(wave crashes) Welcome back. Nice to be together again. In this third sequence, we'll be building off on what we've already touched on. We'll continue in the opening of the shoulders, and today maybe we'll start to begin with a little bit of strengthening work, not only in the upper body but also in the lower back. Good?
I'm going to be using a strap. If you don't have a yoga strap, you might grab and old necktie, or again, your karate black belt or your kid's black belt, and also I'm going to show with a blanket and two bricks as we move into our lunge salutes which may or may not be necessary for you, or useful. Step one. We'll start standing, and let's just get a little bit more understanding of how the shoulders work. Let your arms open out to the side, soften the elbows and just start to get a little sense of inhale and as you exhale, let your shoulders rotate forward, and as you inhale, let your shoulders rotate back.
Okay, do that again. Exhale as you rotate the shoulders forward, and inhale as you rotate your shoulders back, and just see if you can start to feel how the shoulder blades, these wings, as you roll your shoulders forward, you're widening your back body, and as you roll your shoulders back, your elbows are drawing under and your heart is lifting. Okay, why don't we do that at least two more times. Round. We usually call this Swamp Monster, and arch.
We usually call this Hallelujah. Okay, one more. Round and arch. Super nice. Let the arms come down along your side.
Inhale, squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears. Exhale and drop. Roll your shoulders up and around and exhale and drop. Now, we'll start to explore our ways towards an action the yogis call cow face arms. Let one of your arms reach up, and as you reach up through that arm, press down through your feet so you get a little bit more length, and allow the shoulder to wobble a little bit, and then eventually, let that elbow bend.
Bring the other hand to that elbow, and as you bring that other hand to that elbow, the play here is just start to gently draw that bent elbow more up as you so gently begin to wiggle this hand down the back. Now, this may or may not feel good, and again, it may not look quite like it does on me. It may be a little bit more out or less bent. Lengthen. Last few moments.
Just get used to this. Okay, now relax that. Shake it out a little bit, and then we'll find the other side. Stretch the opposite arm up. Then as you reach, you know we've been practicing this across the last few episodes.
There's a sense of rooting and lengthening, and wiggling your shoulder joint a little bit. Then as you feel ready, bend that elbow. Let the opposite arm reach up. Catch a hold of that elbow, and then tenderly, remember we talked about this in the last episode, consensually, let that elbow reach as you let this hand wiggle back and down the back. Okay, wobble.
Lengthen. Okay, a couple more moments. You're getting a sense of rooting, lengthening, shoulders rolling back and down. Okay, super nice. Inhale, release that, free that, shake that out a little bit.
Inhale, squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears. Exhale, drop. Roll the shoulders up and around the ears, and exhale, drop. Now the next one's a little trickier. You're going to reach the arm out.
You're going to rotate the shoulder forward. Remember how we were just experimenting with that? Rotate the shoulder forward as you bring the elbow, as you bend the elbow and you bring the hand behind you. Now, as you do this, the play is depress this shoulder as you send the elbow forward, and just see how it feels to start to play with wiggling this hand up the back of the body. Okay, you're just experimenting.
This isn't something we normally do, right? You do this if you happen to be at the beach by yourself, trying to put your suntan lotion on, right? Or you're trying to zip up your party dress, but this isn't something most modern life demands, so it's not so easy. There's a depression in the shoulder, this elbow's reaching forward and you're wiggling. Okay, a few more moments.
Just see how this feels. See if you can get used to this. Okay, slow let that release. Shake it out a little bit and pause. You know, the joints aren't used to that.
We joke that very few people make a living with their hand back there so it's unusual. Reach your other arm out. Rotate that shoulder forward. Let the elbow bend so you can really rotate that shoulder forward. Then as you bend the elbow, you're bringing the hand behind you.
Again, for some of you this might be already deep enough. In fact, this for a lot of you will be deep enough, and you'll just let that hand relax a little bit. It's just only if it's appropriate, you'll start to schnuggle that hand up the body, and you're depressing your shoulder as you send that elbow forward. The goal is not to get as far as you possibly can. Okay, the goal is to be -- I'm sorry, I shouldn't even use the word goal.
The play is to just notice how it feels to do something different that what you usually do. The shoulder's depressed. The elbow's a little bit forward. (sighs) It's not unusual to start to experience new sensations in the neck, and it's really actually not unusual sometimes to feel a little nauseated, because as you start to open up these different joints that aren't used to it, it's like "Wuh." It's like any house cleaning project, like, "Whoa, how long has that been there?" Okay, when you feel like you've done that enough, you let that release gently. Shake her out a little bit.
Then inhale, squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears, exhale, drop, and roll, and drop. Now, essentially you've already done the Cow Face arms. We've just done it in parts, but the play now is to just let the strap help us find it. Now, the strap won't be necessary for some of you. I'm going to fold the strap in half.
I'm going to put it over my shoulder. I think I'm putting it over the right shoulder. I'll find out in a moment. I'm going to reach this arm out to the side, rotate her forward, bend the elbow, bring the hand behind, and I'm going to find the strap. Then I'm going to reach this arm up.
I'm rotating that shoulder. Let the elbow bend and find the strap. Okay, now both of my hands have found the strap. For some of you, this is perfect as you're pulling that strap. The play is rolling this top elbow up as you schnuggle the bottom arm up the strap and you start to walk the hands towards each other.
For most of you, the strap will be as close as the hands get. If the strap is unnecessary, then your fingers find each other and you draw this elbow down as you reach this other elbow up, and you're lengthening. Now our last few moments. Let the sit bones relax. Okay, inhale here.
You slowly release. You let the shoulders relax a little bit, and you pause and you find out if that was useful. There's this old Ayurvedic saying, "The difference between medicine and poison is simply doseage." Let's find that on the other side. I'm going to switch my strap. Reach this arm out and rotate.
Elbow bends, hand comes behind you. Again, for some of you, it might be finding the strap down here. Reach this other arm up, rotate, bend the elbow. Okay, this might be where it's at, and you pull on the strap, and you lengthen and you rotate. Only if it's useful, you might schnuggle, schnuggle, schnuggle that back hand up.
You might schnuggle, schnuggle, schnuggle that top arm down, and for some of you, the strap is superfluous, in which case you might find -- Where'd they go? The tips of the fingers, and if you're paying really close attention, you'll notice it's different on this side for me and for you. This shoulder on me loves to dislocate and so she's a little funky. Root and lengthen. Okay, last few moments.
This elbow's coming center. This elbow's coming back. (sighs) Nice. Okay. Release.
Shake your arms out a little bit and pause. Inhale, squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears. Exhale, drop. Roll your shoulders up and around the ears. Exhale, drop.
Super nicely done. If you were using a strap, you can gently put that to the side. We will access it again probably, so don't put it too far away. Now the play here is now that you have this little bit of room in the shoulders, I'd like to explore something while we're standing, so that when we bring it to the Earth, there's some reference. Find your way back into what we were calling, Hallelujah.
Let the elbows bend. Let the shoulders roll back and down, and just see if you can feel the shoulder blades rolling back and down. Now, just maintain that a little bit, just maintain that a little bit as you let your elbows draw in front of your shoulders, and turn your palms forward, and then keeping the shoulder blades drawing back and down, just slide the fingertips until they're about underneath your shoulders. My shoulder blades are rolling back and down, and there's a little sense of squeeze of the hands towards each other. Now, I'm in this position.
I'm standing, but I'm basically in this position that the yogis call Chaturanga. With the shoulder blades drawing back and down from Chaturanga, just see if it makes sense. See if it makes sense to slowly press your hands towards straight. Now, I'm essentially in the shape of what the yogis call Plank, and keeping those shoulder blades back and down, slow, slow, slow, see if it makes sense. Let the elbows come back and lower down, Chaturanga.
Essentially what you're playing with here is you're just, you're playing with push-ups, but with a tiny little difference of about 90 degrees and some weight, but you're getting a sense of the shoulder blades rolling back and down. Just a few more moments, just see this. This may or may not make sense, but if we've put some attention to it here, it will be easier when we come supine. Stay in plank. Nice.
Inhale here. Exhale, release. Squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears. Exhale, drop. Roll the shoulders up and around the ears.
Exhale, drop. Okay, again I'm going to show that as we come towards lunge salutes, what some of you will wisely do is make the floor a little higher, and then you may or may not like that blanket underneath your knee. I'm going to show it, because what I find is if I suggest using a prop, but then I don't use it myself it seems like I don't really mean it. Okay, top of the mat. Big, deliberate inhale.
Exhale everything. Let (sighs) happen and soften, and just notice now. You've done such nice opening across your shoulder blades, through the back body. Be aware of how this area feels. Be aware if this was useful, and what we'll do is we'll add this into our lunge salute.
Part of this also, this series of sequences, is to start to let you help, is to start to help you feel more creative. Hands at the heart, inhale. Exhale, press. Inhale, circle the arms open. Exhale, swan dive forward, Forward Fold over the legs.
Inhale, half arch. Exhale, hands find the bricks or Earth. Step your right foot back. Let your left knee bend. Wiggle back through this right heel.
Curl the sit bone under. Let that right knee find your support. Now today, let's play with this. Draw the sit bone under, and if it's okay on the top of your foot, press down through the top of your foot, and if today it's better to stay low, stay low. If it's okay, hands up onto the knee, back off a little bit, and actually I'm just going to make a slight adjustment.
I didn't quite hit that blanket right. It feels weird there. Okay, if it feels right you come up, and now remember what we were playing with in the arms standing? Let's do that here. Inhale, circle the arms up.
Bend that right elbow. Bring the left hand to the right elbow. Draw that right elbow over a little bit so that as you sink down into this lunge, you have a little bit more opening, and if your balance feels okay, maybe lean a little to the left. That will really start to be fun. Beautiful.
Inhale, release the arms up. Exhale, hands find the bricks. Lift up through the back leg. Rock and roll, step forward. Inhale, half arch.
Exhale, step the opposite foot back. Wiggle back, curl the knee under, draw that sit bone, and then again I'm suggesting that today maybe you play with the top of the foot on the floor. It just, it creates something different. If you press through the top of the foot and you draw your sit bone under, it feels different. Hands may come up to this front knee.
Back off. If it's okay, circle the arms up and this time bend that left elbow, right hand on that left elbow. Draw that elbow up. Curl the sit bone under. Sink in.
Okay, now keeping it straight, it might feel better, but for some of you, you might experiment with lean a little bit over to the right. Nice. Beautiful. Now, release the arms up, exhale, hands come back down on the bricks. Lift up through that back left leg.
Rock and roll. Step forward, half arch. Exhale, Forward Fold. Soften the knees. Inhale, circle the arms up and exhale, hands come back to the center and the heart.
Really nice. Let's do that again, adding on just a little bit for some of you. Hold the hands at the heart. Inhale. Exhale, press.
Inhale, circle. Exhale, swan dive forward. Hands find the legs. Inhale, half arch. Exhale, hands on the bricks.
Left foot steps back. Right knee bends. Curl the sit bone under. Top of the foot to the floor if it's okay. Draw the sit bones under.
Again, if you'd rather stay low, you stay low, otherwise back off a little bit. Now, this is a lot, what we're going to do. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, bend the right elbow. Use the left hand to help draw her over.
Keep her there. Release that left arm out. Rotate that shoulder. Bend the elbow. Bring that hand behind you.
Walk your hands towards each other. Find your T-shirt or yoga top otherwise. Walk those hands towards each other. Lengthen, and then curl the sit bone under and sink in. Press the back top of the foot to the floor.
Breathe. Nice. Slow, slow, slow, release those hands. Let the hands find your bricks or Earth. Lift up through the back leg.
Rock and roll. Step forward. Inhale, half arch. Exhale, opposite foot back. For me that's the right.
Left knee bends. Curl the sit bone under. Knee down to the Earth. Now stay low or hands come up onto the knee, back off. We'll try that on the other side.
Inhale, arms up. Left elbow bends. Now, let the right hand help the left elbow over. You might be grabbing your t-shirt or yoga top. Release the right arm out to the side.
Rotate that shoulder forward. Bring that hand behind you, and schnuggle, schnuggle, schnuggle those hands towards each other. Again, use your clothing to help. Now lengthen, curl the sit bone under, top of that back foot to the floor. Sink in.
Breathe. Super nice. Now, you release this. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, hands come back down, this time maybe to the Earth or bricks, and we're going to make our way towards Child's Pose.
Draw the sit bones back. Let this left knee meet the right. Wiggle back through there and rest. What I'm going to suggest is you actually let your arms come down along your sides to give your shoulders more of a break and rest. Okay, when you feel ready, chin into the chest, hands under your shoulders and roll back up.
Nice. I'm going to move my props out of the way. Of course, if you'd like to keep padding under your knees, you can do that. (hums) Let's explore a little bit of strengthening in this area. We've done a lot of opening, but when we're playing towards posture, you need a combination of strength and opening.
Here's the suggestion. Find your way onto all fours please. Spread your fingers super wide like we've been playing with through the season. Let your elbows bend enough so your shoulders roll back and down, and then root through the index knuckles and lengthen. Keep your knees on the floor.
Keep your knees on the floor. Lift your ankles up off the floor. Some of you might know these as girly push-ups. Inhale, and as you exhale, you're going to let your elbows bend just enough, keeping those shoulder blades rolling back and down. You let the elbows bend.
You come down a little bit, and then inhale come back up. We'll just test that out about three more times. Inhale here. Exhale, come down just a little bit. Nice.
Then inhale, come back up. Two more. Inhale. Exhale, just a little. Come back up.
Really great. One more time. Inhale. Exhale. Let the elbows bend.
Shoulders roll back and down, just a little. Super nice. Come back up. Press back. Child's pose, knees bend.
Reach your arms out in front of you to feel more stretch, but you'll give your shoulders more of a break if you let them come back down along your side. Beautiful. Okay, chin to the chest, roll back up. Now the play here, the important -- That's always such a silly thing to say, "The important thing here," but one of the things to pay attention to right, is the integrity of your shoulder back and down. What we're avoiding, in fact, let's do this together just to make sure that we're clear.
What we're trying to avoid is this. Let your arms come out in front of you. Let your shoulders bend a little bit. Flex your palms, and now do this. Slowly, as if you were lowering down, crunch up through your shoulders.
Let your elbows bend, and suffer a little bit here. This is what we're avoiding, so then know it. What we're trying to find is (sighs) shoulders back and down and this heart bright. Okay, so as we explore in this second sequence, going down just a little lower, you only go down as far as feels good. Let's try.
Come onto all fours. Spread the fingers super wide. Now let your elbows bend, shoulders relax back and down and then root and lengthen. Maintain some integrity here. Squeeze the arms a little bit, and then let your knees stay and lift up through the ankles.
If you remember, cross your opposite ankle. The slightest little bit of (exhales audibly) just to help your sit bones draw under. Inhale here, and as you exhale, you start to lower down, and for most of you, this is perfect. This is the perfect amount. For some of you, it makes sense to lower down a little bit lower, and then you press back up, and then you lower, and then you press back up.
Nice. Two more. Lower. Press back up. Now on this last one, lower and hover a little longer, and then press back up.
Nice. Child's Pose. We'll go back through there. Now, from Child's Pose, we're going to find our way onto our belly for a little bit of low back strength like I promised. Lower down.
Let the elbows bend. Let the head rest on the face, and just so gently wobble the legs a little side to side. Nice. Notice how it feels around the shoulder joints and though the upper back. If that was effective, it will feel warm and it will feel like warm honey.
Generally you know things are working if it feels like warm honey. Okay, now as we start to work into the low back, let the feet release. Let the hands find their way about underneath the shoulders. Face on the Earth, well more like your forehead than your face. Forehead on your Earth.
Squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears. Roll your shoulders back and down, and start to pull your hands towards your toes as you traction your heart forward. Now, just a little bit. Okay, the shoulder blades are rolling back and down, heart is tractioning forward, gooey in the back of the neck. Get used to this, and if this is asking enough, for some of you, you're going to stay right here.
To start to add the low back strength, bend the knees, lift up through the thighs, and then you so slowly start to play with stretching back through the toes. I'm pulling a little bit on the mat. The heart is lifting, gooey in the back of the neck, a little twinkle through the toes. Inhale here. Exhale, lower land.
What's usually nice is an ear on the Earth and arms come down along your side, and you rest. It's nice to bend the knees, wobble the legs a little side to side. Okay, let's try that again. Legs release, face on the floor, hands underneath the shoulders. Squeeze your shoulders up and around the ears.
Roll them back and down, and it's like baby smidge of a dew drop of a lift. You're dragging your hands back. You're letting your heart lift a little bit. Soften the neck. Stay right here if this is enough.
Otherwise bend the knees. Lift up through the thighs, and then so slowly, we're going to stretch back through the legs. You're reaching back through the toes. You're lifting up through the heart, and you might keep your hands here for support, but with some of you it will feel good is to release the fingertips back towards the toes and reach. Enthusiasm back through there.
Nice. Inhale here. Exhale, lower land. Opposite ear down to the Earth. I'm going to show the same ear, because if I bring the opposite ear, I'll crush the microphone.
Let the knees bend and wobble the legs a little. Super nice. Beautiful, nice work. Okay, now let the legs come behind you. Now, what we're going to do from here, we're going to press back into child's pose just to give the low back a little bit of a release, and then we're going to find our way onto our backs to give a little bit of hip and hamstring stretch.
I'm just going to slowly grab my strap, because I buried it back behind these bricks. (laughs) Find your lay onto your back. I'm just going to take a look at the sunset. Okay. Roll on back down.
Hug your knees in and wobble. Okay. You've done such nice work. You've done such nice opening in your shoulders, strengthening in your shoulders and strengthening in your low back. Let's give a little bit of awareness to opening up the hips.
You know, this phrase, "opening up," is a little bit misleading, because it would imply that you were opening them and they were going to stay open. (laughs) Keep your left foot on the floor. Bring your right ankle up on top of the left knee. Keep your left foot on the floor, and just get a little used to how your hip works. Inhale, right hip and knee towards heart.
Exhale, right hip and knee away. Inhale, right hip and knee towards heart. Exhale, right hip and knee away. Do this about three more times. When I say that it's a little misleading is because, it's like these actions allow us more to feel the openness that already is.
Next time the hip and knee is away, keep it there. This for some of you might be deep enough, but to feel a stretch, you bring the left thigh in and you wobble. This might be perfect. Some of you might catch around the back of the left thigh or the top of the left shin. It's just something to understand, that openness already is.
The universe is infinitely open. Okay, but our temptation to shrink, resist, feel small, that temptation it just comes from this perpetual, vigilant desire to know. Soften the mouth. But when we free a little bit of tension in the body, in the heart, in the mind, when we can free a little bit of that tension, then we experience something that's closer to the truth of what is. Something simple like that.
Okay, let the left foot come back down to the Earth. Release the right leg up. Shake her out a little bit. (makes purring sound) Then bend the right knee. Place her down on the floor and pause.
Big, deliberate inhale. Exhale, let (sighs) happen. Be aware of how it feels in your hip. Nice. Left ankle up on top of right thigh.
Now keep the right foot on the floor as you inhale, left, tip the knee towards heart. Exhale, left tip the knee away. About four more times. You're just getting a sense of how that (coughs) Excuse me hip joint works. (coughs) Excuse me.
It's very similar to what we did when we were doing this in the shoulders. You're just kind of like, "What's up?" Okay, next time the hip and the knee is moving away from you, for some of you that's deep enough. For some of you, right thigh draws in. Wobble. Right here might be ideal.
Some of you are going to catch around the back of that thigh or maybe the top of that shin. Let a little bit of a (sighs) happen. Easy in the mind and the jaw, and the wobble, it's just that gentle wobble in the body, the rocking, it's so soothing to the nervous system, and it helps calm the tendency to be like (grunts) as if you were trying to like, again, get your hip open. It's much more about this experience of the relationship you're in with your hip. Super nice.
Okay, release that right foot back down. Left foot, you just to shake her out a little bit, and then bend the left knee. Place that left foot back down on the floor and pause. Big, deliberate inhale. Exhale everything.
The hope is that you're starting to feel pretty good now. You've got this nice opening in the upper body. You've done some work in the low back. You've got this nice opening up in the hips. Now we're going to find some room in the hamstrings.
Again, I have my trusty strap. You might have something else. Right knee into the chest. Wrap your strap around the ball of that right foot, and just so gently you're going to extend that leg towards the sky, and let enough line out on the strap so your shoulders are relaxed back and down. I like to hold the strap with the arms straight, but I like to have my shoulders back and down.
Let a little bit of a (sighs) happen through the sit bone. Okay, and my leg is straight right now, but your leg might be slightly bent, and tonight let's play with this. Let's just reach up through the heel a little bit and spread the toes. I just said tonight, but it could be day for you. Nice.
A couple more moments. Just wobble a little bit. (sighs) Beautiful. Okay, release the strap. Shake her out a little bit.
A couple ankle circles usually feels pretty good, and then try this. Flex the foot. Lead with the heel. Let the leg slowly lower back down, and when she lands, let her really rest. Drop her.
Can you relax the tension through the hip? Super nice. Okay, let's find that on the other side. Bend that knee. Left knee into the chest.
Wrap your strap. Extend, and again as you extend, the temptation is to blow out the back of the knee tendons. Just extend to where it feels like it's done. You don't want to move into that (makes a sound representing tension) in the back of the leg. You just want to get into a place where you're like, "Oh, there you are." Then relax through the sit bones.
Relax through the jaw. Breathe. Okay, notice what your face is doing. She's probably trying to help. You can probably relax the mouth, the eyes, the tongue.
I'm giving a little juju through the heel at this time. It just feels pretty good. Just, I don't know, today that just feels really good. A little flex through the toes. Super.
Beautiful. Okay, last few moments. Okay, release that strap. Shake her out a little bit, a couple of ankle circles one direction, other direction, and then if it would feel okay, flex the foot and lead with the heel, and let that leg lower all the way back down. As that leg lowers back down, then just like (sighs) Rest.
Okay, and if it's okay on your back. Now, let the other leg, the right leg extend to join her. Lengthen through your legs. Schnuggle the shoulder blades underneath you. Let the palms open.
Wobble the back of the head. Nice. If you haven't guessed, we're on our way towards Savasana. Okay, big deliberate inhale and exhale everything. You'll know that your practice was correct, meaning you'll know that either A, that sequence was correct for you or B, your attitude in that sequence was aligned properly.
If, as you start to move into Savasana, there's this capacity for more, and not in the sense of bearing more, but in the sense of experiencing more. Soften the jaw. Soften the eyes. Let the boundaries between you and your experience soften. The defense budget drops, and there's an availability that's quite magnificent.
We'll be here for about another minute. If you have the luxury of being here longer, simply turn us off, or pause us. Kind, soft, open. Again, if you're not ready to leave this sweet field of wonderfulness, stay longer. When you are perhaps ready, you'll let your head wobble a little side to side.
I'm noticing that my foot is also doing that. That's funny. I've never experienced that. Then usually it feels good to stretch your arms over the top of your head. Lengthen.
There's obviously a lot of ways to get up off the floor, but one of the ways we like is just simply bend the knees and roll to a side. Pause. Then only as you feel ready, use one hand and let yourself press back up. Okay. Perhaps join me in a sit for a few moments.
The purpose of these practices is not for just on the mat. How we know these practices are working are reflected back in our relationships in our daily life. This experience that maybe you're starting to taste of a little bit more opening, a little bit more room, a little bit more capacity. Okay, where this really matters is for the rest of your day. Just for a few more moments together, let your hands find the Anjali Mudra, and perhaps just ask for the strength, and the courage, and the willingness to be open.
Sweet. Thank you for sharing your practice. Namaste.
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