Welcome to Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 2

Moving with Our Breath

30 min - Practice


We begin by shaking out the tight spots and gently opening the shoulders. With an interest in starting to coordinate the breath and movement, Kira guides us through a sun salutation, eventually moving into a simple lunge pattern. We complete our practice with a heart opening bridge pose and spinal twist. You will begin to sense the inspired sweetness of you.
What You'll Need: Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video

Dec 16, 2014
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

(waves crashing on the beach) Hi. So we'll begin with just a super simple beginning yoga sequence, to begin to get to know how to coordinate the breath, the movement, get a little opening in some of the major joints. I'm gonna be showing using two bricks and a blanket. The bricks are simply to let the floor be a little taller, and the blanket is simply for padding. These aren't necessary yoga props, but helpful.

As an homage to our teacher Schiffmann, we'll begin with his version of the hokey pokey. You just let one of your hands come out, and you just start to shake your wrist. The more you can kinda loosen up through the fingers and let the wrist be fluid, the better. I'm showing it pretty gentle, but as you start to get really comfortable, it can really feel good to let her really go. And then as that starts to feel good, and you wanna bring some of that jiggle up into the forearm, you let that arm hang a little bit, you let it come up into the elbow, and this is funny.

There's this tendency to believe that the upper arm should remain rock solid, but it feels so good to let the upper arm jiggle a little bit. Ta ta ta ta ta. Okay. Then you come back to standing, and let yourself notice how that feels. Usually it feels quite lovely.

And then other side, just super simple. Start with the wrist, and again, you can start kinda slow. The play is to, as much as possible, you just start to let some of the grip release. This is really the point of the practices. Chu chu chu chu chu chu chu.

Again, homage to our teacher, Schiffmann. Then you can eventually let the arm start to hang, and you'll bring it up into the forearm, up into the upper arm, and again, there's so much sense that we're trying to keep everything from wiggling, but the universe, if you really pay attention, she's quite wiggly. Pause, and just notice how that feels. If balance isn't so easy for you, you might have one hand on a chair or a wall as you do this, because in this next part of the hokey pokey, you gotta stick one foot in and just start slow. The ankle is not as easy to get jiggly as the wrist.

It can be a little stiffer, so this takes a little bit of practice. This might be enough for you. I find that as I wanna bring that up into my leg, I have to sort of take a key from my canine friends. I have to stick it out a little bit. I wanna get that up into the thigh and up into the buttocks.

Nice. And let that foot come back down, and pause. Big deliberate inhale, exhale everything. Really notice, notice how you're starting to feel. There's this expression, get a grip.

It's really the opposite in yoga. Last one, and again, this time might be up on a chair or a wall, and you start with your ankle. It's not so easy to get it floppy, so it wouldn't be unusual that you might be like wa, wa, wa in the beginning. No big deal, you just get used to it. You might be perfectly fine to get a nice jiggle with your leg in front of you.

I find I get much more action if I stick the leg out to the side. Nice. When you feel like you've adequately shook out that leg, let her land, big deliberate inhale, exhale, let a (big breath) happen, and just let a deep exhale. Relax in the low belly, relax in the feet, and just notice. Start to notice you.

Now we're gonna continue with arm circles. Again, Papa Schiffmann, but my little brother renamed this the Big Lebowski, so I like to have one foot forward and the other foot back, and you start by just bringing the weight into that front foot and then reaching, and then let the arm gently come back. Bring the weight into that front foot and reach, and then let the arm come back. Now, for some of you, depending on the shoulder you're working with today, depending on how it feels in this area, the arm may or may not come all the way up. As we practice together, you just get off when we reach your bus stop, but if it feels appropriate, what some of you might do now is reach, and then you let the arm come all the way behind, and then you reach, and then you let the arm come all the way behind.

Let it feel good. I'm moving kind of slow. You might move it a little bit faster, but you're just getting used to this joint rotating in the socket, and then eventually you'll come to a point, and you'll reverse the direction. You're reversing. What motivates us to start to move again?

(laughs) Usually the only thing that motivates any of us is love. Sometimes what motivates us is, suddenly, there's a birth of a grandchild, and it's like, "Ah, I wanna be able to throw the ball again." (laughs) Let that arm come forward. Let the arm relax down along the side, and pause. Notice. Because with all of these medicines, make your way to the other side, with all these medicines, really important to notice the dosage for you.

Some of these moves are gonna feel really great, some of them might feel less great, some might feel good during but not so good later, so you gotta just really start to get a sense of self assessment. I'm leaning into the front foot, and I'm reaching. I'm letting the arm come back. For some of you, in the shoulder you might be working with today, this side's different, probably. This might be as much range of motion as feels correct.

It might even be a little less than this, so only if it feels right, you're gonna reach and you're gonna let that arm come all the way behind, and reach, and let the arm come all the way behind. Let this, and see if you can just start to get to know that shoulder. The body has a memory, and if the arm hasn't reached up over the top of the head in a while, if it's only been going from the lap to the dinner table, this isn't necessarily easy. Eventually, if it's okay, you'll reverse the direction. Again.

Props to my little brother for renaming it. Props to Schiffmann for indicating that it was still yoga. Let our arm come forward, stand. And then inhale, squeeze your arms up around your ears, and then exhale, drop. Roll your shoulders up around your ears, and exhale, drop.

Nice. Now, we'll start to get more of a sense, now that we've gotten a little bit of room in the shoulders, we'll start to get a little bit of sense of starting to coordinate the breath and the movement. I'm gonna suggest that you start, we'll still start in this direction, stand with both feet apart. That was sort of a funny way to say that. Stand with your feet underneath your hips.

Big, deliberate inhale. Exhale, let a (deep exhalation) happen, and relax. Arms are down along your side. We're gonna move into a very simple movement that we're gonna call quarter sun salutations. Let your hands find each other at the center of the heart.

Inhale, and as you exhale, let your hands gently press towards the earth. Let an inhale circle your arms up, and let an exhale bring your hands back down to the center of your heart. Hold your hands at the heart. Inhale. As you exhale, press your hands towards the earth.

As you inhale, circle your arms open, and as you exhale, let your hands come back down to the center of the heart. Let's do three more like that. Inhale, exhale, press. Inhale, open, and exhale, hands come back down to the center of the heart. Two more, start to memorize the movement.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Nice. One more like this. Inhale, exhale.

Inhale, reach, and exhale, hands back to the center of the heart, and just pause. Pause, and soften the jaw, and soften the mouth, and start to connect with the results of letting your awareness be more in the body, with the breath as the bridge. Good, nice. Now we're gonna add on to this a little bit, taking our quarter salutations into half salutations. What I'm gonna show, though, is because I'm gonna prepare in advance, because eventually we will be stepping back on the mat, and dropping our knee on the floor, so if you know that you'd like a little bit of padding, you'll put your blanket in your mat.

Maybe you're on a shag carpet and that's not necessary. I'm gonna put these bricks at the top of the mat. I'm gonna show in this direction, and then I'm gonna turn to the side so that I'm showing in a different direction, so that we have a chance to see both. Very similar to what we've been doing, but we're adding a forward fold. We'll do this a handful of times together.

Feet are about hip distance apart, hands at the heart. Inhale, exhale, hands to the earth. Inhale, circle your arms up, and this time as you exhale, you're gonna swan dive forward, hands are gonna find their way toward the legs, it's an inhale half arch, hands slide halfway up the legs. Exhale, forward fold, this is what we call Uttanasana. Soften the knees, and as you inhale, circle the arms all the way back up, and exhale, hands come back to the center of your heart.

Nicely done. Let's do about four more of those together. I'm gonna turn in this direction. So again, hands at the heart, inhale, exhale, hands press towards the earth. Inhale, circle the arms open, exhale, swan dive forward.

now as you're swan dive forward, you'll let the knees bend, the hands will find your legs, or maybe your bricks. Inhale, half arch, hands might slide up the legs or be on the bricks. Exhale, forward fold, Uttanasana, and then inhale, soften the knees, let your heart lift as you reach your arms back up. Exhale, hands back to the heart. Awesome.

Three more like this. Inhale, exhale, hands press. Start to really memorize it. Inhale, circle and reach. Exhale, swan dive, soften the knees, forward fold.

Inhale, half arch, hands slide halfway up the legs. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, circle the arms, reach for the sky, and then exhale, hands back to the center of your heart. Two more, with your own breath, so as you inhale, and then exhale, inhale, circle, exhale, swan dive forward, soften the knees, inhale, half arch, hands on legs or bricks, exhale, forward fold, inhale, circle the arms all the way up, reach, and then exhale, hands back to the center of the heart. One more, inhale, and exhale, and inhale, open, and exhale, dive, and inhale, arch, and exhale, fold, and inhale, circle, and exhale, hands back to the center of the heart.

Now, let the hands come down along your side, and as the hands come down along your side, pause, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything, and notice the effect. Really notice the result of this integration that is already here, but you're becoming more aware of. Nice. What we'll do now is, we'll just start to add on a little bit, with just a very simple two rounds of what we call lunge salutes. Essentially, it's a variation of what our yogi friends call Surya Namaskar C, but it's so varied, nobody would recognize it.

Okay, hands at the heart, inhale. Exhale, press the hands towards the earth. Inhale, circle the arms open, and as you exhale, swan dive forward, knees soften, hands might find the legs, now let an inhale create a half arch, and as you exhale, hands might find the bricks or earth, and let's start by stepping the right foot back, letting the left knee bend, wiggle back through that right heel, inhale here, and as you exhale, curl this right knee down towards the earth. This is where you might have noticed why I suggested a little bit of padding. Get some if it's painful.

Inhale, back your hips off a little bit, and then exhale, just kinda sink in. Inhale, back your hips off a little bit, and exhale, sink in. Just let this happen, maybe one, two more times. What you're doing here is, you're just kinda letting the body get used to the possibility of stretching here. Very little in modern life asks this area to stretch, so it's just polite to kinda let it know you're coming.

Now, next time you sink in, pause, let a little bit of (deep exhalation) happen, and just kinda get used to sinking in here, and you'll notice, I have my toes tucked under. That has one feeling, as you kind of stretch back through your heel, and draw the sit bone under. If that's not comfortable on your toes, you're of course welcome to bring the top of the foot down to the floor. Last few moments, just let yourself breathe, and get used to this shape. Nice.

When you're ready, tuck the back toes under, lift up through the back leg, and kinda rock and roll. You're gonna step that foot forward, half arch, and then you're gonna step the opposite foot back. Even though I'm saying that's your left foot, whatever's opposite for you, draw that knee under, and then same idea. Inhale, draw back a little bit, and just exhale, sink in. Inhale, draw back a little bit, and exhale, sink in.

Again, what this is, is, we've talked about this in other shows, the nervous system, her first response to stretching is, "Stop that!" When we are willing to kinda move in and out of things a little bit, it just helps communicate that it's not forever, it's gonna be okay. Now, even though I'm implying that this stretch is through this thigh here, this front left thigh for me, many of you will be feeling it in the right inner groin, in the hip crease. It's totally normal. It just really depends on how you're put together, as you draw the sit bone under, and let a bit of a (deep exhalation) happen. Again, you might have these back toes tucked under, or it might be more comfortable for you to have the top of the foot, easy in the mouth and the jaw.

Again, you're just getting used to these shapes. These shapes are like any relationship, just kinda getting used to it. Nice. You're doing great. Stay with your breath.

Last few moments. Beautiful. Then tuck the back toes under, as you're ready, lift up through that back leg, rock and roll a little bit, step forward, half arch, exhale, forward fold, then soften the knees. Let an inhale circle your arms all the way back up, and then exhale, hands back to the center of the heart. Now let the hands come down along your side, and just allow for a few moments to pause and note, as big deliberate inhale, exhale everything, soften.

Then just notice the effect of that little bit of opening through the fronts of the thighs. Nice. Now we'll do one more round like that, with just the slight addition of lifting up through the arms, only if appropriate. Hands sit together at the center of your heart. Inhale, exhale, press.

Inhale, circle, and exhale, swan dive forward, forward fold over the legs. Inhale, half arch. Exhale, hands plant, this time step the left foot back first. Let that right knee bend, wiggle back through there. Curl the sit bone under, let that knee find the earth.

Now, for some of you, it might make the most intelligent sense on this second round to stay right here. You're just getting used to that stretch, you're getting used to the compression in this other hip. If it's appropriate to start to play with balance, you'll bring your hands up onto the front knee, you'll back off a little bit. Once you feel balance there, just like we were doing standing, circle your arms up, stretch through the fingertips just like we were doing when we were standing, and then curl the sit bone under. Sink through that hip, reach up through the fingers, and breathe.

So pretty, nice. Inhale here, exhale, hands come back down onto the bricks or earth. Lift up through the back leg, rock and roll, step forward. Inhale, half arch, and as you exhale, opposite foot steps back. Bend that front knee, curl the sit bone under, let that knee come down towards the earth.

Again, for some of you, it's better to stay low. You're just beginning. This yoga stuff's a little bit like Tabasco, easy to add more, hard to take it back out. Stay here, okay, or hands up onto that front knee, back off a little bit, once you have the balance, just like we've been doing, circle the arms up, reach. Feel some enthusiasm through the fingers.

Just like we were doing before, in the Big Lebowski arm circles, stay here, or start to sink this right sit bone under. Breathe. Feel the reach up through there, gooey in the back of the neck a little bit, soft in the eyes. So pretty. Last few moments.

Inhale here, exhale, hands come back down onto the bricks. Now, the transition's gonna be a little different. We're gonna draw back the hips, bring this knee back to meet the other knee, and we're gonna mark our way into what we call child's pose. This isn't for everybody. You start to let the knees bend, so the hips start to come towards the heels.

Now you just take this slow, because this might be deep enough. As it's appropriate, you'll release your hands onto the earth. Now, this blanket is a little awkwardly placed for me, so I'm gonna adjust it. You can also adjust yours. Now, for some of you, this might already be asking too much in the joints of the knees or the ankles or the hips.

You take this slow. If it's okay, you can let your hands reach forward, wiggle wiggle wiggle, and you let your forehead start to come towards the earth. Very little in modern life ask the joints to bend like this, so you just easy. You're easy. We'll only be here a few more moments.

We're getting used to these shapes. So nice. Then when you're ready, chin into the chest, you're gonna roll on back up. Nice, and we're gonna make our way onto our backs. So I'm gonna move these bricks out of the way, and I'm gonna turn to face this direction.

One of the things that I've noticed about props, they don't move themselves out of the way. (laughs) Reach your arms out in front of you, roll it on back down. Okay. So good. Hug the knees into the chest, and wobble.

We're gonna put some of that shoulder opening we've done, some of that front thigh opening we've done, to a beginning bridge pose. Catch ahold of your heels. Place your heels down in line with the sit bones, arms down along your side, palms turned up. Take the time to kinda snuggle your feet in, feel your feet on the floor. Lift up through your toes a little bit.

Once you've lifted up through your toes a little bit, sometimes you'll notice that your inner arches lift. Maybe, maybe not. If you notice that your inner arches have lift, maintain a little lift as you spread your toes back down on the floor. Okay, big deliberate inhale here, and as you exhale, start to press down into the feet to let the sit bones draw towards the knees. You're lifting your buttocks up off the floor, and now pause, just get used to this a little bit.

We're just beginning. For some of you, this might be deep enough. If it feels okay, inhale here, exhale, press into the feet, lift your hips a little bit higher. Something that might be useful to say, and I'll do my best to queue it so you don't have to look, but turning your head in this position to see things is often not great on the neck, so do your best to keep your drishti, your focus, on the sky. This might be enough, but some of you are gonna inhale again, you're gonna exhale, you're gonna press down into your feet just a little bit more, and just start to get a sense of wiggling the arms underneath you a little bit.

Just kinda get a sense of wobbling so gently side to side, and if it makes sense, press down through the pinky side of your arm. Last few moments, you're pressing through your feet, you're pressing through the pinky side of the arm, your eyes are soft. Excellent. Up on the balls of your feet, release your arms to the sky, and roll back down, upper back, mid back, low back, hips land, heels land, arms are down along your side, and pause. Big, deliberate inhale, exhale everything.

So nice. Inhale, knees come into your chest, and wobble. We're gonna offer ourselves to a super simple spinal twist. You're gonna let your arms come out from your shoulders, inhale here, and as you exhale, you're gonna bring your knees over to the left, and you're gonna bring your right palm on top of your left palm. You're gonna kinda organize yourself there, your head is still on the earth, and then when it feels all right, you're gonna let this right arm reach back over to the right, and most of us find that bending the elbow a little bit, letting the shoulder relax back in the joint is the way to go.

Now, for some of you, this might already be too much. Try reaching the arm up over the top of the head, if that takes some of the mischief out. Again, maybe it's the bent elbow. If it feels fine to have the arm straight, that's fine, it's just it's sometimes straining. Okay, just a few moments here.

Again, we're still in bite size mode. Inhale here, and as you exhale, you lead with this top right leg, let her bring you back. Wobble a little bit, and then other side. You're gonna bring the arms out from the shoulders, both the knees are gonna come over to the other side. For me, that's the right.

That left palm comes on top of that right palm. You kinda organize your hips and shoulders in one line, and then you let this left arm open back to the left. Again, if you bend the elbow, if you bend the elbow, it often helps the shoulder joint. (mumbles) put all the alignment in, for there's a lot of ways to align this shape. The key here is just trying to get used to it.

Maybe the arm feels more comfortable over the top of your head. Some of you, if you've never cracked your own back, you will start to learn how. (laughs) Just a few more moments. Let a little (deep exhalation) happen. Nicely done.

And then to get out of there, you just lead with this top leg. Let this top leg bring you back. The other one will follow. Wobble a little bit, hug the knees into the chest. We're making our way to, in yoga, what we call Savasana.

You let your feet come down to the earth, and pause. Allow yourself to notice how it feels in your back. Big, deliberate inhale, exhale everything. For some of you, keeping the knees bent will be more supportive on your back. What's a nice alternative to letting the legs go straight is to just widen the feet and let the knees fall together.

You wait till your low back feels settled, if and when she does, you can let one leg extend, and then you let the other leg extend. You let your shoulder blades draw under, and your palms turn up. Let your eyes close now. We'll be here for maybe only about two plus minutes. Savasana, big deliberate inhale, exhale everything, Savasana is sometimes misunderstood as a quiet place, but what happens in Savasana is, because now you have an awareness of all that you have essentially freed to yourself, made available to yourself, and so as you rest here with your eyes closed, soften the jaw, easy in the lips, it's so natural to feel energized, inspired, open.

Sometimes you'll have new ideas, and of course, if you'd like to rest here longer, then it's pretty easy to just hit pause, stop, go away. Beautiful. Again, if you'd like to be here a little longer, if you have that ability, be here. What can sometimes feel good as the transition out is the legs can come together, you reach your arms over the top of your head, and you just stretch out. And then eventually the knees bend, and you're gonna let yourself roll to a side, pause on that side for a moment, tuck in a little bit.

Then when you feel ready, you're gonna use the hand that's on the earth to press yourself back up. Come into a seated position. Big deliberate inhale, and exhale everything. Let the hands find each other at the heart. We call this Anjali Mudra.

What we often say at the end of a yoga practice, which is a very common greeting in India, this word Namaste. Namaste, one of the ways to translate it is the best in me. The best in me recognizes and honors the best in you. I'll offer this, and if it feels comfortable, you can say it back. Namaste.


Ana N
Great sequence for beginners (we always are) ! Thanks dear Kira. xoxo
Kira Sloane
Ana Love. Missing you. xok
Sarah M
1 person likes this.
Wonderful session. great to go back to basics after sometime away from yoga. Thanks
Kira Sloane
Hi Sarah. So happy to hear! Welcome back to yoga! xo k
Tex W
1 person likes this.
Just like being YFSWG. Thanks Kira. Beautiful.
Kira Sloane
TEX! Miss You! Happy Holidays. xokira
Mary B
1 person likes this.
Always so sweet to be with you. Much love, M
Thank you, Kira
Deb C
3 people like this.
gosh, i really needed this. wonderful teacher, really great and clear instruction. I love the bus stop quote, feeling ready for my day now . Namaste!
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Deb, Love. Sweet to be here together.
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Mary....counting the days to Corvallis.
1-10 of 96

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial