Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 16

Day 13: Warrior Flow

30 min - Practice


In Day 13, we explore a warrior flow, which is all about digging down when you need some inspiration and bringing your energy up. We open the heart and the mind to gather our intention and power.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket (2)

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Greetings, Mitras, friends. Welcome to day 13. We've come a long way, and it probably feels like we have a long way to go, but we're doing it together, and this practice is very much infused and inspired from some teachings from my teachers, Max Strom, Shiva Ray, also from some of my dance experience, surfing experience. So it's very much about digging down when you need some inspiration and bringing your energy up. A couple of blankets will be good to use towards the end of the practice.

So let's start with our feet nice and wide, and turn the feet parallel, soften your knees, and just begin by rolling your shoulders up and back, and shrug down with your exhale, and then gather your hands to your shoulders and draw the elbows up and back, and let it roll off your back. And then take a full inhale, full wingspan, opening up through the heart. As you exhale, bend your knees and pour down deep into your roots. Inhale to lift the heart halfway. Exhale, melt back into your forward fold.

Bend your knees and roll up and really charge down through the roots as you draw up and shrug the shoulders down and off your back. Gather your hands towards your shoulders, roll the elbows up and back, and then take a full wingspan as you reach up and open. Exhale, bend your knees, come all the way down, rerouting. Inhale, lift your heart, exhale, melt it back down. Let's do it again.

This is a pattern we'll build on. So bend your knees and whatever's there, just shrug it off. Gather down into your resources and open your chest, and then reach forward and up and literally open up through your heart, through your day, to whatever's coming your way. Gather down, lift up through your heart, and this time as you exhale, walk your hands over to the right and come into a deep runner's lunge. Plant your palms, step back to down dog and sweep your right leg to the sky.

Open up to the possibility and then step forward into a runner's lunge. Walk your hands all the way back around to the left. Same thing here. Ground your palms and sweep the left leg back and up. Exhale, step it all the way through runner's lunge and then return back to the center.

Root down, take a moment or two and breathe right here. Inhale, lift your chest, exhale, melt it back down. Inhale, lift your chest, exhale, melt it back down. Once more, inhale, lift your chest and walk your hands forward, coming into a wide leg, downward facing dog, but enjoy three good breaths here. As you breathe and relax, just feel your energy drawing in through the soles of your feet, through your cupped palms, and relax your head and neck.

You can allow your movement to just be functional and to be opening for the physical body, but it's always nice to allow your movement to have meaning and metaphor behind it as well, if you'd like. So as you bend your knees and walk your hands in and roll up, let there be a rolling off, like water off of the duck's back, and come up with a new attitude. Roll the shoulders back and down, gather your hands and draw the elbows up and back, and then really dig down into your resources, down into your strength, gather it up, and then literally bathe in it, let it come all the way back down to your roots. Lift your chest on an inhale, exhale, walk your hands to the right, runner's lunge. Step back into down dog and sweep the right leg up, and this time, open the hip, bend your knee.

Shift your shoulders forward slowly, and then slowly, mindfully, either left knee down or roll to the edge of the left foot and let the ball of the right foot come to the floor. And this time we'll lift and open the chest towards the sky, just open up to the possibilities here. As you exhale, come all the way back around and step your right foot forward, runner's lunge. Great job. Walk your hands around to the left side, runner's lunge.

Plant your palms, step back to down dog, sweep the left leg high, and open up to the possibilities here. Open hip, bend knee, slowly take your shoulders forward, really take your time with this. Feel into your strength, feel into your power here, either set your right knee down or roll to the outer edge of the right foot, and as the ball of your left foot comes to the floor, pick up the left hand, open the chest, and breathe. And then exhale, come all the way back through the center, really exhilarating posture there. Step the left foot forward and come back into your forward fold, right at the center of the mat.

Let's take a couple of breaths here, and if you'd like, you can walk your hands forward once again, coming into that wide leg, downward facing dog. Last breath here. And then start to walk your hands back in, inhale, lift the heart halfway, exhale, release, bend your knees, draw the navel in, slowly roll up with strength. Shrug the shoulders back, gather up into your power, bring it into your heart, let anything else release. Take a full big inhale, open up to the possibility, and exhale, come all the way back down, grounding into the earth.

Walk your hands over to the right, plant your palms, let's move on a little bit, right leg rising on an inhale. Once again, open your hip, bend your knee, let's turn our downward facing dog inside out, that same transition as you shift your shoulders forward, roll to the outer edge of the left foot, ball to the right foot, find support as you lift your chest, reach up through the heart, and then exhale, step it all the way through runner's lunge and set up for warrior two. Come on up to your Virabhadrasana two and arrive like this posture has been waiting for you for 13 days, this posture right here, this warrior two. And then let's add, we've been talking a lot about intention here. Let's really hone in on our intention today, right?

My teacher, Max Drum, always talks about if you aim at nothing, you're sure to hit it. So let's really get clear and you can actually draw a bow and arrow here as you draw your left hand back alongside your shoulder, see your intention right at your fingertips, and then let your energy fly and let's take that a few times, just dry your hand back, feel your energetic bow and arrow, see your intention, let your focus fly right to that point. And once more, draw your hand back, exhale, open it up, reverse your warrior, take a full breath in, and as you exhale, swim it down and walk your hands all the way over to the left side. From your runner's lunge, plant your palms, step back to down dog, lift your left leg and then bend your knee open, slow and steady. Super confident here as you shift forward, you have all the tools you need, you can lower your knee or roll to the outer edge and just find the support of the left foot and lift and open up to the potential, open up to what is, inhale, exhale, come back through runner's lunge and then set up your base for warrior two and arrive, boom, there it is again.

This is the one, this is the warrior two, see your intention, feel it and then gather all this energy that you have inside of you, coil it in, let it fly and feel your intention as part of you, just working through this energetic focusing and release, right? We can do so much with the power of our mind if we simply focus on something, so really maybe it's just getting through this practice and keep moving with your breath once more, draw your bow and arrow, open up to it, reverse your warrior, take a huge breath in and then exhale, swim it through, from here walk your hands to the midline, lift your chest and walk your hands forward into your wide leg, downward dog, couple of breaths here, last breath, walking your hands in, lift the heart halfway, maybe in there with the stance a bit, exhale, release, bend your knees, roll up and then shrug it off, here we are again, gather up some of that power from deep inside, put it into the heart, put it into your limbs, put it into your mind as you reach up and open, exhale, rooting down, from here stay center and let's shift side to side in our Skandhasana and we've been kind of playing around with different versions of Skandhasana in the previous practices, so just depending on your knees and your hips, you can keep the hips and heart on the same plane and keep it high or if it feels good to you, turn the toes out and you can sink down low, right? Just check in with your hips, your knees and we'll move into another focused warrior pattern I learned from my teacher Shiva, so from this Skandhasana with the left knee bent, look towards your right foot, look towards that warrior two gaze but this time as you crawl your hands towards your right foot, set up your base for warrior one and then inhale like you're coming up from underneath the earth towards whatever it is you're aspiring to, whatever it is you're creating and then exhale, sweep it back down, turn the back toes out and either high Malasana or low Malasana and with that same warrior focus, crawl it forward towards the warrior one base, inhale, sneak up on it, grab onto that energy drop back into your base and put it right into your hips and let's take that once more, walk forward, inhale, rise up, exhale, bring it back into your body, back into your mind, your heart and let's add Vinyasa from here, so step back to plank, your choice, right? Stage one, stage two, stage three, cat-cows, zigzag, I'm taking a stage three, open your heart, exhale, fold it back, couple breaths. From here, super simple transition, just step your right foot forward two thirds of the way and turn your feet to point towards the long edge of the mat and let's come back up into a lifted Prasarita Padottanasana, bending into your left knee, let's again shift side to side from one Skandhasana to another and you can keep it high, you can keep the head, the heart, the hips in the same plane like I mentioned on the first side or you can turn the toes out and sink a little deeper, it really just depends on your hips, your knees and the length of your adductors.

So shifting side to side, this is a really great practice for opening the hips and getting back into the power of your roots, so the next time your right knee is bent, let's stay here, high or low Skandhasana, turn your warrior focus towards your left foot, towards that warrior two intention and then stay low as you walk your hands to the left, set up your feet for warrior one, on an inhale rise up through the heart, reach your hands to the sky and grab onto your intention, exhale, pull it back down to your heart, pivot your feet and come back into Skandhasana with the right knee bent and then we'll just repeat that pattern, we'll walk forward to a warrior one base and it's really all about your focus as you rise up from underneath the earth to warrior one, grab into that power of intention, pull it back into your heart, go low into Skandhasana or high into Skandhasana, right knee bent, let's do it again, walk forward, warrior one base, inhale to rise, exhale, pull your hands back down to your heart, walk it back Skandhasana, high or low, once more, forward to a warrior one base, inhale, reach up towards the sky, exhale, walk it all the way back Skandhasana, from here stay low, come back forward to a runner's lunge and step to plank and moving through any vinyasa that you choose, exhale maybe lower halfway, inhale rise cobra or upward dog or cat cow, exhale downward facing dog, couple of breaths here on your next inhale lift up to your toes, bend your knees, look forward and lightly hop your feet to your hands, lift the heart halfway, exhale forward full and let's separate the feet a little bit wider than hips width apart, once again bend your knees and as you roll out really gather your strength from deep below your feet, draw it all the way up and shrug the shoulders back, draw your hands to your shoulders and open up the elbows wide, open up the chest and then take a full reach of your wingspan as you inhale, open up to all the potential that you have inside of you, exhale, pour back into your forward fold, lift your heart halfway, bend your knees, plant your palms, maybe step, maybe hop back and land in Chaturanga, open your chest, inhale, exhale, downward dog, couple of breaths here, again a very simple transition, step your left foot about two thirds of the way forward and turn your feet towards the long edge of your mat, let's lift the heart, lift the head, come all the way up to standing, reach over your head and exhale, hands come to the heart, centering yourself, turn and step towards the front of the mat and set up your feet hips width apart and from here we'll move into this a little bit of a balance flow that we introduced a couple of practices back and so just ground into your feet, ground into your knees a bit and as you shift your weight into your right foot, reach your arms up alongside your ears, extend the left leg forward any height, cross your ankle on top of the right knee and sit back into temple dancer, just let your focus become very quiet and steady, inhale, reach back up, arms overhead, left leg reaches forward, exhale, slowly moving through center, almost moving through a horse stance, if you've ever practiced Tai Chi we call this horse stance, so move through that and then inhale, extend your arms over your head, right leg is forward, exhale, ankle to the knee, sit back, temple dancer, inhale, reach back up, extend your right leg forward, exhale, ground through the center, let's do it one more time, inhale, extend left leg forward, exhale, gather all of your power of focus and intention, clarity right here in this moment, use it to straighten the bottom leg, charge up through your arms and reach your left leg forward, let's add one shape, slowly drift your left leg back coming into warrior three, go ahead and put a little bend in your standing leg, sweep the arms wide, feel the strength in the back body, straighten the standing leg and then slowly come back up to standing, exhale through the center line, both feet grounding, inhale, extend up through the arms, forward through the right leg, exhale, gather your focus, temple dancer, ankle on knee, inhale, standing tall, extend your left leg forward, exhale, drift back with the right leg, wide with your arms, soften the standing leg, warrior three, now feel all the strength in your back body, all that you can carry, all that you can support and straighten the standing leg, become stronger in your back, then stand tall, huge inhale, exhale, hands come through the midline and just take a moment here, eyes can be closed, hands together at the heart and breathe. And notice that your practice can have a very different quality when you give it a very specific internal intention and focus. Place your hands, open your eyes and step your feet together, bend your knees, come into chair pose on an inhale and exhale, take all of that strength of focus, all the power, steadiness and slowly allow it to come down, bend your knees deeply, you can open them up like a diamond and then sit back and find your Navasana. You've explored so many different variations of boat pose, pick one that works for you today and then release and bring the feet to the mat. With your feet touching down and a light touch on your shins or your knees, just inhale to lift your chest, lift your face up towards the sky, exhale gently around and feel the essence of cat cow inside your spine as you inhale, lift your chest and exhale gently around.

It's such a subtle small movement, but it has a really lovely feel of what you're rising to, what you're showing up to and as you exhale and round your back, what you can surrender and soften to, right? They work together as you inhale, lift up through the back body, show up with a full heart and as you exhale and you round and surrender in humbleness. Once more inhale, such a simple movement meditation that Tracy Rich up in Santa Barbara right near here shared with us one retreat. So once more inhale to lift your heart and exhale to melt. Next time you lengthen through the spine, go ahead and shift your hips back to straighten through your legs and we're about to come into shoulder stance.

So this is where the blankets will provide a lot of support for you. If you don't have blankets, it's okay. You can practice this, but it's really nice to give yourself a little bit of lift. So we'll set up our blankets really specifically and you want to fold them so that there's, there's no wrinkles. Sometimes we'll just, Oh, that's fine.

But take the time to flatten them out really nicely because you'll be supporting your shoulder girdle and your neck and head on these blankets. So we want to create a nice situation to rest upon. So once you have your two stacked blankets in the center of the mat, I like to fold the top of the mat over so that I can have traction. Shoulder blades will go here. Head will go here.

If you have any ponytail or bun or anything at the back of your head, take it out because it's going to inhibit your pathway in. So roll down. You may want to watch one time and then come into it so you don't have to turn your head. Head is on the floor. Shoulder blades are on the folded mat on the blankets and about an inch or two of space between the top of the shoulders and the edge of the blanket.

From here, you can take your legs up and over, supporting your hips as you come into plow. Now if you just rolled off the blankets, then that means you need to come back down and scoot your body back towards the bottom end of the mat. If you feel like your shoulder girdles are on the blankets, your head and neck are free, then just scoot your shoulders in underneath you a bit, bring your hands to your low back and let's take one leg to the sky followed by the other leg coming into your shoulder stand. Legs are active here, so reach through the legs. Big toes touch, a little space between the heels and let's get quiet and breathe.

Just looking up at your own toes, try not to turn your head. There's nothing to see other than your feet. If your elbows start slipping wide, you can always adjust your hands a little lower, scoot the elbows in a little bit more. Keep pressing down through your elbows, down through your upper arms to keep the neck free. It's incredibly strengthening, incredibly nourishing posture, so let's enjoy for about five more breaths.

As you're ready, slowly lower your legs back over your head into plow. Take your time, release your hands and then slow and steady, roll down, keep your legs active and your core engaged. Once your tailbone touches down, bend your knees. Because we're on these folded blankets, we'll just make a small adjustment. You can roll off to one side, come up, unfold your mat.

We'll take the blankets and fold them in half, but we'll get rid of one and keep just one blanket folded in half. And then from here, a restorative version of fish pose, you can lie back so that the blanket supports your heart center and just relax, feet apart, head and neck relaxed and enjoy a few breaths here. This is the counter pose for your shoulder stand. If you feel like you could tolerate more support behind the heart, then by all means just come back up, grab that second blanket, stack it on top and then come back down. Once again, you want to make sure your head is supported so your neck's not just dangling, supporting the weight of your head, head on the mat or on a block or another folded blanket.

And let's breathe and relax here for a few moments. Unregulate your nervous system and feel into the effects of this practice. Feel into the effects of your focus on a specific intention. And how all these parts of you start to integrate into this beautiful practice and expression that is yoga. So you're welcome to stay in this shape for your shavasana.

If you prefer a flat on your back, more classic shavasana, just roll over to one side. Come on up. Just enough to slip the blankets out from underneath you. I like to actually put them underneath my knees just to transition the support from my low back and then come on down and get comfy. Separate the arms and the feet wide, close your eyes and feel into the effects here.

Here I work with a very intentional practice like this, which is often, as often as I can. I'm reminded of a really beautiful quote by Mr. Iyengar. I'm not certain I have it 100% accurate, but it goes something to the effect that your body is the bow, your breath is the arrow, and your soul is the target. Body is the bow, breath is the arrow, and soul is the target. All right.

Thank you. Slowly bring your awareness back into your body. Send a little bit of movement through your fingers and your toes. Reach your arms over your head and reawaken. And as you exhale, draw your knees in and roll on over to one side to come up to a comfortable seat.

And as you find your seat of position, bring your hands together into your heart. This Mudra, Anjali Mudra, it means balance, but the word Anjali means offering. My teacher, Max, would always ask us periodically to picture somebody else in your life who you feel would benefit from this practice but doesn't have the opportunity to do so. And offer them up your practice today, so take a moment and do that. And send this gift to them, no strings attached, from your heart to theirs.

Notice how it doesn't diminish your experience at all, it just makes it bigger. Thank you so much for sharing your presence and your practice and your enthusiasm. Fantastic job, thanks for showing up, I'll see you in the next one. Namaste.


Elissa P
5 people like this.
ooooh I love this one! appeals to my inner dancer/martial artist self. delicious.
Shelley Williams
Elissa This one is my personal favorite... it was a totally spontaneous flow the day we filmed it ;). Thanks for the feedback
Tracy S
4 people like this.
Shelley Williams this practice "Warrior" was wildly wonderful and freeing! I loved how at the end of the sequence as we rested in shavasana you quoted from Mr.Iyengar "Body is your Bow, Breath is your arrow, and The Soul is the Target!" Thank you! Peace and Blessings!
Shelley Williams
Tracy Right on! Such a great quote, yes?! So glad you liked this one, its a lil different from the rest (but that's what I love about it ;). Thanks for your enthusiasm!
Gabriel W
2 people like this.
Great practice. Thank you.
Nadia I
2 people like this.
I was amazed that navasana was easy for me! Just in a few classes! So amazed. That's genius building of the sequences)

And I've never enjoyed core work so much. In the 6th day did it twice and added one to yesterday's class! Question about udiyana bangha in the exercise with legs up and down while we lay: do we try to keep it when our legs go down?

Warrior stance question :
If I understood you correctly we position pelvis and chest towards the front of the mat (the shorter edge, where our front knee is looking). Right? But I saw you having them (especially the chest) face the camera aka the longer edge of the mat. I'm confused.

Thank you 💗🙏🏼💜
Shelley Williams
Gabriel You are most welcome :)
Shelley Williams
Nadia Wonderful! Your core is getting stroooong! Engage uddyhana bandha lightly on the exhale, when legs are rising back upward. It is a "hugging" in of the transverse abdomens to stabilize core, rather than a full uddhyana bandha suction that you would perform during straight (seated) pranayama practice.... ~ Warrior Stance: you are talking about Warrior 2, yes? IN that case, hips are very subtley/ slightly angled towards front corner of mat, while ribcage and chest are on the 180 line, facing long edge of mat.
Nadia I
2 people like this.
And in warrior 1?
Christel B
2 people like this.
Loved the balancing flow. :>)
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