21-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Practice 1: Energize the Body

15 min - Practice


We explore a short and energizing Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) practice to wake-up and prepare the body and breath for meditation.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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So let's begin practice at the top of the mat. We're going to start standing. So coming into mountain pose, align your feet either all the way together with the heels a little bit apart, or if you prefer, hips width and parallel. Take a moment to spread your toes and to balance the weight evenly in your feet, firm your thighs, lifting your kneecaps, and then stand nice and tall so you feel length all the way up through the crown of your head. Gently draw your shoulders back, you can turn your palms forward for now, and then close your eyes. Have a moment here in your mountain pose, become aware of your breathing. Before we begin to move, let's start Ujjayi Pranayama. So closing your mouth, breathing through your nose, begin to elongate your breath. Five count inhalations, five count exhalations. Do this for about three rounds of breath. Staying strong and steady in your body and tall and lifted. Take one more full and complete breath. This time as you exhale, bring your palms together at your heart and open your eyes. We'll begin with Ardha Surya Namaskar, half sun salutations. Inhale circle and reach your arms up. If it doesn't bother your neck, look up. And exhale, hinge at the hips, dive down, bringing the hands to the mat or even to your shins if your hamstrings are a little tighter. And then on the next breath as you breathe in, arch up, pull your chest forward, and as you breathe out, fold back down and in again. And then with inhalation coming all the way up, circling the arms, draw the ribs back and reach up and then exhale the hands right back down. Two more of those, inhaling, circling, lifting, even taller and longer. And as you breathe out, hinging forward again, going just a little bit deeper into your standing fold. Inhale, lift half Uttanasana and exhale forward bend again. And then rising, breathing in and hands down to the heart, breathing out. One more time, inhale, reach up, exhale, fold forward again, going just a little bit deeper as you start to open up. Inhale, lifting, lengthening, pull the shoulders back away from the ears and then exhale, fold. And then rising on the breath, inhaling all the way back up. Exhale the hands back to the heart. Now we're going to add on, adding low lunges. So inhale, same beginning, circle, reach up. Exhale, dive back down into your forward bend. Inhale, once again, lift and elongate. This time exhale, step your left foot back and release your left knee to the mat. Make sure your left knee and your right foot are hips width apart and your right knee stacked directly on top of your heel. And then inhale, come up, hands onto the front thigh. Exhale, draw the navel back and the tailbone down away from the waist. So space in your lower back. Gaze straight ahead, take a really deep breath here, dropping a little deeper into the lunge. We're going to add one more layer. We're going to add the arms. So releasing the arms out to the sides, rotate the palms away from your center line. And as you inhale, circle and reach up, lifting all four sides of your waist. As you exhale, relax your shoulders a little bit and sit down into your lunge a little bit more. Just a couple more breaths here, reaching tall as you breathe in, diving deeper into the lunge as you breathe out. If it doesn't bother your neck, you can drop your head back. Take one more breath, maybe join the palms, inhale, and then all the way back down to the mat. Exhale, we're going to ground the hands under the shoulders, tuck the back toes, lift the knee, and step the right foot back to meet the left foot. So holding plank, just very simple. If it's too intense, then place the knees down, taking plank on the knees. Two breaths. Deep inhale, and hinge to downward facing dog, exhale.

Feet hips width in parallel. Let's take about three, maybe four rounds of breath here. Ground your hands and lengthen your spine. Let your head hang free, free of tension. As you lift up through your hips, press back through both thighs. If straightening the legs rounds your back, then maintain some bend in the knees and accentuate the length. So don't insist on going straight if you find yourself rounded. Take one more breath here, deep inhale, and a smooth, steady exhale. Now we're going to do side two. So gaze up at your hands, inhale, step your left foot forward, and release your right knee down. And again, just make sure that the left foot and the right knee are hips width apart, knee stacked on top of the heel. And then step two is going to be coming up, inhaling, hands onto the thigh. And as you exhale, draw the navel back, and again, lengthen your tailbone down. Tall through the spine, take another breath here, going just a little deeper into your lunge. Now we're going to add that next layer of the arms. Turn the palms out, inhale, circle, reaching up, spine lifting, exhale, relax the shoulders, and sit into your lunge a little bit deeper. Let's take a couple of breaths, just getting higher on inhale, and deepening into the lunge as you exhale. Two more complete breaths. Maybe you start to shift the gaze up, maybe not, not if it hurts the neck. Take one more inhale, maybe join the palms. Exhale, bringing it all the way back down. Once you get to the bottom, you're going to tuck the right toes, lift the knee, we're going to step forward. So inhale, coming up, immediately arch up half uttanasana, and then exhale and fold. Rise with the breath, inhaling, exhaling. Hands right down to the heart. Now adding on, inhaling again, circle, exhale, fold forward, exhaling the low belly as you exhale. Arch up, breathing in, straight to plank this time. Exhale, bend the knees, ground the hands, right foot steps, left foot steps. Hold here, take a nice big inhalation. Exhale, lower down slowly for five, four, three, two, and one. Take a moment, lower the hands, get your shoulders up and into place, and we'll come in and out of cobra. Inhale, rise, exhale, lowering down, forehead drops. Repeat, inhale, and exhale. Once more, come up just a little higher, pull the shoulders down, exhale back to the mat.

Tuck your toes, nice and strong, inhale, reverse up to plank, exhale, hinge at the hips, once again downward facing dog. About three breaths here. Let the head hang, breathing deeply, push back through both thighs, keeping the spine long. Bottom of your exhale, bend your knees, look forward, either step or jump, top of the mat, two straight legs. Inhale, arch up, and exhale, fold. A little bit deeper, and then rising on the breath, inhale all the way up, exhale the hands down. Now, surinamaskar A, inhaling, circling, reaching up, exhaling, returning to your forward bend. Energy is flowing, getting warmer now. Arching up, inhale, step back, exhale, left, right, lower, halfway down, all in that same exhale, pull through. First up dog, lift the thighs, roll your shoulders back, and then exhale, roll over the feet, your facing dog. Let's take three deep breaths. And one last round. Bend the knees, exhale, gaze forward, jump or step, big opening. Once you land, inhale, arch up, exhale, hinging, all the way up, breathing in, exhaling. Okay, one more time, just to really get the energy flowing. Inhale, dive down, exhale, a little more fold, arch up, breathe in, chaturanga dandasana, exhale, stepping or jumping, halfway down. Big inhale, up dog, roll the shoulders back, and exhale, down dog. So several smooth rounds of breath, feeling the legs nice and strong, move the heels towards the floor, feeling that the whole body is warm now and energy is flowing. One last breath. Exhale, bend and prepare. Right on up, big opening, breathe in, exhale, fold, and inhale all the way up, and exhale. Pause, closing the eyes, take two deep breaths. And now releasing the hands, you're nice and warm, energy is flowing, time to sit, you're ready for meditation. Namaste, thank you.


2 people like this.
great start to the day - its a powerful practice for me but easy to fit in as not too long. really like the continuity of Nikki's voice in the choice of ensuing meditation too. thanks.

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