Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Day 5: It's a New Day

30 min - Practice


Embrace the opportunity of a fresh start. In Day 5, we play with balancing and core work as we progress in our practices together. You will feel challenged, focused, and a fresh sense of vitality.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

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Greetings tribe, welcome back to day five. This is starting to become a habit. Does it become a habit? I hope so. Speaking of habit, just a quick, something for you to consider is what time of day are you practicing?

And a tip for success to be sure you're getting on your mat every day is try to practice at the same time every day. Anytime works. I really love the mornings, but whatever works for you. So let's start with some Sufi rolls. Just sit cross-legged and start to circulate your spine over your hips.

And as you do so, really notice if you can keep your hips somewhat grounded and move your rib cage separate from your pelvis so you create a little massage and flexibility in the soft tissue around your waist. And go ahead and go the other direction and you might even want to release your head so that your neck and your head can relax as you start to bring some circulation into your spine. I already got a couple of spontaneous adjustments in my own back here. And coordinate your breath with this. So maybe exhaling as you drop down, inhaling as you come up, exhaling as you drop down, inhaling as you come up.

And the next time you drop down, just pause and roll right up the midline of your spine. Take a nice deep breath in here as you sit tall. And as you exhale, dive the chin into the chest, round your spine forward, maybe even take your fingertips forward and then inhale to arch up like you're coming up through the backside of a wave. And let's do that again, exhale to sink down and diving under the water and inhale to rise with your in-breath. And it feels kind of good.

It's this nice sort of internal washing and rinsing of the spine with your breath. And as you exhale and drop in, just let it go through the back of the neck and then come on up with your inhale. It's a new day. Just one more like that, dropping down and in, releasing on the exhale and then inhaling to rise up. Sit up tall, circle your arms out and up, full breath in.

As you exhale, take a side bend to one side and just drop your hand or your forearm down as you reach up and over, a little turn towards the sky, just a little massage in the spine here as you inhale. And then exhale, reach forward and down with that top arm, sweep it all the way behind you and come into a simple twist. Looking over that back shoulder and then come back to the center. Inhale, circle out and up. Now side bend the opposite direction, reach up and over, really root down through the opposite hip.

Turn your chest towards the sky as you inhale and then exhale, sweep forward and down all the way behind you into a simple twist, maybe looking over the back shoulder. Deep breath here. Stay for the exhale. From here, let's crawl onto our hands and knees and just place your hands right underneath your shoulders, knees into your hips, and we'll take our cat cow in a bit of a circular pattern today. So circle your shoulders and hips over your arm and leg bones, and if this is tender on your knees, you're welcome to put a blanket under your knees.

And notice how generously you can move here. Go ahead and change directions and just lubricating through the shoulders and hips, feeling that natural curve and arch through the spine as you transition around the edges of the mat. And then come right back up through the center as you inhale, take your right arm up to the sky and exhale, thread it underneath your left wrist. So this is all familiar territory, we're just kind of building on some patterns and shapes that we've already visited, so let's hang out here for a moment and turn your spine open and then exhale, come back through the center and we'll go right to the second side, opening up through the left arm as you breathe in, and then exhale, thread it behind the right wrist, come all the way down into that relaxed twist. Let's enjoy a single breath right here so that your hips oscillate a little bit, just kind of finding that specific point where you feel a nice stretch in your spine.

Come on back to the center and walk your hands forward a bit, bring your knees right underneath your hips, curl your toes under and let's press back to downward facing dog and bicycle pedal through your feet and your knees. So I keep introducing a lot of different options for vinyasa and today's no exception, we'll introduce what I like to call a stage 2 vinyasa, which has two backbends inside of it. So let's review and learn this together, as you inhale shift forward to plank and you're welcome to set your knees down on the mat or keep your legs straight, either one works but lower all the way down through chaturanga to the belly and then inhale to cobra, stay in cobra as you exhale move your hands back an inch, press into your hands in the tops of your feet, inhale upward facing dog, so only the hands in the tops of the feet on the mat, exhale to downward dog and just notice how that feels in your body as we pass through it again, stage 2 vinyasa, inhale shift to plank, knees down our legs straight, exhale lower all the way down, inhale cobra pose, exhale move your hands back an inch, inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward dog, yay, so we'll feed that into our namaskar together so let's go ahead and walk our feet all the way up to the top of the mat, coming into a forward fold and just relax down here for a breath or two. From your forward fold inhale lift up halfway hands to the shins or on the mat, exhale back into your forward fold, let's come all the way up to standing lift your head and your heart circle the arms wide as you reach up, exhale draw your hands to the midline step your feet together, let's move through a couple of sun salutations to continue warming up, inhale circle out and up, deep as breath, exhale forward fold bend your knees as you like, inhale lift the heart halfway, exhale step directly back to plank and here's that option for stage 1 or a stage 2 vinyasa, I'm going to set my knees down, lower all the way down to the belly, inhale to cobra, stay there as you exhale move your hands back just a touch and now inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog and let's hang out here for just two full deep breaths, head is below the heart so empty out your mind, open up to that inner listening inside, let's inhale to the toes, bend your knees step or lightly hop to the top of the mat, I'm going to step for now and I'll hop in the next two rounds, lift your chest halfway, exhale forward fold, inhale come all the way up to stand, exhale hands to your heart, let's do it again, inhale circle out and up, exhale draw the navel in as you fold, start to feel your whole body, your whole breath participate inhale to lift, exhale step directly back to plank, shift your shoulders forward maybe try keeping your legs straight as you lower all the way down through chaturanga to the belly, inhale cobra, exhale move your hands back a touch, inhale upward dog, stand in your hands in the tops of the feet, exhale downward facing dog, two deep breaths, listening for any special intention or dedication, it can be different every day or it can be the same one, totally up to you, and then inhale to your toes, bend the knees, look forward at your hands, take a step or a hop to the top of the mat, lift your heart halfway, exhale forward fold, inhale come all the way up, exhale hands to your heart, let's take one more just like that, circle out and up, deep breath in, exhale forward fold, feeling into your vitality as you lift your heart halfway, exhale step back to plank, shift forward and lower all the way down, stage two vinyasa, inhale open the heart, cobra, exhale move the hands back a bit, inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog, two slow breaths, and then inhale to your toes, bend your knees, look forward and step or lightly hop top of the mat, lift your heart halfway, exhale release, forward fold, come all the way up to standing deep breath in, exhale hands to your heart, let's start to transition into some balancing, this practice has a lot of balancing and core work in it, so shift over to your right foot and draw your left knee to your chest, and we worked on this in yesterday's practice, it's a padagisthasana prep, and from here just open up your knee 45 degrees to your left, your right hand can come to your hip and feel that kind of remembering in your body, in your breath as you come back to the center, right hand to the knee and then reach back through the opposite hand and maybe start to transition your gaze to look back to the opposite hand or even just an opposite corner of the room, and then to come out of it just bring the feet to the mat, bend your knees, come into a chair pose on an inhale, exhale forward fold, inhale lift your heart halfway, exhale release, come all the way up with a flat back, deep breath in, hands to your heart, shift your weight into your left foot, draw the right knee to the chest, same thing, padagisthasana prep, feel your shoulders draw down the back, stand tall here, and then open up the knee out to the side, outer hip hugs in a bit, breathing deeply, eyes steady, bring your knee back to the midline, we'll progress to this with a straight leg in just a moment so you can look forward to that, reach your right hand back, feel the twist from the navel to the ribs to the shoulders and then start to just transition your gaze, kind of just checking out the sights, beautiful view, and from here come to chair pose, and we're out of there, take a deep breath in, as you exhale sit on down, you can separate the knees and come into a, I like to think of this as a floating child's pose, it's also a half boat pose, so lift up through your chest, separate your knees a bit, you can bring your shins up parallel to the floor and just float for a moment here, part of what really helps all of our standing postures especially our balance postures is a strong core, so we'll give a little love to our core for the next couple of minutes, you can stretch the legs if you want or keep them bent, and then from here just go ahead and come on to your back and draw your knees into your chest, let your knees open up just like we did in our floating half boat pose and feel into these, I like to think of them as little crow crunches, so you can lace your fingers behind your head and just coil up, lift your feet, lift your pelvis a bit and then open the legs or keep the knees bent, your choice, exhale to come in and inhale to open up and how many, how many do we do? We do just enough and just for variety we'll choose the number seven for the seven chakras, so as you exhale come in that's about five, exhale six and one more seven and then just draw the knees in, rock right back up to your floating child's pose, oh it's so comfortable, floating child's pose, maybe you hang out right here, maybe you stretch the legs long and just put a little bit of work into it and then exhale draw the knees in, roll back down and this time we'll just draw one knee in followed by the other and you can keep the head neck and shoulders lifted, we're just kind of grooving into the hips here finding a little rhythmic movement through the legs while we keep our core engaged and the next time that your right knee comes in keep it in and relax your head down. Now this is the same shape that we were in just a moment ago standing up in our prep for Padagusthasana, so let's feel it here on the floor, if you have a strap or towel or something handy you can loop it around the sole of your right foot and then just extend your right leg to the sky and let's keep just the right hand on the strap and see if you can feel both shoulders against the floor, even both hips against the floor and flex both feet and just kind of feel the structure, the architecture of this shape, we'll be doing it standing up in just a moment or two and a lot of times we kind of have this sort of rounding in our spine when we're standing but it's nice to feel it here on the floor first. So open your leg about 45 degrees out to the side, notice if you go farther than that, that opposite hip kind of rolls up and so when we're standing we don't need to go any further than kind of halfway open and then exhale bring it back to the center and since we're on the floor we'll roll all the way to the outside of our opposite hip and just feel your wingspan from opposite hand all the way down to opposite foot, reaching down through what is going to become your standing leg as your bottom leg and maybe turn your head so you have a complete twist all the way up through your cervical spine, full breath in here, exhale slowly come back to the center and let's go ahead and set the strap to one side, pull both knees in, it would only be fair to roll through that same bit of core work before we go to the second side so why not, we're building a little strength and stamina, come into your floating half boat pose, maybe a full boat, your choice and then exhale draw the knees back in, roll down and release your fingers and let's just take seven rounds here of our floating, it's not floating actually it's a crow crunch so exhaling, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, find a nice rhythm about three more rounds, one more, rock right back up to your floating boat pose and just find a position that works for you, deep breath in, exhale, bend your knees, roll right back down this time the left knee is going to start and just move your legs like pistons, nice even rhythm, feel the crease in the front of the hips and we got about seven cycles here keeping the jaw relaxed and if your neck feels tired just put your head down, let's keep the left knee in and relax the head and bottom leg down to the floor, take your strap and loop it around your left foot, we'll feel the same shape on the left side, it feels really good to do this pose on the floor, it's going to feel good to do it standing up too, so just allow your right hand to come to your hip, both shoulders and hips are touching the floor and open up the leg out to the side and you might find that your hamstring gives you a little more play when you come off of that midline so you can feel about, see about bending your elbow and drying that leg up a little bit, come back to the center, change hands, let's roll all the way on to the outer right hip and then the left arm reaches wide, last but certainly not least as you reach down through your bottom leg maybe turn your head to look at your left hand and there's so much happening inside of this shape, just breathe into it and then let's slowly come back to the center and set your strap to one side, are you ready to do it standing up? Good, me too, so go ahead and rock on up, cross the ankles and turn into your forward fold and when you come up to standing come up with your strap in toes, let's reach all the way up on your inhale, exhale hands to your heart and let's try this padagusthasana standing, so I like to create a little loop with the strap and just put it around the sole of your right foot, hold it in the opposite hand and that way when you lift your knee you can just take your right hand down close to your foot and start right there kind of choked up on the strap, feel your chest open, really stand tall here as if you're in tadasana because you are but with your knee lifted and then as you start to straighten your leg out in front of you, you can let the strap slide through your hand any amount as much as you need to have a straight arm and a straight leg and still be standing up, it's a very angled kind of linear posture and then open up your leg 45 degrees out to the side and you can even turn your gaze if you like, that adds another level of challenge, may or may not be necessary, come back to the center and change hands on your strap and then just draw your bow and arrow, right arm reaches back and feel your gaze, you can stay right here especially if balance feels a little squirrely or you can turn your head, all that core work we did on the floor, lift up through the navel center and let it support your balance as you turn and look and see some dolphins playing in the ocean, yay and then come back to the center and we do the second side, walk it out a little bit, it's not uncommon for the standing leg ankle to get a little bit okay, your attention and now let's take the strap around the left foot, we'll hold it in the right hand, bend your knee and draw the left hand down close to your foot and you can just drop the strap and bring your hand to your hips, standing tall and proud, super focused, balance postures really help us work with our focus, our concentration as well as our sense of humor if you're falling, no big deal, start to stretch your leg out in front of you and let the strap slide through your hand, if you go too far you end up kind of in the in the barca lounger and you want to just make sure you don't have so much slack that you're leaning back, so stay tall in your spine and then open up your leg out to the side halfway, you might turn your gaze over the opposite shoulder, maybe not, just breathing and then come back to the center and change hands, feeling the lines and angles of this shape but also feeling a little relaxed softness inside as you start to just turn your gaze and take in the view all around you, no big deal if you fall, just do your best, come back into the pose and then return to center and just set your strap down to one side, excellent job, let's circle out and up, touch your palms over your head as you exhale, stay tall but bring your hands to your hips, last little standing moment here, a standing ustrasana or camel pose just to really open the chest, root your tailbone down and lift your heart up, we did this on our knees yesterday and it's this wonderful feeling of just dropping your head back into a waterfall but feel your heart lift and the architecture of your spine holding up the front of the body and take one more full breath here, as you exhale forward fold, release your hands down, soften your knees, relax your head and neck and let the waterfall just pour off your back, off the nape of your neck, out of the crown of the head, let's walk our hands forward into downward facing dog and get ready to come down to the ground, so right leg is going to rise on an inhale, as you exhale draw the knee in and through and turn it out coming into pigeon pose, slide the back, thigh back a little bit, see if you can square off your hips here, so if you're off to one side just try to get up on top of the pose, you can always put a pillow or a blanket under that right hip and then relax down and we're just here for a moment or two, it's not a very long hold today, we'll get into some longer pigeon holds in our coming practices but let's just enjoy a bit of hip opening into the right hip, couple of breaths here, getting quiet inside, one more breath and then lifting up through the hands and fingertips, lift up through the heart, feel your upright pigeon for a moment, plant your palms, curl the back toes under, press back to down dog with that same right leg high, just air it out for a moment and then set it down and now the left leg rises on an inhale, exhale draw the knee through, turn it out and come down into pigeon on the second side, if this doesn't work for your knee you can always come into thread the needle on your back, lift up through the heart, squaring off your hips as best as you can, once again if that left hip is high, support it with anything, a folded towel, a block, a blanket and then come on down and breathe into the low back and hips, bringing your awareness back into the inner state, how does it feel inside, what's the inner attitude, the inner tone, what was that special intention or that internal focus that you're working with, a couple more breaths here, and slowly walk the hands in, lift your chest, come into your upright pigeon as that same feeling of almost of upward facing dog as we lift and then exhale, plant your palms, curl the back toes under and let's extend the left leg back, air it out and bring it down.

From here we'll go ahead and come down onto our back, so however you like to get down into your back just go ahead and tuck and roll and draw your knees into your chest, coming into child's pose on our back, up anasana, rock it a little bit from side to side, gently massaging your low back against the floor, kidneys, back of the heart, back of the head, and then taking the soles of the feet towards the sky, grabbing on either to your big toes or the outer edges of your feet, coming into happy baby here and draw the knees down towards the floor and reach the sacrum down towards the bottom edge of the mat here, again just feeling into what's in contact with the floor, rooting down, softening through your gaze, maybe even closing your eyes now and feeling into the integration of our practice today and all the previous days starting to feel kind of things starting to come together, building strength, building stamina, opening, receiving all the pathways, energetic pathways of your body, communicating in a different way, one more breath here, as you're ready just release the feet but draw the soles of the feet together on the floor, let the knees open up like a diamond, let your arms open like a diamond over your head, coming into a relaxed baddha khanasana, a supta baddha khanasana, it's also the shape, your body is in the shape of the infinity sign and so I love to visualize my energy and breath traveling through that unbroken figure eight pathway and all the maybe forgotten parts inside of your body are just the places that you're not always aware of rather sending your energy out to every cell, every corner pathway, every energetic line receiving your breath and you're welcome to stay in this shape for your shavasana, if you prefer a more traditional shape then just draw the arms down alongside the body, stretch your legs out long and give the legs a little roll, a little shake here, relax your shoulders, maybe give the spine a little shimmy, whatever you need to do to feel fully relaxed, oftentimes if I like to take my hair out and just even let my hair relax, my scalp relax so and then go into that quiet space of relaxation and rest. Begin to deepen your breath. Reach your arms over your head and reawaken, stretching from your fingers to your toes, exhale draw your knees into your chest, roll off to one side, press yourself up to a comfortable seated position, hey welcome back, draw your hands together at your heart, thank you so much for sharing your presence, your practice, your focus, your dedication today and we'll see you in the next practice, namaste.


Tracy S
2 people like this.
Thank you for another wonderful building practice. A great way to take on the day!
Helen D
1 person likes this.
Hi Shelley, thank you for another worthwhile session. I’m not very flexible so when doing the standing up pose on one leg and stretching out the other leg with the strap, does it matter if the standing leg is slightly bent ? I noticed if I straighten the standing leg I’m not able to lift the other leg up as high with the strap, so feel less stretching in the leg muscles with the strap on it. Cheers Helen
Shelley Williams
Tracy Hi Tracy~ You are so welcome, how's it all going for you? Hope you continue to enjoy!
Shelley Williams
Helen Hola Helen! Great question and feedback that everyone can benefit from: Try your best to work on straightening standing leg first, and keeping it straight while you slowly open up the flexibility of the raised leg over time. This will keep the integrity of the pose as a whole, and also help to open the standing leg psoas/ hip flexor while allowing flexibility to increase from upper attachment of lifted leg hammy... so I guess the short answer is to try and do both, . My best!
Gabriel W
2 people like this.
Brilliant. Thank you.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Wow. The sequencing to standing Padangusthasana with legs straight created a unique feeling of equipoise today. I usually just go straight into it (Ashtanga vinyasa-style) - this felt quite different, and heavenly. Gotta share this progression with my "Ashtanginis" Tuesday!!!
Shelley Williams
Kate! Ahhhh you are an ashtangi! Bueno~ I practiced Mysore for several years, very healing to my body ... glad you like the variations, I love the way creative Vinyasa allows us to find new freedom inside the shapes~ lmk how your peeps respond ... my best to you!
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Shelley Williams - confession: glad the Ashtanga police weren't sniffing around the community center last night because we kind of free-styled!! I used (more-or-less) the sequencing ideas around Padangusthasana, and I will definitely again! It is so helpful in finding a balance in the hips. You're a genius!!
Shelley Williams
Kate hola! Form and freedom💜~ they need each other
Devi N
2 people like this.
Love practising with Shelley.  
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