Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 17

Day 14: Spacious Hips

30 min - Practice


We are almost halfway there! In Day 14, we move through a slow and spacious flow that goes deep into the core and hips, and leads us to an expansive Ustrasana (Camel Pose).
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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Greetings tribe. Welcome back. It's day 14. Congratulations. We are right in the kind of the middle peak of this challenge together. So this is a great time to really drop into a good rhythm of consistency and building strength. And I'm stoked you're still here with me. So let's begin on our back today. Draw your knees into your chest and we'll open up with some really nice hip openers that'll feel healing to your low back and your hips. So draw your knees to your chest and just rock a little bit from side to side across your lower back. You can close your eyes for a moment or two and center yourself inside your breath, inside of your body and into your practice. Let's cross our right ankle on top of the left knee. Coming right into thread the needle, you can lace your fingers behind the left hamstring and pull this whole shape gently into the body. Really keep both feet flexed and press your right elbow against the inner right knee. And this will help keep your shoulder out of your ear and also help to open the right hip. So let's enjoy a couple of deep breaths here. And with each exhale, just gently draw in a little bit just to slightly deepen the opening you feel, the sensation you feel in your right hip. Let's do that one more time. Inhaling. And exhale, draw in a little deeper, noticing what's going on in your hip and your lower back today. And then simply change sides. Cross the left ankle on top of the right, lace your fingers behind your right hamstring and draw that whole shape in as you press your knee open with your left elbow. Keeping both feet flexed, let's enjoy a couple of breaths here. And you're welcome to drop into your Ujjayi breathing, breathing in and out of the nose. Sometimes also referred to as ocean breathing, making the sound of the ocean. And then slowly release and come into a happy baby pose here. You can take your peace fingers, grab onto the big toes and draw your knees down just outside your ribs. Draw the shoulders down and let's rock it a little bit, side to side, just like a happy baby would. And of course, when you see little babies like this, sometimes they straighten one leg and then the other and do all kinds of fun, crazy things. So you're welcome to just explore the range of movement through the hamstrings or keep it really steady. Just feeling and seeing how the hamstrings, the adductors and the hips are feeling today. From here, let's draw the knees together and actually stack the right knee on top of the left. We'll take one more hip opener here before we come up. And you can curl up and bring your hands to the outer edges of your feet or your ankles. Lift the feet a little higher than your shoulders. And as you relax your head and neck down, draw your feet towards your shoulders. And this is a supine, relaxed version of a seated pose that we call Gomukhasana. Gomukhasana. And it almost feels like you're in a little bit of a knot with your legs. Just draw the knees in, take a deep breath in here. Exhale, draw your feet gently towards your shoulders. And when you release, release slowly. Try not to slingshot your legs and simply change sides. Left knee over the right, curl up, lift your feet. If you grab on low, there's really not much sensation. Lift your feet higher than your shoulders. Hold on to whatever you can grab, ankles or outer edges of the feet. And as you relax your head down, just draw your feet towards your shoulders. And this is one of my favorite hip openers to practice on my back. It's got a little bit of a different sensation and different quality in the outer hips. So let's enjoy a couple of breaths here. One more breath. And then slowly release and draw your knees in. Let's rock and roll along the length of the spine a couple of times, forward and back. You can let your feet toss over your head, let your head kind of drop between your knees as you come on up and make your spine as round as you can. From here, flip on over to your hands and knees. Take a couple rounds of Cat-Cow just to feel into the spine. Inhale to arch your back and exhale around your spine. Twice more like that, spreading open through the heart as you inhale. Exhale, rounding through the back body. And once more, inhale to arch. And exhale to round through your spine. Coming back to neutral. Go ahead and curl your toes under and lift the hips up and back into our first downward facing dog of this practice.

You can bicycle pedal through your feet and knees, spreading through the toes, stretching up and over the metatarsals and just stretching into your skin and bones today and into your breath. Noticing what kind of energy you're showing up to your practice with today. Is it high? Is it low? Is it somewhere in the middle? And we can always use our practice as a medicine, as a tool to balance our energy. So nice, deep, full breaths here. Holding this first down dog for a moment or two just to ground down, root down and really arrive. From here, let's inhale to the toes. Bend your knees, look forward and let's walk the feet all the way up to the top of the mat, coming into a forward fold. As you inhale, lift the heart halfway. As you exhale, release into your forward fold. You're welcome to bend your knees and let's heel toe the feet as wide as the mat. You can even turn the toes off the edges of the mat. Bend your knees and come all the way down into malasana, yogic squat. So we press our elbows against the inner knees and lift through the chest as you inhale. Exhale, relax and soften through the spine and back of the neck. We feel a little active cat cow inside of malasana. Inhale, lift through the chest. Exhale, melt through your spine and notice as you move back and forth between these two shapes how it feels and affects your hips as you lift and as you melt. Once more, inhale, lift up, press into the inner knees, lift through the heart and then exhale, melt and round. Let's turn the feet a little more parallel and roll down onto your back. So you might need to reach one or two hands back or just roll on down. It depends on your knees. But come all the way back down onto your back and draw the right knee in. And we'll just kind of fill a little bit of core work into our namaskaras, into our sun salutes today. So just alternate, pulling one knee in, followed by the other and we can turn this into a little yogic bicycle. And so we're pretty familiar now with sun salutation A and sometimes we start to take creative liberties with it in variations and today's no exception. We'll just add this rhythm into our surinamaskar A. So from here, draw your knees in, roll up and you can come up into your chair pose on an inhale and exhale to stand tall. And let's go right into our first sun salute. Circle the arms out and up, full breath in, exhale, forward fold, bend your knees as you need to. Inhale, lift the heart halfway, fingers on the floor or up the shins and then exhale, step back to plank and let's take a stage one vinyasa first. So shift forward, lower the knees, followed by chest and hips at the same time. Inhale to your cobra, lift through the heart and then exhale, release back to downward facing dog. Keeping it moving, one breath, one movement, inhale to your toes, bend the knees. Now listen carefully, we'll step or hop the feet wide around the hands, coming into that malasana shape. Inhale, lift your chest, exhale round, turn the feet parallel, sit back and roll down. That was that was a bit of a drop. And then just alternate through the knees, maybe elbow to knee for about seven cycles. And this can be a slow or a brisk rhythm, totally up to you. But let it be part of the rhythmic, repetitive flow of your namaskars. Draw the knees in, let's rock on up, press off the mat, come right into chair pose and then stand tall and that was one round. Circle out and out, full breath in. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, lift the heart halfway. Exhale, step back to plank, shift the shoulders forward.

Let's take a stage two vinyasa. So keep the legs straight as you lower all the way through chaturanga to the belly. Inhale to cobra. Exhale, move the hands back an inch. Inhale, upward facing dog. Exhale, downward dog. Inhale through your toes, bend the knees, look forward as light as you can, hop the feet wide around the hands and come down into your squat. And if it doesn't feel good on your knees to come this deep, you can take the feet wide and just keep your malasana a little higher. Inhale to lift the chest and exhale to relax through the back of the neck. Again, from here to come down, you're welcome to just tuck and sit. It always depends on your knees and your body. And then we go right into our core work. Seven rounds. Maybe the elbows to the opposite knee, flexing or pointing through the feet but feel active energy reaching all the way through your legs to your toes. And then let's come back up through chair pose. And those of us with a little bit cranky knees, we can push off to the side and then come right into your chair pose. Go ahead and inhale to reach. Exhale hands to the heart. Let's take one more round together. Circle out and up, full breath in. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, lift your heart halfway. Exhale, step back to plank. Let's take a stage three vinyasa. Shift forward, lower halfway. Come right to upward facing dog as you inhale and exhale, fold it back. Downward facing dog. Inhale to your toes. In the knees, hop forward, feet wide, low or high melasana. As you inhale, lift through the chest. Exhale, relax and melt through the spine. Turn the feet parallel, come down or tuck and roll. And then one knee comes in. And there's a little trust fall there.

You've got a trust in your core and in the flexion of the knees or step on down however it feels good to you. Elbow crosses over to the opposite knee. Feel into your feet and your toes. Breathing really fluidly here. Let's take a few extra rounds since this is our last namaskar cycle. Smiling at the strength you feel in the center of your body. And then come on up. Press into your chair, pose on an inhale. Exhale, stand tall. So let's move on into a couple of standing sequences, but let's use our blocks today just to leave a little more spaciousness for our hips. So you can take your blocks to the top of the mat and set them up shoulder distance apart on low or middle height. Totally up to you. And then just stay in your forward fold here. Relax your head and neck and melt down. On an inhale, lift your heart. Come all the way up high onto the fingertips. As you exhale, plant the palms, heels to the hands at the back edge of the blocks and step directly back to downward facing dog. From here, really ground yourself into your hands and also the left foot. So sometimes I like to move the left foot to the midline and then inhale right leg to the sky. We've been working a lot with drawing the knee in and out from downward dog and let's circulate our knee. So as you shift forward, bend your right knee and just circulate it from the left elbow around to the right elbow and then reach it back and up. And just take that twice more just to really feel into the smooth movement of the right hip, right? We don't have to be mechanical there. We can connect the dots fluidly once more. Knee from left to right and then reach it back and up. Full breath in. Exhale, step it all the way through between the blocks. Keep your hands on the blocks, but set up your base for warrior two. And we'll move the right block really close to the outer edge of our right foot. Keep the lunge deep. And then from here, simply pick up the left hand and turn your chest open, reaching up your gaze to your top hand. So feeling into side angle pose, but with your bottom hand on the block, eventually we'll put it on the floor, but let's keep it a little bit lifted today. And notice if the back hip kind of scooted out behind you, just keep it tucked into the midline and really reach long through your chest. Full breath in here. Stay for the exhale. And then without changing the relationship of your legs or the angle of the front thigh, just start to come up into warrior two lifting up from the power in your legs until your shoulders are stacked right above your hips. And gaze is steady right on the middle finger of your front hand. See your intention not as something that's far from you, but hold it in your hand. You can turn your palm to face up and then just reverse your warrior reaching up and back. You might even slip your left arm behind you in a bit of a half wrap here to open up the bottom shoulder and just feel into this shape. Like it's the first time you've ever experienced it before. Full breath in. Stay for the exhale. Maybe sink a little deeper. One more breath. As you exhale, let's swim back through those same shapes. So feel warrior two, feel side angle pose, and then come all the way back down. This time spin on the ball of the back foot. So really making our transitions consciously today. Slowly take your right hand to the sky, feeling into a twist and stay for the exhale. Pull the right hip back, reach forward through your crown. Just really taking our time today. Full breath in. Exhale, release your hands to the blocks and let's step back to plank. And then we always have the choice for a vinyasa. How about a cow vinyasa today? Lower the knees, arch the back as you inhale, round and coil. Inhale, arch and tuck the toes. Exhale, back to your downward facing dog. Grounding your right foot towards the midline, let's sweep the left leg to the sky as you inhale. Really feel that pathway. And then exhale, knee to navel and circulate it from right to left elbow. And then reach it back in it. Take that twice more, smooth and steady. See if you can take the hard edges out of your movement and practice and flow like you're moving through water. Left knee circulates from right to left elbow. Reach it back and up, full breath in. Exhale, this time step it all the way through. Warrior two base. Keep your hands on the blocks. Let's bring that left block a little closer to our front foot and then just pick up the right hand and open your chest into side angle pose. Top arm is a plumb line to the bottom arm. And feel the lunge deepening of the front leg as you turn your rib cage, turn your heart towards the sky here. Feel those beautiful lines of energy from the outer edge of the back foot all the way up through your crown. Full breath in. As you exhale, ground into the legs a bit more and just slowly pick up the torso until your shoulders are stacked right above the hips. Gaze is steady on the left hand. Let's scoop up our intention, whatever it is today. It could be the same one as yesterday.

It could be totally new. And then just bathe in it. Reach up and back to your reverse warrior. Right arm might slip behind you in a half wrap. Nice little bit of internal rotation on that back shoulder. And enjoy this shape. Breathe into it. How does it feel different today than the last couple days? How does your relationship with your breath feel different? What's your state of energy today? Just noticing. Now slowly come back through those shapes. Come back through your warrior two on an inhale. Back through side angle pose as you exhale. And then both hands come all the way to the block. Spin on the ball of the back foot and square off. Take the left hand to the sky. Simple twist. And stay for the exhale. Just let your body acclimate to each of these shapes today. Just kind of feeling in, oh, what's the temperature of the water? What's the quality of it? How does it feel? Enjoy it. So wonderful to move briskly through our flow, but it's also so wonderful to move slowly. One more breath. And then exhale. Bring that hand back to the blocks. Step back to plank. And your choice for your vinyasa. Maybe it's a zigzag coming into child's pose. Cat cow, stage one, two, or three. Maybe it's no vinyasa going straight back to downward dog and hang out here for a breath or two. Let's inhale to the toes. As you exhale, bend the knees and just step forward to your blocks. Lift your chest halfway. Exhale, forward fold. Come all the way up to standing. Take a deep breath in. Exhale, hands come to your heart. You can stay facing exactly where you are. I'm going to turn just for a moment to show you our arms for this next shape. So we start to work our way into a reverse namaste preparation and you're welcome to bring your fists together or grab onto your forearms, even to link your fingers like a bicycle chain. Eventually we can work into coming into this reverse prayer and that might be possible today or maybe not, but we can keep it simple and allow ourselves some time to get there and just bring the knuckles together and then step your left foot about two or three feet back, setting up for pyramid pose with your hands in this position and then inhale to lift your heart, lean up and back into the waterfall. Keep the length in your spine as you hinge at the hips and exhale forward, maybe halfway until the spine's parallel to the floor. You might stay here or you might melt a little bit further down, but just be conscious that the spine doesn't round and the shoulders buckle in.

Keep the shoulders open, the chest open and the upper back slightly active as you breathe into this shape. Head is below the heart, so empty out any unnecessary thoughts or agendas or stuff that's going on that you can deal with at another time. Really keep this time sacred for your practice and just breathe and be present. Feel into your body, feel into this shape. Last breath here. And then leading with your head, leading with your heart come all the way up to standing, all the way through that mini back vent and exhale. Release your hands, step to the front of the mat and reach to the sky. Big inhale, exhale hands come back to the heart and behind your back once again. Step the right foot back about two to three feet, square the hips off and inhale, lean up and back. Exhale, hinge at the hips, keep your spine active as you fold either halfway or a little deeper, but feeling cobra in the upper back, shoulders pulling away from the earth, head and neck relaxed. Two super deep breaths. One more breath. And then lifting through the head, the heart, come all the way up to standing, all the way through that back vent and exhale, step to the top of the mat, reach to the sky on your inhale. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, lift your heart halfway. Exhale, just step the feet back to the middle of the mat and come down lightly to your knees. We'll set one block to the side and then place the other block right between your heels. It can be low, medium or tall. You can always stack blocks too. And just so you can have a comfortable seat here for a moment and feel the feet, the width of your hips, the width of the block and knees and thighs pointing straight ahead. From here we'll move up and down into a really beautiful front body opening back bend that we call Camel Pose, Ustrasana. And we want to take this a couple of times. This one tends to be, it can be an elusive posture because it asks for a lot of opening through the quads. So just go gently with yourself and see where you end up. The tailbone draws down, front of the hips lift. Let's take our hands to the low back and inhale to lift through the heart. So heart reaching up as the tailbone roots down. And keep pressing the pelvis forward enough that it stays right above the knees. And you're welcome to let your head relax back if that bothers your neck and just keep the gaze forward. But keep lifting the heart and rooting the tailbone down. Let's enjoy one more breath here. And as you exhale, simply sit back on your blocks, turn the palms face up in your lap and close your eyes for a moment. Enjoy a couple of breaths here and just feel the effects of that pose on your body. Let's come on up and do it again. So inhale to rise. This time tuck your toes under so the heels lift a little bit. Take your hands to your hips and root the tailbone down and lift up through the heart. So really feel lightness through the upper body. You're welcome to stay here with your hands on your hips if you'd like to reach back and find your heels.

Sometimes for many of us that means leaning back and hinging back. If you do that, just press your hips forward above the knees as best you can and then drop your head back into the water. Follow your breath. So enjoy two deep breaths here. And to come out of it, bring one hand to the heart followed by the other and inhale. Exhale, tops of the feet flat. Have a seat on the block, backs of the hands on your thighs. Let's close the eyes and just take a moment here and receive. So let's come on out of this and have a seat flat on the mat and counter pose with a really nice grounding forward fold. You can extend your legs in front of you and flex your feet. Reach your arms to the sky as you inhale. And exhale, bow in and over your legs. And you can grab onto your ankles, your feet, your toes, a strap around your feet if you like. Whatever works for you. And just draw yourself down and in. As you hang out here in your forward fold, it's a great place to just revisit your breath, your state of mind, your intention. And to go deep into that calming peaceful state that's inside of all of us. We just have to make a little space for it. Two more breaths here. And slowly start to roll up out of the posture, stacking each vertebra over the hips. And as your shoulders and heart arrive, take a deep breath in. Exhale completely. Sometimes the best part of a pose is coming out of it. Except for Shavasana. Definitely the best part is going into it. So, and being in it. So let's roll down into our Shavasana. If there's anything else that you feel like your body needs, maybe it's another twist or anything else, feel free to take care of that. And we can always meet up in our Shavasana. Make yourself comfortable. Spread the feet wide, open up your palms and close your eyes. And let your Shavasana be super simple. That calm, peaceful place inside. Drama free. And perhaps today visualize what that looks like. That calm, peaceful place.

I always like to visualize a garden in my heart. And perhaps for you it's a beach or a mountaintop or whatever that peaceful place is inside. See yourself resting there. Feel yourself resting there at ease. And give yourself absolute permission to enjoy resting in this peaceful place. See from here, just send a little bit of movement to your fingers and your toes. As you inhale, reach your arms over your head and reawaken. Exhale, gently draw the knees into the chest. Roll on over to one side and come on up to a comfortable seated position. Bring your hands together at your heart. Bringing that calm, peaceful place inside, right up into the present, into your day to day. Thank you so much for sharing your presence, your energy, your practice and enthusiasm with me. I'll see you tomorrow or in the next practice. Namaste.


Peter M
3 people like this.
Feel great up for the challenge feel very energised today a nice transition to the hips so thanks
Beth S
3 people like this.
This practice was perfect - so helpful to loosening up my hips and strengthening my core!
Shelley Williams
Peter Fantastic! So good to hear your energy is building, and hips feeling good. Thank you for the feedback. Happy Monday!
Shelley Williams
Beth Thanks for the feedback. I love combining hip opening and core work to also open up the lower back... Have a great day!
Glenford N
2 people like this.
Beautiful slow practice with focus on the breath.... I am first , last, outer, inner only that breath breathing human being . Thanks Shelley. Namaste
Nancy W
2 people like this.
Hi Shelley, Thanks for the encouragement. I convinced my husband to join me and he is also loving the challenge. I have been working hard with my intention—my lower back is very tight right now—but this is really helping every day. Thanks. Looking forward to the rest of the challenge.
Shelley Williams
Glenford The breath that is breathing us all.... :). Namaste~
Shelley Williams
Nancy Glad you brought your hubby into the fold, how wonderful for you both to do this together... the daily practice will definitely help with tightness in low back, and just go at your own pace... perhaps spend a little extra time stretching your quads and hip flexors to help release the low back. Foam rolling will help, too!
Line M
This was probably one of my favorite so far in the challenge. I have never been able to go this deep in camel pose before (yeah!). I guess starting to feel the results of the commitment to be on the mat everyday.
We are a group of 5 women in our community doing this challenge in January together - committing to ourselves and each other
Lina S
Very nice practice. I've enjoyed the way the core work was intertwined with the other poses. I find it difficult to do Down Dog with the blocks. I feel shaky. I don't know if it's a matter of placement or height of the blocks. Do you have any advice? Thank you!
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