Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 22

Day 19: Show Up

30 min - Practice


Show up for you and meet yourself where you are. In Day 19, we move through a rhythmic grounding sequence to open the side body and shoulders, building toward Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand). You will feel fresh, awake, and ready for your day.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket (2), Strap, Block (2)

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Greetings, tribe. This is our Mudra of the Day. Namaste. It is day 19 and I'm super proud of you. And this practice is going to be a little bit activating and kind of a brisker flow in the beginning so that we can get grounded and drop down to mama earth and really spend a little time there towards the middle to end of our practice.

So let's enjoy. Come into child's pose to start. And you can take the knees wide as you reach your arms forward, ground on down through the forehead and take a very deep breath in through the back body. Exhale through the mouth and just continue some long, slow breaths here. But let's slip our right arm underneath the left shoulder and anchor down into the outer right shoulder of the forehead.

Just let the weight of the shoulder girdle drop you in. We'll include some nice shoulder openers throughout this practice and this is our first one. So the more you can melt into the outer shoulder, the better. And then go ahead and just change sides. Slip your right arm forward, staying in child's pose, thread the left arm under the right and sink down.

Breathing into the space between the shoulder blades, the back entrance to your heart. Take a nice breath or two there and listening for your ujjayi. One more breath and then go ahead and shift to your hands and knees. Curl your toes under and press back to downward facing dog and bicycle pedal through the feet and knees. I mentioned this right in the opening but do have a couple of blankets, blocks and a strap handy because we'll be having opportunities to use them in this practice.

So let's continue bicycle pedaling through the feet and knees and walk all the way up to a forward fold at the top of the mat. Set up your feet hips width apart. Pull your strap on over if your shoulders need a little space for shoulder opening and just keep it handy. And then take a moment here as you inhale, lift your heart halfway, sliding up the shins or fingers on the mat and then exhale to your forward fold. And do that again.

Inhale, lift the heart, unround your spine to a nice flat back as you inhale. Exhale, pour back into your forward fold. This time when you come up, inhale halfway, take your strap with you and come through that halfway position to rise all the way up to standing, palms touch and then exhale hands to your heart. We're moving into our sun salutations with a little variation to open the shoulders and we'll learn how to use our strap elegantly as we move through this flow. So feet together, hands together at the heart.

Inhale circle the arms out and up, touch your palms. As you exhale, stay tall, but just release your hands behind your back and take hold of the strap. And I usually like to open it up to shoulder width apart. And as you inhale, lift your chest, charge the knuckles down towards the earth. As you exhale forward fold, hinge at the hips and allow your shoulders to reach up towards the ceiling, crown of the head down.

And then when you come up for your halfway position, quietly release the strap down and then exhale, step back to plank, super simple. Shift your shoulders forward. We can take any vinyasa here, stage one, two or three, cat, cow, whatever you like, but lower down either to chaturanga or through chaturanga. I'm going to take upward facing dog, exhale to downward dog and hang out for a breath or two. So as we move through our patterns today, let's leave the vinyasa options open to you as they always are, but rather than calling them all out, just choose the one that works for you or skip it if your shoulders or wrists are tired.

Let's inhale to the toes, bend the knees, step or lightly hop to the top of the mat. Release the heart halfway on your inhale, exhale, melt down, grab your strap, inhale, come all the way up to standing and touch your palms, exhale, hands to your heart. That was one round. So let's do a few more. Inhale, circle out and up.

Stay tall as you exhale, release your hands behind your back, take your strap, you can also lace your fingers and then charge up through the heart, down through the knuckles as you inhale, exhale, forward fold with a shoulder release. Empty the lungs out completely and then when you're ready to inhale, quietly set the strap down, lift the heart halfway, exhale, step back to plank and continue through your vinyasa of choice. Going to your back bend and exhaling to downward dog, two deep breaths. Head is below the heart, empty out the mind, listening to your breath, listening for any special intention, dedication and then rise up to your toes on your next inhale, bend the knees, step or float. Half of the mat, lift the heart halfway as you breathe in, exhale, forward fold, take your strap, come on up again as you inhale, exhale, hands to your heart.

One more round, circle out and up, full breath in, exhale, slightly bend the knees as you reach the hands behind your back, take your strap and then charge down through the legs and knuckles, up through the heart, big inhale, exhale, forward fold and release your shoulders. As you inhale to come up halfway, set your strap down quietly and then exhale, step back to plank and through your vinyasa, you can always just go straight to down dog if you like, opening the heart, exhale, folding it back and breathe. Notice the quality, the texture of your breath and the resonance of your breath, can you make it sound like the ocean? So let's inhale to our toes and as you exhale, gently lower the knees and we'll pause here for a moment, we can set the strap to one side and bring your blocks over, set them up about maybe shoulder distance apart, maybe a little wider and we'll use them as options for our next couple of standing sequences. So press back to downward facing dog and step your feet close together and on your next inhale, slowly lift the right leg to the sky, as you exhale, draw the knee towards your left elbow, circle it past the midline to your right elbow and then reach it back and up, feels really good on the core, then step all the way through the center line and come to a low lunge, back knee lowers down.

Slide the blocks back and just press the fingertips into the blocks to lift your heart, so even though we're grounded down, we have this sense of rising up from the earth and let's inhale to reach your arms up to the sky. As you exhale, pour your right hand down either to your block or the floor and side bend towards the right side of your mat and just feel into the line of energy from the left knee all the way up the hip flexor, through the side waist, left side of the heart, all the way to your fingertips. Deep inhale here, as you exhale, circle forward and down and then shift back for a half split Ardha Hanuman. You can shift your front heel forward, set up your blocks where it works for you and melt down. Hang out here, really nice little intimate moment with your own hamstring.

One more breath and then we'll make our way back to a balancing cat. So as you inhale, thread your right leg straight back, right hand comes to the mat, left arm reaches forward and feel the line of energy from your right heel all the way up through the left hand. Get long and strong through the front and the back court. Deep inhale here, exhale both hands to the mat around your spine, inhale to arch, exhale round, inhale to arch, curl the toes under and then exhale back to downward facing dog. You're welcome to have your hands on the mat or your blocks.

Step the feet together and let's inhale the left leg to the sky. As you exhale, draw the knee towards the right elbow, circle it past the midline to the left elbow and then back and up, big inhale, exhale step all the way through low lunge. You can bring your blocks back to lift up through the low lunge, inhale, reach your arms to the sky and as you exhale, side bend to your left, the left hand can come down to a block or the floor, pour the right side of the body up and over and breathe here. Take one more breath, get a little more length, exhale circle your top arm forward and down. Let's shift back to Ardha Hanumanasana.

You can square off the hips and the shoulders, set your blocks where they feel good to you and then melt down. Bring off the hips slightly, you'll kind of intensify the sensation in your left hamstring and hip but just do so mildly, do so in a way that feels good to you. The right hip forward, the left hip slightly back and then as you exhale, go ahead and reach your left leg straight back. Left hand comes to the mat, right arm forward, feel into your balancing calf. Get nice and long as you pull the navel center in and then exhale, hands to the mat, around the spine, inhale to arch, exhale to round and maybe hover, inhale to arch and curl the toes and exhale, step back to downward facing dog.

Step the feet close together, we'll take that standing sequence once more with just a little bit of a different option, so right leg rises as you inhale. Exhale knee circles from left to right elbow, reach it back and up on the inhale. This time as you exhale, step all the way through to a high lunge and you can bring the blocks taller as you lift up through the chest. Slowly reach your arms to the sky, high crescent pose as you inhale and then exhale, side bend to your right and you can place your right hand on your hip here if you like or on the front thigh and lengthen through the left side of the body. Full breath and we're just here for a moment, exhale circle forward and down, hands come to the blocks and let's shorten the stance for pyramid pose.

So both legs straight, front foot straight ahead, back foot is slightly turned up and as you melt over the front leg just pull the right hip back, left hip forward and hands can be on the blocks or the mat, whatever works for you. We've got one more breath here, exhale completely and then to come out of this just lift up through the heart, put a little bend in your front knee and instead of taking balance and cat on your hands and knees, let's lift up through warrior three, so charge up your legs, reach your arms wide and lift your back leg, alternate right arm forward, left arm back and just swim it back and forth a few times, feeling into this balancing cat a little higher up in the form of warrior three. On your next exhale step back to downward facing dog, super simple and let's go right to the second side, stream the left leg to the sky as you inhale, exhale circle your knee from right elbow through to left elbow and reach it back and up, exhale step it all the way through, high lunge, bring the blocks back, inhale to crescent pose, exhale side bend to your left, your hand can come to your hip, your thigh you can even bring the block back but lengthen up out of your right side waist, full body breath in, exhale reach forward and down, shorten the stance for pyramid pose, left hip pulls back, right hip forward and exhale melt over the long leg, deep flowing breath in through the back of the heart, exhale empty out through the crown of the head, let's lift up halfway, put a little bend in your front knee, come on to the ball of the back foot, just really feeling into these transitions as you lift your wings, feel how your back body can lift everything up to warrior three and then just oscillate, left arm forward, right arm back and alternate, kind of swimming through the space here, feel the actions of balancing cats super activating for the back body, super strengthening for the legs and when you're ready step back into your downward dog, set the blocks forward and exhale, so from here inhale the right leg to the sky, let's exhale take one more circulation of knee to opposite elbow to the right elbow, reach it back and up and then as you come through that circulation again land halfway through in your what we're in pigeon, yes fantastic, so try to take your right knee as far over to the right edge of the mat as you can and square off your hips, sometimes we kind of end up sort of on one side but try to stay on top of the hips here, both hip points pointing forward and if there's a space between your right hip and the floor go ahead and give yourself a block to support your hip and then you can come down to the other block if you'd like on your forearms or all the way down onto the floor, whatever feels supportive to you, but get nice and relaxed here, let your shoulders sink up towards the sky, let your head melt down, gentle stretch on the back of the neck, if you want to go a little deeper you can set that block to one side or forward and sometimes I like to add that little subtle twist that we experienced in child's pose at the beginning of this practice, you can come into it in pigeon, so left arm will reach under the right shoulder and then it's just a gentle release, you can turn your head to the right and put your ear to the path literally. Let's enjoy a couple breaths here. One more breath and then slowly make your way up out of pigeon and let's take the second side, so when you come out of it pass through your downward facing dog just to take the right leg up and open up through the back of the knee and then set it down and let's enjoy side two, left leg to the sky on your inhale, exhale, circulate your knee from right to left elbow, reach it back and up, exhale, do that same circulation again but as you open up melt the outer shin bone down, left knee to the edge of the mat and start to slide your right thigh and knee back and again if there's a space between your hip and the floor give yourself a little support, a blanket, a block, a folded towel and sink down and then you can come down forearms on your blocks, I'm going to just set these to one side and save them for another day and sink down to whatever degree feels good to you here. Let your head relax, let the back of the neck open, back of the throat, breathe and the pigeon doesn't feel good on your knees, you can always flip over onto your back and come into threaded needle, the ankle on top of the opposite knee. If you enjoyed that twist we can take it on the second side here as well so it will be the right arm that slips underneath the left and then just drop down, relax, perhaps close your eyes and breathe into the spaces and the places where you feel sensation and see if you can increase the depth of the posture by surrendering, by letting go, emptying out. And one more breath here. And then slowly come on up out of the shape, plant your palms, curl the back toes under and let's reach the left leg back and up, give it a little bit of air just to open up through the back of the knee and then bring it down and come down to your knees and we'll come onto our backs for a really nice restorative shoulder opener and so you might want to just take a peek at the screen for a moment, once you roll down onto your back you'll turn onto your left side and just thread the right hand to the nape of the neck like you're trying to scratch between your shoulder blades and just slide your upper arm, your elbow behind you as much as you can and then as you roll back onto your back you rest on your shoulder and upper arm and the weight of your head is a really beautiful shoulder opener here and feet are hips distance apart, it's just a relaxed resting bridge with a shoulder opener and you notice left hand can rest on your rib cage and notice if you're arching your back too much to compensate for a tight shoulder and just twist your hand as you exhale, encourage the front ribs to collect in and down so that we get this nice opening on the underside of the shoulder and breathe here and this is a really simple kind of yin restorative-ish posture that you can work with for several long minutes to help shoulder opening, we'll just be here for one more breath today, just a visit and then to come out of it roll back towards your left side, release your right arm and open it out to the side, ah, your new right shoulder and let's do the same thing on the other side so you'll tilt towards your right, sneak the left hand to the nape of the neck, you can grab the tip of the elbow and encourage your hand a little further down between your shoulder blades and then roll back and see if you can kind of pin your own hand down with your upper back and let your head rest on your arm, right hand will come to the front rib cage and as you inhale, breathe into your heart, as you exhale encourage the front ribs and heart to just melt down into the back body and notice how that increases the sensation on the underside of your left shoulder and you can close your eyes here if you like, just take one or two more breaths, notice if you're holding tension in your neck or your jaw and relax and then to come out of it just tip back over towards your right side, release your hand and then open up your left arm wide and let's fold all the way over to the left side fetal position, press yourself back up onto your knees and we'll set up for shoulder stand which is one of my favorite shoulder openers so your two blankets are gonna come into play here and we'll set up this little rectangular support system at the kind of middle towards top third of your mat and you want to open up your blanket so they don't have any wrinkles and the curved edge goes towards the head side of the mat and then fold your mat over so you get a little traction for your shoulders, shoulder blades here, head will go here, let's come onto our back and just check in with your fingertips, make sure that the fold of the mat and blankets is about an inch or two above where the top of your shoulders are, keep your eyes looking straight up at your ceiling or your own legs, if you turn your head when you come up into shoulder stand it's not good for your neck so keep looking straight up and just bring your legs straight up towards the sky, you can use your hands to help you fold up and over into your plow pose and if you just rolled right off your setup there just come down and scoot yourself down but let's start to scoot the elbows in underneath us, bring your hands to your low back and again feel that your shoulder blades and your upper arms are on your blankets on your mat, your neck is draping over the fold and your head is on the floor, then reach your legs straight up to the sky, it might be one leg at a time, it might be both and feel your shoulder stand like this beautiful candle reaching up to the sky, energize through your legs from the core and make sure that there's no weight on the neck, the weight is on the upper arms and the shoulders and the back of the head is really just like a gentle kickstand just resting on the earth, eyes are steady on one point or eyes closed and let's take five deep breaths and try not to fidget around a whole lot but just hold steady in this shape, listen to the breaths, see if you can refresh the posture and become a little taller, maybe walk the hands further down towards the shoulder blades and if you find this pose challenging just know that you are not alone, this is probably one of the most challenging postures for me in my personal practice.

Last two breaths and then slowly slide your hands back towards the hips, lower your legs over your head back into plow and release your arms and then keeping your legs active slowly roll down one vertebrae at a time, use your core to slow it down and once your hips come down bend your knees, just roll off to one side and we'll take out the setup before we go into our finishing. Take our blanket and just fold the whole setup in half to create a little bolster, move it down so it supports the back of the knees, okay and so let's go ahead and come on to our backs and set yourself up so that once you lay down your blankets will catch the support of the back of the knees and as you roll down you can give a little like shock a wave goodbye since this is the mudra of the day and it is the mudra of aloha and love and an easy going spirit so as your body finds the floor and as your eyes close you can drift into shavasana with a little spirit of aloha today. Let your breath return to a naturally easy going rhythm and as you breathe just feel the sunshine in your heart and the breeze of the breath, open vista in your mind. Let's go.


Gabriel W
1 person likes this.
Yay shoulders!
Shelley Williams
Gabriel yes, they are my kryptonite as well... always gotta work on them. Hope you found some good release :)
Andrew S
3 people like this.
"Whhaaat, we're in pigeon" lol I didn't even see it coming
Ruth E
3 people like this.
Have a great day! I already started to have one beautiful day with this practice. You are a gr eww at teacher. Thank you so much. Im learning a lot ,
Nadia I
3 people like this.
Thank you for the aloha spirit, Shelley. Much needed reminder today.

Was it a big mistake to do the last asana 9n my 1st day of period. I heard some teachers advise against. Can it really damage something?

And I've been meaning to ask: chair pose, do we do it with feet together or apart?
Nadia I
3 people like this.
I'd also like to express my great gratitude to Yogaanytime for the free 15 (!) days trial. I wouldn't probably have tried it otherwise. And now I see that this teacher and way of practice is dream come true! So please, do some more challenges with Shelley Williams

And I'm so happy my friends are trying it too! And they send great feedback to me. Although for some still not so accessible because of the language. But also a nice motivation and way to learn it more)
Shelley Williams
Andrew stealth pigeon! 🤣
Shelley Williams
Ruth and you are a great student! Thanks for the nice note, Aloha!
Shelley Williams
Nadia aloha!! There are a lot of opinions regarding practing during moon cycle. Always best to go with your own intuition first based on how you feel before, during, after asana~ usually good to avoid inversions during first 3 days of moon cycle (or don’t stay in them for a long hold) . You will be fine 🙏
Shelley Williams
Nadia and thank you for your kind gratitude and sharing this challenge with your friends! We appreciate it so much!!! 💜💜💜
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