Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 20

Day 17: Slow and Groovy

30 min - Practice


We move through a slow, groovy, and fluid practice of grounding Chandra Namaskars (Moon Salutations) and variations of Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) in preparation for back bending. You will feel rooted and relaxed.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block (2)

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Oct 22, 2018
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Greetings tribe. Namaste. Thank you for joining. It's day 17. Today we'll be introducing a new namaskar called moon sagutations or chandra namaskar. Chandra means moon. We'll also be exploring some variations inside of half moon. It'll be good to have a couple of blocks in a strap. Let's begin. Come to the front of the mat and draw your hands together at your heart. Let's close our eyes and simply breathe together here as you inhale. Let your hands lift a little bit and then as you exhale just release your hands down the midline. And then on your next inhale just sweep your arms forward and up like you're tracing the inside of a crescent moon. And as you exhale bring your hands down the midline. Just ground your energy into your feet, into your base. Once again inhale reach forward and up. Exhale hands come down the midline. Last cycle like this before we add on. Inhale to reach. Feel the subtle lift in your spine, in your heart. Exhale come all the way down to a forward fold. Step the left foot back to a long low lunge and then trace that same pathway with your hands. Reach forward and up. Exhale release your hands to the mat and step back to downward facing dog. Now in moon salutations we always take a stage one lunar vinyasa. So shift forward to plank on your inhale and as you exhale lower your knees followed by your chest and hips at the same time.

Inhale to a low cobra. Draw the shoulders back. Really reach through the legs. Feel the heart open and then exhale through your hands and knees and back to downward facing dog. Step the left foot directly forward between your hands. If it doesn't get there just grab your ankle and scoot it up. Lower the back knee. Inhale reach forward and up. Exhale step to the top of the mat. Forward fold. Inhale come all the way up to standing. Hands reach forward and up. Exhale hands to your heart. We'll stay with that same pattern but just as an option let's keep our blocks at the top of the mat just to see how it feels with an extra bit of space for the next few rounds. Reach forward and up on an inhale. Exhale forward fold. Hands to the blocks. This time step the right foot back and lower the knee. Inhale reach forward and up. Exhale hands come to the mat downward facing dog. Inhale shift forward to plank and once again stage one vinyasa. Lower the knees followed by chest and hips. Inhale to cobra lift your heart. Exhale through your hands and knees but take your hands to your blocks before you go back to downward facing dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands. Lower the back knee. Notice it feels a little more spacious. Reach forward and up on your inhale. Exhale forward fold top of the mat. Inhale all the way up to standing like you're coming up out of water. Exhale hands to your heart. So your choice if you'd like to use the blocks or not for this cycle but let's continue. Inhale reach to the sky. Exhale forward fold. Step the left foot back lower the knee and inhale reach forward and up. Exhale hands to the mat for our vinyasa since we're coming all the way to the belly. Press back to downward dog. Shift forward on your inhale and as you exhale lower the knees followed by chest and hips at the same time. Inhale open up to cobra linger there for a moment.

Exhale release hands and knees downward facing dog. You can take your hands back to the blocks if you like. Left foot steps forward between the hands lower the back knee and inhale reach to the sky. Exhale forward fold top of the mat. Just feel into this kind of lilting water-like rhythm as you inhale and rise. Exhale hands to your heart. Let's take one more round. Removing in an intentional but leisurely way as we reach so no rush. Exhale forward fold. Let this rhythm be a really calming grounding flow. Step the right foot back and lower your knee. Inhale reach to the sky. Exhale hands come down to the mat downward facing dog. Shift forward to plank on an inhale lower the knees chest and hips. Inhale to your cobra really reach back through your legs and pull your heart forward. Exhale hands and knees hands on the blocks if you like downward facing dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands lower the back knee. Inhale reach forward and up open your heart. Exhale forward fold top of the mat. Come all the way up on an inhale reach forward and up. Exhale hands come to your heart. Take a deep inhale here.

Exhale ground down through your palms. Let's step back behind your block set up your feet hips width apart and go ahead and take your strap today. Lace our fingers behind the back normally but let's use our strap purposefully just to create a little more space in the shoulders. So turn your palms to face forward open the chest lift your gaze as you breathe in and then exhale forward fold. Let the crown of the head come down your knuckles reach over your head. You can bend your knees any amount here but really let your spine dangle down. Crown of the head dangles down shoulder blades lift up create a lot of spaciousness in your neck. Let's enjoy a couple of breaths here. And this whole practice is designed to prepare your body and also your inner landscape your mind for back bending so it's subtle right it's intentional and spacious so really take your time and notice internally can you slow things down a bit and create a little spaciousness between your thoughts. Two more breaths here and then slowly release stay in the forward fold let's set your strap down to one side and you can take your block slightly forward and we'll come back to downward facing dog. On your next inhale shift forward to plank and as you exhale it's lower the knees into the mat and come into a kneeling vashisthasana a kneeling side arm balance we're going to do i'm going to show you the left side first you can see what's happening in the back body so pivot the left shin and extend long through the right leg right arm to the sky and you can stay right here float your right leg up and create some length from the crown of the head all the way through the right heel and when we come into we'll be coming into a shape called chapasana later which is essentially half moon with a quadricep opener it's the same shape as this you're just standing instead of kneeling so let's experiment with bending the top knee adding the quad opener you can reach back and take the baby toe side of your foot and start to open the quad if you're not able to reach your foot you're welcome to take your strap and simply loop it around your foot the strap acts like an arm extender and go into the quad opener from here let your chest open enjoy a nice couple of breaths here into the heart it's a really expansive liberating shape and then as you exhale simply come back to hands and knees and we'll go right to the second side so extend back through the left leg up through the left arm opening up across the chest let's lift our left leg and let it float and then bend your knee reach back either with your strap or your hand to your foot and feel that kind of stringing of the bow the heart reaches forward towards the top of the mat the hips press towards the sides of the mat foot and hand presses back behind you a couple of big expansive breaths here and even though the body is working can you root and ground your mind into your breath here and just get really calm inside and go ahead and release come back to downward facing dog we'll set the strap to one side and let's go ahead and we'll continue with leading with our left leg so let's inhale to lift the left leg to the sky as you exhale open your hip bend your knee we've been working with flipping our dog in the previous practices and so you're welcome to shift your shoulders forward super slow either set your knee down on the mat we were just there a moment ago or roll to the outer edge of your right foot and let the ball of your left foot come to the floor opening up to your wild thing flipping your dog inside out to a back bend let's enjoy one more breath and then as slow as you went in come out just as slow step your left foot forward coming up into your warrior two base lead with your right arm and rise up sinking into your base straighten your front leg and shift into triangle pose and we're just visiting triangle pose for a moment on our way into half moon artish and drasana so top hand will come to the hip look down we'll bend our front knee i like to heel toe my back foot forward a little bit and turn your block tall coming up into your half moon and if this isn't tall enough you can always take your other block and make it even taller look at that so you have a nice bit of support with the block underneath your hand now from here is where we have that option to bend the top knee and take hold of your foot opening the quad that may or may not feel good to you right if it doesn't feel good or your hamstrings cramping hip is cramping just keep it open and breathe in your artish and drasana half moon otherwise if this feels like yeah this is right on time then hang out here for a moment or two eyes are steady breath is steady and then slowly release we exhale out exit out the same way we went in we come back through our warrior two swim the hands down and step back to downward facing dog um if you'd like to take a vinyasa feel free maybe today's the day you skip and just get grounded holding steady for a couple of extra breaths from here let's take the right side so inhale the right leg lifts exhale open the hip bend your knee you can stay right here for a few breaths you can always take a child's pose break or use all of that information that you've started to store in your body's awareness to shift forward to plank either set your knee lightly down on the mat or roll to the outer edge of your left foot ball of the right foot finds the floor and then open up through your chest ah such a beautiful back bend here let's enjoy a deep breath in and then exhale come out of it as slow as you went in right step the right foot forward between the hands set your back foot for warrior two come on up without any rush hey here we are exhale straighten your front leg shift your hips and come into your triangle pose just for a moment feel this expansive reach from the center of the heart outward center the hips downward and we just take this shape and tilt it into our half moon so we'll heel toe the back foot forward we need to make a little kind of housekeeping adjustment here with the block and lift through the back leg so arriving in a unhurried calm way to your half moon you might stay right here you might kind of well where's my foot is my foot there it is taking your chapasana right stringing the bow opening up the quad not uncommon for that bottom foot to start to get a little squirrely and the bottom toe to lift but just try to press down through the inside edge the big toe side of your bottom foot and reach your heart forward if you tend to hyper extend in your joints soften the knee a little bit soften the elbow a little bit one more breath here and then slowly step back into your warrior two bend your standing leg land light and steady yeah swim it through the space step on back to downward facing dog and bicycle pedal through the feet and knees and there's always that choice to vinyasa or not to vinyasa that is the question so you're welcome to stay right here or shift forward perhaps one single stage three vinyasa in this practice would feel good hovering in chaturanga flipping over the feet rising to your upward facing dog and then exhale to downward dog from here let's lower into child's pose oh yes home base returning enjoy a few breaths here so let's transition from child's pose onto our back and any transitional work but make sure you give yourself a lot of space on the sides of your mat for where we're going so we'll tuck and roll there was that soccer ball kick did you see that hey just you know bring it back come on to your back and let's draw the right knee into our chest first oh and just take a moment here such a simple shape so good for our lower back to just draw one knee into the chest also really good for our digestion here so let's hang out for a moment feel that nice fold in the front of the hip maybe you have a bit more flexion in your knee and your hip than you did 16 days ago 17 days ago so just checking that out and let's definitely use our strap our back bend today this whole sequence is basically a prep for this back bend of a sideline royal dancer so you can take your strap around the sole of your foot and then take your strap to the outside of your knee i'm going to roll onto my side away from your view so you can see what happens here in the back body and depending on your shoulder you might want to give yourself a lot more length on the strap so that when you take your arms behind your head you're not hurting your shoulder but it feels like a shoulder opening okay those of you who are a little more bendy you can go in super close and keep the foot close to your hands but you want to choose the option that feels doable and therapeutic to you so hands behind your head press your foot into the strap that bottom straight leg make sure you kick it forward so that it's off your mat onto the floor that's your counterbalance and then same thing here like we did in our chapasana like we did in our kneeling vashisthasana you want to extend the heart up through the crown of the head press the foot back into the strap gently press your tailbone down and forward so you're creating a lot of workable opposition in the body to lengthen the spine let's enjoy a couple more breaths here check in with your top knee if it's lifting up bring it down so it's parallel to the floor and then to exit out release your hands first dry your top knee forward and just open up into a relaxed twist ah that's your counter pose enjoy for a moment or two feel the effects of gravity feel the effects of your practice and your breath also your state of mind the inner landscape come on back to the center and let's take that strap just down to one side any side and draw the left knee into your chest give your hip and knee a little massage here gentle compression right at the left hip joint so let's go ahead and take our strap around your foot give yourself the appropriate amount of length and it'll go to the outside of your knee as you roll onto your side your arms can alley-oop that's a technical term behind your head yeah create a little pillow for yourself bottom leg kick it forward is your counterbalance and then just press your foot and strap reach your heart forward feel any adjustments in your tailbone in your sacrum that might make it a little more accessible for you and just breathe here two more breaths and to come out of this slowly bring your knee forward let the hands go first first then the knee comes forward and open up your left arm you can soften both knees if you like here and just relax into your twist last breath here and come out of this go ahead and roll from your side all the way up to a seated position so come on up to the center of the mat and enjoy a really simple kind of yummy hip opener here from a cross-legged position i like to think of this pose as a baby double pigeon or a relaxed double pigeon and so from cross-legged whichever shin is in front for you just open the gate so that your heel is about a foot or two out in front of your navel and then relax forward here and you can take your chest your head your hands down as low as you like you can stack your fists or a couple of blocks even staying tall you'll feel some interesting opening from the outer hip wrapping all the way around to the it band sometimes we get a little stretch on the sciatic nerve here if you feel any pressure on your knee just keep a cross-legged position and forward fold but otherwise see how this feels for you and let's hang out here for a couple of moments and listening for your breath for the resonance and the sound of the breath and then lift your head lift your chest inhale to come all the way up let's change sides a cross-legged with the opposite shin in front and then open it up so the heel is a foot or two in front of your navel center sit up nice and tall start to walk your hands forward any amount that feels comfortable to you and then come on down and enjoy several breaths here and by now you've probably learned that the key to these grounded postures for many of them is the taking off of the layers of holding or tension really the ability to relax and soften is where your power is here so drop into that sense of relaxation that sense of letting go notice where you might be holding sometimes it's in our physical body sometimes it's in our mind sometimes we're holding our breath we don't even realize it last breath here lift through the head through the chest walk your hands in to sit up nice and tall and then find a comfortable seat and you probably noticed today's practice is a little more spacious it's a little simpler yet a little more sophisticated and complex as far as what we're working with and one of the things we're hopefully in the future if not today where our practice can take us is into a state of meditation to sit quietly so let's let's try that on just for a moment or two just to sit quietly you can turn your palms to face up this is symbolic of being receptive you can turn your palms face down this is symbolic of grounding your energy sit tall and close your eyes and just enjoy your breath just for the sake of breathing deeply and let's enjoy five super sweet ujjayi breaths deep yoga breaths together and just one more full slow deep breath right here as you exhale sit a little taller become a little more grounded through your root a little lighter through your crown you're welcome to stay here seated enjoying this sitting practice or you can take your meditation down into shavasana if you like so your choice i'll take you down into a physical shavasana together and those of you who are staying seated just continue to breathe deep and let your awareness your thoughts dissolve into the sound of your breath into the feel of your breath notice i always love to notice that that quiet that quietness of meditation is it's not a thing but rather a presence it's a state of presence so feel into your own essence your own presence so so so so so slowly start to bring your awareness back into your body ready send a little bit of movement to your fingers and your toes stretch your arms over your head and reawaken and refreshed draw your knees in and roll on over to one side come on up to a comfortable seated position welcome back back let's bring our hands together at our heart center feel into this really beautiful state of balance calm peaceful stillness inside it's always here inside of us we just have to make a little space for it so thank you so very much for joining me today you're doing fantastic namaste we'll see you in the next practice


Kathleen S
3 people like this.
Great day! Thank you for the cues to "breath" and "upper body elongation".
Shelley Williams
Kathleen Fantastic! Good feedback, how is the challenge going for you? Hope you are enjoying the progressions :)
Tracy S
2 people like this.
Thank you for a lovely peaceful practice. I feel very calm and relaxed! :)
Glenford N
4 people like this.
A slower sophisticated moving meditation where I felt a beautiful connection with my essence, my presence. " Let silence take you to the core of life " - Rumi. Thanks Shelley. Namaste.
Shelley Williams
Tracy So glad you enjoyed it :)
Shelley Williams
Glenford Excellent quote to share, thank you!
Annika S
2 people like this.
I really loved this practice! I run through super busy/stressful time at work today and feel really grounded thanks to the wonderful practice now. Thank you so much! Namaste
Susan J
2 people like this.
I really liked the slower pace of t his practice especially the adapted pigeon.
Shelley Williams
Susan That is one of my favorite double pigeon adaptations... learned it from my modern dance teacher way back when... It can also become a restorative when you bolster up support under head and chest :)
Shelley Williams
Annika You are so welcome, happy to hear this helped ground you back down during your busy times... the little rituals can make all the difference :)
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