Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Moving From Center

30 min - Practice


Notice the evidence of your aliveness. Julian guides us in a stability sequence of centering core work and standing postures before finding our comfortable seat for a brief peace and forgiveness meditation. You will feel stable and centered.

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, Block

About This Video


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Welcome, we're going to start on our backs today. So come onto your back with your knees bent, your feet on the mat, your arms just alongside you, and let's take a few breaths here just to get started. So feel for your breath getting slower and deeper as you arrive in this moment, sensing your body. Feel where you're touching the floor, the air against your skin, and the sensations the breath creates as it moves in and out. I wanted to share with you this image from Rumi where he says, there is a community, there is a community of the breath.

Join it and feel the delight as you step outside the tangle of fear thinking and flow down and down in ever widening rings of being. You might picture a circle around your body, picture a circle around the room that you're in right now and find yourself in your center on your mat. I want you to put your hands on your ribs and with your hands on your ribs, breathe into your hands. So you feel the ribs expanding and you feel the breath leaving your lungs. Do a couple more breaths like that.

Just tuning in on what's happening with your ribs. And I want you at the end of this exhale to hold the breath out for a moment and feel under your hands for a sense of the ribs softening down instead of flaring up. And you may feel your back ribs touching the mat a little bit more. And now as you inhale, feel for internally keeping your ribs right there so that as your belly and your chest fill up, your ribs stay soft in the front and touching the mat in the back. It doesn't have to be perfect.

Take a couple more breaths and just feel into what I'm talking about. Exhale empty, hold the breath out, draw the ribs down, soften them in the front. As you inhale, feel for keeping them there or just practicing maintaining rib position as part of core stability. Do one more. As you inhale, feel for keeping the front of the ribs soft.

Good now slide the hands down onto your low belly and slightly off to the side. I want you to be able to feel your hip bone under each hand and your fingers are touching the soft belly just inside the front of that hip bone. And from there, as you feel the soft belly under your fingers, firm up your belly a little against your fingers. So you're not trying to give yourself a fake beer belly or anything, you're just pressing a little, firming up so you feel that engagement under your fingers. I'm going to work to maintain that now as you take an inhale.

On the exhale, carefully lift your hips up into bridge. Only come up as high as you're comfortable here as we begin. Take an inhale at the top and as you exhale, carefully back down, feeling the movement. Take an inhale at the bottom and you're exhaling to lift the hips again. Take an inhale at the top and as you exhale, coming back down.

Do another four of those and feel for that firmness under your fingers like you're holding your center, hugging your hip bones and your low back securely in place, nice and stable. Good, and this time when your hips land, stay there, let your hands come down onto the floor on either side of you. Be comfortable here, take a breath and just notice how that feels, sensing your body. Good, and for this next exercise we're going to use a block. So go ahead and grab your block.

We're tucking it in between the thighs the narrow way and we're going to clasp the hands under the head. So go ahead and get ready for that. When you've got the block in place, we're lifting head and shoulders. Watch your hands really supporting your head so your neck is easy, the chin is out of the throat here so you're not hyper flexing the neck and the shoulders as elevated as you can get them. You'll feel your core start to tremble here as you hold that position with the shoulders up and we're just going to pulse through the chest.

These are small movements. You're not going a great distance, doesn't have to be super dramatic, just stay elevated and pulse. And as you do this we're going to integrate the lower body so we're planting feet but lifting toes. You'll see the balls of the feet are down, heels are down, but toes are lifting. Thighs squeezing the block a little, that's what it's there for.

Shoulders elevated, neck and jaw easy. Keep going if you can. You can rest any time and then jump back in when you're ready. Just do 10 more seconds. Don't forget to breathe.

Alright resting. And let the arms come down by your sides. Take a couple full breaths there. You may find you want to sigh it out. Notice the energy that you're generating for yourself.

And by energy I mean what are your sensations? What's your mood like? Is there a temperature? Is there a color? Close your eyes and take another breath there.

How's the energy now? And let's go into the second round here. So hands clasp under your head again. We're lifting head and shoulders, same idea here, staying elevated through the shoulders with an easy neck, head really cradled by the hands. And the variation here is to sway side to side.

It's like you're taking the elbow past the opposite knee but staying elevated. So not too much up and down. We're not going down, up, down, up. We're staying elevated. You might picture that your elbows are hanging from the ceiling and we're swaying side to side here.

So all the stability work we've been doing comes into play here as we use these skills. We're going to plant the feet, lift the toes and squeeze the block to keep the legs as steady as possible. And we're going to firm up through the belly just like you were doing against your fingertips to keep the hips and the low back nice and steady. Let's do 10 more seconds here. Interesting.

Interesting. And you might join me in a nice sigh right there letting go. Take a few more breaths here. Notice the evidence of your aliveness. So notice pulsing heart, streaming blood, rippling breath.

The radiance of your nervous system. Really soak that in. Close your eyes and breathe. Keep affirming your aliveness. Keep letting go of anything that's been blocking your aliveness or keeping you shut down or stressed out.

One more full breath. So from here, probably need to reposition the block and you can have the block close to the groin or halfway up the thighs if you like, whatever feels natural. We're going into bridge here and we'll hold bridge for a little longer this time. So the arms alongside you, take an inhale and as you exhale, come on up into bridge. Feel free to be higher or lower as you need.

Really listen to your low back. Same details here as we finish up the stability sequence. So feet plant, toes lift, thighs squeeze, strong legs, firm through the belly, deep breath up into the chest here. See if the breath can get even deeper and keep your jaw and the rest of your face nice and soft. You might close the eyes and let yourself have the experience.

Let the energy do what it needs to do. If something's feeling good, let it in. If something's letting go, trust the process as you breathe. Something's asking for your love right now. Be generous, four more breaths.

When you're ready, carefully curl down. You can move the block aside and I want to give you the choice here either to keep the feet on the floor and sway. You could have the arms up if you want to. That's one option. Or draw the knees into your chest and rock a little, see what feels better to you.

And when you're ready here, we'll meet in neutral position again. So feet are flat, knees are bent, hands are palm up next to you, and we'll play with the tantric breath. So the inhale through the nose, you're focusing breath into hips and low back. The exhale in two parts through the mouth as the face tilts back a little like. Try that again.

Inhale through the nose, the face comes back to neutral. In two parts through the mouth, feel for it resonating in your body to a couple more good. And then just relax with the eyes closed here. Notice any sense of pulsing, streaming, rippling in your body. Notice the sensations that tell you that your system is rebalancing and unwinding.

There may be warmth or tingling, there may be slight trembling, just allow and breathe. Good. Now left hand on belly and right hand on chest, feel the hands touching your body and breathe into your hands. This is the sense that you're giving yourself a hug right now. And as you breathe into your hands, I want to invite you just to check in.

Right now, today, what matters to you? What is of the essence for you right now? Maybe it's an intention that you're discovering or reaffirming. Maybe it's a choice that you need to make. Maybe it's a question that you're holding about your life or a place in your body that you're working with.

Maybe it's a feeling you're allowing space for. No right or wrong answer. Take a few more breaths. Just notice what your intuition serves up from beneath the surface. What might your theme, your intention be right now?

Good. And if nothing comes right away, just hold an open space. It's really about the inquiry, the sincerity, giving yourself time. When you're ready, draw your knees in and rock a little. And we're going to happy baby pose.

So grab each foot and knee presses down on either side of the ribs. I want you to feel free to rock a little here, to straighten and bend a little if you like. Really channel your inner happy baby as if you're discovering your feet and your relationship to the ground. Good, and then when you're ready, we'll play with the third type of breath here. This is shamanic breath and it goes like this.

It's a two-part inhale through the nose and an exhale through the mouth and kind of think of this as clearing away whatever we've been burning through with that kind of fiery core sequence. So take another 20 seconds or so to play with shamanic breath. You can let your eyes close, okay, last one and then carefully release the pose. Take a moment again in neutral position. I want you to notice how different types of breath are different experientially.

In a way, we could say they have different neurochemical signatures, right? You're affecting your brain chemistry and therefore your awareness and your energy. Notice how you feel after that shamanic breath. It may be good medicine for you at different times in your life. Good and when you're ready, I'm going to bring the knees in again, roll over onto one side and come up now to hands and knees.

Take a moment to feel the floor, notice where you're touching the mat. For me, my pinkies are just off the mat so there's a difference in texture there. Notice the details, air against your skin, knees and feet and where they're touching the mat. Let's look up on the inhale and draw the chest through the shoulders a little, hang the head and starts around the back here. Just checking in with your spine, arching and rounding, moving with your breath.

Notice how you feel after all of that centering core work, maybe there's a sense of stability and that stability allows you to begin to have greater range of motion. So play with rotating hips, spiraling through the ribs as you round and arch, maybe rolling the head a little. All of this more technical work should set us up over time for a kind of liberated, embodied sense of self-expression where you can go where you need to go and do what you need to do. So back into Cat-Cow, looking up on the inhale, tucking toes onto the mat, the exhale puts you into Downward Dog. In your Downward Dog, bend one knee, bend the other knee, walk a little, check in on those calves and Achilles tendons and hamstrings and then the heels press down, hips lift up and back, nice and broad through the shoulders.

So you might shake out the head a little here, let the neck relax, take another breath that moves your ribs in all directions, you'll see me kind of adjusting and getting comfortable here, and we're going to step up to the hands and then inhale to something of a flat back here, exhale folding deep, I want to invite you to have your knees a little soft here and then come up with a straight back and sweep up the arms on your inhale, lift up and lean back a little, we'll exhale into Chair Pose, pause for a moment there, take a breath, feel for connection from your belly to your glutes to your inner thighs, nice and strong and grounded, continuing the theme from earlier. Inhale rise up tall, if you can, come onto your toes, hold your center and balance for a moment, we'll exhale to fold forward here, bend the knees as needed, inhale flat back, I'm going to step back to plank and come down nice and slow with the shoulders drawing back. Put the pelvis and the belly down, we'll come into a Cobra, shoulders back, legs and butt active, breathe up into your chest and exhale to downward dog. When you get here, walk a little side to side again and on this next exhale, right leg goes up behind you, take an inhale there, reaching, pressing away the floor, exhale steps you all the way up, use that core, I want you to take the back foot over just a little to the left and then sweep up the arms for warrior one. So in your warrior one, try turning the palms out and then as you rotate the palms back in, feel for the shoulders coming along for the ride, so we wrap the shoulders here, let's try that again, turn the palms out without bending the elbows, rotate the palms back in so you feel the shoulders wrapping away from the neck.

On your next exhale, arms float down, join the hands behind you and roll the shoulders back. I'm going to take a full breath up into the chest and stay here as you exhale drawing back the shoulders and again breathing up high here, now on the exhale if you're up for it, lean into that front leg, come carefully up off the back leg into warrior three with the hands still clasped, feel here for finding that same sense of core stability, so feel for holding your center here, doesn't have to be perfect, you can wobble a little bit like I am, we're going to float down and step back to plank, take an inhale here and exhale come down with awareness of the shoulders drawing back, you could do cobra or this time come into upward dog if you're ready, exhale puts you back to downward dog, take a moment there to find your breath, feel your body. Just exhale left leg up behind you, take a breath in here, exhale step through, we're going to take the right foot a little to the right and sweep up the arms, here we are in warrior one, find your breath here, let's again turn the palms out and then spiral down into the shoulder joint again, turn the palms out as the palms turn in, shoulders wrap you feel that, arms float down, clasp hands behind you, as you draw back shoulders breathe up into your chest, lifting heart towards sky here and if you're ready on an exhale let's make the transition into the front foot, back foot lifts, find your core, deep breaths here in warrior three, as you're ready floating down, stepping back, shoulders roll back in your chaturanga, cobra or up dog, to downward dog on your exhale and let's come to child's pose, take a couple more full breaths in child's pose, just acknowledging the work that we've been doing and surrendering into the exhale, a sense of a job well done coming back home to yourself, okay so we're going to finish today seated and working with the love, surrender, peace, forgiveness meditation, it's really beautiful, so I'm grabbing a blanket so that my hips can be a little higher than my knees, feel free to find the way to sit that feels right for you, good and when you found your meditation posture let your eyes close and feel just the simple sense of sitting right here right now, places where you're touching the floor, the air against your skin and your breath moving in and out, head above spine and shoulders over hips, and as we're starting with our meditation for right now, I want to give you this image from Mary Oliver, she says you do not have to be good, you do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles across the desert repenting, you only have to let the soft animal body love what it loves, so feel your breath moving now inside your soft animal body as we sit here together, and so breathing in I receive love, let yourself go there, think of any person or place or thing that you can evoke right now that gives you a sense of being able to take in love and breathing out I surrender what I cannot control, go there, notice anything that it maybe would be wiser to let go around if it's not in your power, breathing in I receive love and gratitude, breathing out I release what I cannot control, breathing in I receive love, gratitude perhaps beauty really soak it in and breathing out I surrender what is not in my power, and breathing in I receive peace, notice any sense of peace that's available right now, and breathing out I forgive, see what comes to mind I forgive, breathing in I receive peace notice that you're safe right now there is a sense of peace available in this moment even if your mind is preoccupied with other things in this moment there is peace, breathing out I offer forgiveness and it could be to yourself it could be to someone else, breathing in I fill that space again with love with gratitude, breathing out I release what I cannot control, breathing in I receive peace and safety, breathing out for my own sake I offer forgiveness so that my own heart might be more free, breathing in I receive love and gratitude from the places where they're authentically available for you, breathing out I surrender what I cannot control, take a few more breaths notice if any of those phrases or feeling qualities are really resonating for you just stay with it for a little longer soaking up the resources that you can access giving yourself some relief as best you can and then let the phrases go feel your breath moving notice again your body in the present moment hands face feet air against you earth beneath you take one more breath in here kind of tilt the face back to let the exhale out through the mouth and then bring your face back to neutral you can let your eyes softly open thank you so much


Simon ?
5 people like this.
Feeling untangled after this calm start to the day. Thank you peaceful Julian.
1 person likes this.
Simon that makes me really happy! thanks for telling me, i am glad it was useful.
1 person likes this.
Great practice. Again I loved the meditation. Thank you
Sam great! see you in the next class ;)
Jenna P
2 people like this.
This was such a thoughtful practice. Really feeling anatomically, emotionally, and spiritually aligned and engaged. Thank you Julian x
love to hear that! thanks Jenna
Rachel B
1 person likes this.
The comments made thus far express so well what this practice is about. Thank you Julian for bringing this balanced practice that brings me into the moment and into body awareness. I appreciate the Shamanic breath which is new to me and also that this practice is accessible and joyful.
glad to hear those details rachel —thanks, it means a lot! see you on the next episode...Rachel
Joan J
2 people like this.
Hi Julian, I took your advice and joined this practice today. So wonderful for my low back, and the standing postures were lovely. I couldn't do warrior 3 without putting my hands on the ground (no arches, no balance)
Love the sequence of all the poses, and the beautiful meditation. I will bring all of this loving peacefulness into my day. Grateful for your teaching.
1 person likes this.
Joan so delighted.... yes, modify as needed, leave things out as needed. YOU are the one who discovers what is good medicine for YOU..... glad my suggestion was beneficial! the complementary relationship between core stability and healthy range of motion (flexibility) is for many folks a key to sustainable low back functionality and relief.
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