30-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 3

Balance Core Flow

30 min - Practice


Brenda guides us in a spicy vinyasa flow practice with a focus on balancing postures and core work. We play with arm balancing, standing balancing postures, and various core-focused sequences to build heat and strength.
What You'll Need: Mat


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back. So our practice today will focus on balance and a bit of core work. So the challenge will be to simply be with what is and stay in the moment. So if you fall out of a balance just come back in. If the core work is strong hang on and join in when you need to. So we're gonna start at the top of the mat in Vadrasana. So curl the toes under. Even encourage the pinky toe to come forward to join its buddies. Draw the ankles together, the inner ankles, and then just lift up the flesh over the heels. Draw the inner thighs together. If this is already at your wit's end you can put your hands down for a kickstand. If it feels okay you can bring right hand in left. If you feel like you want a little bit more let the knees just slide out a little bit and let the weight get heavy on the heels. Let's see if you can slow down the breath. Begin to engage a bit of your ujjayi pranayama, that slight constriction in the back of the throat creating a soft whispering sound. Full complete breath. And then softly start to bring the hands down to the floor as you open the eyes. Lift the hips. Come into a soft forward fold so take the feet about hip distance apart. Grab opposite elbow. Keep a little bend in the knees and lengthen and strengthen through the upper thighs. See if you can just let the shoulders thunk down towards your ears. Let the upper body get heavy. On your next inhale let your right elbow lead the way and then the left will come up over top finding a side bend so legs are engaged. A little micro pause at the top on the bend. Continue up and exhale down to the left. So just giant big circles. Again the right starts to lead then the left elbow comes up over. A little pause. Lift up and then exhale down to the left. It's time change directions. Left elbow leads and then the right comes up and over. Life strong. A little pause in the side bend. Soften down to the right. Back to center. Last one. That right elbow come up over top. A little pause. Down to the right. Excellent. Come on down. Let the hands come down to the floor. Step on back plank pose. That whole plank pose solid long line from heels to crown. Okay on an inhale just the heart space. So right behind the shoulder blades dips down and the heart comes forward and the exhale a little press right between the shoulder blades up high. Four more. Inhale heart comes forward. Exhale press back. Inhale heart form almost like you have Care Bear power. Always think about like Rainbow Bear. Exhale press back. Good.

Two more. Inhale just the heart shines forward. Exhale the press between the shoulder blades. Last one. Exhale press. Good. Lower down knees. Shins top of the feet. Let the pubic bone come down. Come into Sphinx pose. Elbows right under shoulders. Forearms root into a number 11. And then as if you're dragging your whole upper body forward rooting through the pubic bone you can create a little bit of traction through the low back. Maybe a little wiggle. Lower all the way down. Slide the finger pads right under the shoulders. Curl the toes under either lifting up knees or straight up through plank. Lift the hips into downward facing dog. Take a few beats here as you lift the hips, lengthen the arms. Always your choice when you enter into your first downward facing dog if you want a little movement or stillness. Count and inhale. Bring the right foot about halfway up the mat but wide towards the edge of your mat. Then left foot to parallel. Press through the palms. This might be plenty. Or inhale lift onto the balls of the feet. Option to stay right here. Or option three lift onto the tip tip toes. See what it feels like to take weight into the hands. So now to bring feet to hands you can hop slide or step step and fold them in. Inhale rise all the way up. Exhale draw the hands through heart and then press all the way down. Rooting into your left foot on an inhale bring the right knee to chest. Option to stay here. Exhale take the right leg long arms up soften the right hip down. Exhale draw the elbows and draw the knee back and then swoop right back into warrior three. Right so so often in our practices we often find balances towards the end of practice. So just be with what is. If you fall out come on back in. One more big breath. Good. Inhale draw the knee into the chest. Good. Option to take the arms up leg long again. Draw the knee back in. Okay choice stay right here. Drawing the knee in towards the chest with the hip drawing down. Or two-piece fingers to the right big toe. Kick the heel out. You can take your arm out. I like to leave it on my hip. See if you can draw the right shoulder back. So more important that the upper body is lifted than the right leg long. So you can keep and bend in the knee as well. One more big breath. Get knee into the chest. Exhale let the right foot meet the left. Ah just take a moment to take that in. On an inhale draw up the left knee to the chest. Find your grounding in your right foot. Option exhale take the left leg long. Good. Draw back in. Knee to chest and then swoop the leg back warrior three. So here we pause. Left inner thigh spins high. See if you can get light through the low back. So it's a lift. So the play with this pose is can we kind of grow out of that right hip pocket instead of sinking down. Soft through the eyes. Soft through the jaw.

Good. On an inhale come on back up. Knee to chest. Option left leg long. Draw the knee back in. Okay stay right here or uttita asta parungustasa. So two piece fingers to the big toe. Left leg starts to lengthen again. More important that the chest is lifted than the left leg long. Encourage the outer edge of the left foot back. Encourage the left shoulder back. Eyes soft. Two more breath. Good. Knee comes back into the chest. Arms up. Take the hands of the heart and then all the way down. Good. Inhale take the arms up. Toe heel the feet. Hip distance to mat distance apart. So your comfortable squat where you come into malasana. So as we start to go into this next sequence you have a couple places you can stop along the way or continue to play. Exhale hands are gonna come down to the heart and then come out. We're gonna lower down. You can either A pause here if going into the squat is not feeling like your cup of tea today. Or you can lower all the way down into malasana. Options stay here. Or lower into navasana boat pose. The exhale to hover. So engage. The inhale to come on back up. Stick the legs underneath you and come back forward to lift the hips. On the inhale readjust the feet. So a little step step. Exhale to fold. Inhale to rise up. So here we go. Four more fun core exercises. Exhale malasana. Remember you can pause in either place. Navasana. Exhale hover. Inhale to come back up. Feet under. Rock forward and feel free to press yourself up as you lift the hips. Inhale halfway. Toe heel the feet wider. Exhale fold. Inhale rise. Three more. Exhale arms out for a little counterbalance. Root the sit bones. Lift the feet halfway. Good. Feet come back in. Find your way back up. Hips lift. Fold in. Inhale halfway. Toe heel the feet out and fold back in. Inhale rise up. Two more. Exhale down into your malasana. Back into navasana boat pose. Exhale to hover tailbone tucks. Inhale come on back up. Scoot forward and fold. Inhale halfway lift. Toe heel the feet out. Exhale fold. Inhale rise up. Last one. Exhale malasana. Let the sit bones touch down. Lift the feet navasana. Exhale to hover. Inhale come on back up. Hips lift. Inhale halfway. Toe heel the feet wide again. Fold in and pause. From here as you inhale lift the chest and we're just going to step back downward facing dog.

Adho mukha svanasa. Taking a few breaths here. On an inhale take the right leg up. Good. From here we're gonna set up a little fire hydrant 90 degree leg work. So you're gonna bend the knee, bring the heel right into the bum, bring the right knee down even with the left knee. From here see if you can take the right knee out 90 degrees. Right press through the palms. If this feels okay no mischief in the low back. On an exhale take the right leg long. Pause here. Press more through the palms so you can get more into that left leg. Good. Bend the knee draw the right heel in. From here on an exhale wave the spine forward right knee towards right elbow. Maybe a little dip down. Inhale back up. Option to extend the right leg. Knee back in. Slide forward knee to elbow. Maybe a little bend in the elbows. Back on up. Extend the leg as an option. Bend the knee back in. Last one. This time either draw the knee and really working the core or pause with chaturanga arms. So the knee lifts, gaze forward, heart forward. Good. Inhale up and back. Option take right hip up a little higher. Bend the knee just to open a little counter. Good. Right leg long even out the hips. Lower right foot to meet left. From here left leg lifts. Okay doing the full setup again. Bend the knee. Heel towards bum. Lower the knee down. Left knee even with right. Inhale lift it out 90 degrees to a fire hydrant. Exhale option. Lengthen the leg and pause.

Right. So notice the body wants to shift to the right. See if you can hold center. So it's strong through the triceps, strong through the forearms. Draw the knee back in. On an inhale slide forward knee towards elbow option. Little pause. Inhale back and up. Option to lengthen. Inhale back. Slide forward knee towards elbow. Inhale back. Option to open. Draw it back. Okay this time as we come forward this is the one we pause. Right. So you can go knee towards elbow and hold or hold this little kickstand. Heart comes forward. Good. Slowly lift up and back. Take left hip open it up. Stack it on the right. Take the knee high. Heel towards the bum for a counter. Left leg long. Even the hips. Lower it down. On an inhale take the left foot halfway up. Again a little wider almost towards the edge of your mat. Right foot comes parallel. Pause right here or lift the heels. So you're on the balls of your feet and you feel more weight into your palms or option to come on your tip tip tip toes to see what that feels like. Option hop slide or step step. Exhale fold in. Inhale rise all the way up. Exhale take the hands all the way down through the heart and press them down towards the earth. On an inhale draw the left knee in. So just as we started with that first sequence. Exhale option leg long. Knee comes into the chest and we're going to suit back warrior three. Left leg goes back just for transition. So it's a big big reach back. Step back high crescent lunge. Right lift the hips lift the heart long through the spine. On an exhale come halfway forward and let your wings come back. Okay spin the thumbs up so then the shoulders start to roll back. On an inhale scoop the arms forward so the arms frame the ears. And then exhale this time swoop the palms open. Thumbs down. Good two more inhale scoop the arms forward. Exhale scoop the arms back. Last one in. Exhale let the hands come down to frame the front foot. Scoop the left foot in about six inches. Drop the back heel. Bring the hips forward and fold in. See if you can activate the right hip drawing back. Heart lifting up so long through the low back even like the low back. See if you can draw the spine inward towards the belly button. Okay soft through the knees. You're going to take your gaze forward coming into a standing split. So the left leg lifts. So option you can always sweeten this. Lower the back leg. You can intensify this drawing the torso towards the right leg. For those who want to get upside down plant through the palms lift through the left leg and maybe coming into a hand stand. Then we'll come back into downward facing dog. On your next inhale bring the left foot forward about halfway. Right foot parallel. Take a moment to lift the hips and option to come up onto the balls of the feet. Second option to come tip tip tip toes. So hop slide step step options. Exhale fold it in. Inhale to rise all the way up. Exhale hands come down through heart. Press the palms down energetically rounding and inhale scoop the right knee up towards the chest.

Option exhale to lengthen. Inhale draw it back in and swoop into warrior 3. Try to take up a lot of space with your physical body. Step back high crescent lunge. I like a good hip distance apart as I take the arms up. Exhale come halfway back wings back. Inhale bring the arms up to frame the ears and exhale swoop the arms back by your sides. Two more. Inhale take the arms up. Exhale last one inhale long arms. Exhale let the fingertips come down to frame the front foot. Scoot the right foot in about six inches. Drop the back heel so the right foot's on an angle. Take the left leg long draw the left hip back and fold in. Continue to lift the heart so the heart's moving in the direction of the toes, the neck long, the eyes soft. Soften through the knees start to take the gaze forward. Bring the hands down and shift into a standing split so the right leg is going to go high and again see if you can match what you did on the other side. So if you softened it come soft. You want to take the torso back or option if you want to play in an inversion sliding into handstand. Good and slowly coming back down we'll meet in downward facing dog and adding on to our kickstand. On an inhale take the right leg up and back. Bend the knee draw the right knee down to match the left. Inhale take it out to the side. Good on an exhale come forward. Knee towards the elbow so option to either just draw it in kickstand or start to take the right leg long. Left leg lifts Ekapada kundayasana variation so the gaze can come towards the front leg toe. Good take yourself back downward facing dog or you can take the leg up and open it up just a nice little counter pose. Good right leg long. Right foot meets left. Left leg inhale take the left leg up. Bend the knee heel comes towards the bum lower the knee and then draw it out 90 degrees. Slide forward again touching as high as you can or kickstand or take the leg long. Ekapada kundayasana see you can hold it shoulders up even with the elbows and then up and back. Open up the hip and the knee and then leg long soften left leg down. Inhale lift to the balls of the feet lower the knees and shins come down into child's pose. Inhale start to walk the hands back lifting the torso. We're gonna come back into Vajrasana the pose we started in. So you're gonna curl the toes under and again draw the pinky toes under draw the inner ankles together. So you can lift the flesh up over the heels inner thighs start to come together and again if this is intense on your feet kickstand and pause. Okay for those that can't feel it let the knees slide out let the body get heavy. Okay if your hands are free go ahead and interlace the palms fingers and take the palms forward. Let's do a little wrist release and separate the hands press the palms like the base of your palms forward and then curl the fist draw the fist down. From here just like sprinkle your fingers out. I like to imagine throwing glitter always and then the opposite direction. Fabulous. Okay go and bring the hands down if they're not already start to take the knees out towards two and ten and start to bring the bottoms of the feet together. So it takes a little wiggle and I always say maybe this lifetime many lifetimes later the bombs of the feet might touch and that's fine. So in this play of balance just choose if you're gonna fall to fall forward just because the pinky toes can be a little vulnerable. So from here you want to draw upward that lift of the pelvic area and then see if you can start to take the hands to the thighs and you want to lift the pubic bowl off the heels. So maybe taking fingertips to the thighs maybe hands to heart. For some if you want to take the arms up overhead. So the legs are engaged we're lifting lifting lifting good and then exhale bring the hands down. Let the knees come down at two and ten o'clock. Let your right hand come behind the right thigh and on an inhale take the left arm up and over so a nice gentle sweet side bend. If you like you can let the right ear drop towards the right shoulder. Inhale come on back up. Left hand comes down behind the left thigh.

Inhale take the right arm up. Let the left ear drop down if that feels good. Inhale come on back up. We're gonna make our way onto our backs. From here creating a little thread the needle you're gonna bring the left ankle above the right thigh. Draw the knees in and see if you can interlace the hands behind the thigh or around the shin. Flex the feet and just a light pull in. We'll just stay here for another three breaths. As you release take the legs up in the air roll out the ankles and then the opposite side. Right ankle over left knee. Draw the hands behind the thigh or around the shin and then soften in. So it's just a light pull so the shoulders can still stay softly down. As you start to unwind again take the legs up. Roll out the ankles. Bring the knees in one last squeeze before we make our way to our final pose shavasana. Just one leg at a time. Let the feet display out hip distance apart. The shoulders settle in. See if you can soften the belly so much so that there's almost like a little puddle right at the belly button. Like a little indentation of softness. Allow your breath to find its natural rhythm.

When those thoughts come up just allow them to drift by. When those thoughts come up just allow them to drift by. When those thoughts come up just allow them to drift by. Allow them to drift by. Allow them to drift by. Allow them to drift by. Allow them to drift by. Thank you.

Taking a little deeper inhale, full complete exhale. Wiggle the toes, the fingers, if you like taking the arms overhead. Starting to roll onto the right side. Gently pressing up into your seat. Keep the eyes soft.

As we played with today balance and core, sometimes in life it's easy to get knocked off our center. But the nice thing about working our core and our balance is we notice what that's like on the mat. Like how do we ground in, how do we re-start, how do we settle back in after we get a little wavered. It's the same thing in life, like we get knocked around a little bit, but how do we get back up, how do we show up. So it's nice to practice in a safe space on the mat.

Big beautiful blessings, namaste.


Christel B
2 people like this.
Great Toework! although my smallest can't seem to reach the floor unless I bring my heels out. Enjoyed the innovations.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Fantastic sequencing, Benda! LOVE the gradual entry into Koundinyasana!! It almost felt possible - ! I will definitely explore this further : )
Great sequence to get into Koundinyasana...it’s always been a goal to be able to get into this challenge pose and this made it easy. I’ll definitely to this one again when it isn’t 5:30am!
Gwen M
Nice flow, different than the usual.
David G-
I definitely want to come back to this practice. I will definitely need to eat more protein today. 
Sandra Židan
Ah, this was really interesting practice and I feel great after doing it! Thanks, Brenda! Namaste! 💝

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