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Your Body on Yoga Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 9

Shoulder Integration Practice

25 min - Practice


Kristin guides us through a sweet practice to integrate all of our lessons this season. We pay particular attention to the arms, shoulders, hands, and heart. You will feel a new sense of sweetness.
What You'll Need: Mat


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Welcome. Find a comfortable seat, anything that will support you for a few minutes. As you adjust in your seat, you can find the crown of the head over the base of your spine. You'd rest your hands in some way on your knees or thighs and we'll close the eyes. Give ourselves a more indulgent, effulgent breath in and out of the nose.

As you offer yourself these deeper slides of breath, sometimes I like to imagine the breath as if it's a mist. You can give it your favorite color. And as you watch the breath travel in, you can watch this mist kind of unwrap, unfold. It's long, loose tendrils somewhere through the torso, the back body, the ribs, chest, collarbones. And as you exhale, just feel the soft belly moving in and up towards your heart. Finding the inhale that lengthens your spine, that broadens the rib cage, that turns the collarbones almost up into a little soft smile. Finding that lightness as you exhale, just draw the soft belly in and slightly up. One more breath together and long, slow, fulfilling inhale. Long, slow, fulfilling exhale.

And keep your eyes closed and just take one hand over the other hand, over the heart center. And then just slide the hands over the left pec right underneath your collarbone and give a little pressure in with your hands and slightly down as if you're kind of just gently peeling the pec away from your collarbone. Your hands are underneath your left collarbone and you're going to keep your head as if it's on a lazy Susan. And you're going to turn your nose to the right. Just gently pressing in and slightly down with the hands and turning your nose to the right. No need to force, just a gentle opening in the front of the neck. Slowly move your nose back to center, your hands back over the breastbone and slide the hands underneath the right collarbone. You can feel a gentle pressure of your hands in and slightly down. Lengthen the base of your skull upwards. Feel as if your soft palate could lift and slowly turn your nose now to the left. Again, no need to force, just comfortably rotating the head and neck. Take a big breath underneath your hands. Exhale, feel it soften. Everything moves to the heart on the exhalation. Relax the jaw, tongue, roof of the mouth. Start to move the nose back forward, back to center, hands back over the heart. Bow the chin to the chest, heaviness of the head as you surrender it to the heart. See if you can stay inside the deeper flow of your breath, even as you allow your eyes to open and even as you start to bring yourself up to the hands and knees. Establishing your weight and wrists parallel to the front of the mat, spread the fingers comfortably. Take chakra vakrasana, so inhale, breathe your heart forward, keep a little length in your neck, a teeny tiny double chin. Exhale, bend the elbows, draw the tail back to the heels into child's pose.

Just a few times, just warming the spine. Inhale, start slightly before the movement, breeze all the way through to the height of the movement, cow pose. Exhale, child's pose. Find a little bit of the exhale left at the completion of the movement. One more time, into cow. Exhale into child's pose. Stay in child's pose, take one hand over the other hand over your sacrum, the palm shining up. Keep your chest somewhat broad, the shoulder blades slightly on the back body, so they don't slip off. On the next inhale, you're going to sweep your arms open to the sides and all the way up by your ears. Come to stand up onto your knees, what we call bali. Then as you exhale, reverse your steps, sweep the arms down, tail back to the heels, turn your right temple towards the floor, back into child's pose, hands back to the sacrum. Do the opposite side. Inhale, sweep the arms open and all the way up, coming all the way up to stand on the knees. As you exhale, tail back to the heels, engage your belly and the head is moving away from that left arm, left temple to the floor. One more time, each side. Inhale, as you sweep the arms up, you can take a little micro shrug of your shoulders, letting those scapula upwardly rotate. As you exhale, sweep and just soften your shoulders away from your ears, hands back to the sacrum, right temple to the mat. One more time. Inhale. And exhale, left temple. We'll turn our forehead to the mat. We'll reach the arms forward. And the inhale breath coming back up onto the hands and knees. We'll take a little brief pit stop and down dog. Tuck your toes under and externally rotate your humerus. Press the floor away with your fingertips. Reach your seat back and up. Let your head go. You can flutter your lips. Release your tongue. You know, walk yourself forward slowly, up in between your hands. Feel free to come up to the fingertips or bend your knees to get there. And then fold forward over your legs. Utanasana. Bring your hands back to the backs of your knees. Inhale, lengthen your spine up about halfway. Draw longer behind the heart. Exhale, bring your belly in. Inhale, ride the hands up the backs of the legs, coming all the way up to stand. Exhale, tadasana, mountain pose. Find neutral shoulders, the shoulders just softly angled forward, the breastbones sweeping down, the head regally balancing on top of the spine. We're going to step the left foot back into warrior one. Take a generous step back. Wide legs. Back toes angled up at a sharp angle so the knee doesn't have to twist or torque itself. Bend your right knee and you'll reach your arms forward by your ears. You're going to take a small hinge in the body just so we don't throw into our lower back. Inhale where you are. Exhale, draw your elbows into a cactus, belly in towards the heart. Inhale, reach your arms long, lengthen the space behind your heart. Exhale, elbows into a cactus. You don't need to pinch them down, just slide the shoulders down. Two more times. Inhale, reach the bottom tip of the scapula towards the pinky finger. Exhale, elbows into a cactus.

Inhale, reaching your arms forward, upward rotation of the scapula. Exhale, elbows into a cactus. Inhale, reach the arms forward and lower the arms and step your left foot forward to meet your right. Tadasana. You might even feel a little difference in the sides. We're going to step our right foot back. Pretty generous step back. And go the back toes forward. Bending your left knee, Virabhadrasana one, warrior one. Kneel, lengthen the soft space behind the heart. Exhale, elbows into a cactus. Belly charges up to the heart. Again, inhale, upwardly rotate, even micro shrug your shoulders. Exhale, elbows to a cactus. Keep your gaze steady at one point. Inhale, back of the neck long. Exhale, elbows cactus shape. Last time inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale. Exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale. Reach your arms forward, lower the arms, step your right foot forward, Tadasana. And just feel. We're going to meet next on our backs. Just take your time, we'll come down onto our backs. And setting up as you would for a bridge pose. Feed our hip distance apart. This bridge is a little bit different than the ones that we normally do together. So on the inhale breath, you're going to lift your pelvis and lift just your right arm up and overhead. And then as you exhale, you're going to lower the arm and pelvis, but you're going to turn your nose to the left as you lower. And then as you next inhale, you're going to slowly center your head, lift the pelvis, lift the left arm up and over. And then as you exhale, you're going to lower the pelvis and the left arm as you turn your nose to the right. So interesting for the shoulders and also the brain. Inhale, you'll center the head, reaching your right arm up and over. And then as you roll down, turn your nose to the left, right arm down. Inhale, lifting your pelvis, centering your head, left arm up and over. And then exhale as you lower left arm down, turn your nose to the right. Let's do one more time each side. Inhale, center the head, lift the pelvis, reach your right arm up and over. As you exhale and you roll down, turn your nose to the left. You might feel yourself rolling more down through the right side of your spine. Inhale, centering your head, lift your left arm and pelvis. Exhale as you lower, turn your nose to the right. And center your head, keep your seat down. And we're going to take both arms up to the ceiling, interlace your fingers, turn your palms inside out so the palms press upwards. You're going to protract your shoulder blades away from one another. So you're going to bring them away from the spine. And then inhale, lift up to bridge, press into your feet, lift pelvis, mid back, upper back, little more sensation in the thoracic spine here.

And then as you roll down, try to press your hands further up towards the ceiling, roll down bit by bit. Let's just do two more. Inhale, keep the arms put, rolling up. And then protract even more, hands further up to the ceiling as you roll down. One more time, inhale. And exhale, protract even more. As your seat comes back to the floor, you can relax your arms down. You're going to lift your seat a couple inches over to the right side of your mat. So let's stretch your left leg down. We're going to bring the right knee across the body for a twist. You can take your right arm out to the side and left hand can just easily sit on top of the right hip or thigh. And you take a little snow angel with the arm. So on the inhale breath, let's just kind of snow angel the arm up by your ear and look up towards your ceiling. As you exhale, you're going to snow angel your arm all the way down by your side as you turn your nose to the left. Couple more times, inhale, centering the head, the arm will snow angel up. Exhale, snow angel your arm down, nose turns away from that working arm. One more time, inhale, and exhale. Engage your belly so you can bring your knee back up to the ceiling. You'll be a little bit off center so just step your feet to the floor, even out your seat. And then we'll shift the hips a little bit over to the left side, stretch your right leg down the mat, bring your left knee in and across your body. You can take your right hand onto your thigh, left arm can start by your side. On the inhale breath, you'll snow angel the left arm up by your ear, your nose can look up. As you exhale, you'll snow angel your left arm down and turn your nose to the right. Couple more times, inhale, snow angel your arm up, center your head. Exhale, snow angel the arm down, nose turns away from the working arm. You can always keep your elbow bent if you do this one more time. If you don't have the mobility to touch the floor, no big deal.

And exhale, arm and nose move in opposition. Engage your belly, bringing your left knee back up towards the ceiling and step your feet to the floor, even out your body on the mat. Bring the legs down by our sides and long down the mat and feet a little wider than hip distance. You can arrange the buttock flesh so it feels more or less symmetrical to one another. Just draw your two shoulder blades slightly under, not so much that there's a little pinch of flesh, but like two little teacup saucers just sitting on the floor under the lungs. The arms a little bit away from the sides of the body, you can turn your palms to face up. You can have the thumbs slightly higher than the pinkies so you don't feel the need to overly rotate your arms. Adjust your head and neck so there's a little breeze underneath your neck, the jaw relaxing, the lips might even part. Close the eyes and we'll just take a few moments to soak in the essence of the practice of your sweet attention to yourself, to your breath and movement. Just rest in that space. All right. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Your remaining stone, just bring your awareness back into the body. Many sensations that you might feel, tingling, warmth. As you're ready, take a more luxurious breath in and out. Waking the body, fingers and toes. Bend one knee at a time, place your feet on the floor.

And just rolling over to your right side in a fetal position. You can place your left hand to the floor and ease your way up to a seated position, taking your time. Bringing one hand over the other hand, over the heart. Gratitude for your body in all of its uniqueness, its perfect imperfectness. And your heart that's loved you from the beginning.



1 person likes this.
This just feels so gooood...
1 person likes this.
Awesome Kate !

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