Practice with Mark Robberds Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Seated Hip Exploration

35 min - Practice
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Building on the Seated Postures Exploration, we continue with deep hip and hamstring opening, forward bending, and twists, before moving into backbends and Sirsasana (Headstand). We close with alternate nostril breathing and a seated meditation.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi guys, welcome back. Let's continue with the seated series and we will start with this squatting position. If you need to, you can roll your mat up, place it under the heels as much as you need. If you can, feet parallel or you can have the feet turned out a little bit like I have. You want to keep the spine lifted nice and straight. You can bring the thighs on the outside of the ribs, the ribs to the inside and just bring the hands into prayer. Pull the shoulders down, press the elbows out as you squeeze the knees in. Just take a moment here, closing the eyes and connecting with your breath. And then from there, you can take your hands back behind you, come down onto the floor and bring your feet out in front. I'm trying to make a diamond shape or a star shape, Tarasana the star and bring your hands in front. Take a breath in, lift the chest and then exhale, moving from the hips and then bring the head to the feet. Just take a few breaths here, relaxing, softening through the shoulders and the neck. And then inhale and come up and you can take your feet apart and flex the feet, lifting the knees up a little to feel like you're squeezing the backs of the knees. So notice as I squeeze the legs like that, what it does is it helps tilt the pelvis forward. So you're going to continue that and bring your hands under your legs. Try to wrap the hands over the top and then continue squeezing the backs of the knees so that you're rolling onto the front edge of the pelvis. So you squeeze, rolling onto the front edge of the pelvis, trying to move forward from your hips, extending the spine. Okay, so you're not rounding the back, trying to stretch forward and then you come up and take your legs out to the side and we'll just stretch to the left side first. So you turn to the left, take a breath in and then exhale, go forward. If you can, lying along the leg and then inhale to come up, turning to the right side, exhaling. Again, inhale and then exhale, going forward and then inhale, come up and then bring the hands forward. So at this point you may need to put a blanket under the hips so you can get onto the front edge of the sitting bones or you bend the knees. If you can, you keep the legs straight and then bring the hands forward and try to move from this rounded position to extending the spine and try not to let the thighs roll in. So keep the knees pointing straight up to the ceiling, keep the legs strong as you lift the chest and then start to slowly go forward. Slowly perhaps, with lots of practice coming all the way, keep spreading the toes, keep the legs strong. Exhale and then slowly coming up as you inhale and then we're going to attempt the same thing, balancing, so you lean back. So just notice here you're not on the front edge of the sitting bones, you're going to roll back a little towards the sacrum and then lift your legs up. You may need to keep the knees bent and if your knees are bent you'll just be here or you hold the backs of the knees or here or you can even hold the big toes and if possible you try to come toward the front edge of the sitting bones as you lift up and really press forward with the big toes. You can also do the same thing holding the sides of the feet, lifting the chest, pull the shoulders down, stretch the throat and then roll back a little and bring the knees in and we're going to slowly lower down one vertebrae at a time and then bring the knees into the chest and then you want to try and roll up and find the point of balance and again rolling down one vertebrae at a time and roll up, find the point of balance and then you can do it without the hands on the back, rock and roll up finding the point of balance and then you can try rolling down one vertebrae at a time and then extending the legs straight out in front then raising the right leg, bring the right knee into the chest and then rounding the backs, peeling the spine off the floor, touch the head to the knee and then release the hands and hold and then inhale, take the head back to the floor now straightening the leg as best you can point the foot, spread the toes, take the hands to the back of the leg again lifting the spine one vertebrae at a time off the floor, try and take your head to your knee and then exhale and release the hands but try and keep the head and knee touching and hold and then inhale, head down, hug the knee to the chest and then take your knee out to the side, flex the foot, try to kick your heel up towards the ceiling and really feel like you're stretching or lengthening through this line coming out through the left big toe, through the psoas and in this case out through the left hand and then from there you're going to reach down and hold the inside of the foot and straighten your leg keeping that external rotation perhaps bringing the foot all the way to the floor, try to stay grounded through the left hip, take one more breath in and then exhale and inhale coming back up to the middle and then bending the knee, hold the knee to the left hand this time and take the leg across to the side, keep that right shoulder moving back towards the floor, you can look to the right hand, you can turn the palm to face down and then inhale come back to the middle, you can try the same thing with straight legs so reach up and hold the big toe of the right foot can bring the thumb into the crease of the hip joint and externally rotate the hip and then take the foot across the body but try to keep for the moment this hip on the floor keep the left leg straight and then from there you take the leg all the way across change the hand position and look to the right hand and then inhale come back to the middle and exhale straighten the leg, do the other side bringing the left knee, hug the knee to the chest and then touching the head to the knee, keep the right leg straight then release and hold and breathe, then inhale head down and straighten the leg, take the hands to the back of the foot flexing the foot and same again peeling the spine off the floor one vertebrae time, try and bring the head and the knee to touch with the head and the shin and then exhale release but keep the leg and the head touching and hold, good and then inhale head down, bend the knee take the leg to the side, foot flex, kick the heel up towards the ceiling, try and hug the knee right up into the armpit and then you're going to reach and take the hold of the inside of the foot and start to straighten the leg keeping the right hip grounded perhaps taking the foot to the floor if you can and then reaching through that right hand feeling that connection from the little finger of the right hand all the way down through the big toe of the right foot and then release and then inhale bring the leg to the center so it is hugging the knee to the chest and we take the leg across to the side try to keep that left shoulder toward the floor you can use the right hand to press the left knee down and then coming back to the middle we do the same thing with straight legs straighten the left leg grab a hold of the big toe or the ankle take the left thumb into the hip crease and feel like you're moving the top of the hip away from the ribs externally rotating the hip and then just take the foot across without letting the hip lift off the floor you'll feel a stretch through the outer hip here and then go into the full twist you can change the hand position hold the outside of the foot and look towards the left hand and then inhaling and coming back to the middle straighten the legs and then bending the knees so then rolling back onto the shoulders grab a hold of the big toes and so you either keep the knees bent here or straight so start with the knees bent and rolling up one vertebrae at a time find the point of balance and then start to straighten the legs and so let's try that again we roll back this time with straight legs if possible rock one vertebrae at a time and we come up and then pointing the feet pull the shoulders down lift the toes stretch the throat and then bending the knees roll down one vertebrae at a time and this time either hold the backs of the legs the heels or the sides of the feet so we touch so bend the knees roll up find the point of balance and let's roll back again and this time try it with straight legs push into the toes rounding the back as you roll forward grab a hold a better grip on the feet and inhale lift the chest point the feet spread the toes and then exhale try to fold slowly if possible bringing the thighs and the chest together and then inhale head up and then try to keep the chest and thighs touching as you exhale and then cross the feet roll forward lift up inhale and exhale step back lower down chitataranga and inhaling to upward dog and exhale to the downward dog and look forward inhale step or jump cross the legs and sit down and we're going to some back bending so lying down on your backs just go through the bridge to start with feet parallel hip width apart and start with a different variation bringing the hands up spreading the shoulder blades reaching for the ceiling curl the tailbone under and lift the hips one vertebrae at a time rolling the thighs in pull the shoulders towards the hips and then exhale one vertebrae at a time down rock the pelvis of pubic bone goes between the thighs feel the lower back lift off the floor press the hands into the floor and then start to flatten the lower back as the tailbone lifts and lift the hips up and then exhale one vertebrae at a time down again rocking the pelvis of the lower back comes off the floor and then moving the other direction as the tailbone lifts and interlock the fingers now bring the shoulder blades together keep trying to lift the chest up towards the chin and then exhale and lower down now either repeat that three more times or stretch the hands over the head and then place the hands next to the shoulders and again lifting the tailbone up hips lift as we inhale to the top of the head exhaling and then straightening the arms to inhale and then exhale bring the chin in and lower down again one vertebrae at a time rock the pelvis pubic bone between the legs lower back lifts and get a hold of the tailbone as you inhale lift the hips exhale to the top of the head elbows in inhale lifting up lift the chin try to straighten the legs as you exhale lower down to the upper back middle back and lower back and again rocking the pelvis lower back lifts and then get a hold of the tailbone and hips lift inhale exhale to the head elbows in inhale up and let's hold this one try to straighten the arms straighten the legs bring the chin to the chest let's hold three four and five and then exhaling coming down onto the upper back mid back and lower back and let's hug the knees to the chest flex the feet like we did at the beginning of the class try to just have the lower back off the floor just slightly as you hug the knees in towards the armpits and then flattening the lower back bring the knees to the chest and give yourself a hug and then inhale feet up and exhale rock up and let's come to a high plank inhaling and exhale lower down jataranga inhaled upward dog and exhale to the dharma dog and from this position in the dharma dog I want you to rotate your arms out until your elbows start to come towards the floor and try to touch the elbows to the floor and then from there push back into the dharma dog once more spreading the shoulder blades wrapping the arms around and bringing the elbows down to the floor and then pushing into the floor keeping the shoulder blades spreading one more time spreading the shoulder blades elbows coming down to the floor and then pushing to the hands straightening the arms okay and we're going to use that action to prepare for the headstand so we come forward finding shoulder width crossing your arms and holding the elbows and then interlock the fingers pressing the wrist and the elbows into the floor and take your head to the floor shoulders spread away from the ears press down through the wrist press through the elbows and then walking in coming onto the toe tips either lift one foot and then the other or lift both feet at the same time coming to this tuck position and then straightening the legs keep pressing through the wrist through the elbows shoulders away from the ears try to find your samasthiti tadasana alignment ribs in tailbone moving towards the heels keeping the legs strong slight internal rotation can point the feet and spread the toes or you can just point the feet and the toes slowing the breath right down keeping the face and the throat relaxed preparing the knees and then preparing to come down either come down with the knees bent or if you can with the legs straight make sure to keep pressing into the arms spreading the shoulders come down with control and then going into child's pose keeping the head down and coming to your high plank and to chaturanga inhaling upward dog exhale downward facing dog and inhale jump step forward and sit down and coming into comfortable cross leg position and inhale stretch the arms up exhale go forward again inhale lift the chest and exhale let the head come down between the arms relaxing the neck take one more breath in exhale and then inhale to come up we're going to a twist take the left hand to the right knee lift the chest inhale and exhale twist inhale look forward exhale and change sides inhale lift up exhale twist inhale look forward exhale take the right hand back pull the shoulder blades together lift the chest inhale stretch the throat and exhale and then coming into a comfortable cross leg or stay in the position you are in for our breathing exercise so just finding your comfortable seat coming onto the front edge of the sitting bones and then dropping your weight down dropping down through the tailbone bring the thumb and the first finger together and on the right hand bring the index finger and the middle finger to the base of the thumb and the thumb ring and little finger forming a pincer grip you just do some alternate nostril breathing so the thumb is pressing on the right nostril you'll be breathing in through the left and then the ring finger little finger blocking left and you breathe out through the right so let's just first breathe in and then breathing out and blocking the right nostril breathe in through left and out through right breathing through right out through left in left out right in right out left in left out right in right out left relax the hand back to the knee breathing through both and out and doing the breath completely and then returning back to calm relaxed abdominal breathing focusing your awareness in the third eye space taking one more breath in and slowly out and then quietly straighten out the legs and lie down on your back just arranging the body symmetrically bring your awareness to the breath feeling the belly expand with each inhalation the belly falling with each exhalation feeling as if the body is merging into the space around you and then feel free to stay here as long as you wish otherwise stretching the arms over the head take a deep breath in a big stretch and then exhaling and bend the knees to the chest and then roll over onto your right side and slowly come up sitting and find a comfortable seat take a moment to reconnect with your breath turning your awareness within feeling grateful for taking this time for yourself and bring your hands together namaste thank you

Comments

Kate M
Really nice sequencing, Mark. Every so often I hear echoes of Richard Freeman - like the iteration of the psoas lines - which brings me joy in realizing that we share in a common lineage of practice. Vande Gurunam!
Kate M
Coming back to this practice - experiencing how you've created such a complete sequence here. It leads so beautifully into a meditative state. Thank you, Mark.
Kate M
haha - it looks like I keep finding this practice at 1 year intervals. It's a great balanced exploration of flexion/extension of the spine/hips/shoulders. It felt fantastic today.  Thank you, Mark!  
Kate M
omg just realized that I have a little history of comments here! I wanted to say how cool it is to be able to return to these practices multiple times. Finding out how it lands in my body at this moment! I really enjoy your teaching, Mark. YA is such an amazing resource : )

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