are enough to hold you here. From there come back into warrior two, right away, lengthen out your right leg, lean back, reverse triangle, pulling up out of the legs, out of the hips, out of the lower back, let your hands come down to the ground, step back, take it through your vinyasa. So the poses just start to layer in a couple at a time, slow and smooth, lift your left leg up, stepping forward, spin your back heel down, and there's a lot of deliberate movement in the feet, reach the arms up warrior one, lengthening out your left leg, take your arms back behind you, lift the head, lift the chest, leaning back, deep bend of your left knee as you fold forward, send the right arm forward, up and around into warrior two, lean back into your peaceful warrior, extended side angle with the breath out, again forearm to thigh, or left hand to the ground or a block, sweep the right arm over you, and as you're here, can you get a sense even that the heels are pulling in towards each other so that the legs stay super stable, come back up into warrior two, lengthen out your left leg, lean back, reverse triangle, reach through the side waist, let your hands come down, step back, chaturanga dandasana, inhaling upward facing dog, and exhaling back downward facing dog, reach your right leg up, last time with this sequence step it forward, spin your back heel down, let's come up warrior one, reaching up, lengthen out your right leg, take the arms back behind you, big lift there, open up the chest, draw the shoulder blades together, you're a little warmer here so see if you can go deeper, the head is dropping, stretch the left arm forward, up and around into warrior two, turn the right palm up, lean back, peaceful warrior, coming right into extended side angle, and coming into it a little bit deeper this time, whatever that means to you, it could be the physical body, it could be that the breath has deepened, or hopefully the mind feels a little bit more focused and present, and then when you're ready, coming up warrior two, lengthen out your right leg, lean back, reverse triangle, reach through, and coming right into your triangle pose, right hand will come down, left arm reaches up, and I like to connect the thumb and index finger in my triangle pose with the upright hand, just a little reminder, mudras are such a great way to bring intention into the practice, and then take your left hand to your left hip, walk your right hand forward, we're coming into artichandrasana, so if you need a block, you can place it underneath the right hand, lifting up the left leg, the left arm, reaching through every part of the body, all the limbs, and we're going to slide right back into triangle pose, touch the foot, and reach over. From there, circle the left arm in front of your face, turn your right toes in to meet your left, hanging over facing the side wall, nice wide legs, prasarita, padottanasana, tuck your chin, and roll up, at the top, reach the arms all the way up, an eagle wrap, right arm underneath the left, turn out your toes, bend your knees, drop your hips, and you could give this a little bit of a sway, so this is kind of a signature pose here, this one is called Kali, so drop into the hips, open up the thighs, take a full breath in, and then open your mouth and breathe it out, one more time like that, inhale, and exhale, come right back into your warrior two, reaching up and back, peaceful warrior, hands down to the ground, step back, chaturanga dandasana, inhale up dog, and exhale down dog, reach your left leg up, step it forward, spin your back heel down, warrior one, lengthening out your left leg, arms reach back, a little lift and reach, and then folding, dropping the crown of the head in, take your right arm forward, up and over, warrior two, turn the left palm up, lean back, peaceful warrior, extended side angle with the breath out, left hand to the ground, if you'd like it there, reaching over with the right arm, and then from the squeeze of the heels, coming up, warrior two, lengthen out your left leg, lean back, reverse triangle, and triangle with the breath out, reaching up, and if you liked the mudra on the other side, you could try it here, just thumb and index finger together on the right hand, looking up, giving yourself a little bit of a focus there, and take your right hand to your right hip, walk your left hand forward, artichandrasana, and you've got all the time here, you know, there doesn't need to be any rush, just make the movements as grounded and steady as you need, take the time, and then you'll come back into triangle pose, and there's a deep bend of the left knee to get into that one, sweep the right arm over your ear, swing it around in front of you, turn your left toes in to meet your right, tuck your chin, and roll up, at the top, reach the arms up, and then take your right arm underneath, eagle wrap the arms, bend the knees, full breath in, open your mouth, breathe it out, you can make a sound, you could take a sigh, one more time, breathe in, and exhale everything out, coming back towards the front of your map, take it into peaceful warrior, and slip your hands down to the ground, step back, and vinyasa.

When you've come back into your down dog, again, you can step the feet a little wider, let the head drop, shake anything out that you need to, and then let's roll out into plank pose, drop your knees, hips to heels, child's pose one more time, you can turn the palms up if you like that, taking a moment just to come back to your breath, to stillness, and then take your hands underneath your shoulders, push yourself slowly up to sit, and we're going to come right back to where we started, but I'm going to encourage you to change the crossing of your legs, so if you started with the right leg in front, start with the left leg in front, and then hands on the thighs one more time, let's come into those Sufi circles just like we started, inhaling forward and around, and exhaling back and around, as smooth as possible, and if you like to close your eyes, you can close your eyes here, and as you're doing that, just notice if you feel a little bit more open, a little bit more ready for your day, and you'll take a handful of those, come back to the center, and change sides, just to keep it even, big circles, moving through the torso, a leg, stay steady, and last couple times with this, and then coming back into the center, a full breath, take your hands to your heart in Anjali Mudra, and you can let your head bow in slightly, and thank yourself for taking the time to do something that is nurturing, something for self-care, and thank you so much for joining me, have a beautiful day, namaste.

Comments

Anika J
3 people like this.
Awesome teacher
Simon ?
2 people like this.
An effective start to the day for Vata types. Feeling much more stable and grounded after this. Blessings Ali.
Hester M
3 people like this.
I needed this so much. Struggling with autoimmune disorders including lots of spaceyness. This is helping to ground me and find spaciousness so I can actually hear my own voice. Thanks Ali
Simon ?
7 people like this.
One thing Ali. These sequences are pretty rapid. Can you explain why this is a good thing for Vata balancing. Blessings!
Ali Cramer
3 people like this.
Hi Simon! My take on sequencing Vinyasa flow for each of the Doshas is to look at it in terms of the elements. For Vata, I try to add elements of Earth, Water, and a dash of Fire to counteract all the Air and Space. For a morning practice, I focused on Water more than earth and fire, thus the squatting (second chakra opening) and (what I hope is) graceful smooth flowing shapes. Thanks for your input!
Francie W
1 person likes this.
Thank you Ali! I'm definitely feeling more like myself. This one's a favorite!
Francie W
1 person likes this.
Loving this for my morning today. Thank you!
Ali Cramer
Thank you so much [Francie Webb! Helps me so much in the morning!
Scuba Chick
1 person likes this.
This is a good sequence. I'm working around an injury so do my best with the down exercises but the body definitely feels awake, full of heat, and alive. Hips open. Thank you!
Catherine N
1 person likes this.
fantastic class just what I needed for Monday morning!!
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