Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Day 1: Meet Yourself

30 min - Practice


Show up for you. We dive into Day 1 together by inviting a fresh flow of energy into the body. We move through sun salutations, simple standing sequences, balancing postures, and some core work before slowing things down with a few juicy stretches. You will feel energized and ready to begin.

If you are looking for transitional alternatives, you might find what you seek with Shelley's Vinyasa Tutorial.

What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Greetings. Try. Welcome to day one. We are here. You're here. I'm here. It's a great place to begin. So let's dive in together. Come on to your backs to start. Go ahead and just roll down and draw your knees into your chest. And we begin really purposefully in a child's pose on our back. So you can close your eyes here and either wrap your forearms around your shins or hold on underneath your knees, whatever feels comfortable. But just feel into your breath here and relax into your muscles and bones and let yourself arrive right where you are. Let's take a deep inhale together. And a big exhale through your mouth. And child's pose can come in many shapes and forms and positions on your knees, on your back, seated and floating. And it's just a really good reminder that it's a posture that can always feel like coming home. And also your practice can also feel like coming home. So whether you've been at it frequently or away for a long time, just return to it today enthusiastically. And on your next breath in, just gently start to rock a little bit from side to side across your lower back. You can even let the back of the head and neck ripple and roll side to side. And let this rocking continue to progress a little bit bigger, a little more exaggerated until your knees rock all the way over to the left side of your mat and extend your right arm out to the side. Just take a deep breath in here and exhale completely either through the nose or through the mouth, relaxing into where you are. And then draw the knees back up through the center and take them across to the other side, pouring onto your right hip. Let your left arm extend out. You can turn your head the opposite way if you like and take a deep breath in here and exhale either through the nose or through the mouth. And then come back to the center, back home to this child's pose on our back. We'll hold on behind our knees now and start to rock and roll along the length of the spine from your shoulders to your hips and just round out your spine as best you can. You can toss your feet over your head, gain a little bit of momentum here and let it feel like a massage on your back. Does it feel like a massage? A different kind of massage. And the next time you rock up, go ahead and float right on your sitz bones and see if you can find a bit of a floating child's pose, holding on behind your knees with your hands or with your elbows and just lift the chest, take a deep breath in through the nose this time, exhale. And just draw the belly in a little bit and you might even let your hands float just for a moment so your child's pose really is floating. Catch a little energy in the low belly. And then from here, just cross your ankles. Super simple. Flip on over to your hands and knees and center yourself on your mat. And from your hands and knees, let's go ahead and move into Cat-Cow as you inhale, arch your back, looking forward and up. And as you exhale, round your spine and look inward and start to coordinate your movement with your breath. Inhaling as you arch and exhaling as you round, feeling into your spine, feeling into these simple, generous movements in the body. Inhale to arch, exhale to round and just take about two or three more cycles. And as you move through this, Cat-Cow will see these patterns a lot in our practices moving forward. And this is such a great way to give a little therapy to your own spine.

So just one more cycle here, inhaling to arch and exhaling to round. And you can see your feet and your knees from this position. Bring the big toes to touch. Take the knees a little bit wider and then round back into your classic child's pose. Let your forehead touch the ground and let it feel like you're sliding into the dugout, down into your home base and take a couple of breaths right here. In particular, breathing into your low back, your mid back and your upper back. And just one more breath here, starting kind of gentle where you are. And if you're ever wondering if this is the right time for you to start, it is. We can start at any time. We can begin again at any time. So on your next inhale, come up to your hands and knees, shift your shoulders forward and then tuck your toes under, lift your hips and press back to maybe it's your first down dog of the day. And we'll start to introduce what I like to call a zigzag vinyasa. I'm going to be teaching you a lot of different alternative vinyasas during this 30 day cycle so that once you get familiar with them, you can choose what feels best on your body at any given time. So for this one, let's just shift back forward into plank. Feel your shoulders align over your wrist, a little bit of strength in your core and your quads. And then as you exhale, set your knees down, big toes touch, sit back into child's pose and inhale, shift forward to your hands and knees, curl the toes under, lift the hips, press back into downward facing dog. Inhale, shift forward to plank. Feel the strength in the front of the body. Exhale, set the knees down, shift back into your child's pose. So it's super simple and our body can just shift forward, up and back once again to downward dog as we exhale. Inhale, shift forward to plank, lower the knees, exhale back to child's pose. It's a really nice way to warm up through the shoulders. Inhale, shift forward, hands and knees, exhale, tuck the toes back to downward dog. Once more, shift forward to plank, set the knees down, exhale, child's pose. Let's take another extra breath right here. Bowing inward in our child's pose. Just recognizing this really nice gift of self-care, self-love, we're giving ourselves by joining in this challenge together. So it's no small thing. So feel into that sense of excitement, enthusiasm, and let's shift forward to our hands and knees once again. Exhale the toes under, press back to downward facing dog. Start to bicycle pedal through the feet and knees, shift your hips a little bit from side to side and let your bicycle pedal kind of saunter its way all the way up to a forward fold. You can bend your knees as much as you need to, to touch the ground. If you have a pair of blocks, you could put the hands on the blocks if you like, but allow your spine, your head and your neck to relax and the knees can stay bent or the legs can straighten. Notice what feels best on your body. Notice what allows your spine and your neck to relax and just take a few breaths here in and out of your nose. Empty out through your crown, through your brain and let yourself just breathe. So let's go ahead and come to standing as you inhale, lift your head, lift your heart, your gaze, circle the arms wide as you come all the way up to standing through a flat back, reach towards the sky, touch your palms and as you exhale, bring your hands to your heart. Hey, we're standing up. Let's start to flow now into some variations of sun salutation A. So circle the arms out and up, take a deep breath in. As you exhale, don't dive into your forward fold, bend the knees a bit. Inhale, lift the chest halfway and slide your hands up your shins, make a flat back. As you exhale, plant your palms step back to your downward dog and let's add that zigzag mania. So shift forward on your inhale, lower your knees, exhale back to child's pose. Yay. Touch down and then come right back up. Inhale, hands and knees, curl the toes, exhale back to downward dog. Walk the feet all the way up to the top of the mat. We'll keep it flowing. Inhale, lift the chest halfway hands to shins. Exhale forward fold. Inhale all the way up to standing and exhale hands to your heart with a sense of accomplishment because that was the first one. Inhale, reach out and up. Exhale forward fold, soften the knees. Inhale, lift the chest halfway, slide your hands up the shins. Exhale, step back to downward dog. Shift forward to plank on and inhale. Exhale, set your knees down, park it in child's pose and just exhale all the breath out. Come forward to hands and knees as you inhale, curl the toes, press back to downward dog and then walk the feet up to your hands and just start to feel into the creases and folds of your hips as you inhale. Exhale, soften the spine and relax. Come all the way up to standing on an inhale. Exhale, hands to your heart. That was two. Let's take two more rounds, circle out and up as you inhale. Exhale, forward fold, bend your knees. Exhale, lift the heart halfway. Exhale, step back to downward dog and just feeling into this rhythm as you shift forward. Exhale, set the knees down, shift back into your child's pose. Inhale, hands and knees. Exhale, press back to downward dog, pressing into the back body, opening through the calves and the hamstrings, shoulders and heart melt. Let's walk it forward a couple of steps. As many as you need to the top of the mat, lift the chest halfway. Exhale, forward fold. Come all the way up, deepest breath in. Exhale, hands to your heart. Let's take one more round together. Inhale, circle out and up. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, lift the heart halfway. Exhale, step back to downward facing dog. Exhale, all the breath out. Shift it forward to plank. Exhale, lower the knees, child's pose. Inhale, glide to hands and knees. Exhale, downward facing dog. Step it all the way forward to the top of the mat. Lift the chest halfway, hands up the shins. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale all the way up to standing. Exhale, draw your hands to your heart. Great job. Let's progress on to some simple standing sequences. So, center your weight into your right foot and center your gaze, your drishti, on one point as you draw your left knee up towards your chest. You're welcome to hold on underneath your knee or let it float. It's up to you. But just put a very tiny little bend in the standing leg, the right leg, and slowly thread your left foot back to a long, low lunge. And just see how slowly you can move as the back toe comes down and the fingertips come down to the mat. And if your foot didn't quite make it far enough back, just wiggle it on back and then lower your knee down.

Walk your hands towards the top knee. Uncurl the back toes and lift your chest. Lift your heart. Lift your gaze. Take a deep breath in. And as you exhale, left hand comes down. Curl the back toes under. Lift the back knee and take a simple twist right under the sky. Little breath in as you reach up and look up. And then exhale, both hands to the front of the mat. Lift up the back foot and step into your forward fold. Super simple. Inhale, come all the way up to standing. Exhale, draw your hands back to your heart and let's shift our weight into the left foot. Center your gaze right in front of you and draw your right knee up and let it float. This little pattern of balancing and stepping back, we're going to work with over the next couple of practices together. So soften the standing leg and slowly navigate your balance as you step back to a super long and low lunge. Fingertips and back foot come to the floor and lower your back knee down. If the back knee is tender, you can always put a blanket underneath it. Walk your hands up and let's lift through the chest. Lift through the front of the pelvis and maybe through your heart and your eyes. Exhale. Take another deep breath in and as you exhale, right hand comes down. Let's curl our back toes under, recharge the back leg and then reach up to the sky. Nice therapeutic twist for the spine. Take a huge breath in and exhale. Step to the front of the mat. Inhale, come all the way up to standing. Exhale, draw your hands to your heart. Let's move into one more standing sequence. Take a nice wide step to your left, turn your feet parallel.

And if you have a strap or towel or anything with some length to it that you can grab, it's helpful for our shoulder release. So you can bring it behind your back and turn your palms to face forward on your strap or your towel. And then open up and lift across the chest as you inhale. Exhale, coming into a forward fold here. Relax your head and neck and feel into your shoulder blades. They're kind of easily want to sink down into our head and our ears, but lift your shoulder blades up towards the sky and pull your hands away from the midline on your strap or your towel. Take a look at your feet while you're down in this forward fold and make sure the outer edges are parallel to the front and back edge of the mat. And if you'd like to bend the knees to just give a little breath of fresh air to the hamstrings, you're welcome to. A couple of breaths here. We call this position prasarita, padottanasana. It's a really long name for a wide stance forward fold, but just if you hear that prasarita, then you know that this is the base for it. So one more full breath. And then as you exhale, stay in the forward fold, but release your hands, release your strap or your towel, whatever you're working with, set it to one side and then bring your hands to your hips. Come up with a flat back. So we lift our head, we lift our heart. Come all the way up to standing. As you inhale, reach your arms out and up. And then as you exhale, open the arms wide, turn your right toes out. Let's land in warrior two and just let that back foot slightly pigeon toe. As you sink into your lunge, take a peek at your front knee and press it open. So the knees aligned right over your heels. This is a really strong, powerful pose. Really important to be in good alignment in your base. So reach the arms nice and wide. Take a deep inhale here to your heart center. As you exhale, elbow to your knees, top arm sweeps alongside your ear, coming into a side angle pose, Parsva Konasana. Turn your chest open towards the sky and take a full breath in here. Now as you exhale, let that top arm just sweep the horizon. Turn your right toes in. Bottom hand's going to find the floor or block. Top arm reaches up into a twist. Full breath in here. And exhale, release it back down to center. Push off the floor, lift your head, lift your chest, circle out enough as you inhale. And then exhale, open up the left toes coming into warrior two on the second side and really arrive into it like, Oh, hey old friend, what's happening? I haven't seen you for a while. Maybe check into your alignment, ankle over, excuse me, knee over ankle, back foot, slightly pigeon-toed. Take a full breath here. And as you exhale, elbow to knee and sweep the top arm right alongside your ear. Spin the inside of the arm down and turn your chest to open. And just feel into the power of your legs and it's kind of returning to some familiarity in the body and the breath.

Exhale, inhale. As you exhale, let your top arm sweep down, turn those front toes inward. Bottom hand finds the floor, open up into a twist and then slowly release both hands down. Inhale, lift your chest. As you exhale, walk your hands to the front of the mat and step into your forward fold. Come all the way up to standing. Big inhale. And exhale hands to your heart. Let's step the feet together. Bend your knees, come down into a chair pose. Utkatasana. Sweep your arms alongside your ears and keep the hands apart for these first couple rounds of chair. And just sit down a little bit deeper here. And then on your inhale, come all the way up to standing, but let's lift the left knee and come into a simple baby tree pose. So your left foot can be on the ankle or the calf. Lift up through the heart. And as you feel into your balance, just backstroke through the arms like you're swimming through the space, lifting up. And exhale. And once more, inhale, lifting up. As you exhale, both feet come together, bend your knees, come back into chair pose once again, sink down, charging into your base and then rise up into tree pose. Second side, right foot just finds the ankle or the calf and take a couple of really free and easy circulations of the shoulder and the chest. Reach forward and up. Exhale, come back down into your chair pose. And from here, we start to return back down to the floor. So sit down as low as your knees will allow. However you get there is fine. You can separate the knees and come back into a little floating child's pose. You can think of it as boat pose, but I kind of like to think of it as a floating child's pose. Lift the shins up, toes touch, knees apart, just so the hip flexors can kind of release a bit. And let your arms float this time. Feel a little gathering of your strength into your core, into your back. If you want to straighten your legs up on a diagonal, you can, but we got plenty of time for that if you want to keep the knees bent. Take a nice deep breath in here and then as you exhale, let's roll down onto our backs. So come onto your backs, draw your knees into your chest and let's lace the fingers behind the head and coil on up. Look into your navel center, lift the shins slightly and just start to pedal, elbow to knee, coming into a simple yogic bicycle. And for this little mini pattern here, you can do as many of these as you'd like or as few, but it's really nice just to, with each practice, we try to give a little bit of love to all the little parts of our body. So let's find a nice, easy rhythm, slow or brisk. And breathe here, inhaling to one side, exhaling to the other. And if your neck starts to feel a little tired, you're welcome to just put your head down and pump the legs. So many different variations, but keep a little bit of movement going here for just a few more rounds of breath. Saying hello to your core, center of your strength. And then go ahead and drop both knees in and relax your head down and we're right back where we started in Apanasana, child's pose on your back. Go ahead and bring your feet to the floor, hips width apart, reach your arms over your head as you inhale and then exhale, tuck your tailbone under, roll your hips up as you sweep your arms forward and down, coming into a bridge pose here. And let's move in and out of it a few times. Roll back down, inhale to reach arms overhead, exhale, tuck the tailbone under, lift your hips, your waist, your ribs, your chest, palms press, and then roll it back down. Twice more, just like that. Lifting up, opening the front of the body, exhale, roll it back down. And once more, inhale, lifting up. Think of this as strengthening for the back core and opening for the front of the body, hips and quads, tummy and chest. You can lace your fingers behind you and tuck your shoulders in if you like. Pop up through the chest here as you breathe in and stay as you breathe out. One more full breath. And then separate your hands, your shoulders and roll down your spine. Let's draw the right knee into the chest. Take a moment here, grab your strap or your towel and loop it around the sole of your right foot and stretch it up to the sky, left leg long and low. We call this supada, supada. Whenever you hear that word, it means recline. Pada gustasana. Pada means foot. Gusta tu like in Spanish. Just kidding. Gusta big toe. Asana seat or dwelling face. So just feel this reclined hamstring opening. And this position here we call A. As we open it out to the side, we call that B, supada gustasana. B, it's a mouthful. And then when you bring it across into the twist, that's C. So we have A, B and C. We're just visiting. We're just kind of passing through.

So bring it back to the center and let's thread our left foot up in the strap. Drop the right leg down, feeling into supada, pada gustasana, A. And then just again, open it out to the side, a little visit to B. Cross it over as you inhale, exhaling into the twist, a little visit to C. Coming back to the center and then set the strap down. Hug both knees into your chest. Let's rock on up one more time and bring the soles of the feet together. Knees open nice and wide. We'll just take two seated postures before we relax in a shavasana. So lift your chest, dry your elbows back and press your knees down. And then exhale, come into your forward fold here. And it's a pretty active posture. So really press the knees open and lengthen through the spine rather than collapsing and rounding. Just keep the spine long and take a couple of breaths here. And this posture can be pretty elusive for many of us. I had to work for a long time just to get my knees where they are and they're not even on the ground yet, but that's okay. So we just show up where we are and we work with it. And part of our practice is accepting where we're at and continuing to try to press forward and make small little gains however we can. So let's come on up out of this and stretch your legs out in front of you, flexing the feet, reach your arms up to the sky as you inhale and then exhale to your forward fold. And you can grab onto your feet, your ankles and grab your strap and loop it around your feet. Some people like to grab their big toes and then relax into your forward fold here. Lengthen your spine on your inhale and see if you can go just a tiny bit deeper. It doesn't have to be a lot, a little bit goes a long way. Once more, lengthen the spine, inhale. And like you're looking up and over the edge of a cliff, down into a river, just relax it down. And last cycle of breath here. And slowly release your feet, your strap, roll that on up and let's come back down onto our backs once again. And this time make yourself comfortable. Hugging your knees into your chest one more time into your child's pose on your back. Maybe coil your forehead up to your knees for a moment. Just feel into that little ball of energy that is you. And let everything spread out. Take your feet a little wider than hips with a part, turn your palms to face up, relax your head. If you have a bun or braid or any sort of anything in the back of your head, take it out so you can fully relax your neck and close your eyes. And just notice how you feel here after a little bit of practice, maybe the first practice back in a long time. So welcome back to all the layers that make up you, not just your body, but those inner layers of your energy, your heart, your ideas, your dreams, your dreams, all part of who you are. So breathe into that space. Breathe into a sense of accomplishment simply for showing up to yourself, to this practice. And make a promise to yourself to let any expectations go so that you can just be right here in this moment. Feeling into that space of acceptance and enthusiasm and enjoyment. So enjoy a couple breaths and quiet stillness here together. Shavasana.

Shavasana. Shavasana. Shavasana. Shavasana. Shavasana.

Start to really deepen these last couple of breaths here, slower, longer, fuller inhale. Exhale, releasing. Let your body be totally relaxed, mind soft. Two more breaths just like that. And once more deep cleansing breath, filling up, receiving your inhale. Exhale, let everything release. From here, stretch your arms over your head, reaching from your fingertips to the tips of your toes. Let your eyes open up slowly. Exhale, dry your knees back into your chest, back into that home base of child's pose, fetal position. Rock on over to one side, pour a little weight into one hand and press yourself up to a comfortable seated position. And then dry your hands together at your heart. Feel that sense of purpose, gratitude inside. And thank you so much for joining me on this journey. So happy and grateful to be here with you. This is day one. I'll see you on the path in the next practice. Namaste.


Jenny S
5 people like this.
So stoked for this challenge! I was going to wait until the New Year to start....but, I just had to jump in now. I love, love, love your teaching style Shelley ❤️ And the zig-zag vinyasa feels great on these 55 year old bones!
Shelley Williams
Hi Jenny! Fantastic! So glad to know you are diving in... yes, there are lots of Vinyasa options to use throughout the challenge and beyond for longevity, enjoy!! ❤️
Ted J
2 people like this.
Thank you Shelley Williams! What a nice gentle way to get back into a practice after some time off.
Shelley Williams
Ted Hey Ted! Welcome back to your yoga practice:) happy practicing!
Tracy S
3 people like this.
Thank you Shelley for the lovely gentle flow. I loved how you integrated child's pose throughout the practice. A great reminder to begin this New Year with the sense and wisdom of a child. Peace and blessings! Namaste!
Roger M
2 people like this.
Thank you Shelley Williams , first day in a really long time. Looking fwd to seeing myself progress.
Shelley Williams
Tracy Hi Tracy! Welcome, great photo....yes, we open into this flow gentle, and slowly build each day. I love looking through the eyes of my kids, they help me to remember to laugh (at myself mostly!) and enjoy~ happy practicing~ Namaste
Shelley Williams
Roger Welcome back buddy! Each day we build and progress in a mellow way, I hope you enjoy and feel great! Have a wonderful day~
Nadia I
3 people like this.
Your voice and some words gave me insights and so much love and tenderness. I didn't know it could be like that. My eyes are tearing up right now.
Shelley Williams
Nadia Hello Nadia! All that love and tenderness is inside of you~ our yoga uncovers all of our best qualities... much love to you today!
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