Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 3: Inner Listening

30 min - Practice


Feel into your power. In Day 3 we listen inward to set an intention before moving into a fluid practice of sun salutations, balance transitions, and warrior postures to find strength and stability in the legs. You will feel clear and strong.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

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Greetings tribe. Welcome back to day three. How are you doing? Let's take a moment and just check in before we dive into our asana practice. So sit tall, let your hands come face down onto your knees or wherever you're sitting and close your eyes for a moment and take a very deep breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. And let's just take five clearing breaths here. And as you breathe, take a moment and just reflect in on how you're feeling. How's it going? Right at the beginning of this journey. Just important to give yourself these opportunities to check in as often as you can. And I just acknowledge your process and your progress and to be gentle with yourself along the way. So just a couple more breaths here in stillness and open up to that inner listening that I mentioned yesterday for any special intention or dedication or hope or dream, anything that might be brewing that you'd like to offer up as part of this, this journey together. And let that center right in the center of your forehead, right at your third eye center. And we'll take that, that point and bring it right down onto your mat in the form of child's pose. So just transition into that. In this moment, take your knees wide, big toes touch and walk your hands out and returning and arriving in home base and child's pose here. And this is often the Sanskrit name for child's poses Balasana, but the translation I love is that it means wisdom pose. And so just coming into that place of wisdom, inner listening. And oftentimes when we interact with our yoga practice, it's a very internal and very intentional practice. So as you start to just shift and roll a little bit from left to right hip and roll across your forehead gently like you're massaging your forehead into the mat and any special dedication or intention would be great to start to bring in as part of your practice. Even if it's just for today, it doesn't necessarily need to be for the whole 30 day challenge. It could be just for today. Just, you know, I want to feel good. I want to breathe. I want to find some strength or some compassion or some humor or whatever it is, but let it kind of simmer down to one word, one feeling and then come back to the center. And with that intention with that feeling rise up to your hands and knees and we'll come back into that familiar now cat cows as you inhale, arch your back, open your eyes as you exhale around your spine and look inward and just twice more. Inhale and exhale. And now this is kind of a familiar opening pattern for us and hopefully your body's welcoming it now as you exhale around and come back to the center and let's add a little twist today. So shift your left knee back a bit and take your right arm to the sky as you inhale and then exhale, thread the right wrist behind the left, come all the way down to the outer shoulder and ear and let's do that twice more. Winding and unwinding the spine, inhaling to reach, exhale to come all the way down and once more, inhale, open it up, linger there for a moment, catch some wind in your sails and then exhale all the way down and hang out here for a breath or two. And you can keep your knees bent, even them out now or if you'd like to take one leg out to the side, you can, you can just pop out onto the sole of the left foot and sometimes I like to pitch a tent with the opposite hand and just turn the chest open any amount and take a full breath in here and stay for the exhale and come back to the center, back up to your hands and knees and round your spine. Inhale to arch your back, exhale round, back to neutral, move the right knee back just a touch, take the left arm up to the sky and inhale and then exhale, thread it underneath and do that again, just a nice massage and lubrication to all the vertebra, all the discs along our spine, spinal cord, all of our nerves that come in and out of that central channel as you open up, breathe into those spaces, exhale, come all the way down and let's hang out here on the side of the head and the shoulder. Once again, you can stay on both knees or you can just pop the right leg out to the side, pitch a tent with the right fingertips and turn your chest open. There's a natural rotation and pivoting of the bottom knee and shin, the spine rotates any amount. And here's another one of those positions where our head is lower than our heart, so just pour out any kind of extraneous thoughts or agendas, let it go for just a little while. Get into the breath here, inhale and then exhale, come back to the center, back to your hands and knees and let's go ahead and tuck the toes under and press back to downward facing dog, emptying out through the crown, through the mind, listening into the breath, listening into that single word or feeling of intention, starting to get into the inner practices of our yoga experience. It's not just the poses and the physical body, but really what's happening on the inside that requires oftentimes even more discipline. So from here, let's inhale forward to plank, top of a pushup. And then as you exhale, press back to downward facing dog, inhale your right leg to the sky, feel the opening line of energy in your left leg and then exhale, step all the way through directly through to a low lunge. You can scoot your foot forward as you need, lower the back knee and pad it up if it feels tender. And from here, we'll just move back and forth from a half split to open up the right leg into that low runner's lunge. So as you inhale, shift the chest forward, you can come up on the fingertips. And as you exhale, simply kind of fold back into your cave here. And let's take that twice more inhale to open front of the body, exhale open back of the body. Once more inhale, shift it forward and exhale, shift it back. From here, shift into plank, top of a pushup. And yesterday we were working with a stage one vinyasa. We'll do that again today. So shift your shoulders forward, lower the knees and exhale, bring the chest and hips down at the same time. Notice if you're starting to build a little strength here, inhale to cobra. And then as you exhale, let's stay in cobra. Just one little introduction here, feeling into upward dog, move your hands back about an inch, press into the tops of the feet and engage your knees and your quads. And then on your next inhale, stand in your hands in the tops of the feet, nothing on the mat but your hands in the tops of the feet and roll your shoulders back. And just notice how this feels different than cobra. It may or may not be the right option for you today, but feel into it and exhale back to downward dog. Just kind of seeing what's there, what's available to you. Take the left leg to the sky on an inhale, opening the right channel and then exhale, coil, step it all the way through, low lunge, back knee comes down, open up through the chest and hip flexors. You can come up onto the fingertips and then exhale, just shift back and straighten the front leg any amount. Moving back and forth on the breath, now lift the chest, exhale, shift it back. And kind of letting go of any idea of perfection here as we shift forward and back. In fact, we're celebrating imperfection. It's one of the things I love to joke about with my kids, celebrate the imperfection. It's where creativity is born. So move in a way that feels good to you. And then from here we'll shift into plank. So step it on back, moving through that stage one vinyasa, shift forward, lower the knees, followed by chest and hips at the same time. Inhale to cobra. There's always the option to rise into upward dog if you like. Just a little review here, standing in the hands and the tops of the feet. And then exhale back to downward dog. We're just warming up the body. You can start to feel your prana flowing, your breath flowing, things opening up, walk your feet all the way up to your hands and come into a forward fold at the top of the mat. We're going to bring the feet all the way together and inhale lift the heart halfway. You can slide your hands up your shins if you like. Exhale into your forward fold. And today let's bend the knees and roll up, draw the navel in to support the spine. Come all the way to standing and circle the arms out and up. And exhale hands come to your heart. And we'll introduce a little creative pattern I like to call utkatasana vinyasa. So let's reach out and up as you inhale. Grab onto your left wrist with your right hand and side bend up and over to your right. Now really press down through the feet, lift up through your heart, take a deep breath in. As you exhale, bend your knees and continue to side bend all the way down until your shoulders are even with your hips. Let's drop off the right hand on a floor or the block and open the left side of the body. So it's an asymmetrical forward fold and just take a moment here and notice the right knee's bent. The left leg is straight ish and you're opening into a little bit of a twist. Totally fine to use a block under that bottom hand. Take a deep breath in here and then exhale circle the top arm back behind you, bend both knees and come into chair pose. And it's not a symmetrical vinyasa, it's a little asymmetrical as is life forward fold. So let's explore it on the other side. Lift your heart halfway, exhale release and then roll up your spine, pull the navel in, bend the knees generously and come all the way up. Circle your arms out and up. Take hold of your right wrist and side bend up and over. Inhale, get some length or opening up through the sideways. Exhale, bend your knees and side bend on your way down. This time we drop off the left hand on the floor or a block. Keep the left knee bent and open the right half of the body towards the side and fill into the asymmetry of this shape. Take a full breath in as you reach high and then exhale, circle the top arm back, bend your knees, come into chair pose. Yay, symmetry. Come all the way up to standing. Let's lift the left foot onto the calf for a little kind of baby tree pose here. Feel into your balance. And then as you exhale, we've been working with this together. Step back into a runner's lunge. Simple twist, right arm reaches to the sky, been here before. Exhale release flowing through it. Come up through your standing split. Don't let that name scare you. It's just a step and come into your forward fold. Inhale, lift the heart halfway. Exhale, release. Come all the way up to standing with a flat back. This time reach up. Stay lifted and now the right foot floats into a baby tree pose. And just feeling into this familiar pattern of stepping from a balance all the way back to a lunge. Nice long step. Hands come down, left arm reaches to the sky. Simple twist, familiar territory. And then exhale through your standing split with this, which is just a forward fold with one leg up. Step to the top of the mat. Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, forward fold. Let's round up, bend your knees, slowly rolling up and circle the arms out and up. Big breath in. Let's do it again. Take your left wrist, side bend to the right. Side bends are a really great way to open up the lower back. Take a deep inhale here and now let it flow. Bend your knees, swoop down, drop off the right hand. Right knee stays bent. Open the left half of the body. Deep inhale, get long, reach through the crown. Exhale, bend your knees.

Come to chair pose. Forward fold as you exhale. Inhale, lift the heart. Let your breath dance with your movement. Exhale, release, soften the knees and roll up. Start to feel how each movement pours into the next as you reach to the sky. Grab your right wrist and side bend. Take an extra breath here. Bend the knees, swoop it on down and drop off the left hand. Open the right half of the body. Go slow enough to feel each shape. Take an inhale here and then exhale, circle it back and down. Bend your knees. Come to your chair pose and let your eyes get really steady on one point. This helps you balance as you rise and come into tree pose. Now maybe your tree starts to grow a little bit and your foot can come up to your inner thigh. If it feels better on your calf or your ankle, you can keep it there. But notice the feeling here is one knee is turned out, one thigh is turned out and one thigh is turned neutral. This is the same kind of asymmetrical alignment that we see in warrior one. And so we'll work through this float and reach back and instead of landing on the ball of the foot, keep that back leg turned out and see about landing in. What? Warrior one? Hello, warrior one. And you know, it might not be perfect, but just check into your feet. Notice the back foot's on a diagonal and your front foot is straight ahead and the hips are kind of trying to be symmetrical. So pull the right hip back, the left hip forward and sink low. And this might be completely new territory and I'd be like, oh yeah, warrior one, I remember you. So come into it and reach to the sky and take a full breath in. And as you exhale, that effort of asymmetry working towards symmetry is what really opens the hip flexors here. So sink into that one more full breath. Maybe take a peek at your hands. Super powerful pose. And then exhale. Oh, come on down. Push off the back foot through that standing split into forward fold. Yay. Lift the heart halfway. Exhale release. Now that was a pretty technical transition you just did. So give yourself a little bit on the back. Make sure you do the other hand. Okay, let's move on. Bend your knees, roll it up, circle out and up. Take a huge breath in and then come into your tree pose on the second side. So the right foot lifts calf, ankle, inner thigh, wherever you can find it. And again, feel into what's happening. That's kind of different, right? That front left leg straight ahead, the right thigh turns open, press the knee open, but can you keep your hips squared off? There's some work involved there. And then from that asymmetrical place, start to let the foot come off the standing leg and just super slow, not on the tight rope, but a little bit wider, reach your right foot back and just check it out. Where'd you land somewhere in the vicinity? Good job. So it's a nice wide hips width stance, that asymmetrical turned out back leg keeps wrapping open, but the hips square forward, tailbone down. There's all kinds of really cool little actions in the body happening here. So sink into it, reach up to the sky and take a couple of breaths, feel into your power, feel into the asymmetry and enjoy it. Maybe look up, take a full breath in and then super slow, spin to the ball of the back foot. That might help your push off through your standing split into your forward fold home base, lift the chest halfway, and then exhale, release. Let's put it all together. Come into your chair pose, inhale. And when we start to kind of add these ingredients forward fold, we find ourselves moving through sun salutation B lift the chest, step back to plank, familiar territory, shift forward. Let's take that stage one Vinyasa lower your knees, chest and hips, and then easy Cobra. If you feel like up dog, go for it. If not, enjoy Cobra. And then exhale, press back to downward dog. Take the right leg to the sky as you breathe in. Exhale, step it through. If your foot doesn't make it, scoot it up. And then your back foot a little bit to the left, spin the heel down. And here we are in our warrior one rising up one breath. Exhale, hands to the mat, step to plank. So you have a choice. You can go through that stage one Vinyasa, or you can lower back and through child's pose in your zigzag Vinyasa. So now we're starting to build a little vocabulary. Exhale, downward facing dog, left leg rising on an inhale. Exhale, step it all the way through. Set up your warrior one move the back foot a little to the right. And then just one breath to come up, try to stay deep in your legs. It's a powerful pose. Exhale, hands to the mat, step back your choice, right? Stage one Vinyasa, zigzag, skip it. Inhale to your cobra. Exhale, back to your downward dog.

Take three really good breaths here and really receive your breath. Feel how sun salutation B has a really different energetic feel than A. Super powerful on the legs. Your heart might be beating a little bit quicker. A little effort involved. Feels good. It feels good to be alive. So let's inhale to the toes. Bend your knees. You can step or take a little bunny hop up to your hands. Finishing out the cycle of B, lift your heart. Exhale, forward fold. Bend your knees, come back into chair pose. And then exhale, stand tall. Hands to your heart. Just one today. Just one cycle of B. Let's move on. Take a nice wide step. Open up your wings. And then let's come right into warrior two. So we'll turn the right foot out, bend your front knee, come back into that familiar, powerful shape of warrior two. Take a full breath into the heart. Exhale, sink a little deeper. Sometimes people always exit out of the pose on the exhale. I like to go in just a little deeper. And then let's shift straight in the front leg to come into triangle pose. So you can shorten up your stance a bit and just pull your right hip back as you reach forward. And then wherever your hand lands, it might land on your shin or if you'd like to put a block down or slide down to the floor. There's lots of options here. We want to keep the chest open and breath full. So enjoy a couple breaths here. It's a really wonderful shape, spreading out in all directions. And then as you exhale, circle the top arm over your head, pivot your front foot in. Let's walk our hands into this procerida shape and we'll turn it into a really wide leg down dog. So walk your hands forward, stay high on the fingertips if you can, and let your head relax. Your head might even come to the floor. Totally up to you if you'd rather have your palms grounded or up on your fingertips. So just take a couple breaths here. And then start to walk your hands back in, lift your chest, come all the way up to standing big inhale, and then exhale warrior two on the second side. So the left foot turns out, back foot slightly pigeon toes, feeling into the asymmetry in this shape as well. Full breath in, sink down on your exhale. And then straight in the front leg, we can shorten the stance to come into triangle pose, also known as Trikonasana. Trikonasana. Reach forward and then just making this long plumb line from your top hand to your bottom hand might be on your shin, might be on a block, the floor. Open your chest and check in with what's happening inside. How's the breath? Are you breathing? What was that simple intention or dedication? See if you can infuse this posture with it, whatever it is. As you exhale, top arm alongside the ear and then pivot the feet, walk your hands back around into that wide leg, downward dog. A little bit of weight into the hands feels kind of good here. Check out your feet and keep them parallel and enjoy three good breaths. Head and neck relaxed, shoulders open, head is below the heart, empty it out. Come back to that listening state. Nice breath here. And walking your hands back in and towards the right foot, turn and step to downward facing dog. From your downward dog, inhale to your toes, bend your knees and then just pivot on down to your back. Come on down and draw your knees into your chest and into that relaxed child's pose on your back. Let's open up the knees pretty wide today and point your toes so the big toes touch. And then from here, lace your fingers behind your head and let's coil up so the elbows are inside of the knees and then relax it back down and just feel this shape. A little love to the core here as we lift and lower and there's a little tilt of the pelvis, a little exhale and then an inhale and this can be your rhythm, these small little contained movements or if you feel okay in the lower back, exhale to coil in and then as you inhale, stretch the legs to hover at a diagonal and exhale, return to that coiled position. So your option can stretch the legs out and coil back in or you can keep it small and contained. And the feeling here as we pull in and out, keep moving on your own as the elbows inside the knees is the same shape as a really cool little arm balance that we know as crow pose as bakasana. So this coiling inward is starting to pave that pathway for later on in our challenge. We can start working towards kind of the beginnings of crow pose. So let's take just a few more here, elbows inside the knees and every time you lift, see about sliding those knees a little further down towards your shoulders. One more and then go ahead and relax, draw the knees in. We'll keep the right knee in and let the left leg go long and from here, we'll take our simple twist, bring your knee across your body, open up and the key to a grounded twist by now hopefully you know is relaxation. So just let go, relax, let your muscles relax, let your bones relax, enjoy a full breath here and exhale. In yesterday's practice, we moved into a little quadricep opener side lying royal dancer if you remember and today if you have a strap handy, you can just take your strap and loop it around the sole of the foot, take the long length of the strap behind your head and it's a different version of that side lying royal dancer. So your hands are behind your head, your bottom leg kicks forward as a counterbalance and we're pressing the foot and thigh back to open the quadricep and hip flexor. It's a really nice feeling in the body. I like this version even better than the one we did holding onto our feet. So just feel this as the progression. Notice which one feels better to you. The top thighs kind of stays melting down. As you exhale, slowly roll back onto your back, keep your foot in the strap and just bring it up to the sky and then for a little kind of fancy transition here, we can just put the strap on the other foot and hug the knee to the chest. Take a deep inhale, exhale, come into your twist, relax into it, just pour your body weight over however far it goes is fine.

Your knee, your shoulder may or may not touch the floor but you want to just feel this gentle twist in the spine opening in the chest and the outer hip and take one more breath here. Stay for the exhale and then take hold of that strap. It's a little alley-oop action as you bend your knee behind you, arms go behind your head and that bottom leg kicks forward and we're here for just a moment or two. So enjoy a couple deep breaths. Gentle opening through the front body and then exhale, roll onto your back and let's take the strap off of our foot and set it to one side and come right into Shavasana without dillydallying. So spread out, close your eyes and arrive there as you are. As you are. Thank you.

You're welcome to stay here resting in your shavasana for a bit longer. If you'd like to come out together, then stretch your arms over your head and reawaken. Exhale, draw your knees into your chest and pour off onto one side and press yourself up to a comfortable seat. Reawakening wherever you are. Let's bring the hands together at the heart.

And thank you so much for joining me today, for sharing your practice and your presence. Have a wonderful day. We'll see you on the journey down the path in the next practice. Namaste.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
Started Christmas Day off right with this shiny happy practice! My intention was “have fun” 🧤🧣🎄⛄️
Shelley Williams
Jenny !! Love that~ a worthy intention for certain! Happy Holidays! 🤩
Tracy S
2 people like this.
A perfect practice to start my New Year. Setting an intention and being still and silent with it. I so enjoy the way you instruct and construct the poses. I am looking forward to the month. Peace and Blessings! Happy Healthy 2019!
Shelley Williams
Tracy welcome to the challenge and Happy New Year!!! So glad you are a part of it!
Gabriel W
2 people like this.
Lovely practice again thank you.
Shelley Williams
Con gusto, Gabriel! Happy practicing :)
Nadia I
6 people like this.
I love those little insights, words of wisdom, you share during the practice. They are priceless. And so much love. 8 never done my practice with so much gentleness inside. Probably that's why I've never been looking forward to one. I do with you. Thank you. Also I find that I want some more detailed asana explanation (I know about most the ones here, but if I didn't I would have been doing it not so right).
Shelley Williams
Nadia Thank you for this wonderful feedback.. that is always the interesting part of sharing yoga to me~ how to teach the "yoga" part and not just alignment. Sometimes I approach guiding practice from a purely alignment/ physical asana explanation of each posture and transition which is very important foundationally, and it is equally important to allow the shift from outer to inner to defrost and dissolve into a wider and deeper perception of the practice. It is a fine balance to do both without exhausting our students with too many mouthfuls of instruction/ words while allowing some spaciousness for digestion ;) If you have specific questions on alignment of any asana in particular, just message me and I am happy to give more support and notes here! Much love
Kate M
2 people like this.
I am really appreciating the intelligence of the progression of sequencing from day to day. You make it gentle, yet challenging, and lots of fun : )
Shelley Williams
Kate hello! So nice to read this, I’m stoked to hear you already feel the progression. We will continue to unfold, repeat, add on, keep sharing your feedback and any questions... how’s it going?! My best 🤩
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