Awaken to You: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 32

Day 29: Untie the Knots

30 min - Practice


It's Day 29 and we are at the tip of the mountain top! Lets unravel and flow through a fluid practice with a focus on strengthening and opening the shoulders and finding a sweet release in the hips. I am so proud of you!
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Strap, Block (2)

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Greetings tribe, namaste, aloha. All of it. Love from my heart. I'm so glad you're still here. And I'm here with you.

It's a day 29. My goodness. We've made it this far. We are at the tip of the mountaintop. It's right there.

We're at Hillary's Step going to Mount Everest. Let's start with some shoulder openers and some grounding before we go into this. One of our last of two sequences that we'll enjoy together in this challenge. Have your two blocks and your strap and your bolster. And let's open our shoulders to begin.

Just take a deep breath in and sit tall. Maybe grab your bolster and have a seat on top. And as you exhale, round your spine. And inhale to lift your chest. Turn your face up towards the sun.

And exhale, round your spine and look inward. And twice more like that, feeling a little cat cow, pulsation in the back body and the front body, massage of the neck, the breath. And one more as you inhale, lift. And exhale, just come back to center and let's open up the arms nice and wide. Reach through the wingspan, through your fingers, through your palms.

And as you exhale, just swing your right arm underneath your left and take the back of your forearm and glide down your left forearm, pulling your straight left arm across your body to open the back of the shoulder. And then just catch the tip of the elbow and bring it behind your head so you can feel a little opening through the underside of the shoulder and the tricep. As you exhale, a little side bend. Release your right hand down, extend long through your left arm, pour it out. And then swing that same left arm all the way behind you and reach back up between your shoulder blades.

I'm going to spin just for a moment so you can see that. Just reaching the back of the hand up between the shoulder blades. And hang out there for a breath. Take a deep inhale. And exhale, tilt your head to the right and let the left arm come back and turn up.

And then let's open up through the arms once again. Exhale, swing your left arm underneath your right and glide your forearm right down the opposite arm, pulling your straight arm across your body. Catch the tip of the elbow and just take it up behind your head. And deep breath in and you can kind of turn the tip of the elbow counterclockwise if you have your left hand on right elbow. And then exhale, side bend, pour it up and over to the opposite side of the mat, opening the chest, big inhale.

And exhale, sweep it all the way around. Right arm reaches behind your back, up between your shoulder blades. Once again, just give you another quick little view, that internal rotation as you reach up somewhere in the mid-back there. Doesn't matter how high it goes. And then exhale, release and turn that palm to face up and just open up through the fingertips.

Take a deep breath in here and exhale, chin into the chest. And then let's go ahead and make our way onto our hands and knees. You can set your bolster to one side, curl your toes under and take a couple moments here to extend open through the heart as you inhale, round through the spine as you exhale, maybe lifting the knees for a moment and just kind of playing around with our Cat-Cow. We've explored so many different ranges of Cat-Cow throughout this challenge. Once more, big inhale, exhale as you round, lift just a touch and then set it down and curl the toes.

Let's reach the right arm to the sky as you inhale, exhale, thread it underneath the left arm, come all the way down to your right shoulder and ear. And we can take our leg out to the side and turn the chest open. Top arm can reach forward towards the top of the mat. Sometimes I even like to trace a little semi-circle over my head and circulate through the top arm. Whatever feels good to you, maybe circulating, maybe not.

One more breath here and then come on back to your hands and knees and let's do the second side. So left arm reaches up, big inhale, open your chest, exhale, thread it underneath your right, come all the way down to your shoulder, side of your head, you can take the right leg out to the side, fold the foot flat and start to walk your right fingertips up towards the top of your mat. And there's a natural little rotation that happens here as you turn and look up underneath your right arm towards the sky, that bottom shin might rotate a little and feel free to circulate through the right arm, through the top arm, just moving in a way that feels therapeutic to your shoulder. It might be a bit of a smaller circle or none at all. And then let's come up to our hands and knees and we'll use our blocks for our namaskar's today.

We're moving into Surya Namaskar B. We haven't visited that one for a while, so let's keep it spacious by using our blocks for this pattern today. So heels of the hands on the blocks, curl your toes under, press back to downward facing dog and then start to walk your feet towards the top of the mat and arrive in your forward fold. Soften the knees, relax your head and neck, let your hands rest either on the blocks or the floor. And from here, start to stretch the legs long, inhale to lift the heart halfway, slide your hands up your shins, exhale back into your forward fold, sweep the arms wide and come all the way up to standing on a deep breath in, exhale hands to your heart, step your feet together. Let's come into our sun salutation B's, bend the knees and inhale, sweep your arms alongside the ears into chair pose, exhale forward fold hands to your blocks, inhale, lift the heart halfway as you exhale, step back to plank, shift your shoulders forward, take a high chaturanga, bend the elbows just a bit and then open your chest, upward facing dog, exhale to downward facing dog and let's step our right foot directly forward today so we won't sweep it up first, just step it directly forward, set the back foot for warrior one, inhale to rise and this first cycle let's hang out here for a moment and just kind of sort out the hips a bit, pull the right hip back, the left hip forward, feel the front of the pelvis lift and the back of the tailbone drop down as you sink into the lunge and let your ribcage rotate towards square, shoulder square and inhale to look up, exhale, release your hands, step back to your plank, you can always skip vinyasa's or work with one of the alternatives that we've learned, open your chest, exhale to downward dog, let's step the left foot directly through, set the back foot a little to the right coming up into your warrior one and take a moment here, this is our first warrior one of the practice and just feel the right hip pull forward, the left hip pull back, sometimes I like to actually adjust my hips with my hands, my ribs so I can feel that alignment, reaching up on an inhale and exhale release, as you exhale chaturanga, inhale open your heart, exhale fold it back and let's enjoy three breaths right here, empty out the mind, let your eyes be steady on a point and allow your awareness to return to your special intention, your special dedication for this challenge for yourself, for your practice, for your life, let's inhale to the toes, bend your knees look forward, step or hop, I'm going to step for this first round, lift your chest halfway, exhale forward fold, bend your knees come to chair pose on an inhale, exhale stand tall hands to your heart, that was one round, bend the knees inhale utkatasana going right back into the next one, exhale forward fold, let's let it flow, lift the chest halfway, you can step or lightly hop back, land in a high chaturanga, open your chest, exhale fold it back, same exhale step your right foot forward and set your back foot, inhale warrior one, exhale release it down, cooking with a little gas now, so let's keep it moving, inhale open your heart, exhale fold, same exhale step the left foot forward, set the back foot and inhale warrior one, exhale through your vinyasa, folding back to downward dog, three good breaths, inhale to your toes, bend the knees step or lightly hop top of the mat, lift the heart halfway, exhale release, bend your knees come up to chair on your inhale, exhale stand tall, let's take one more round, bend your knees inhale utkatasana, exhale uttanasana forward fold, inhale arda uttanasana halfway, exhale step or hop chaturanga, open your heart, what are you awakening today, fold it back as you exhale, right foot steps forward, set the back foot, inhale rise warrior one, exhale we're moving kind of briskly, stay with it, you can, inhale open the chest, exhale fold it back, same exhale step the left foot forward, inhale to rise warrior one, exhale through your vinyasa, open the chest, fold it back, three good breaths, inhale to your toes, bend your knees step or hop top of the mat, lift your chest halfway, exhale release, let's bend our knees come into chair pose on an inhale, exhale standing tall, take a moment here, feeling into your stamina, your strength, your energy, maybe your heart's beating a little bit quicker, surinamaskar b is a really wonderful, super effective warm up, so I need a moment here, take a deep breath in, exhale bring your thumbs up to your third eye, drop your mind into your heart, thumbs to the chest and then release your hands, let's keep going, circle the arms out and up, full breath in, exhale swan dive through to your forward fold, lift the chest halfway and then exhale let's step back to down dog but we'll set our blocks to one side now we won't be using them for this next part of the sequence, so just step back to your downward dog and we're moving into a nice mandala namaskar, so we'll bring the feet or excuse me mandala standing pattern, bring the feet together, let's inhale the right leg to the sky and now open your hip, bend your knee, stretch that out nice and long as you exhale step all the way through to a warrior two base, lead with your left arm come all the way up through warrior two, keep spiraling your arms into garudasana arms from eagle pose and we worked with this pattern I think back in sequence seven or eight so we can feel a little pulsation here as we open the shoulders and strengthen into our legs, notice if it's any different if you have a little more range now through the shoulders perhaps you do, take one more breath here and then release your arms, you can take your right elbow to your knee or your hand to the mat, sweep the left arm up and over, moment here in your side angle pose and then exhale walk your hands to the back of the mat, step back to down dog with your left leg high open the hip, bend your knee, stretch it out nice and long and then step all the way through second side warrior two base, lead with your right arm come all the way up, spiral the arms, wrap them up like jungle vines and then let's just ride the ocean waves up and down, they're not big ones though they're little so little pulsation and stay contained, stay engaged through your base, through your pelvic floor, through your core, through your mind, exhale release opening up to warrior two coming into your side angle pose either hand to the floor or elbow to the knee, top arm alongside your ear, turn your chest open, exhale hands to the back of the mat, step to down dog and before we go to the second half of this mandala let's pass through our virasana vinyasa so lightly set your knees down, tops of the feet flat you can walk your hands back either to your hips or to the floor, open the front body and then hinge at your hips, reach forward and like a snake in the grass slide through let's come to sphinx for a moment so bring the elbows in and lift the chest from here make sure your forearms are parallel to one another palms nice flat and let's curl our toes under and lift the hips into forearm plank and just integrate through the core, I'm gonna move back slightly just so my hands are supported by the mat, lift your hips and walk your feet towards your elbows arriving into dolphin pose now from here you're welcome to hang out in dolphin you're welcome to come to child's pose you can also take an alternate lift of one leg tracing the pathway towards a forearm stand other leg and then come down to your knees and take a moment we always try to have a nice equal balance a democracy between the super solar kind of demanding postures and restorative grounding postures so there's a balance of ebb and flow between solar and lunar that way at the end of the practice we feel energized and balanced rather than like we've tapped out all our energy so take a couple moments and just restore ground down when you feel ready we can come up and come around the second half of the mandala so we'll go back in a downward facing dog step the feet close together once again the right leg lifts on an inhale open the hip as you exhale you're welcome to flip your dog now you have all the integration of shifting the shoulders either setting the bottom knee down or staying on the edge of the foot today I'm gonna set the bottom knee down and just open here top arm circulates and then we link back up and step through into our warrior to base once again now this time as we rise instead of going into our Eagle Garudasana arms we can take Gomukhasana right so we have this shoulder opener here you're welcome to keep your hands resting on your back or you can work with a strap and just dangle the strap down from the top hand grab it with the bottom hand and feel that nice opening through your shoulders and let's once again pulse here just a little lift as we inhale exhale sink into your base inhale a little rise as you exhale spiral the front knee open once more inhale exhale keep your arms in this orientation but just slightly lean your spine forward like you're coming into side angle pose straight in the front leg and then let's release and just super mellow let it all dissolve come through procerita high and then all the way to the original front of the mat and we'll step back to down dog with our left leg high open the hip and the knee you can shift into flipping your dog either on the edge of the foot or taking the right knee down i'm going to take my right knee down today and open up such a beautiful opening for the front body for the hip flexor and the quad and then making your way through to warrior two on the second side left foot is forward leading with your right arm come all the way up and once again we'll arrive in this shoulder opener gomukhasana and just pulse inhaling to lift exhaling to sink inhaling to lift exhale once more inhale exhale keep your arms in this orientation let's rotate our spine slightly towards the right and lean into your side angle pose shape start to straighten through the front leg let everything dissolve come through your procerita for a moment so we can say hi looking through the gate here and then lift the chest and walk your hands to the front of the mat and step back to downward dog um inhale to your toes as you exhale set your knees down let's come through that virasana vinyasa one more time you can take the high road up on your knees or maybe the low road and just lift up on the fingertips lift the chest lift the hips opening up through the front body exhale hinge at your hips reach through like a snake in the grass slide all the way through and let's come into our sphinx asana hands are shoulder width apart so are the elbows pull your heart forward lift through the chest and then curl the toes under let's lift up find your forearm plank and just put a little love back in the center of the body back in the core i'm going to slightly shift it back and walking the feet in our last visit to dolphin in the series so press the heart back back bring the feet together and then go for it lift your right leg lift your gaze feel the potential to kick up to forearm stand and then come down left leg rises like a flag a victory flag and then lower down let's bend the knees and come into child's pose so a couple of breaths here grounding down coming into that lunar pause this natural flow of energy kind of like when you're when you are bobbing up and over waves and you rise to the crest and drop down to the trough and back again we try to find that same flow inside of our practice inside of life slowly roll up through your spine and let's come into that whole gomukhasana shape which is a wonderful hip opener and shoulder opener and as we do this i'm just going to turn so you can get a really good view of the back body of what we're working with as we come into gomukhasana so have your blocks your strap handy and your bolster handy and we'll build up a really nice support system here as we move into it so from hands and knees bring your left knee to the midline of your mat and then extend the right leg back and cross your right knee behind your left left spread the feet wide and stack your knees then from here we start to sit back either onto the mat or you can stack a block or two or a bolster is kind of nice and just check it out for a moment find your seat we'll add the shoulder opener and the forward fold but let's let's give ourselves something to land on here so i'm just kind of figure this out as we go that's approximating my landing position here and we'll take the left arm since the left leg is on top to be totally honest i always forget like left arm left leg opposite let's just go with it left leg on top left arm on top and we'll bring the right arm behind our back and connect into the strap if you can reach fingertips great you can reach the strap great give yourself as much length as you need and then inhale to lift your chest as you exhale you might stay right here for the next several breaths or you have the option to hinge forward and you can let your forehead soften into your landing pad um drop into that bottom sweep of the wave down into the trough relaxation and surrender try to let go in your hips in your legs your feet in your mind how does this feel different than the first time we moved into this shape what do you notice one or two more breaths here and then let's actually release our arms while we're in the fold and place your hands on the mat or the bolster and come on up and let's go right into the second side so you can climb forward and just get the knees sorted out so that we uncross and bring the right knee to the midline notice i just took my foot to the outside of the block extend back through the left leg tuck your left knee in and flare the feet out nice and wide like a lobster tail shift it back have a seat on the floor or your block you might have slightly adjust your setup and then once you feel rooted let's take the right arm and reach up behind you left arm sweeps low and up the mid back give yourself plenty of space here lift your chest and exhale to shift forward going kind of slow on the way down relaxing in in and this pose always makes me think of a really beautiful quote written by max strum that the goal of yoga is not to tie ourselves in knots the goal of yoga is to untie the knots in our mind and in our heart so see if you can soften inside your mind and your heart and notice it acknowledge that softening one or two more breaths here slowly release let your hands come to the bolster or the mat press yourself up let's set our strap off to one side and without further ado or delay let's head into shavasana since we have our bolster we'll use that you can set it towards the back of your mat to support your knees and then come down under your back oh yes so nice ah spread on out take your feet wide turn the palms open close your eyes and rest so Thank you.

So we bring your awareness back into your body, circulate through your fingers and your toes and reach your arms over your head, reawakening, exhale, draw the knees in, let's roll on over. Come on up. Have a seat. On your bolster, why not? Bring your hands together at your heart. Wow. It's like a birthday tomorrow, a celebration day, our final practice together in this challenge. So I look forward to seeing you. I'll give you a little hint. It's going to be juicy and yummy, a little flow, a little restorative. So I can't wait to see you there. Namaste.


Tracy S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for an amazing 29 days. I have enjoyed and been inspired by every day. :)
Samantha E
1 person likes this.
I'm going to be sad when this is over!
Shelley Williams
Tracy! Thank YOU!! You are here, Day 30!! How great does it feel to accomplish this... xo
Shelley Williams
Samantha! You have made it!! No reason to be sad, we can do it again, and there is more to come :). I am inspired by you showing up, and for your kind comments. Yours (and everyone's) participation have made this incredibly special
Nancy W
1 person likes this.
What a great day and practice today. I look forward to hitting my mat. Got some great career news today and what did I want to do, hit my mat with Shelley! I will miss you. Looking forward to finishing tomorrow with you. Thank you.
Beth S
1 person likes this.
This is more consistent yoga than I have done in years! (Probably pre-kids....). Thank you so much Shelley for getting me on the mat again! I agree with others ....I tend to be more sad than excited to be nearing the end of this challenge.
Shelley Williams
Nancy! Well I am curious to know what your career news is, so Congratulations!! How great...!! I am so glad you have re-discovered your passion for yoga and re-ignited your practice. I am honored to help you along the way, and thank you for sharing it with us! Happy day 30 and hugs to you!
Shelley Williams
Beth! How wonderful it is to re-discover a passion and practice like this, and find a renewed rhythm! I am proud of you, and super grateful to be part of your path to getting back on the yoga horse! I hope you keep riding, and continue exploring~ there are SO many great practices on this site. Also feel free to join my email list for upcoming live events and retreats if you ever feel like meeting up somewhere beautiful! Much gratitude!
Gabriel W
2 people like this.
Lovely lovely practice. Thank you.
Nancy W
3 people like this.
Hi Shelley, I am a professor and on day 29 I received tenure. It was a wonderful way to end the day practicing on the mat. I had stopped regular practice when I began this new position, but this challenge helped me understand the importance of my need for the regular practice. Overall, I have noticed that my strength has improved. Wonderfully while resting at end of each practice, my ability of being consciously quiet (getting my mind to settle down) has improved. Also breathing is better. Thanks again.
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