Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Center and Ground

20 min - Practice


We stay low to the ground with this simple opening sequence to center and ground in preparation for our first short (about 4 minutes) breath-focused meditation. You will feel grounded and clear.

Click here to listen to the playlist Julian created to go along with this practice, then come back here start the above video at the same time to enjoy the full synchronized experience!
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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Thanks so much for joining me. Let's get started. You're going to come right onto your hands and knees. And when you found your way onto your hands and knees, I want you to pause for a moment and just take a couple of breaths here. And as you feel the breath moving through your body, become aware of the places where you're touching the floor. So feel your hands and your fingers. Feel your knees and your feet. Let yourself arrive right here, right now, on your mat.

We're going to gently lift the head a little as you inhale, and then carefully hang the head as you exhale. As you look up now, breathing in, your back can arch a little more, chest moving through the shoulders. And as you hang your head breathing out, your back can round a little more, and feel how the pelvis comes along for the ride. And let's stay with those cat-cow arches for a few more breaths. And the sense here is that you're linking breath and movement and awareness of your body.

And on this inhale, as you look up, tuck your toes onto the mat. We'll exhale back to downward dog. When you arrive at downward dog, bend one knee, bend the other knee. Walk a little side to side and just notice how your legs are feeling. Hamstrings, calves, the Achilles tendons, the feet. Good. Now both heels can press down as the hips lift up and back, spread your fingers.

Let your head hang, maybe shake out the neck a little as you take a breath here. And on your next exhale, let the knees come gently down. You're going to walk the hands out in front of you several inches so you can put your forehead on the mat. Now your hips should be up in the air, leaning back. Feel free to adjust a little if you need to. So you get a nice shoulder stretch here.

Chest pressing down, hips leaning back. Let's breathe into the shoulders. Take a full breath in here and you might just sigh something out from the last few days. Let the exhale out through the mouth. Good. And now walking one hand back in and then the other, and you're on your hands and knees again. From this position, I want you to take an inhale and as you exhale, extend the left leg straight back. See if you can keep the hips pretty square, start to activate your belly a little, and maintain this position as the right arm comes forward, holding your center, sensing the ground beneath you.

And then let's float both limbs down. Take another inhale here. On the exhale, the right leg goes straight back. Feel what it's like to find your center on this side. Keep everything as it is as best you can as the left arm goes forward. Let's take an inhale here and then exhale the limbs down. And we're back into Cat-Cow. So looking up, hanging head, we're arching and rounding.

Don't you just start to play with additional movements here. Rotate through the hips a little. Go off the midline. Spiral through the ribs. Let your head roll. Let all those movements just kind of happen together as you loosen up and warm up your body. And now inhaling, look up. Tuck toes onto the mat. We'll exhale again to Dumber Dog. And as you're ready here, come down onto your knees. Tuck the toes back.

And if you're comfortable sitting on your knees like this for a moment, do that. If you need to sit in another position, that's fine. Close your eyes and take a couple breaths. Now that we've gotten the blood pumping a little, how does your body feel? How's the energy now? I want to invite you to let your eyes open and do this little orienting exercise with me. So you're going to turn your head slowly to one side with your eyes open and then slowly come back the other way.

And as you're doing this, just notice what you see. Notice the room around you. Notice what's in the room. And just letting your instinctive brain orient itself to being right here, right now. When you've come back to center next, close your eyes and feel if that sense of orientation brings you into your center a little bit more. Just notice what that's like for you as you take a breath. Good. Now we're going to slide the fingers back onto the floor. Let your eyes open if they're still closed.

And we're lifting the hips into just a half camel here. Say hello to your quadriceps. Your head can hang back or your chin can stay close to your chest, whatever feels better. Come back down out of that. Take a breath in. As you exhale, let's lift up again. Take another breath here. And then coming back down. We'll go back to downward dog. Hands on the mat, tuck toes, press back. Walk a little side to side.

And then heels press down. You can shake out the head a little. One more inhale here. On the exhale, put the knees down. Now we're going to keep the toes tucked under and bring the hands back onto the heels and go into a more progressed version of camel. So lifting, head can go back or chin could stay on the chest. Ease out of it. Let's inhale up and exhale down. We'll do two more. Good. Now when you've come down, let's keep the toes tucked under and if you can come back into a squat. So I caught myself there. You might walk your hands back. Your heels may or may not be on the floor.

Let's take a moment here in the squat with the hands in Namaste. And again, close your eyes here. Take a couple of breaths, feeling the symmetry of the pose and the sense of being in your center. Beautiful. From here, you're going to come down onto your butt. I need to scoot forward on the mat a little. You might need to as well and come onto your back. On your back, bring your arms up overhead. We'll have the knees bent and the feet flat on the mat. I'm just going to sway the knees side to side a little. And as you do this, play with the sense that your feet are initiating the movement.

And as your feet initiate the movement, you're aware of your thighs and your hips and your low back. Let's go a couple more times side to side. Let there be slow, steady breath as you move. And then come back up to center. From here, let's put the left ankle on the right thigh and we'll come into this figure four hip stretch. So lifting the right foot, the left arm goes through, hands can clasp somewhere on that right leg.

Now, if this is at all problematic for your hip or your low back, you could have that right foot on the floor. You could have it on the block or even against the wall. Really listen to your body. Both knees are bent here and the toes can draw back gently on both feet. When you're ready, close your eyes here and focus awareness on the sensations in that left hip. Feel for a sense that you're breathing into those sensations like you're nourishing and tending to that left hip and low back area.

Let's take three more slow, deep breaths. And you might let this exhale out gently through the mouth. Sense of letting go as you gently unclasp hands, uncross legs. Put the feet on the mat again with the arms beside you. Notice the difference in how you feel on each side here.

How's the energy now? As you're ready, right ankle on left thigh, right arm goes through, hands could clasp either on the shin or the back of the thigh. You might find that you need a strap here or you need to modify with that left foot on the block or the floor, maybe even against the wall. That's fine. When you're ready, close your eyes. Let's keep coming back to being centered in your body.

So feel the shape of the pose. Focus your first impression here as you come on to the right side. Focus your breath into any sensations that you feel and see if you can be kind to yourself. Be patient with whatever the experience is. Let it be as it is one breath at a time.

Let's take three more here, nice and slow and deep, intentional breaths just present in this moment. Good, and you might let this exhale sigh out again if that feels good. And we'll carefully unclasp and uncross. I want you to put the feet flat on the mat again and I call this the neutral position. The feet are flat, the knees are bent.

We're going to put the hands palm up alongside the body. Close your eyes here and focus your breath into your hips and your thighs and your low back. Feeling the work you've been doing there. And try this tantric breath with me. So it's an inhale through the nose into the lower body and it's an exhale through the mouth in two parts.

Sounds like. As I do that two part exhale, I want to feel it resonating through my body and I'm going to tilt my face back just a little as if I was sending the breath over my head. So it goes like this. Try a couple more. Good. And now just relax.

Let your breath be soft and natural and scan awareness through your whole body. So sensing down to toes out to fingers up to head. Notice anything that's starting to feel good right now. Any sense of what we call a resource. So resources, anything that connects you to a sense of well-being, maybe gratitude, love, safety, beauty.

Any relationships in which you feel really accepted. Maybe it's a sensation that shows up right now or a color that you're aware of. So no right or wrong answer. I'll be quiet. You take a couple breaths and practice taking in the good, really receiving anything that's feeling good right now.

I want you to try one more of those two part tantric exhales. Just notice how it feels now. Sensing down to toes out to fingers up to head, earth beneath you, air against your skin, really at home in your body. Great. And when you're ready to draw your knees in and rock a little and then come on to one side and we're going up to sitting to finish with our concentration meditation. So I'm going to find a comfortable seated position for myself. And what I find is having the hips a little higher than the knees is comfortable.

So I'm using the blanket and I'm sitting with the blanket folded over a couple of times right under my sit bones. So the hips are higher than the knees. So you do what you need to do. For some people sitting flat is fine. For some people being a little elevated.

Some people like sitting on the knees, maybe with a block or a cushion under the butt. All good. If you're brand new to sitting, you may find that sitting with your back against the wall works for you. That's okay as well. Just don't slump into it and kind of get sleepy.

See if you can sit up nice and tall even with that support. So let's get started. If you're comfortable closing your eyes, do that right now. Your hands can be resting wherever they're comfortable. Sit up nice and tall.

Be aware of your body as we sit here together in this moment. Notice where you're touching the floor. Feel where your hands are resting. Notice where the air touches your skin. Just the simple details of this moment.

Become aware now of your breath rising and falling. And so it doesn't have to be like a super deep yoga breath, but let it be a little deeper than if you were breathing unconsciously. So bring a little emphasis to the breath. And notice where you feel it. Do you feel the breath against your nostrils or your upper lip?

Maybe you feel it in the back of your throat or in your chest, your belly. Perhaps some combination. Notice that, the feeling of the breath moving in and out. Good, and what we're going to do here is practice a concentration technique, which is a way of cultivating mental focus. And I want to encourage you just to practice the technique.

Don't be hard on yourself. Don't have expectations of what should or shouldn't happen. Just practice the technique, so it's really simple. As you inhale, we count one. And at your own pace, when you exhale, count two.

Your inhale will be three. And your exhale is four. When you're ready to breathe in, count five. And breathing out will be six. And the inhale is seven.

And the exhale is eight. Breathing in is nine. And breathing out is ten. Really simple. Do another round with me.

When you're ready to inhale, we're counting one. Just staying present. The exhale is two. The inhale is three. And the exhale is four.

Breathing in is five. And breathing out will be six. As you inhale, seven and eight, nine. And this exhale is ten. I want to challenge you to do one round by yourself, counting for yourself.

If you lose track, just begin again at one. No big deal. It's an exercise. Let's sit together now, starting with Juan on the inhale. Good.

So whatever number you're at, that's fine. Let the counting go. Be aware of sitting right here, right now in your center. And I want to offer you these words from Rumi who says, First and last, I am only this breath-breathing human being. So if you're ready, let your eyes softly open.

Bring your hands together. And I hope that today you feel empowered and loved to be exactly this breath-breathing human being. Thank you.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
That was lovely. Such a calm, welcoming approach. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season! 🌞
Base Camp Reno
Great wake up session for the breath and mind.
Christine R
I really enjoyed this video, he used simple techniques and very easy to follow. I also appreciated the breathing technique to really connect from within. Thank you! 🤗
Sara O
1 person likes this.
I really enjoyed this session. Looking forward to continue practice.
Deidra S
1 person likes this.
Yum, yum, yum. Thank you so much, Julian, for this delicious interospective practice. more please!!! Will you be offering any videos of your free dance practices?
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much! Glad you like it. Base Camp Reno Christine Deidra Jenny Sara
Deirdre, this season does not feature any Dance Tribe sessions, but you CAN listen to FREE playlists from those on :) Just search my name there...
Rachel B
1 person likes this.
So appreciative of this grounding accessible practice!
1 person likes this.
Rachel thanks for letting me know, rachel!
1 person likes this.
Great start to my Monday. Thanks for a sweet practice Julian .
most welcome, sara!
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