Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Fire

35 min - Practice
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Description

Stoke the inner fire of transformation to release what is no longer serving you. Melina expertly guides us through a sequence of abdominals, twists, challenging standing postures, arm balance play, and breath work to purify, detox, and clear. You will feel strong, light, and free.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

Transcript

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(waves crashing) Welcome to the fire practice. This is a great practice. Anytime that you find that you need a little bit more heat in your body, perhaps your digestion is feeling a little bit sluggish, or perhaps that you're feeling a little bit slow to assimilate what you're taking in through your senses, the fire practice is great for sharpening your attention. And so, as we try to prepare for this practice, I invite you to take a good seat to begin with. And as you rock into that good seat, let your eyes settle.

And as you're comfortable closing your eyes, then try to find the root from the pelvis down into the earth. Imagine you're going so deep into the earth, you're tapping in to that magma, that fire, deep in the belly of the earth. And then while sitting on this cool ground, just imagine some of that heat, that magma, moving up into your own spine, up into the center of the belly, the stomach. Helping to maintain your core temperature, to help support your personal transformations. And then in sitting, if we gather the hands in front of the heart for a moment, and create your own personal intention, something you wish to spark or ignite with our practice today in some way that you hope to improve your health, your wellness.

And we keep that thought of that intention throughout the practice to guide the intention, to guide the movement of the practice. When we're ready to begin, I want you to open your eyes, and take a deep breath, and let your arms sweep up towards your ears on the inhalation. And as you exhale, the hands fall back down toward the heart center. As you inhale, let the arms reach up. You're creating the shape of a flame.

Exhale as the hands return to the heart center. Inhale the air helping to increase that flame. Exhale, hands to the heart. This time, when the arms come up towards your ears, we'll take a pause, and take a turn to the right. Drop your left hand to your right knee, and reach for the ground with your right hand, just a gentle twist as you bend both elbows, and turn.

Unwind from your belly, inhale both arms back up. And then exhale, turn to the left, right hand on the left knee, and root to the left finger tips as you twist. Inhale all the way back up to the center, arms up. And as we exhale, let the hands reach for your knees. Make a soft C shape in your spine as you look down toward the navel.

And then we'll start to make little circles through the belly area, like you're just stirring up the pot of the belly and trying to get some movement through all the digestive organs. Let's go this way, and then go the opposite direction you started as you exhale. And then breathe in into that circular movement through the organs. Slow down that movement and come to a neutral place. And then from that neutral place, as the feet slide out away from your hips, grab a hold of the back of your legs, and let your feet stay hip distance apart.

We'll make that soft C shape in the spine, and stretch your arms out away from the knees. And as you exhale, recline further back toward the floor, without lifting the feet. Then inhale, let your arms come up above the shoulders, and take a little turn to your left side as you exhale, and lean back with your hands to the side of the leg. Inhale as your arms reach up toward the sky, and exhale as you reach over to the right side. We're keeping some focus down in the center of the belly.

As you exhale, lean back as far as you can without letting the feet lift off the floor. Inhale again, stretch up, and then taking a little turn to the left, and focusing our awareness down in the belly. Inhale, come up, and then twisting over to your right side. Root your feet, exhale, lean back. Come up through that center, and one more time, go all the way back in that soft C shape.

And at some point, we grab the legs as we come all the way down to the floor. We'll keep the knees right above the chest. Then stretch your arms out to the side. Root down through your shoulders, and as you exhale, let your legs fall over to the right, half way to the floor, then pause. You stabilize a little more through the side of your belly.

Inhale, come up to the center, and then exhale over to the left as you roll over to the side, pause half way. Inhale, come back up to the center. And keep going a couple more times, side to side, as you exhale. Pause with your legs above the floor to work a little bit more through the oblique muscles, the sides of your torso, to feel, again, just a little bit more core engagement. When we came back up neutral this next time, take your hands behind the back of your head, lace your fingers together.

And then here we'll stretch the legs up into the air. Slowly drop your right leg down, just above the floor so there's an L shape through the legs. The lower leg stays hovering above the floor. As you exhale, we'll take you left heel to the outside of the right knee and make a figure four shape in the legs. Right at the end, curl you head and shoulder up on the exhalation.

Inhale, go back to the L shape in the legs. The right leg hovers. Exhale, curl up into the figure four. Inhaling, reach out through the L shape. And one more time, exhale, curl up to the figure four.

Going through that L shape as you breathe in, we'll take the right leg up to meet the left leg. And then unlace the fingers and lace them your non-habitual way. We'll slowly drop then your left leg just above the floor. Let it hover. And when you're ready, as you exhale, figure four with your right heel out to the left, curl up.

Inhale into the L shape, and exhale, curl up, figure four. Inhale in L shape, and exhale to the figure four. Inhale through that L shape. Now from here, we'll let the knees comes towards your chest. Reach for the knees, and slowly rock yourself up to a seated position.

You stretch your legs straight out in front of you. And we'll want a strap for this one practice. You can take the strap around the ball of your right foot, and then take the right leg up toward the sky. So this is what it would feel like Navasana where we're engaging the core and the muscles to hold you up, rather than pulling with your arms or your hands. So we're gonna go between two poses.

We're gonna roll back toward the floor with the lower left heel rooted. As you exhale, we'll press into the strap with your foot and rise up to Navasana where we started. So we're gonna roll back on the inhale, take the right leg with you. Exhale, try to arrive in that Navasana shape with some ease, with some grace. Inhale, go back on the in breath.

Exhale as you rise up into that Navasana shape. And then one more time, rolling back on the inhale, and putting that effort into rising up. Hold your Navasana shape, and then we'll release that first leg. Okay, and take the strap over to the second side, raise the leg. And just for a moment, notice the difference from holding yourself with your arms or holding yourself with your back and your core muscles engaged.

So keep working toward that As you roll onto your back, inhale. As you exhale, press your foot into the strap and rise up to Navasana. Inhaling, going back, and exhaling, rising up into Navasana. Rolling back on inhale, and exhale as we work our way all the way up, and then pause. Okay, release the strap out of your way.

We come around onto all fours. And set your hands down underneath your shoulders, tuck your toes underneath, so feel the vertical arches of the feet stretched. As you inhale, place arch to look forward, and then exhale through the mouth all the air out as you draw your navel up in towards your back. And right at the end, lift your knees and hips up off the floor, downward dog, and relax the belly as you breath in here. And then one more time, as you exhale, draw your belly towards your back.

Leg straight up into the air, and try to keep your hips squared in this position. As you exhale, we'll take your left knee over to the right elbow on exhale. Inhale, take the leg back up. And the exhale again, take your left knee to your right elbow on exhale. Inhale, reach up.

Last time, bring your knee towards your right elbow, exhale. Inhale, back to center. Release the foot down, and take the right leg up in the air on the inhalation. As you exhale all the air out, bring your knee towards your left elbow. Inhale as you reach up.

Reach across your mid line. Exhale, knee to the elbow. Inhale, reach up. Last one, reach your knee all the way over to the elbow, exhale. Inhaling, reach up, and then set your feet down on the floor, slowly walk your feet forward, right up behind your wrist.

And then as you exhale, take a moment to fold forward over your legs to gradually heel toe your legs and feet together until the big toes are touching ankles or pressing together. Begin to drop your hips toward the back of your heels, and just feel that deepen from the ankles, engagement in your shins. And from here, we're gonna stretch your arms straight up from the hips with belly resting on your thighs, and sink down toward a squatting shape. When you inhale, take the spine up toward vertical, almost to Tadasana, but keep working in the legs. And the as you exhale, reach back with your hips, reach out through your finger tips, rest belly on the thighs, and then sink hips toward the back of the heels.

Inhale, keep your legs bent, but bring your torso up tall on the in breath. Exhale, one more time, sink down, stretch your finger away from your hips. Keep the legs bent. As you inhale, bring your spine up toward vertical, then pause. One more exhale here.

Inhale, come up into straight legs. Rest your arms all the way down at your side. We're gonna open the feet up, so they are wider than your shoulders for a straddle seat, horse pose, goddess shape. It's called many things. Just thank you to find a way down into your feet, so they feel grounded and stable.

We'll take the hands up in front of the chest. And if you're menstruating, you want to skip this part of the cycle where we're doing Kapalbhati, but stay with the straddle horse shape that we're in. And if Kapalbhati is a new practice for you, one hand could stay in front of your belly. And this is a practice where we let the belly rest into the palm as you inhale, and there's a quick sharp exhalation through the belly as you exhale. So in real time it would be more like this.

(puffing) As you keep you keep exhaling through the nose, ideally, we're working up to as many exhales as your age, one time every day. So we can start gradually warming up to whatever your age might be, but just start that slow rhythmic exhalations. We're gonna take a break in between the Kapalbhatis by straightening the legs. Reach your arms upon the inhale, and then bend your knees, exhale the hands, press against your thighs, and we lower the head as we lift the floor the pelvis up toward the navel, the navel toward the back, as if you're bringing any waste matter up into the fire of the belly for purification. Inhale, we'll come all the way back up, and that's our little dress rehearsal.

So we'll leave the hands in front of the chest to come down into your seat. Eyes open or closed. When you're ready, relax the belly area, and then begin quick sharp exhalations through the nose, working up towards your age. (puffing) We won't do that many today. Inhale, come up, and then as you exhale all the air out.

Pause, lift through the floor of the pelvis, draw your navel back to your spine, head to the heart. Inhale, come all the way up. We'll keep it a mystery, what my age is. Press your palms up towards the sky, bend your knees, sink down, one more time, into your seats. Straddle in a good way, bones are firm, muscles are relaxed.

Eyes could be open or closed, and the second round. Let your belly relax, and then quick sharp exhalations through the nose. (puffing) Inhale, come up and out. Exhale all the air out. Hold the breath out as you lift the waist from the bottom up toward the fire of the belly.

Hang the head toward the heart. When you're ready to breathe in, just lest your hands reach for the ground under your shoulders, and move your feet a little bit further out to the side. From here, we're gonna take your left hand right down underneath your face. Stay on the tip of your fingers. And when you inhale, root your feet, as you turn from your waist, and look out towards your left hand, and keep your arm parallel to the floor.

As you work deeper into your twist, turn your waist, rather than the pelvis. And as you continue to inhale, just feel yourself turning from the waist, allowing that top hand to reach close and closer to the sky. If this bothers your neck at all, look down towards your lower finger tips. One more breathe here, and then release your left hand down to the floor, and send your right arm out to the side. So stay light on your left finger tips.

Root your feet, and then take a little turn from your waist to look out towards your right hand. That might be just enough for you or you might continue to turn from your waist more than your hips to open up the belly, to reach up through the chest. If you notice that bothers your neck, just simply look down toward the floor to the lower wrist. Take a moment to breath in and out. Now we'll take both hands down to the floor.

Let's just take a moment with your hands down on the floor. Pause, big breath in, big breath out. Let's walk the hands over towards your left foot, and turn your left foot back to the small edge of your yoga mat. From here, let's slowly step back with your left leg into plank position, and then set your knees down to the floor as you lift your feet, cross your ankles, and let the heels draw in toward the back of the pelvis. Three times in a row, a little mini Chaturanga.

Lower down, press back up. Lower down with your elbows brushing in beside your ribs, press back. One more time, slide your elbows in as you lower down, and then press away from the floor. Downward facing dog as you exhale, and step forward with your right foot up toward the back of your wrist. Step in with your left foot and lower your knee just above the floor, and reach out for your hip bones with your hands, and take your spine again up toward vertical.

And just get used to that balance, work from both feet up for your inner legs. When we inhale, we'll straighten both legs, circle your arms up by your ears. And as you exhale, come down slowly with your lower knee almost to the floor. Hug your thighs in parallels, you come in, reach up. Thighs parallel as you exhale, work your way down.

One more time, inhale, come up, and exhale working our way down. We'll lean forward, we'll transfer back through plank pose, and then holding just another moment or two in plank pose, just to build a little bit more heat just by simply holding the pose a little bit longer. Taking two more moments, pressing down through your hands, lifting up through your belly and inner legs. And then as you're ready, we'll exhale. Push your hips up and back.

Now we'll step forward with your left foot, this time, into your Warrior I footprint. So with your feet on invisible train tracks, root your feet, circle your arms all the way up besides your ears. And with your arms up by your ears, let yourself lunge a little bit deeper at the same time that you're lifting up through the ribs, through the front of your belly. To make the pose a little bit stronger, simply you keep allowing your front foot to inch forward, deepen the lunge experience to keep working through the bones of the legs, keep lifting up through your back and your belly. From here, were gonna let the arms lower out to the side, shoulder height, straighten your front leg, and then take a little turn towards your left side.

And as you look back towards your top hand, it's like you're doing standing revolved triangle pose, noticing if that's a good place for you to pause, or to reach down with your right hand towards your left ankle, and then continue working your way toward the full revolved triangle pose, and turning the chest, turning the belly, and then lifting up through your top hand. Root down through your back foot, stay one more breath, turn, and then release your gaze toward the floor. Lower both hands to the mat, and then step back through your plank pose. Both knees to the floor, ankles cross, and the feet come toward the pelvis. Three times, little mini Chaturanga as you lower down then press up.

Lower down, elbows hug in, press up. One more time, exhale, come down, and then press your way back into your downward dog as you exhale. Step forward with your right foot into your Warrior I footprints. Root your feet, inhale, come up with your hip with you hip squared to the little edge of your mat. Ground your feet and lift up through your waist, and just keep feeling that edge for yourself.

If you wanna go deeper into the work in the legs, separate your feet further apart. The same time we lift through the belly, we lift through the waist. One more big breath going up. The arms come down shoulder height as you straighten both legs, and make sure you adjust your feet so you feel stable. Take a turn from your waist to look back towards your finger tips.

And you're gonna imagine that you're doing an upright revolved triangle pose. This might be a good place for you to stop or continue to reach down with your left hand just towards your lower shin or your ankle, and then continue to move further into the twist by rooting first your back foot. You then feel that left hip right hip pull away from the shoulders as you turn. If that feels okay in your neck, look up. If not, turn to look down sooner than later.

One more breath here. Release the top hand in front of the mat, and we'll transfer back through plank pose. Again, simply hold plank pose a few more moments to build some strength and heat just by simply working the bones a little bit longer, the muscles a little bit longer. Exhale, and we pull the hips all the way back into downward dog. Take one more breath in downward facing dog.

Start to move your feet forward, and pause when you're half way forward. Draw your feet together, separate the knees, and begin to round the upper back so you can more easily slide the hands back under the shoulders, almost creating a Chaturanga-like shape in your arms. Then keep the hips lifted away from the arms, so that in the beginning for Bakasana prep, we can lift the hands off the floor and really work through the legs to get clear on how much the legs wanna work when we're doing our arm balance. Then we'll alternate with putting the hands down, create an even more of an obvious Chaturanga shape in the arms as you drift forward, and pull either one foot off the floor, or both feet off the floor, and glue your big toes to touch. We alternate, put your feet down, work the legs as you lift your hands off the ground, and then the hands to the floor, create your Chaturanga-like shape in the arms as you pull one foot or both feet up off the ground.

Keep working your legs, and then the feet back to the floor and then breathe. We'll set the knees down to the floor, and sit back, if your knees allow you, right on top of your heels. If not, you wanna add a little prop between your feet. So we're gonna make two fist with the hands. And as you make two fist, press your knuckles together, rest the back of your wrist on your tights.

And lift your belly and your chest up, so that when you lean forward, your fist will fit nicely in the soft part of your abdomen. Let the elbows drop out to the side, shoulder round forward, as you bring your forehead toward the ground or to a prop if it's hard to get your forehead to the floor. And we'll try to stay here, and allow the fist to settle as we breathe around the shape of the fist to hopefully start to feel that your much wider along the banks of your spine that we're perhaps stimulating some parts of the digestive track that feel maybe like they're not working so efficiently, and help this increase overall circulation through the front wall of the abdomen. A few more moments working with the breath despite the fact that this might not feel so great, especially if you just had something to drink or eat before practice. When you're ready, we'll inhale and come all the way up, and just start to notice the different feeling in the belly or your back, and so, release the hands for a moment onto your thighs.

So when you're ready, slide your feet out to the sides. And as we sit over on the outer right hip, take your left leg on top of the right, adjust your seat to add more height if your lower knee feels tight or straighten your lower leg out completely if you don't have a prop and your knee feels tight. Sit up nice and tall. Use your right hand to press the thigh in toward the belly, and we'll root out a little bit more through the right big toe, then take the arm, left arm, straight up in the air by your ear. See if you can get a little bit more height and length on your left sides.

Then as you start to turn, keep pressing the right leg across the mid line so we can root the left elbow off the knee. And try to avoid cranking into the twist. As you take your finger tips behind you, root through your right finger tips, and then again lift up through your spine. And see if you can feel your tension drop down through the stomach into the belly organs, and soften them as you breathe in. And then feel for that long exhale as you create a little bit more length receptivity in the spine as you turn from the belly, from the ribs, and just waiting to move through the shoulders and the neck, until you're with your breath.

We'll take one more breath in and out. As we unwind from the belly, the shoulders, eventually through the neck, just lean back so there's no weight on the knees as we switch to bring the left leg on top. And as you adjust, if you discover this lower knee is the tight one, try some height. And if that doesn't work, straighten your right leg out. Hold the left knee with your hands, and then try to sit up a little taller.

Use your left hand to physically move the thigh in toward the soft organs. Keep rooting your left big toe, and then take that right arm up. Look for some length on your right side as you take a slightly deeper turn from the belly. Anchor your elbow off the side of the knee and rest on the tip of your left fingers behind you. You first go for some length through your spine as you breathe in.

And then try to feel that your belly can soften into that thigh bone as you breathe in. And then keep letting the leg cross the mid line as you exhale to deepen the work and the sensations through the lower abdomen. And at the end, feel like there's maybe some movement through your chest, shoulders, and neck in which you're sure that there are some receptivity way down in your belly. And as we unwind from the belly all the way up through the shoulders and the neck, we'll start to fall back onto the hand slightly. And this time, as you adjust your feet, so they're hip distance apart...

I'll turn, so it's easier to see the angle. As I set my hands down, I'll bend the elbows and pretend I'm squeezing a block between my elbows. As I roll back to find this fat part at the top of my sacrum bone, I'm gonna draw my feet up as high as the knees to start. While I'm squeezing that invisible block, I'm gonna stretch my legs up into their air. And if that doesn't work for you here, keep working with the bent knees.

So when the legs go up, notice how far do you need to lean back to get your abdominal muscles, your back muscles working, versus tightening in the hip creases. So its one of the original Navasana poses. Take one more breath, gazing up towards your feet. We bend the knees, lower the feet, grab the back of your legs, and then ever so slowly, roll down onto your spine. We'll set the feet down when you're ready, about as wide as your yoga mats.

When the feet is as wide as your yoga mat, set your arms out to the side, and we're just gonna let the knees, like windshield wipers, drop over to the right without the feet sliding together. And then let your knees come back up when you're breathing in, and just let them take a little dip over to the left side, just like windshield wipers moving side to side. And we'll come up and then try one more time, just to feel what the movement is like, what the coordination is like with your breath. Back up on the inhale, knees to the left on exhale. When you come back on the third time, then well stay.

So let the knees stay over to the side. And when the knees are over to the side, you might need to adjust your feet in a different way, so that you don't feel tension in your knees. If you'd like to take that even further, your right foot could sit on top of your left knee, and just slowly anchor that leg a little bit closer to the ground. You might even slide your arms back by your ears, grab that opposite thumb and stretch your arms a little bit longer. You'll feel even more space down through the front of your left hip or all the way down through your belly.

Another breath in and out here. If we take the arms down at your side first, if your foot is hanging to the side, put your right foot back to the floor, and then the feet, again, as wide as your yoga mat. Tip over to the left when you're ready on exhale. And then as you adjust your shape, neither side as a side, wanting to go a little bit deeper, and if so, the left foot hangs off the right knee. We track that knee closer to the floor.

You might slide your arms one more time back by your ears, if you'd like to deepen the sensations, the lengths, all the way down that right side of your belly to your hip, to your knee. Breathing in and out. As we prepare to come out, let the arms release down at your sides first. Take the left foot off second, and let your legs come back to neutral third. Let your knees come towards your chest.

Place your fingers around the front of your shins. And as you exhale three times and closing, we'll bring the forehead up to your knees, hold. And now release the head back to the floor. Exhale, curl the head up, forehead to knees. Hold.

Inhale, release. Last time, exhale, bring your forehead to your knees. Hold, and then release. And slowly let your feet come down to the floor. Grab anything that you might need to help make your Shavasana more comfortable.

Arms eventually to your side, and legs eventually out in front of the hips. Then just take a moment as you find your resting pose to close your eyes, to release through your jaw, to release any gripping in the lower belly, in the lower back, and feel grounded down through the legs. The legs become part of the anchoring process in Shavasana to help our mind become a little bit more stable like the body. Sense and feel to the changing core temperature after the practice. Perhaps sensing and feeling where you're at in the stage of digestion from food you might have eaten today.

Perhaps beginning to develop a little hunger and appetite, as we use the asanas, one of the transformational practices. Also take notice at the end of the practice. Just notice how you feel, what's different. Trusting what was useful for you today will stay and remain in your cellular body, and just allow yourself to ease more and more into the silent space. We come back to that memory of our whole self fully integrated, fully healthy.

You can sense and feel the air starting to flow back into the nose, and move down toward the direction of the fire in the center of the belly, the solar plexus. Envision that air is trying to make the fire a little bit brighter at the center of the belly. Now clear our perception, our sense of seeing. When the practice feels complete for you, start making little movements with the hands, feet, or bending your legs, your knees, and roll over to your right side. Take a short pause on your side with your eyes closed if you're comfortable, and take a moment resting, integrating the breath before coming up into your final seat of meditation.

And try to choose a seat that's most comfortable for you, minimal distractions in the knees, the lower back, or your shoulders. And see if you can take a moment with your hands up in front of the heart center to recall your intention at the beginning of the practice, what's coming up into the light of your awareness. So we use these practices to help improve our health, our wellness. And in closing, the highest and brightest in me acknowledges the highest and brightest in you. Namaste.

Comments

2 people like this.
Thank you, Melina!
I really enjoyed this practice.
I love the building of heat without quick movements. The slow intentional movements (and options) of this sequence and then some time for shavasana was quite wonderful
I"m glad you enjoyed this Erin!!! Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.
1 person likes this.
Hi! Now I've tried the fire! But still water is my favorite:). Do you also teach pilates? I see some moves are from there.
I love your creative sequences!
Ohhh... Just what the doctor ordered:) Thank you!
Ana
Ohhh I like the way you take me try the practice, thank you.
2 people like this.
Again - excellent. Your cues are precise and well-considered. This will inspire my practice and teaching! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
music to my ears kate!
3 people like this.
I just love your style Melina. Revisted this again after some time, and loved it all over again. Any plans to do more yoga anytime videos? I like the longer practices especially. And would love to see more of you here.

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