Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 23

Day 20: Beautiful Day

30 min - Practice


It's a beautiful day for some yoga. In Day 20, we root in our commitment to our practice and work on progressions of earlier practices with twists, balancing postures, and revolved poses. You will feel reawakened.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block (2)

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Greetings tribe, namaste. Welcome back. It's day 20. How are you feeling? How are you doing? I'd love to hear from you. Please check in. Let me know what you're noticing, if you have any questions. And just so you know, I'm feeling it. I'm sure you're feeling it. But let's stay with the challenge. Let's stay rooted in our commitment to do this together. And as we move into this practice, have all your gear handy. We'll use all of it. And this is a reflection on some of the earlier practices you've already experienced with a few progressions. Let's start on our knees in Virasana, which is hero's pose. And if you're comfortable sitting on the floor or on your heels, go for it. I've had a couple of knee surgeries, so I like to support my knees with the block and sit on it at the medium height. And if this isn't work, just sit cross-legged. But find a tall spine. And let's go ahead and take our palms and turn them face up right at the level of the hips. You can close your eyes if you like. As you inhale, just circulate your hands forward and up. And then as you exhale, let your hands cascade down the midline, palms face the earth. And do that again. It's a simple body blessing with the breath. As you inhale, circulate your hands forward and up like you're drawing in a wave of breath. And as you exhale, let your hands drop down the midline. Go into the internal listening of your breath here. We'll take several more rounds together. So let's inhale and exhale. And as you move and continue to circulate your breath and your arms in this way, I'd love to invite you to just open up your awareness to the metaphor or meaning that's always a possibility inside of any movement meditation, any movement, internal martial art, internal practice. So every time you inhale and reach your arms up over your head, it can simply be that or it can be a gesture towards really showing up to what is and bringing it in like, yes, bring it on. I accept every time you reach up and every time the hands come down through the midline, download, acceptance, absorbing and surrender. And so you can feel that inside of these next couple of rounds. We'll work with this pattern through our Nama scars. But let's take one more round together here as you inhale, reaching up, showing up. And as you exhale, drawing in, absorbing, digesting, surrender. From here, just slide your hands out in front of you onto your mat, onto your hands and knees. We'll go into a progressive version of cat cows. You can separate the knees a little bit and inhale to arch your back, look forward and up.

As you exhale, round your spine, coil in. And we've been working with this hovering, lifting of the knees and pressing into the tops of the feet. So you're welcome to take that as you inhale, open the heart. And then this time as you exhale, walk your hands back a couple of inches, round the spine and hover the knees. And inhale to open the heart. Once again, walk the hands back a couple of inches, round and hover. You'll notice that we're shortening the base. Inhale, arch the back. Walk the hands a bit back a bit more right by the knees. Exhale, round and hover. Feels like a little ball of energy. And then this time, just set your hips back down on your block. And this time as you open your chest, reach your heart towards the sky. Big inhale. Exhale, coil up and over your navel center. Plant your palms and just lift the knees a bit. And do that again. Inhale, opening up, showing up to whatever is today. And exhale, coil, press and lift your knees. Feel the strength in the center of the body. Once more, inhale, open the chest. And as you exhale and coil, this feeling has the same action as crow pose. And then set it back down and sit tall. So as we transition to our namaskaras, we'll make a quick little equipment change. You can take both blocks and bring them up to the top of the mat so that they're there, if you need them. And then take your blanket and bring it back. Unfold it so it's nice and flat. And place your knees on your blanket. And we'll use that in our namaskaras just to give us a little bit of padding as we shift on the knees.

So curl your toes under. Let's press back to downward facing dog. And you can bicycle pedal through the feet and knees. You're welcome to place your hands on your blocks for our namaskaras just to give yourself a little more spaciousness. That might feel nice. You can experiment with that or keep your hands on the mat. And then as you're ready, bring the feet together and let's inhale the right leg slowly to the sky. This first opening through the back body. Oh, feels so yummy. And then exhale, slowly step it all the way through to a low lunge. So we'll lower the back knee down. And then as you inhale, it's that same gesture, reaching up, bring it on, bring it in. As you exhale, shift the hips back. There's a little bit of a balance here as you dive down into the mud and stretch long over the right leg. And then we'll just repeat that. We'll shift forward and inhale, reach the arms forward and up. As you exhale, shift the hips back, squeeze your inner thighs to the midline as you come down towards the earth here. It'll help your balance. And do that once more. Shift forward and inhale, rising up. Exhale, drawing in and down, going into the mud. And then let's shift forward to come off that back knee. We'll step to plank any vinyasa you like. I love a stage three vinyasa on top of the blocks for a nice high upward facing dog. And then exhale to downward dog. And let's enjoy the left side. So slowly sweep the left leg to the sky and then step all the way through to your low lunge. Lower the back knee down and inhale, reach forward and up, bring it on, bring it in. Exhale, draw it down the body. It's a little wobbly sometimes, but engage through the core as you drop down and then shift forward. Once again, inhale, forward and up. And notice as you shift back and down, can you stay centered right over the midline of the body? It takes a little focus. One more cycle, shift forward, inhale, lift your heart, bring it on, bring it in. Exhale, draw the navel in, dive down into the mud. And from here, let's step to plank on our inhale. Exhale to your vinyasa of choice, maybe through chacharunga to upward dog. And exhale to downward dog. Let's take that cycle once more. Right leg rises on an inhale. As you exhale, you have the option to step through once again to a low lunge or to a high lunge would be the progression. Really squeeze the inner thighs to the midline. And as you inhale and lift your arms, feel the front of the pelvis lift up. Now as you exhale, straighten the front leg, balancing on a tight rope as you come down over the long leg. Do that again, bend your front knee and inhale. And just really dial in your focus right to the center of the body to maintain your balance as you come down. And notice we're on the ball of the back foot. We're in a variation of pyramid pose. Let's inhale to rise. Exhale, slowly straighten the front leg, working with your balance. Dive down over the long leg. Put a bend in your front knee. Let's step back to plank. Exhale, draw the shoulders back as you lower to chacharunga. Inhale, open your heart. Exhale, fold it back. And let's take the left leg to the sky. Inhale, exhale, step it through. There's the option for the low lunge or the high lunge. Inhale to rise, scissor the inner thighs to the midline, and then exhale, straighten the front leg.

So slow. I think we build quite a bit more strength actually when we slow down. Inhale to rise. And exhale, straighten the front leg, slowly, dropping down the midline. Once more, moving in a way that feels grounding to you. Inhale to rise. Exhale, straighten, and stay centered and drop it down. Bend your front knee. Step back to plank and lower through your chaturanga if you like. Open the heart and inhale. Exhale, downward dog. Take a couple of breaths here. Notice any shift, any change in the inner body, the inner landscape. How's your energy today? Where's your mind resting? Can you bring it back to your breath? Can you bring it back to your practice? And back to this kind of promise that you've made, this commitment you've made to this practice, to this challenge. Showing up to it fully. Let's inhale to our toes. Bend your knees, step or float to the top of the mat, and then lift your heart. Did you hop over your blanket? Exhale, forward, fold. And you can reach back and just set your blanket off to one side. We'll bring it back in a moment. And also set your blocks off to one side, and come back into your forward fold. From here, lift your chest, Ardha Uttanasana, halfway position. Exhale, forward fold, Uttanasana. Come all the way up to standing deep, breath in as you rise. Exhale, hands to your heart center. Let's bring back our Uttanasana Vinyasa. So as you inhale, circle wide. Take your right hand to grab your left wrist and lengthen up and over towards the right side of your mat. Inhale, get a little more length. Really press down through the earth, reach up through the sky. And then as you bend your knees, side bend all the way down and drop off your right hand. Open the left half of the body, coming into this asymmetrical forward fold. And today, let's circle our top arm back and down, bend your knees and come into chair pose. Big inhale. Exhale, hands to your heart. We're moving into a long standing sequence here. So let's cross our ankle over our right knee and sit back into temple dancer. Focus your eyes steady on one point, feel into your balance. And then to come out of this, let's slowly rise and reach your left leg forward, reach your arms to the sky. Feel the navigation of your balance as you step back. You're welcome to go through warrior three, but we'll meet up in a high crescent lunge. So reach the arms to the sky and an open twist today. So keep the shoulders parallel to the earth and just open your heart towards the right side of your mat, reaching left arm forward towards twelve o'clock, right arm back towards six o'clock. Really stretch long through the back leg. If that compresses your spine, you're welcome to bend your back knee here and allow the tailbone to tilt slightly downward. And just enjoy one more breath here, dialing into the twist a bit. And then as you exhale, slowly bring your hands down and shorten the stance for pyramid pose. So now we turn the back foot out, hands come to the hips. Let's inhale to lift the chest and come all the way up. And then just gesture. I always love to come into a reverse namaste from the heart. So open up, reach back behind you and you can take knuckles together, forearms, or start working into a reverse namaste. And inhale, lift your heart. As you exhale, let's just hinge forward halfway. So just tell your spine is parallel to the floor. Right hip pulls back, chest forward. Stay really open through the upper spine. Almost feel cobra through your heart. Breathe.

And keeping the length in your spine, we add a really simple twist here. So release your hands. And you're welcome to grab a block and place it under your left hand. But maybe today work with that kind of tightrope balance of bringing your hand to your shin, turn your spine and reach your right arm up towards the sky, balancing in twisting triangle. One more full breath. And then to come out of it, slowly bring your right hand back to your hip. Let's windmill our left arm all the way up. Turn the right foot in, turn the left toe out. And what, warrior two? Yes. Let's say yes to warrior two on the second side. Sink into the left leg, adjust your feet. And it feels good to open up the front of the body in this direction. Take a full inhale here as you reach back through your reverse warrior. And then exhale, why not come through half moon? And we've left our blocks behind, but again, you're welcome to grab them if you want to put a little support under your left hand. These are all shapes we've visited several times. So open the heart, working with your balance, and hang out here for another moment or two. Expand fully up, down, forward, back.

And to exit out of it, slowly come to a forward fold. I like to bend both knees and land soft. Inhale to lift the heart halfway. Exhale, release. Come on up with a flat back. Inhale to rise. And exhale. It's a new perspective. Hands to the heart. Let's take the second half of the cycle. Circle out and up, full breath in. This time, left hand grabs right wrist and side bend towards the left edge of the body. Get a little more length as you inhale. Exhale, bend your knees and swooping down slowly. Drop off the left hand, open the right half of the body, reaching to the sky. Exhale, top arm circles back and down, connecting the dots as fluidly as you can. Come to your chair pose. Stay in chair, draw the hands to your heart, sharpen up your focus on one point. And now we shift into the left foot and cross the right ankle on top of the left knee and sit back into temple dancer, opening the hip. Eyes are steady. Breath is steady. Slowly come on up to standing and reach forward through your right leg, up through your arms, navigating your balance with a sense of humor as you step back to crescent pose. Take your time and then reach up to the sky. If your foot didn't make it far enough back, you can wiggle it back. Let's open the twist up. Once again, you're welcome to bend the back knee or keep it straight. Just depends on how you feel in your lower back. I'm going to keep my back knee bent on this side. And gently turn the twist open a bit more and just work on keeping your shoulders parallel with your hips here as you breathe. One more breath. And then exhale, hands come down to the mat. Let's shorten up the stance for pyramid pose. Hands to your hips as you come on up, gesture into your heart, open up fully showing up to this beautiful day. It's really a gorgeous day here today. Reach behind your back, knuckles, wrists, reverse namaste, whatever you'd like. Open your chest. Big inhale. And as you fold, just until your spine is parallel to the earth. So left it back. Feeling this balance right in the center of your mat, drawing your awareness to the midline, to the inner body, to the breath, to your focus. And just allow this shape to evolve into a twisting triangle. Let your right hand come down. Maybe your block is here. Maybe your shin and spiral, navel, ribs, heart, shoulders, perhaps even your eyes looking up. Super challenging balance. Try to stay with it. Stay focused. Last breath here. Get a little longer, reaching through the crown. And then exhale, soften your front knee. Let's bring our left hand to the hip. Back stroking through the right arm, pivot your foot in, open up. Warrior II is a welcome friend. Yeah. Familiar, steady, grounded. Take a deep breath here. Exhale. Reverse your warrior.

And then the last little kind of period on the end of the sentence, the paragraph is to shift into our half moon. So again, you can grab a block or perhaps see how it feels to bring your hand to the earth today and open up in all directions. Eyes steady. One more breath. As you exit out, soften both knees. Easy landing in your forward fold. Inhale, lift your heart halfway. Maybe come up the shins for a little spaciousness. Exhale, melt down. Keep melting down. Bend your knees. Keep dropping down into gravity until you sit down. That feels good. So from here, just rock back on your sit bones and come into our floating child's pose, otherwise known as half boat pose or full boat pose. But let it feel, have that same sense of enthusiasm when you hear child's pose and you're like, oh, child's pose. Maybe we can bring that into this shape. Like, yes, I was hoping. I was hoping for a boat pose. How fantastic. From here, place your feet on the mat and then take your hands back behind you and let's just turn our boat pose inside out, turn it into a table. So lift your hips, open up the shoulders. Maybe drop your head back and take a moment here. Breathing into the front of the shoulders, the back of the heart. Try to lift the heart, lift the hips. Slowly come on back down and let's come on to our back for bridge pose. So you can roll down, center yourself in your mat and place your feet hips width apart. And if you have anything under the back of your head, like an olive oil bun, like I have, then take it out so that your head is free to rest on the floor. And from here, we'll come right into our bridge pose. Tailbone draws under, coiling up, lifting towards the sky. Feel your feet grounded, hip distance. You can lace your fingers underneath you. Walk the shoulders in. We've been working with this posture a lot and this whole series and it's such a wonderful dynamic posture to strengthen the back body and open the front. And it's always to me feels like this full body offering, this full body mudra, what I'm showing up to. I'm showing up with my open heart and maybe even with one leg raising like a flag, taking your right leg to the sky and rest through the sole of the left foot, spreading through the toes. And then take that down and raise your other leg like a flag. Breathing. And if you're feeling super ambitious, maybe take both legs to the sky. Just kidding. Separate your hands and your shoulders and then roll down. Counter posing with a little tiny just visit to a crow crunch. We were feeling the key actions of crow inside of our warm up. So just revisit that again as you lace your fingers and draw the elbows inside the knees.

Big toes touching, knees wide. And then open up just a bit. Exhale, coil. And open up just a little bit. As you coil and lift the tailbone, I always think of those little staple remover claws when I move in and out of this shape. And that sense of pulling in and lifting tailbone and head and then opening up a little bit. There's probably a more poetic analogy, but go with it. And the next time you coil in, stay there and reach your arms up to the sky. Feel crow pose on your back, almost like you're trying to lift the roof up off wherever you are. Stay lifted up off the shoulders, but tilt your head back slightly and just feel how your head is the counter pose to crow. And then come back down, open the arms wide and drop the knees over to one side into a twist. Oh, you earned it. Just enjoy, relax. Let it go. Couple of breaths here. And then take it over to the other side, drawing the knees across the center, pouring off to the opposite hip, open the chest, relax into gravity. Let go of form and structure and soften down. Last breath here. And to come out of this, roll all the way onto your side and just press yourself up to a comfortable seat for a moment. I'll just take a moment, sort of taste the effects of a sitting practice. Of course, if you have a bit of time and spaciousness in your day, you might want to just push pause and hang out here for a good five to 10 minutes. But let's take five to 10 breaths here as a start. So sit tall, close your eyes. And as you drop into the inner landscape, the last thing you need is another voice in your head. So just allow spaciousness, allow quiet, so simple, the undoing of your thoughts and just breathe 10 breaths. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Please make your way into your Shavasana. Again, you're welcome to stay in your seat of meditation or you can take your meditation down onto your back and spread out. Stay willingly in that quiet zone inside the garden of your heart, spaciousness between your thoughts, like the blue sky in between clouds. And whenever those thoughts start to drift in, just let them be exactly that, just a cloud drifting by, coming back to that spacious blue sky inside. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.

Slowly bring your awareness back into your body. Send a little bit of movement to your fingers and your toes as you reach over your head long through the arms, long through the legs. And then exhale, draw your knees in, give yourself a bear hug, wrap it up. And then roll on over to one side. Come on up. Are you wakening? And this is a little flower for you, for me to you. Awesome work today. Thank you so much for being here. Huge congrats. We are in the home stretch. I'll see you tomorrow or in the next practice. Namaste.


2 people like this.
Yummy twisty goodness...I loved the standing balancing twist sequence...I think I must have needed it because I was wobbling all over the place at first and I had to dig down and free up my mind from all the clutter. From there, I moved through the practice in a meditative state. So lovely!

My only complaint? I don’t want to be in the “home stretch”. I so look forward to this practice with you every day!
Jenny Hi Jenny! You are progressing...I can tell by this comment~ "digging down to free up your mind from all the clutter". THAT is the yoga.... Wow, DAY 20! Can you believe it? You can always repeat this challenge, or certain practices, and we have a few other seasons on Yoga Anytime (and I hope more to come!). I think you may be the first student to complete this challenge (as far as I know with comments...) so CONGRATS! You are ON it!
3 people like this.
Not trying to compete, just loving your teaching style and the joy you bring into each practice...true confession: I believe I've done all the remaining yoga practices and seasons you have here on Y/A...I am so thankful for Yoga Anytime and constantly refer all beings I come across to your site. What a Treasure Trove for a mere $18 a month. The cost of ONE yoga class in a studio. Such a Blessing!
3 people like this.
Shelley, this class in particular made me feel like I was in the studio with you...loved it! My only complaint....I’d love to see classes 60-90 min in duration as at times I’ve noticed it can take me 10-15 mins just to get into the ‘yoga state of mind’ (being at takes longer than a neutral space like a studio alongside fellow yogis ).....and then the sadly class sadly completes just while I’m getting a full rhythm going!
Jenny Hi Jenny! That is such a glowing referral and compliment to both me and of course this fantastic resource site Yoga Anytime...I feel so honored to be a part of it, truly. Thank you for spreading the word! xo
Beth Thank you for your kind comments! I agree...I love the longer "deep dunks" into the practice, and there are many options on the Yoga Anytime site for longer practices with many teachers. It seems that online resource sites such as this target the shorter practices in their offerings bc quite often if folks have time for a 60-90minpractice, they will go to a studio. But regardless, a nice option with these shorter practices for now would be to double or triple up practices within the same time frame (even though I know it lacks the continuity and unfolding of a fully well-rounded full length practice.) I will pass along your suggestions to the powers that be :). Happy practicing!
2 people like this.
Loved this one too. Thank you. I agree with Beth though. I am starting to really miss and want more options on Y.A. for longer practices . I live remotely so, for me, it's not that, as you state in your comment above "folks that have time for a 60-90 min practice will go to a studio". I think that's a misconception and generalization. For me, it's distance from a studio and the cost of joining/attending a studio that are limitations. I am dedicated to practicing yoga, but will have to find a way to get longer classes into my life (here or elsewhere).
Elissa Beth ! We're listening! We're hearing you! Will make more longer practices. xo Kira
1 person likes this.
So glad to hear it, Kira!! Just as Elissa has constraints to make it to a studio, so do only opportunity to ‘take care of myself’ is to fit these amazing classes in after the kids go to bed. I do need to try other instructors on yogaanytime, but I must say I feel I’m not missing out at all when taking Shelley’s classes online vs in a studio. They’re so masterfully done and her passion and energy comes across just as compellingly as in person.
1 person likes this.
Beth and Elissa, I welcome your thoughts on what kind of longer practices you seek. Do you know your preferred physical level of difficulty? Would you like meditation weaved in? Would love to hear about some of your wishes. Call out the teachers you would like to see too. Love K
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