Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 6

Embrace the Space

40 min - Practice


Rebecca guides us in an energizing series of Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) and warrior poses to strengthen the legs and open the chest, shoulders, and heart in preparation for a comfortable sit. We close with a series of heart openers before a seated meditation for about 5 minutes.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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Welcome back. In this practice, we'll be moving the legs and opening the chest so we can allow spaciousness for grounding in our meditation. So come to a standing position, feed about hip distance, whatever is comfortable for you. You'll recognize this as something you might do in your life. I like to do it to stretch my back out. You pull a knee into the chest and then you let it go. Right? So you're tuning into the breath and you're just knee into the chest and let it go. You're not grabbing it or yanking it. You're just checking in like, Oh, how's the spine feeling? Bending and letting it go for the next couple. I'm just going to breathe with you. When you're doing it as you land, I like to keep a knee bent. So there's spring in the joints and this concept of landing and launching, right? Landing and launching. That's something that happens in meditation. So if we allow for it in the physical body, we're kind of rinsing out and arriving. Just, just do two more rounds. How many ever you have done balance it out. So I started on my left, I'll end on my right. And then I pull it in and just stand, right? And right away, I can already feel the current, the title quality of myself. Just here I am. So now we're going to add on to that. And I call this a hip circle and arm circle. So you'll lift one leg and one arm and just circle it back, right? You'll lift one arm, inhaling and circle it back, exhaling. Probably if you take kickboxing, this is how you block kicks. I'm not really sure. I don't take it.

But the point is that you're just allowing the upper arm bone to roll back and the upper leg bone to roll back and those joints, right? Ball and socket joints. In case you want to know, if you don't want to know, probably didn't hear me, right? You're moving it around and you're letting the chest lift up, right? All the texting, the talking on the phone, the computers. This is how we move it out. So after this one, finish a full round, inhaling and exhaling and inhaling. And then again, you just stand. So I like to do these, what some people call kooky moves before I land in my practice so that the areas that I don't normally get into, I can sneaky with my breath and my movement. Get that spring-like quality back in. So now I just shake, right? I just shake and like let it shake all through the body. This is something that Eric Schiffman really gave me permission to allow in my body to be part of my yoga practice, right? Shaking. At first, I just thought I had to put on music to do this. Now, if I'm really having a hard day, you might find me just shaking. So these next three rounds, I'm just going to shake and breathe. If you need bigger movement, sound can penetrate the layers and Sanskrit, that word not on. So just a good sigh. If you're doing this at the beginning of the day, to reawaken. And if you're doing it before bed to release the day, and then you just stand right in that feeling in the body of aliveness and that reclaiming of being here, this is what we rebirth in ourselves in the practice. And that's what I'm interested in. Can I unpack? Can I start fresh? Can I let go of resentment? So if you liked those, you can definitely repeat them at any time during your day. Come to the top of your mat. So you'll come to the top of your mat. I have two blocks here.

I'm going to place these blocks on the sides of my mat. If you don't have blocks, I often have seen using vases or water bottles, right? Just anything to elevate the floor and bring it to myself. So my feet are together. You like a wider Utkatasana, you can take your feet a little bit wider. You will just slowly stand, bring the ears back, feel, breathe, and then bend the knees. And as the knees bend, bring the arms forward and bend the elbows, cactus or goalposts. Palms are forward. You will shift a little weight into the heel. So the toes, the 10 toes feel freedom. You can't see mine because the blocks are blocking them, but they're wiggling. They're dancing a little. And then this will become a dynamic Utkatasana to standing urdvahastasana. So you will inhale and reach and exhale and bend. Inhale. Exhale. Ears back puffing chest. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Two more in. Out. In. Out. And then you just land here. And you wait. I like to be steeped in the poses a little longer, so that the refinement can lead to precision, right? I can feel my feet hone in on the arches of my feet lifting up through the dome, the knees, the pelvic floor, tuning into that plumb line. And I even feel the body moving slightly side to side and then very slowly fold forward and down. Utkatasana. If you need the hands on the blocks, now's a good time to land them there. Inhale. Hands could go on the shins. This is art at Utkatasana halfway. And then exhale and just flood the body with breath. One more like that. Inhale. Exhale. And now inhale, lengthen. Now hands could go on blocks. You'll step the right foot back and the left foot back and you'll hold yourself steady in the plank. If you want to maintain hands on blocks for Adho Mukha Svanasana and for downward facing, you can. I prefer to have my hands on the floor and have my blocks here ready for what's to come because I know what's coming, right? And I like always for me and my first dog to just bend and feel the movement and the fluid quality of the breath, right? Because I can get caught up in this story that I'm really tight. Poor me, my hamstrings. And so when I come into down dog and I paddle my feet, what I feel is luxury. Oh yeah, actually my arms are working and I appreciate my body. So now you will slowly, mindfully step the right foot forward. And as always, if you need the support of the hand behind the calf, take it. Now you could put the blocks to frame your front foot. Okay. If you don't have the blocks and you can touch the floor, no need. You will inhale mostly straighten that right leg and you want to steer that right outer hip back and then exhale and bend. Inhale, mostly straighten back heel is off the mat and in its own lane. Exhale, bend one more time. Inhale, exhale, bend. So when you sit here, clean lines, what I mean is tracking knee above ankle best that you can, making that thigh like a bench. If you're wavering a lot, you can lower the knee down in the back and the arms will bend.

If you feel like you don't need that knee down, elevate it with the arms bent. We'll do a little what I call chest puffs. You will exhale around and the elbows come together and then inhale, arch. Still integrated in the low belly. Exhale around. Inhale, arch. My legs are working and they're quiet. Exhale around. Inhale, arch. And then the hands will come back to the floor or the blocks and you will land yourself in the plank. Right here in the plank, let's just stay for a moment. Inhaling and exhaling. One more inhale. On the exhale, lower the knees, the chest and the chin, and then slide forward into the low cobra. This is an inhale. On the exhale, release. Push back into Balasan, child. I remind you at any time in the practice, you can return here. It's not a competitive practice. Not even what you did yesterday. Then down dog. Again, can you feel the limbs in down dog pulling you and pushing you, grounding you and lengthening you. Slowly, mindfully step left foot forward. Hands on blocks here if you need. Inhale, mostly straighten left leg, right heel off the mat. Exhale, bend. That helps square the pelvis forward. Inhale. Exhale. Remember you have one side that the body prefers. Just be okay with it. Inhale. Exhale. Slowly torso rises. If you need the support of the back knee down, you can take it down. Elbows forward. The right rib shimmies slightly forward. And then you dance with the chest. Exhale, rounding. Inhale, arching. You might be able to accentuate. Exhale, rounding.

Inhale, arching. One way more than the other. That's fine. Round. Round. Arch, stand. Hands down again if you want to land on the blocks for the plank. Fine. If not, elongate, right? A little bit of the chin forward. Elbows over wrists. Shoulders over elbows and wrists. And then one more. Knees, chest and chin. Then slide forward legs in their own lane. Inhale, lift. Exhale, release. Push back to child's or flex your feet for more vigor. Hug those shoulder blades, plank and reverse, down dog. And then I like after that to just do a little bit of release with my mouth.

So inhaling, opening the mouth. And then inhaling, puttering the lips. And then one more inhale. It seems silly to make sound, but for me there is something beautiful in a sigh. I think if I sighed more during the day, I would curse less. Step the right foot forward. Sit deeply into the right thigh. Again, cactus the arms.

This time, a little more daring. You will twist to the left, into the opening. And when you wiggle, enjoy wiggling. Come through the center and then twist to the right. And if your pelvis starts to rise, sit deeper. Inhale, center. Exhale to the left. Inhale to the center. Exhale to the right. See if your pelvis can orient forward. Inhale. Maybe you can sit lower for this last one. Twisting. Come back through center. I always feel powerful in these ones. And then twist. And then in this one, just stay for a moment. Linger. Oh yeah, I just noticed my back leg, left knee. Could I keep it straighter? Could I sit deeper? Tone low belly. Through the center. Arms down. Plank pose. Option for a vinyasa, which is high plank.

Low plank with elbows tucking in, rolling over the toes, standing in the arms, lifting the chest. Soft in the neck, lifting the chest, inner lining of legs, lifting. Downward facing dog. Right. And once I arrive here, every once in a while, I go, thank you for this body, for this moment, even for this challenge. Step the left foot forward. You're in this crescent variation. The back knee could be down if you need it. If not, it's like, okay, pelvis, descend. Yes, descend. Be courageous. Lift the elbows. And then you twist to the right. For me, I get to take in the beautiful ocean and then inhale, exhale, twist to the left, right? You're just breathing and moving. That's a miracle. Center. You might be exhaling as you twist to the right or inhaling. I'm exhaling as I twist to the left. Push that right heel back. Inhale. And this is how twist to the right. Inhale. Twist to the left. What I was saying is this is how I bring uni-tasking back into fashion in my yoga practice. Right? I say, can you stay? Can you feel the shake and embrace it? Right? Yeah. Moderation. Then come back through center. Arms down. If you need Child's Pose Balasana, please feel free to take it. I feel really energized right now. So I'm coming into the plank, keeping my elbows right in there, rolling over the toes, lifting, and then downward facing dog. Now step the right foot forward once again in its own lane, back heel off the mat, and then come with the arms. And I'm going to be really specific. Thread the right thumb in front of the left and then the right index finger. And this is how we train the brain. You sit into it, slide the knuckles down, and then lift the chest. And right here you ask the face, can you be soft and very attractive? Then slowly you'll bow forward. As you bow forward, humbly bowing forward, you let the head orient, crown of head toward the floor.

And this is where steering the right outer hip back becomes this creative rinse. Right? I go, oh yeah, I'm going to need that leg to fold in in meditation or back in meditation. Hands come down again. Vinyasa is optional. So Child's Pose or an immediate down dog. The inhale is the prep breath. On the exhale there's the action of moving high to low. On the inhale there's the low cobra or the up dog, inner thighs rising. And then exhale downward facing dog. Right here I just breathe. And I watch, can I feel whatever needs to be freed up for spaciousness, being freed up. So what I love about yoga is it's unhurrying me.

And as a householder, as a mama of three, I am hurried. Right? So I want to unhurry myself and unspool this in a very safe and quiet environment. My mat. My mat is always welcoming me. Step your left foot forward. Come up, back heel is off the mat. This time very specific. Left thumb leading, left index finger. The hands come behind you, so you're in that crescent. And then sit into the left thigh, slide the knuckles down the thigh, lift the chest. Right? And I do like a soft smile because I can feel my body very warm. And I feel and I squeeze the inner lining of the legs. Each leg is in their own lane. And I'm breathing.

And then slowly bow. Right? Head to heart. In my mind, again, this is like, may I be guided? May I make some choices from my heart and not just my head? Push that back, leg back. And then slowly separate the hands, land the hands on the mat. If you would like a child's pose, please take it. If you feel inclined for down dog immediately, great. I'm going to go for it here and take Chaturanga. Up dog, down dog. Here I'll breathe once again and feel the length in the body, the arms, the legs, the rhythm. Step the right foot forward. Very traditional warrior one. So right foot is forward, outer edge of the left foot, 45 degrees. Okay. If you need your blocks and you want to just stay low, do that. Use them. Otherwise, as you come up, see if you can feel the ground pressing into your feet and reach. And as you reach up, many options for the arms. The first would be bent elbows. The second would be reaching and arms are apart. And then the third would be palms together. And now you feel that and you breathe. And then you, if you are looking up, if you're picking that drifty, that focal point is their ease, is their strength. Arms come behind you, hands weave with the right thumb. Humble warrior one, right? Humble warrior one. And then slowly you come up. It's a brief one. You will come off the back heel. I like to shorten the stance because I know the transition here is aeroplane. So I transition. I might need a stutter step. And then I'm going to lift. And now if I feel like I'm a little off, I do. I'm going to kick that left leg left and lift my chest, lift my chest, lift my chest, and then slowly land my hands.

Again, this is where the blocks rise the floor. A little wobbly today. And then step left leg back, right leg back, plank to down dog. Some people really like to use the blocks for down dog. If you're one of those people, feel free. Gently, I'm going to move the blocks because I know what's coming. I'm stepping my left foot forward. So warrior one, Virabhadrasana on this side. This time focus on the outer edges of the feet, grounding, inner arches lifting, and then inhaling arms up. Hmm. Yeah, look up. Arms wide. Right? Yeah, sit. And then I'm keenly aware that my back leg, that arch likes to fall. So I got to lift it, palms together, and then be heart centric open. Sit a little lower. I'm not looking, I'm feeling, feeling it, feeling it. Arms behind, humble, left thumb is leading. This is so that part of my mind training can be one side to the other, less preference. Inhale up halfway on the toes, arms separate. There's a bit of up dog here. And then you lift. Maybe you stutter, lift, right? I launched the plane. Arms in, I note, my hips might not be balanced. My breath.

Arms down. You want to use the blocks again. Feel free. There's a moment of splits in air. Legs back. Plank. Hmm. Slowly high plank. And then you will lower all the way down. I'm not going to use my blocks right now, so I'm just going to push them to the side. And then lower all the way down. You can turn your head to the right or the left or be on your forehead. I like my forehead. Thigh bones are rolled in. Fingertips are under the top head of the shoulder, right? So right there, elbows squeeze in. And then for the first set of bhujangasana, you're just going to inhale, lift, and exhale lower. Inhale, lift.

Inhale, lift. Exhale, lower. The third one is the end of the first set. Inhale, lift. Elbows in. Exhale, lower. You can put your right cheek on the mat and look to the left. I'm going to place my forehead down and I'm moving my blocks for this next set, just so I have space for the arms. You may want to shake your hips out. So in this next set, you will keep the theme of the cactus. So the arms come into a cactus this time they're facing the floor. Tops of the feet are pressing into the mat. And then you will inhale and lift your chest. And right now you'll be keenly aware, oh wow, this requires my belly and my back. If this feels fine for you, you can add the legs. If it's too much, keep the legs downward. But we have plenty of work to do here. I just rolled my thighs in again. Inhale, extend the arms. Exhale, bend. Inhale, extend. Bend. One more. Inhale. Exhale. And then again, head down. This time it'll be your left cheek on the mat. Now, looking to the right, shaking the hips out. Now, you will leave the fingers behind you, again with the right first. And this time you will lift the chest and add the legs. Okay, again, if there's sensitivity in the low back and you're not feeling it, keep the legs down. If you're okay with the lift, you inhale legs as wide as mat and you're feeling it, not seeing it, exhale, bring it together. Inhale wide, together. Final, final. Inhale. Exhale. And then release. Shake it out. To continue the flow, just bend your knees and you can windshield wipe the shin bones. Switch the left thumb to lead.

And I call this Dhanurasan prep or skydivers pose. Okay, pressing thighs into the mat, flexing your feet. Inhale, lift the chest. So right here I say, oh, this is a lot. I just wait, I breathe, I yield at my first point, and then I inhale and I add the lift of the thighs. Now, I know my thighs are starting to part, so I lift a little more and I breathe and I kick. And then slowly I release. This time, stack the palms in front of you and rest the forehead and shake it out. And if your whole body is going, geez, this is a lot, right? This is all in preparation for me to sit upright. I could do that, right? One more. Dhanurasan. Any of the poses that we have done before this are totally acceptable, so you can choose one that really felt great for you. It felt like your heart was unspooling in a magical way. Or you can bend your knees and grab the tops of your feet without an expectation, right? An expectation is a disappointment waiting to happen. Just because on most days I can grab my feet and kick up, doesn't mean it will happen today. So I go, oh, okay, that's interesting. It worked today, but if it didn't, so what? Because that's going to happen in meditation. Some meditations are going to feel really clear and other ones are going to feel really cloudy. So what? So then you will slowly begin to kick the legs and lift the chest. And then you'll meet, again, a first point of resistance. And you'll say, okay, soften. And then you'll kick and lift. And then you might rock on the belly, maybe not. And you'll kick and lift. And then maybe you'll grab the shin bones and flex the feet and kick. And maybe you'll breathe, right? So let's just breathe together for three rounds. Soft eyes. And then release, right? Shake it out. And then slowly just flip over like a pancake onto your back. Right. And as you flip onto your back, personally, every time I come onto my back and prep for the half bridge, I like to just shake my hips a little and let them land because I've been on my belly for a while. If that works for you, you can do that. Okay. So I'm going to grab my block because I really like the block in between my inner thighs really close, keeping the pelvis level. I kind of check in. My ponytail is a little in the way, so I've got to move it. Fingertips touch my heels. Okay. Unravel. Thank you, floor, for supporting me. And then this is going to be a peeling half bridge. So what do I mean? On the inhale, nothing happens.

On the exhale, you'll lift the pubic bone and then the tailbone and then that triangle bone. And then your lower part of your spine in the middle. And then you'll get up into the shoulder girdle. This is where I like to roll the front head of the shoulder toward the back body and push actively into my hands. And then sometimes I'll turn my palms up just so the skin on the outer arm feels supported. And then as the breath deep ends, I snuggle the block and I snuggle the block and I stretch the front of the hips. And then slowly, when I peel down, I'll effort in being heavy behind the heart and then rippling through the middle of the back and then the lowest part of the back and then landing and I'll breathe. And for me, I say, Oh gosh, that actually felt so good. I want to do one more, right? If that last one felt like I've had enough, you can just stay here for another moment. I'm going to do one more because I just, it's feeling so yummy. Lifting pubic bone again, right? Nubby part pubic bone, tailbone all the way up. And then again, there's a little negotiation of wriggling. And here I'll thread my hands, right? That was part of this sequence today. And so in that moment, it's like I just was in a parallel universe, breaths ago, many breaths ago, the ceiling was the floor, right? I was doing this shape in my Dhanurasana prep and it feels so welcoming in the body. And then slowly come down. You might ripple down. I started to have these there. Knees touch, little knee sway, little knee sway. A lot of people like a reclined twist. We're going to do a half supported bridge.

So I'm going to save that twist for the sweet, the little cookie at the end. So go ahead and bridge up. You can bridge up to the lowest height of your block, the medium or the tall. I'm going to go for medium today. So bridge up, find that place. And what's really crucial if you're using a block is that you know that all the points that are in contact with the floor are balanced, right? Like your block isn't tipping. And then if you get here and you say, huh, I feel safe, what more is there? Right? Then you lift the legs and my body's like, Hey, how come you're not going for the tall one today? But I'm just going to kind of shimmy down and get a nice little stretch and flex my feet. And what I love about elevating my legs, right, is that I can soften my eyes, maybe even take them so they're only one tenth open. And I can start to have that return of all the energy that I put forth down into the earth, into me. So this is another one of those poses where you orient your nose always toward the ceiling here for safety of the neck. Okay, you're enjoying this. Stay longer, right? Stay longer. Some people like to open their legs here. That feels really comfortable for people. Other people like to come into Baddha Konasana, right? We're just working here. But if you know, you got a favorite, enjoy it. And then slowly, one foot, and then the other. If you feel really proficient, you can land on both. Here's what I would like you to do. I would like you to lift your hips off of the block and move your pelvis to the right. And then pull the knees in and up and over to the left. You can use your left palm to allow a little more enhancement in that stretch. And since we worked with cactus arms, you got a half a cactus on the right side, you could turn it into a tea if you like. And then you just breathe. Oh, thank you spine for unraveling. Heart for being open. Mind for saying yes, this is great. Preparation for meditation. And then slowly coming back through center. So first legs left. Then legs land, knees stay bent, pelvis picks up and it has to go further because it was on the right side. It goes to the left, right? The knees go to the right, right hand to support you. Now my left elbow bends, right? There's a breath here. So you're gazing over your left shoulder, not yanking the neck. I know this side of my neck is far more sensitive than the other one. So I have to be mindful here, not to look for the same result. And then slowly, hands down, feet back to center, hips back to being aligned, a little shimmy there. And then go ahead and hug the knees in, right? You might want just a brief, happy baby, right? A little bit of joy before you find your way into stillness again. So the legs come in and you're walk up to seated. Now for this meditation, I'm going to take a Virasana Heroes Pose. So I'm going to situate my block so it's underneath me, my feet. So they're pointing straight back. And then I'm going to sit in this shape for meditation. If you want to be seated cross-leg on a bolster, blanket, something that elevates you, even the edge of a chair, that's fine. I'm going to be here sitting with you. And so go ahead and close your eyes. All of your movements, all of your work and the efforts to get you into this quiet. If the mind is quite chatty, deepen the breath. If you need a little more support, follow the trail of the breath as it maybe widens your ribs and narrows them, or in the abdominal region as the belly pooches out and in.

So you're about halfway right. The sweetness of the sitting practice is to allow yourself in this moment to breathe in such a way that welcomes you into the home of you. So see the breath as a supporter of you, your life force. The breath as the cheerleader that says just sit longer. Just stay. Be here. Be here.

May these moments in the stillness remind you a pause helps reset you. All right, maybe you can carve out time during the day to consciously pause and reset. If you feel as if you want to stay, you're just getting steeped in the breath in such a way that's concentrated. Stay here. If you want to lay down and be in shavasana, go for that. Stay as long as you like. I will seal this practice. Hands, heart, center in prayer. All right, gratitude for all the seen support, the visible and the unseen, the invisible support daily. Namaste.


Sasha K
1 person likes this.
gorgeous practice...helped me get into a deeper meditation afterwards.
Robin J
1 person likes this.
It's so much fun to return to this practice thank you
1 person likes this.
Robin J
1 person likes this.
Hidden gem practice
Robin J
1 person likes this.
Such an opening practice thanks Rebecca
Jimena B
1 person likes this.
Amazing class Rebecca wow
Rebecca Urban
Thanks @Jimena and @Robin lovely having you as my virtual yogini buddies!
Robin J
Namaste my sweet Rebecca

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