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Season 1 - Episode 11

Dorothy: You Are Home

20 min - Practice


Be aware that you are already home. Annie shares the hero's journey story of Dorothy before moving into a standing, grounding practice to establish our roots in the present moment. You will feel secure, safe, and at home.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Jul 17, 2018
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Chapter 1


So you're walking along, it's a normal day, and your dog runs off. And then some mean lady returns on a bicycle, pedaling furiously with your dog in her basket. And she is threatening you that if your dog runs away again, she's going to steal the dog and give it to the shelter. And so this storm starts brewing and spinning. And you are suddenly thrown from what you think is everything you know, and thrown from what you think is your home, and hurled into this horrible, horrible dream that you believe every bit of it is real, and it takes on this technicolor quality.

And shortly thereafter, waking up into this dream, you are met with every deep-seated fear, and every huge challenge, and all of the courage that your entire life is presenting you with in this moment. This is the archetypal hero's journey. Dorothy is not the only one. She's one in a long line. Luke Skywalker is another, Odysseus, one of the first.

The challenges that life presents us with sometimes feel so big and so untenable that we are pulled from what's comfortable, and we have to find the courage to get ourselves back to what feels like home. And the struggle is real, and the challenges are big, and sometimes we get into a place where we think we're imagining things are worse than they really are. The poppies in the field are so alluring. The monkeys feel so real, and the witches are so wicked. The resolution of all of these stories is that what we thought we were missing in our lives, what we thought was so wrong and so absent, has always been here all the time, and all we needed to do was click our heels three times and say there's no place like home.

So what is this idea of home? The mindfulness practices teach us that home is where we choose to be in the moment. Home is always there, always available, always present, and all that's required of us is to turn our awareness to the present moment circumstance. To breathe in, to feel the full weight of our physical forms here, to breathe out and soften into the circumstances, however unmanageable or unwontable they are. T.S.

Eliot in Little Gidding writes, we shall not cease from explorations, and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive at the place where we started and to know the place for the first time. So this is that awakening that the practices offer us. To know that yes, this has always been my house, this has always been my job, these have always been my people, and yet I'm seeing them in this new light. I'm seeing them in this light of awareness that recognizes I have all I need and I am everyone that I want to be. So what does this look like in practice?

The offering is a standing sequence where we get into the grounded nature of strong legs, always a long open spinal column and a wide expressive heart, and then we return to the earth and feel the truth and the power and the support that's always beneath us. So let's come up to stand.

Chapter 2


Come to the top of your mat, spread the feet wide, open up the toes, spaces, and bring your palms together in front of your heart. Take a deep breath and feel the breath sail all the way down the spine through the legs into the rooted soles of your feet, and as you exhale, imagine that it is sailing right back up and out through the crown of the head. Pump up the energy in the legs a little bit, so firing up their strength and their power to hold you stable, grounded in your home of your stance.

And then on an inhale, sweep the arms up, look up between your hands, and exhale, fold forward. Hang the head, grab onto something so you're supporting the weight of the spine in the fold. Bend the knees slightly, slide the belly, slide the heart forward, look ahead of you, and then exhale, fold right back down, continuing to hold onto something. Then planting the feet firmly as the inhale arises, let the body rise to look up between the two palms, return them together, and then return them back to heart center. And again, inhale, reach up nice and tall, lifting the heart, lifting the gaze.

Exhale, sweep the arms out, fold forward, a nice bend at the knee will give some gentle awareness and space to the lower back. Root your hands down onto something, a little more bend in the knee, slide the belly, the ribs, the heart forward, look up. And at the exhale, fold back down, hang the head, relax the jaw, inhale, plant the feet, rise up, rejoin your palms, and return them to heart center. And one more time, same thing. Inhale rising, exhale falling, inhale lengthening, exhale folding, inhale planting the feet, reaching up tall, exhale, return to heart center.

So with these powerful legs and grounded channels of energy through the feet, step one foot back, land it securely on the mat, turn your heart to face the long side of the mat and widen the arms, then reach out to the side over the front leg, and on the exhale, tip over sideways, grab, hold onto something, and let the heart turn toward the sky. The soles of the feet are the reminder of where you stand as being at home. And the whole rest of the body is rising up out of that home base to meet whatever challenge is in front of it. On the next inhale, plant the feet firmly, and exhale, rise back up, release the arms, step to the front of the mat, and repeat on the other side. Step the foot back, land the heel firmly on the mat, widen out the reach, inhale, lean over the front leg, exhale, tip over into the triangle pose, turn the heart up and breathe.

Now plant the feet firmly, exhale, rise up tall, release the arms, step forward. Back to the first side again, step the foot back, land the heel firmly, this time bend your front knee, let it land and stand over its own ankle so that it doesn't fall in toward the big toe side of the foot, this requires a nice opening in the inner thigh. Lean over and we'll take a gentle side angle pose by letting the elbow rest on the thigh, and then open up the heart and take the arm up and over the side of your head. Lengthen out through the fingertips and follow the line with your awareness all the way down that raised arm, down the side of the torso, down the side of the back leg and into the grounded sole of the back foot. Let the breath follow that line of awareness on the long top exposed side of the body.

And then unwind the arm, plant the feet, rise up tall, look at your front foot, look at the space next to it, know that that's where the back foot is going to step and then step it there intentionally and repeat on the second side. Land the heel, bend the front knee, stand it over its own ankle, lean over the thigh, let the elbow rest down, take your top shoulder roll it back and extend the top arm over the side of the head, lengthen through the fingertips and trace the line as you breathe all the way down the exposed side, all the way down the back leg to the sole of the foot. And then unwind the arm, rise up tall, make an intentional and strategic step to the front of the mat and we'll go back to the first side, the foot goes back, heel lands solidly on the mat, bend the front knee, stand it over its own ankle, this time we'll keep the torso up nice and tall so you can take your hand that belongs to the back side leg, tuck the hip underneath just a little bit so the torso remains in its vertical position and the heart is facing the long side of the mat, open up the arms wide and then just gently shift your head keeping the jawline parallel to the floor, let the gaze rest just beyond wherever the tip of your nose is pointing and release the arms and step to the front, repeat second side, land the foot firmly, bend the front knee, position it over its own ankle, take the hand of your back leg and gently tuck the hip underneath so the torso remains in its nice vertical orientation, let the heart turn to face the long side of the mat and reach the arms out wide, turn the head, rest the gaze just beyond wherever the tip of your nose is pointing and that helps to keep the sides of the neck evenly lengthened. Standing strongly here in the warrior posture, understanding that the home lives wherever the soles of the feet are planted and the challenges that swirl around that sense of home are met with composure, with ease and with grace. Relax the arms, look at the front of the mat, strategically step the back foot back in place.

Take a foot, let all of your awareness pour into the soles of that foot and root down deeply into the earth and pump up the power in that leg that will be your standing leg in a tree pose balance and then just nonchalantly as if nothing is happening, bend the other knee, rest on the big toe and spin the knee out to the side and when and if you feel steady and grounded, rooted in your tree pose home, you can lift the other foot and land it somewhere on the standing leg. Let there be equal insistence of the foot into the leg and the leg back into the foot. You can do anything you like with your arms. Take a few breaths and quit while you're ahead so just before you feel the balance falter, step back to the floor like you meant it and then shift all of your weight into the other foot, grounding down through the sole, rooting firmly and deeply. You are still home no matter how many feet are on the floor.

Bend the other knee, spin on the big toe so the knee points out, fire up the strength in your standing leg to support the pressure applied to the lifted foot. Anything you want with your arms. When you're satisfied or before you fall, come back to stand, two feet on the mat, palms together at the heart, take a couple of breaths and then come to dog pose. Just walk the feet back, press the floor away from you with your widespread fingers and rooted palms, lift the sitting bones high toward the sky, let the heart move towards your knees and the belly move towards your thighs and breathe. When it feels like it's time, bring the knees back down to the floor and reorient so that your legs are straight out in front of you.

Wriggle forward of your sitting bones a little bit so you feel like you're sitting more on the backs of your thighs than on the back of your butt. And so it's like the whole back leg on each side is waking up to the home that is resting underneath. Bring the heels of your palms right next to your hips. You can snuggle your feet together and make perky toes that are pointing up to the ceiling. Press your palms into the mat, broaden the collarbones, lift the heart.

Stay here for a few breaths in staff pose. And then without sacrificing any of the length in the spine that you've created here, let go of the floor, inhale, reach up tall and on the exhale, fold forward. Grab hold onto something, it doesn't matter where you land your hands but land them decidedly. Slide the belly forward, lengthen the front line of the torso and gently sink. On the next inhale, walk your hands back, sit tall again, lean backwards a little bit and you can support with your hands as you bend your knees and open them wide, the soles of the feet together.

Hold the ankles and then wriggle forward again. So you come on the front side of the sitting bones and you feel totally grounded and supported by the earth that's beneath you and also willing and able to rise up tall to meet any challenge that comes in front of you. Inhale, feel the length in the spine, keep that length happening, exhale, bow forward just a few notches until it feels satisfying, stopping short of any pain. And come back up and bring the knees together and lie back. So as you roll the spine onto the floor, feel each piece of the spine meeting the ground with ease, with welcome, with recognition of support.

Stretch the legs out, open up the palms, find comfort, acknowledge support, let yourself sink home. When the timing feels right, bend the knees, roll onto your side, gently bring yourself up to sit. Save the head for last, feel the earth beneath you at every step of the way in the transition. Take a few quiet moments here, seated tall, bring your palms together. May the yellow brick road lead you to a place that feels like home, thank you.


Laura M
I love your show!!! Thank you!!!
Annie Moyer
Oh Laura, thank you so much for saying so. There are so many "yogis among us" to be inspired by :)
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn
Such wise pearls/reminders of our truth! Love this series! Thank you!
Diane NM
I love the instruction to look where your foot is going and focus on this place as you bring your back foot up to meet your front. This is not only a practical suggestion to maintain balance, but a pertinent metaphor for adjusting to changes. Thank you so much!❤️

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