Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 15

Day 12: Drop In

30 min - Practice


Drop in. In Day 12, with the support of blocks, we move through Sun Salutation C to warm the body before moving into standing postures and balancing play. We continue to work toward Bakasana (Crow Pose) before grounding with hip and heart openers. You will feel spacious.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)


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Welcome back, tribe. Thanks for joining. It's day 12 doce. So we're going to need doce blocks for this practice. Hopefully you have a pair of blocks by now and they're become your buddies and I think you'll really enjoy how they help this practice along. So let's begin standing right at the top of the mat and you can take your two blocks and turn them to the medium height would be great. And then just stand right at the back edge of the blocks and bring your hands to your heart. We're moving into Surya Namaskar C or Sun Salutation C. So take a deep breath in and as you exhale, release your hands and circulate your arms out and up like you're tracing the shape of the sunshine. Exhale, forward fold, bring your hands to the blocks and as you lift your chest, step your left foot back to a high runner's lunge and really feel your hips melt down as you reach your heart forward. From here, step to downward facing dog. If you feel like your hands are slipping on the blocks, just place the heels of your hands right at the edge of the blocks.

And as you inhale, shift forward to plank. We'll move through a stage three Vinyasa as an option here and it's kind of nice to do it on the blocks because we take a high buoyant Chaturanga as we bend the elbows. Flip over the feet, come right to upward facing dog on an inhale and then exhale back to downward facing dog. Step your left foot directly forward between the blocks as you inhale. Notice it's a lot easier with that lift and then exhale forward fold top of the mat. Inhale, come all the way up. Exhale, hands to your heart. That was half of one full round. Circulate out and up as you inhale. Exhale, swan dive forward fold. As you lift your heart, step your right foot back to a long high lunge and then exhale downward facing dog.

Inhale, shift forward to plank and bend the elbows just a couple of inches, hugging your elbows to your ribs. Flip over the feet, come right to upward facing dog. Make sure your shoulders are stacked right above your wrist and then exhale to downward dog. Take a deep breath in here. Exhale completely without sweeping your right leg back and up. Just step your right foot directly forward between your blocks. As you inhale, exhale forward fold top of the mat. Inhale to rise. Exhale, hands to your heart. That was one full round. Circulate out and up, full breath in.

Exhale, forward fold. Step the left foot back as you lift your chest and inhale. Exhale, downward facing dog. Shift to plank, moving slowly and consciously. Inhale, exhale, bend the elbows just a little. Fold over the toes, upward facing dog as you inhale, downward facing dog as you exhale. Step the left foot directly forward and inhale. Exhale, forward fold top of the mat. Inhale to rise. Exhale, hands to your heart. Let's do it again. Inhale, circle out and up.

Exhale, forward fold. Listen to your breath. Inhale as you step the right foot back. Exhale, downward facing dog. Inhale, shift forward to plank. Exhale, bend your elbows. Inhale, upward dog. Exhale, downward dog. Inhale, the right foot forward. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale to rise. Exhale, hands to your heart. Let's take one more full round. Inhale, circulate out and up. Exhale, forward fold. Step the left foot back and inhale. Notice how the hips, especially the front of the hips start to open. Exhale, downward dog. Inhale, glide to plank.

Exhale, high chaturanga. Inhale, open your heart. Exhale, fold it back. Step the left foot forward as you inhale. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale to rise. Exhale, hands to your heart. One last half of the round. Inhale, exhale. Right foot steps back. Inhale, downward dog. Exhale, plank. Inhale, chaturanga. Exhale, inhale, upward dog. Exhale, downward dog. Right foot steps forward. Inhale. Exhale, forward fold.

Inhale, rise. Exhale, hands to your heart. Good. Let's lace the fingers behind the back. You can also take a strap and hold it with your hands hips width apart. Open up the chest as you inhale and then just step your feet back behind the block so you have space to separate your feet a little wider than hips width. And as you exhale, come into a forward fold. And let your knuckles reach up and over your head.

Let the crown of the head relax down. You can soften the knees if you like or keep the legs straight. And enjoy a few grounding, calming breaths here. And the head's below the heart so empty out. Listen to the sound of the breath. And come back to any special intention, any special dedication. One more full breath.

Release your hands. Take your hands to your blocks. Heel-toe the feet all the way together. Let's bend the knees and come into utkatasana, chair pose on an inhale. Once again as you exhale, lace your fingers behind your back. And let's take your laced fingers, your knuckles around to the right hip and draw your right elbow towards the left. And from here, just sink a little bit so the weight travels back into the heels.

Really feel your base. Come up, take a little bit of weight off of your left foot and then step your left foot all the way back to crescent pose. That's another step back into a lunge. We've been working on this a lot in the last several practices. Let's pulse here. Inhale to rise. As you exhale, sink down. Glide down the back of the wave.

Inhale up and over the crest. Exhale, sink down. Feel your hips, your pelvis working towards that posterior tilt as you rise. Sink back down. And then once more, lifting up, set your feet up for warrior two. So spin the back foot perpendicular to the front.

Heel to your right foot to the midline. And use your laced fingers to pull your left hand around a little farther. And you might even find that like, oh hey, I can reach to my thigh today. That's new. Or maybe it's a little closer, right? And from here, just extend long through your right arm.

And let's inhale, reverse our warrior with the back arm wrapped. Take a look at your back foot and can you seal the outer edge as you breathe and pulse. Take a deep breath in here. As you exhale, straighten your front leg. We'll keep the back arm wrapped and come into a high supported triangle pose.

Totally fine to rest your hand on your shin or take a block and place it underneath your hand. And just keeping things a little bit spacious today as we explore, including more wrapping in our arms. So turn your chest open. Enjoy your breath here. And then look down at your front foot. Let's bend the front knee.

And I like to heel toe the back foot forward just a touch before stepping into half moon. We'll keep that left arm wrapped behind our back as we start to lift the back leg up into half moon. Make sure your block is directly under your shoulder and straight forward from your baby toe and then just open your body up like a sunflower looking towards the sunlight. And that top arm can gently reach back towards the raised foot and then eventually reach up towards the sky, expanding in all directions. If you'd like to start to challenge your balance here a little bit, you can slowly turn your gaze.

Just taking in your surroundings as you track your drishti point, your eyes, all the way up towards your top hand. And it's OK if you fall. If you do, just come back in the pose and then exhale. Slowly come into a forward fold right at the top of the mat. Nice work.

Set your blocks down and relax. Bend your knees a bit. Relax your head and neck. Let's inhale to lift the chest. Exhale.

Step back to plank and we'll enjoy another stage three vinyasa. So keep the chaturanga high. Don't go too low. If we go too low, it kind of blows out our shoulders. So stay high.

Come into your upward dog on your inhale and then exhale. Downward dog. Inhale to your toes. Bend the knees. Take a step or a hop.

Nice and light right up between your blocks. Lift your heart. Exhale. Release. Bend your knees.

Come into chair pose on an inhale. And exhale. Lace your fingers behind your back. Take your laced fingers around to the left hip now. And I always like to imagine I'm holding a volleyball between my elbows.

So draw the left elbow and sink your weight back into the heels. And then just transfer your weight a little bit to the left foot. Pick up the right toes and slowly working with control and strength. Step back and land on the ball of your foot. As you inhale, ride up and over the wave.

Tailbone descends. Exhale. Sink into your base. And feel your breath moving like water beneath you inside of you as you flow. Inhaling to rise.

Exhale. Keep your body strong and engaged. But let go of the hard edges here and see if you can just kind of arrive and open into this shape. One more breath. Exhale.

On your next inhale, lift up and then set up your feet for warrior two. So heel to the left foot to the midline. Drop back into a perpendicular stance in the back leg and pull your hands around a little further. Release through the left arm. And let's reverse our warrior.

And as you hang out here, I like to press down through my front hand to really encourage a nice deep lunge here. Beautiful opening through the shoulder, through the side waist. Let's enjoy one more breath. And then as you exhale, slowly straighten your front leg. Reach through your left arm.

And you can take your block or your hand to your shin and support yourself in your triangle pose. And just feel here how your hips, the top hip, is slightly angled down towards the floor. But the rib cage and chest and shoulders rotate up towards the sky. So there's all these little spirals inside each of these shapes. Continue to breathe.

And let's make a super smooth transition into half moon. So look down, bend your front knee, heel to your back foot as you start to sneak the block forward. I always like to really take my time and slowly arrive into one shape and out of another rather than kind of fling myself in and out. So just experiment with how gracefully you can come into the posture with your breath. So as you reach up to the sky, each shape feels like an evolution of the one before it rather than separate kind of boxes that you're checking off.

Just let it become one long expression of movement and breath. So breathing here, maybe consider starting to turn your gaze slowly along the floor, along the wall or the window, and eventually up towards the top hand. This is super challenging. This often causes us to lose our balance and fall. But the more you work with it, the more familiar it becomes, and you just take your time with it, have a sense of humor about it. One more breath.

And then slowly come into your forward fold. Yay. Good job. Relax your head and neck. Inhale, lift your chest. And then let's go ahead and transition from here. We've been working on a lot of preps for Crow Pose, and today's no exception. So we'll work on another little prep to start getting you into it.

So take your blocks behind your feet and just create a little platform that you can stand upon. And we elevate the feet and the hips. It allows us to get a little deeper into our hip opening to come into Crow Pose because all coiled arm balances, anything that's related to Crow, is a hip opener. So when you come down into your squat here, your malasana, we were working on this in our earlier practices, big toes together, heels together. Really notice how you can drop your upper body down a little further since your feet are elevated.

And just relax here for a moment and feel into the curve of your back all the way up to the crown of your head, breathing into that space. One or two more breaths here. And feel the low back, the outer hips, just softening into the folds of the frontal hips. And then from here, lift your head, look forward, and draw your knees to the outer triceps. Now from here, a common misconception with Crow is that we go down and face plant, but you really want to transfer your weight simply forward.

So if you imagine the front edge of your mat, like the edge of a cliff, and right below it's a really beautiful river that you want to take a peek at, just simply shift forward, keep your head lifted, and then shift back. Add a little coiling lift like we did in Cat-Cow, coil up through the belly, lift forward, one foot can lift up, and then sink it back down. Make sure you keep your head lifted, squeeze the knees, coil and lift, other foot lifts up, and then back down. And if you feel interested, you can shift forward, both feet might lift up, but keep your head lifted. That's your counterbalance.

And then back down. Walk your hands forward, walk your feet back, and come into downward facing dog. And that's bicycle pedal through the feet and knees. Now, sometimes Crow can be a little bit wristy, right, can bother the wrist a bit. So let's give our wrists a little therapy here.

Walk your hands all the way back to your feet, and slide your hands right underneath your feet, coming into Pada Hastasana. Pada means foot, Hasta means hand. Look forward on an inhale, and then exhale, bend your elbows to dry yourself in. If you need to bend your knees, it's fine, it's no big deal, you just want to give a little pressure to the wrists, the back of the hands. And enjoy three really slow, good breaths right here.

And start to notice if some of these postures are becoming a little more accessible to you. Okay, I'm a little deeper, I couldn't stand on my hands before, or maybe you couldn't even get your fingers underneath before. But little by little, these changes can happen, and it's just good to draw some awareness to them and to acknowledge your little victories, large or small. Take one more breath here. And then slowly release your hands.

We'll set the blocks to one side. And then come on up, go ahead and roll up through your spine like a rag doll, slow and steady. Circulate your arms out and up, deep breath in. Exhale, hands to your heart. Take a nice wide step to the middle of the mat, and we'll enjoy one more really nice shoulder opener before we ground down.

So reach your arms out to the side, and just pinwheel, right arm up, left arm low, and reach towards linking fingertips. And let's do that a couple of times, opposing your arms. And you can turn your head in opposition, right? So as the right arm lifts, turn your head left. As your left arm lifts, turn your head right.

And just feeling that pathway kind of grooving through the shoulders, through the neck. It could be a little dance move. Let's stay lifted on the right side, and you're welcome to keep your hands just resting against your back. You can grab a strap or hold onto your shirt. Maybe you link your fingers.

Let's inhale to lift the chest, and then exhale, forward fold. And then breathing into the back body here, into the shoulders. And the head below the heart, clear the mind, open up through the crown, and empty out. Allow a little spaciousness between your thoughts. When you come on up, release your arms first, fingertips to the floor, lift your chest, lift your head, your heart.

Come all the way up with a new attitude, yeah. And exhale this time. The left arm bends, left elbow stays high, right arm reaches behind the back. See what you can find as far as grabbing onto something or not. Lift through the chest, and then exhale right back in to your forward fold.

Take a look at your feet. Make sure the heels are a little bit wider than the big toes. And then go right into your breath, and right into the inner state, the inner quality. What's going on inside the posture? Enjoy two more breaths here.

And then release your hands slowly to the ground. Inhale to lift your chest, walk your hands to your right, and let's lower the back knee down in a low lunge. Bring your hands inside of your front foot, and heel to the right foot kind of wide, preparing for a nice deep quadricep opener. If your knee is tender, put a blanket or a folded towel underneath it. Sweep your right arm back and grab onto the big toe side of your foot.

And also grab a strap, showed you how to do that in previous practices, so whatever works for you. And then turn your chest open, and as you exhale, just draw your heel in towards your hips. You might even lower down to your forearm. This makes it a little bit deeper. But whatever works for you, hang out here for a moment or two.

Try not to stiffen up inside, but just relax into it. God's like a little bit of time, a little patience, and a lot of love. So see if you can soften through the breath, soften through your jaw, and release through your whole body. Melt into gravity here. And that's one of the tricks about these deeper asanas, is that we don't really get anywhere by forcing our way into it.

We have to just knock on the temple door and ask to be invited in, right? If we burst our way through, we probably won't be invited back. That's something my teacher, Max Strome, used to always talk about. So let's slowly release the back foot, ground your palms, lift your chest, and then tuck your left knee in and have a seat for a seated twist. We can square off a bit here, crossing the right foot over the outside of the left knee.

You're welcome to straighten the bottom leg if that grounds your hips a little more. And then reach up through your left arm, exhale, elbow to the outside of the knee, or hand to the outside of the knee, and turn your spine. Inhale to sit up nice and tall, and exhale, spiral a little bit deeper. Two more breaths here. One more breath.

And slowly release. Let's walk it all the way around to the back side of the mat and come into your lunge with your left foot forward. Lower the back knee, hands to the inside, sweep your left arm back behind you, grab onto the big toe side of your foot or a strap. Let's open the chest on an inhale, and then exhale, melt in any amount. Maybe come down to your forearm.

And then drop into that relaxation mode, release, surrender, soften, whatever it is. And melt into it. Notice if you're holding tension anywhere else, right? If the tension you might feel in your quad has made its way up into your jaw, your fingers, your toes, and just relax. Know that we're not going to be here forever.

Just a couple more breaths. A little extra compassion, my right quad's always tighter than my left, so I always have to soften a bit more, maybe stay a breath or two longer. And slowly release, come back up through the center, curl the back toes under and lift your knee, and then tuck your knee in to the outside of your front ankle. Let's sit down and straighten the bottom leg. So we have the left foot, the left knee on top.

Inhale to reach up through your right arm. Exhale, either elbow to the knee or hand to the knee, and turn your spine. Nice and tall, so take a deep inhale here. Exhale to dial it into the twist. Inhale, lengthen.

Exhale, dial it in just enough, just enough to feel some sensation. Last breath. And then slowly release. Bend your knees, place your feet on the mat, and let's slowly roll down one vertebrae at a time. Draw the knees into the chest, and then plant your feet flat on the mat and reach your arms over your head as you inhale.

On your exhale, tuck your tailbone under, slowly lift your hips up into bridge, and sweep your arms alongside your hips. Now you're welcome to come into classic bridge pose, lace your fingers and walk your outer shoulders in underneath you and hang out here for about five breaths. If you'd like to start kind of just tasting the flavor of wheel, urdhva dhanurasana, which is a really beautiful pose but a very deep back bend, just the kind of beginning steps to come into that or to place the hands right next to your ears and just start to lift the hips a little higher, maybe lift and prop onto your crown. And again, we don't need to go up into the full pose today unless that's a regular part of your practice, but just feel that extra bit of lift, maybe come up an inch or two off your head and then come back down. Back of the head, shoulders, waist, sacrum, and release.

Give yourself a bear hug, knees touch. Ahh. Full breath in here. Exhale, release your arms. Windshield wiper your knees and your feet from side to side and start to just crawl your feet away from you and down towards shavasana.

Yeah. So just a taste, just the inkling of wheel today. It's coming like a freight train and it's there anytime you want it, but sometimes it's nice to really give our body and our mind a lot of foreshadowing. So come into your shavasana, spread out and drop down and in and rest. Exhale.

Exhale. Exhale. Slowly start to bring your awareness back into your body and send a little movement to your fingers and your toes. Reach your arms over your head and stretch through your feet. Full breath in.

And as you exhale, dry your knees in, bring your left hand to your heart, your right hand to your navel center and just feel into those two places of intuition, our heart, our belly. And from there, just roll on over to your right side, press against the earth and come on up to a comfortable seated position. Let's bring the hands together at the heart, symbol of balance, anjali mudra. Take a moment, feel a little gratitude, a lot of gratitude for this beautiful practice and for the opportunity to practice together. Thank you so much for your presence and your enthusiasm.

You're doing amazing. I look forward to seeing you in the next one. Namaste.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
Such a lot of yummy goodness packed into a half hour. Love to rock the blocks!
Shelley Williams
Jenny Hi Jenny! So nice to hear from you each day :) Glad you had fun rocking the blocks..heehee :) have a nice day today!
Tracy S
4 people like this.
Thank you for sharing this slow flow today. I loved how you explained the grace of slow flow as one long expression of movement and breath. Here is to taking it with us off the mat! Peace and Blessings! :)
Shelley Williams
Tracy Excellent... Yes, it helps me to stay connected when I think of one long vinyasa rather than separate boxes to hit/ check off. I love that you are lending that elegance to how you move off the mat as well :)
M Angela C
3 people like this.
Loved this practice as well as the 10 before it! I was able to connect well to the Temple door analogy and it helped me to let go of my ego! My arm wrap seemed effortless today with the guidance you shared. My aha moment - when I focus on my breath instead of chasing the pose the pose reveals itself. This practice allowed me to practice that. Thank you 🙏
Helen D
2 people like this.
I have osteoarthritis in my knees so I’m very stiff so unfortunately cant do the crow pose. So instead I kneel back on my knees, this stretches things out for me. Thank you Shelley for another great session.
Melissa H
2 people like this.
I had a tiny blast off in Crow Pose for the first time! Woo hoo! I felt, though, a cramping in my rectus abs in the middle. I had a C-Section 6.5 years ago and sometimes feel cramping at the incision on the right side in certain forward folds. My question: are there poses I can do to strengthen other areas so I am not recruiting *so much* from rectus abs? Or is there another way to overcome this new obstacle? Thanks so much for these wonderful practices!! Your sequencing is so fabulous.
Shelley Williams
M M Angela That is so wonderful... yes, if we just focus on the process rather than the end result, sometimes these postures end up showing up with ease (and of course in consideration of injury or special conditions~ with time, patience, perseverance 😃) congrats!
Shelley Williams
Helen that is just fine~ when we figure out ways to work with our “kinks” rather than against them, it keeps us in the flow. Some other options during crow (that are kind to stiff knees, and stay within the key actions) are: Happy Baby on your back, or a little core work on your back, or a high squat only going as deep as your knees allow without pain 🤩
Shelley Williams
Melissa hey! Congrats!! It will keep gaining more flight with practice. Tips for cramping rectus ab: come out of crow and counter stretch (small camel pose or cobra/ up dog) try working with engaging transverse abdominus on the reg~ whole core engagement without spinal flexion. When in crow, engage core and coil up in lumbar area, but try to reach chest/ heart/ thoracic spine forward at the same time to lengthen upper rectus abs.... 🤓
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