Senior Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Active Feet and Legs

40 min - Practice
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Trust the ground beneath you. Alana leads Elaine and Clella in a chair practice that results in open feet and active legs. This practice promotes balance, stability, and focus.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Block

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(water wave breaking) Thank you for joining us. Today we have Elaine and Clelo with us today. And we're gonna do some simple practices to help open and ground the feet and the legs. Okay, so we'll start with a few minutes of just seated practice and opening the bottoms of the feet. Ready, okay.

So first bring your attention down towards your feet. So traveling from the mind down into the feet, and you can do this at home in a chair. And then take a few moments to press down through the balls of your feet; lift your toes. Good, and then spread your toes wide apart. Good, and then let the toes rest down on the floor, but keep them wide.

Good, and then move towards the edge of your chair, just enough. Good, so you really feel your feet down on the floor. Nice. And begin to let your spine lengthen. So lifting up, lengthening out through the spine, and then releasing your shoulder blades down your back.

And it might be helpful to draw the shoulder blades in towards each other, as if you were hugging the shoulder blades in towards your spine a bit. Beautiful. And as you release the shoulders down the back, let the base of the skull, the back of the neck widen. Beautiful, and then soften the jaw, the forehead. This is a workout right here.

Good. And then just bring some attention towards your breath. Good, and remember your feet here; your toes spreading wide. Good, and then from here we're gonna do some heel lifts just to bring some attention into our feet and our calves to wake up the legs. So what we'll do is we'll just simply lift the heels up off the floor.

Good. And then release the heels down to the floor. Good. And again lifting the heels up, coming up onto the balls of the feet. Good.

And releasing. And let's do this about six times, just lifting the heels up, and release. Good. At your own pace. And notice if your jaw's is jumping into help, or your shoulders creeping up.

Remember your breath. And it's just a simple practice to wake up the feet. Do you feel the work in the calves a bit? And the legs? Okay.

Good, I think that's about six. Yeah. Okay, good. And then release. And let's take a clearing breath.

So deep inhale, and exhale. Let's do that one more time together, breathing in. And exhale, release. Good. And then let's come towards the edge of our chair, and we're going to stand up, together.

So in your fashion at home, bring your hands onto your thighs and lean forward in your chair. You're gonna press down through your feet and stand all the way up using your legs to come up to standing. Nice, good. And then from here we're gonna bring our chair off to the side. So the chair's just helpful for balancing.

Bring your chair off to the side. Good. Exactly. And then, going to use a wooden block. And the purpose of the block is to help us open the bottoms of the feet.

And I think both of you are familiar with this; we've done this together before. Okay. So I would recommend at home the foam blocks work well, the wood blocks are just enough to really get into the bottoms of the feet. Okay, you both know this. So we'll start with one foot.

And we're just gonna start to lean into the block. And again, the chair's just there for support. We don't need to use it, but it's nice to have it handy. And you might let your heel rest on the floor. And just begin to map the bottom of the foot.

Most likely you'll find some tender spots. The suggestion is to pause when it's tender. And then notice where you can relax and again gripping through the jaw, the eyes, and notice the breath. And we'll do this for just a few minutes. So there's plenty of time to find the tight spots; the tender spots.

And you might take your heel up off the floor, and there's the edge of the block there, so you can also explore the edge of the block. And traveling like from the heel up through the bottom of the foot, the sides of the foot, the arch of the foot, and we joke, we call this the foot torture pose, or arch torture pose. Can be quite tender. Again, come back to the breath. Good, and just a few more moments.

Wrapping up any spots that haven't been discovered. Again the outer edges of the feet, and the inner edges of the feet. And again, this is just a simple practice to help us bring some attention down into our feet, because often times we spend so much time trying to figure things out in the head, going from one place to the next. So just to kind of bring some attention down as we begin to explore and play with some balancing. Okay, are we about there?

(giggles) Okay, and now, let's try this, let's bring the ball of the foot against the block, and we're just gonna spread the toes wide up against the block. Good, and you might bend the knee a little bit here. Just to spread the toes wide, and see what it feels like to lengthen up through the spine again, and relax the shoulders down the back. And it always helps to take a breath. (exhaling) Good.

Okay, and then release. And just take a few moments here, stand on both feet, and just see how you feel. Just notice how you feel as you spread the toes, and lengthen up through the spine, and just taking a few moments. You might notice one foot feel different than the other. Nod, yes.

Okay. Let's take a breath together, inhale, and exhale. Good. Okay, second side, we only have one more side to do. You ready?

Okay. Alright. Sometimes it helps to smile. (giggles) It always helps to breathe. Again, just notice notice where it feels tender and it might be, like for me it's usually around the inner arch.

I can feel the heat, some nausea maybe. (giggles) But just notice, and you might explore, or feel some tenderness around the outer edges. So we're mapping the bottom of the foot. Again with this intention to bring attention down to the feet, and to spread the feet; open the feet, spread the toes. Good.

Most likely this side feels a bit different. Depending on what you're working with. And your body, what you're working with at home. And again you might try the corner of the block. Just a few more moments.

And you might pause and linger where it feels extra tender. And relax in the face. Good. Okay. Alright, and then taking the ball of the foot up against the block, spreading the toes.

Good, and you might bend the knee a little bit, spreading the toes and lengthening up through the spine, and taking a breath. (exhaling) Good, and then release. And stand on both feet, spreading the toes, lengthening up through the spine, and then just simply notice how you feel. And drawing your attention down into both feet, spreading the toes. And can you get a sense as you ground down through the feet, can you get a sense of grounding beyond the floor.

And as you feel that support, begin to lengthen out through the spine. Letting the inner arches begin to lift a bit, so you might feel some weight rolling onto the outer edges of the feet as you lift up through the inner arches. Beautiful. And then mapping that from the tailbone all the way up through the spine, letting the heart gently lift, and the shoulder blades soften down the back. Letting the palms resting towards the body, along the legs.

And that widening at the base of the skull. Beautiful. And then relaxing the effort. Good. Okay.

Let's pick up the block. Bring the block off to the side. Thank you. Thank you. And then let's bring the chair to the top of the mat, and let's stand behind the chair.

And you can let the hands rest on the chair, and spreading the toes. And just like we did seated in the chair, we're gonna lift the heels. And then release the heels down. And let's do this again together, lifting, lengthening up through the spine, and then release. And about six of these together.

Again, just waking up the feet, the calf muscles, the legs. And then last time, let's pull, let's balance, hold, lift. Let the heart lift. Let the shoulders soften down the back, breathing. Beautiful, and then release.

Good. And you might shake it out a little bit. Okay. Now, I'm gonna bring a block in between the thighs. And this we're using, we're intentionally using a foam block.

You can try the wooden blocks, I prefer the foam block here. Okay. So we're gonna bring the block in between the thighs. Okay. There you go.

Good. And then bring the feet parallel so that they're underneath your hips. And again press down through the balls of the feet, lift the toes. Spread the toes wide apart. Good, and then release the toes down to the floor.

Can you remember that feeling of really grounding down beyond the floor? Good, and then lifting the inner arches of the feet. So as you lift the inner arches of the feet, you might feel the inner thighs drawing towards the block. And as you draw the inner thighs in towards the block, let the spine again begin to lengthen. Good, and then let the tailbone, often times what happens is the tailbone likes to roll forward like this.

So drawing the tailbone down towards the heels a bit. Do you feel that? Good, and then drawing up. And then let the palms turn in towards the body. Again the shoulder blades, let's draw them up around the ears.

And then release them back down. Good, and then we'll inhale, bring the arms up. And then again draw the shoulder blades down the back. Yes. Inhale, and as you exhale reach the arms up over the top of the head.

Good, go down through the feet as you reach up through the spine. Draw the inner thighs into the block. Yes. And can you stretch, can you reach from your heart into the hands? Beautiful.

Last few moments, invite the breath to lengthen. Yes, so you're drawing your attention down, letting the breath lengthen, feeling the lift off of the block. Beautiful, and releasing the arms down. Good, let's do that one more time together. Inhale, reach the arms to the center.

Again draw the shoulder blades down the back. Inhale, and as you exhale reach the arms up. And again go down through the feet, up through the spine. As you draw the inner thighs into the block, reach from the heart into the hands. And then let the tailbone big to release towards the heels, so that there's some awareness up through the lower belly, inviting the breath to lengthen.

And then the last few moments, let the rib cage soften a bit. Beautiful. As you exhale, release the arms down. Nice. And then you can remove the block.

Thank you. Okay. And let's do this together. So inhale, squeeze the shoulders up around your ears. And we're really good at this.

And then exhale, release the shoulders down. Good. And as you inhale, draw the shoulders back and up, and then exhale, release. And one more time. Draw up, and then exhale and release.

Good. And then I'll demonstrate, so, take a look. So we're gonna find a chair dog. You can also do this at the wall. So resting the hands on the edge of the chair.

And I'm gonna walk my feet back at a right angle. So my feet are underneath my hips, and the action is to really reach and lengthen through the sit bones. And so the head isn't lifted, it's not dropped, but the head in an extension of the spine. And then I'm breathing into the rib cage. Again, the emphasis here is to really lengthen through the sit bones.

Okay. And then as you're ready, you'll walk your feet back to the chair to come out. Any questions? Okay, let's try that together. So bring your, yeah, chair to the very top of the mat.

Good. And then as you're ready, begin to walk your feet back. So you're bringing your feet underneath your hips. Good. And the feet are about hip distance apart.

And then reaching your sit bones away from your hands. And then soften the back of the neck. So the head is an extension of the spine. And then remember your feet. So spread your toes, press down through the balls of the feet.

Yes, as you reach through the sit bones. And then again invite the breath to lengthen. So you're breathing wide into the rib cage, keeping the wrists soft. And just a few more moments here. (heavy breathing) Beautiful.

And as you're ready you can slowly walk your feet back to the chair to come out. And then just take a few moments to stand in Tadasana, mountain pose. And again notice, spreading the toes, lengthening up through the spine, releasing the shoulder blades down the back. Good. Let's do that one more time.

Usually the second time feels a bit different. So let's see. Okay. So as you're ready, walking your feet back. Good.

Feet are about hip distance again. And then again the emphasis here is to really lengthen through the sit bones. So you're reaching your sit bones away from the hands. Good. Connecting down through the feet, so the legs are strong.

And then breathing into the rib cage, inviting the breath to lengthen. Alright, so here's a nice extension through the spine. And it's a nice variation of Downward Dog because the weight is not pressing down on the wrists, but you still get this nice action of extension, and an opening in the hamstrings in the back of the legs. Good. And as you're ready, slowly walk back to the chair to come out.

Good. And then releasing the arms again, stand in Tadasana, mountain pose. And just notice again. It's not uncommon to feel light-headed or dizzy. Right, maybe you felt that before.

I know I certainly have. So just taking a moment in between postures to pause, stand, connect with a breath, down through the feet. Okay. And now from here we're gonna find a simple standing pyramid pose. You can keep your chairs where they are.

And the hands might rest on the back of the chair. And we're gonna step one foot back. Let's step our right foot back. Good. And then you might find a shorter stance that might feel supportive to find a shorter and a slightly wider stance.

So with the right foot back, you might toe heel the left foot slightly over. Good. And then spreading the toes. And as you spread the toes again, remember that you're ability to lengthen up through the spine. And then pressing through the outer edge of the back foot.

As you lengthen the spine, see what it feels like to draw the left hip back a bit. The right hip forward. Good, and then finding a spot to focus on. So in yoga we call this a Drishti, or a focal point. Finding a spot to focus on.

And then again lengthening up through the spine. You might bring one hand at the heart. One hand on the chair. You might decide to bring both hands together at the heart. And then as you lengthen up through the spine, remember you can draw the shoulder blades towards you.

Yes, towards each other, squeezing them towards the spine a bit for support. (deep exhale) And yes, notice your breath. The brightening up through the heart. And you might at home take five or so breaths here. Yeah.

Good, and releasing the hands to the chair and step the back foot, forward. Good. And then in between sides, let's find the chair dog. So walking the feet back. And spreading the toes, and then lengthening through the sit bones, and breathing, and keeping the wrists, yeah, lifted.

And as you're ready, walking your feet back to the chair. And we'll take a few moments in Tadasana, mountain pose. Good, and then finding the second side. Good. And then spreading the toes.

As you spread the toes, again lengthening up through the spine. Finding a spot to focus on, and drawing your right hip back, left hip forward. And one hand might rest at the heart. Might bring both hands together at the heart. Drawing the shoulder blades towards each other as you lift the heart.

And can you remember that feeling of widening the base of the skull? Good. And remember the breath. Beautiful. Let's take three more breaths together.

Good. And then when you're ready, releasing your hands to the chair. And then the front knee, and step forward. And then last time, let's reset. So we'll find that chair dog again.

Lengthening through the spine. Beautiful. And breathing. Spreading the toes, grounding through the feet. Softening the back of the neck.

And slowly walking back to the chair to come out. And stand in Tadasana, arms along your sides. Good. And then from here, let the hands find each other at the heart. Good.

And we'll move with our breaths. So you just might take a step behind your chair. Just give yourself some room from your chair. Good. And then again spreading the toes, lengthening up through the spine.

Drawing the shoulder blades down the back. Yeah, good. And then moving with our breath. As you're ready, the hands of the heart and we'll inhale together. And exhale we'll press the hands towards the Earth.

So grounding the hands towards the Earth and the feet. As you inhale you'll circle the arms up so reaching out through the spine. Can you remember the block in between the thighs as you lengthen? And then exhale, hands together at the heart. So this is the pattern, we'll do this six times together.

Breathing in, and exhale press. Hands to the Earth. Inhale, circle the arms up, lifting up through the heart. Reaching. And exhale, hands together at the heart.

And continue. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. And exhale.

And four more. Breathing in. And exhale. Inhale and lift, reaching up through the fingers. And exhale, hands together.

I think we have three more. Moving at your own pace, with your breath. (deep breaths) I find it helps to keep the eyes open and gently focused. Good. And once you're finished simply release the hands down and stand in Tadasana, spreading the toes, lengthening through the spine.

Good. And then release. Okay. So from here we'll transition towards the floor for Shavasana, final relaxation. And I'll demonstrate and then, around with some blankets.

So, you'll turn your chair around, and you can even do this on, like with a sofa at home. You turn your chair around. And what I like to do, is bring a blanket on the edge of the chair. Just to pad the back of the knees. Thank you.

You're welcome. Getting out all of the little creases. Okay. Good. And then I'll demonstrate.

Okay. So finding your way down to the floor in your own fashion, your own speed. Okay. So I'll make my way down. And then bring the back of my knee to the chair.

Okay. Of course every chair's gonna be different. So you really want to customize it for you so that it feels supportive. And then I like to have a blanket under my head. I think that feels really nice to have support.

So this is just a mild inversion, right. And then generally letting the knees just kind of rest out to the side. And then taking Shavasana, the final relaxation like this. Okay. So again, really taking your time to come on down.

Thank you. You're welcome. And then bringing the back of the knees to the chair, or what feels best for you. That chair's pretty high. It is a high chair today.

Here you go. Okay? That's good. And it's nice if you have someone to come by and help customize it. Bring your chair a little bit closer.

So lift your legs for me. There you go. Yes, is that better? That's better. Thank you.

You're welcome. And, lift your head. Okay. And then release your head down, yes. Thank you.

You're welcome. Okay. Clelo. A headrest? Yes.

Beautiful. And how does that feel on your back and your legs? Does that feel, it looks nice. Okay. Nice.

And the arms might be out to the side, they might be resting on the body, on the belly somewhere, and just letting the eyes soften. And drawing the shoulder blades down the back. And really allowing your legs to receive the support of the chair. So the chair is supporting the body. And letting your eyes soften.

And allowing your awareness to rest on the breath. Yeah. So this is like a wonderful pose to do if you're feeling tired, exhausted, or at the end of your practice. You might be here for a minute or so, up to as long as it feels correct. And letting the back of the body release towards the floor.

Again, softening the jaw. Good, and eventually relaxing the effort or the attention on the breath. And just allowing your awareness to soften and perhaps expand. So relaxing any effort. Good.

And we'll be here for about minute together, or so. Yeah. (deep breathing) Yeah. Eventually feeling the back of the body release, the low back, the sacrum, the hips. And feeling the weight of the head release towards the support.

Good. So you might stay right here. This is quite comfortable once you really drop in. You're welcome to stay here. Eventually you'll bring some attention back towards the breath.

Yeah. Good. And then as you're ready to transition, draw your knees in towards the chest. You might even hug your knees in a bit, at home. Good.

And then rolling to your side, so facing our friends at home. And making your way towards the seats. Just coming into a comfortable, cross-legged position. Then really moving at your own pace. And then again letting the spine lengthen.

And letting the hands find each other, joined together at the heart. And allow for an inhale. And exhale. One more time, breathing in. And exhale.

Namaste.

Comments

Great to see "real" people enjoy yoga.Elaine has a nice "plumb" line in Tadasana
I am loving your easy senior classes. I’ve been ill and am starting with you from the beginning to get my basics refreshed.! Your instructions are very clear and right on. And it’s strengthening!
Thank you. Love you.

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