Enjoy Yourself Summer Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Day 1: Simple and Sweet

30 min - Practice


Soften and return to simplicity. In this sweet practice we throw it back to the basics with foundational movements and shapes. You don't have to do much to feel really great.

Today's reading: The Joy of Being a Beginner Yogi.

What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to day one of our summer challenge. I'm so glad you're here. Congratulations and thank you. Today's practice reminds us that through simpler movements, we have the opportunity to see more of our own brilliance. By circling back to the basics, we have the option to recommit to our own integrity. Through these foundational movements and shapes, we'll gift ourselves form and function in the real world. Let's begin. Today we'll start in a seat.

All begin on a block. You're welcome to sit on a blanket or honestly even in a chair. Let your sit bones be heavy and maybe you even lean forward to stick your butt out, find the base, and then come up to sit. Here, if it's comfortable, start to let your gaze be soft. Start easy and so if it's hard to go inside right away, just stare at the ground. If it's comfortable, close your eyes and begin to journey inside yourself with a simple breath. Breath happens all the time, but we have the opportunity to begin here by controlling it.

Take a soft inhale that fills your belly and your chest, followed by a simple exhale. Open mouth or closed. Do this again. Notice how breath naturally invites a gentle movement in the body. The inhales open and expand and lift higher. The exhales gently close and soften. If it's hard to focus on a simple breath, I invite you to practice the drawing of a circle with your mind and with your breath.

The inhale will draw one half of the circle from the bottom to top and an exhale from the top back to the bottom on the other side. Inhales rise, expand and lift overhead. Exhales soften, widen and then close to the bottom. Twice more like this, just a simple circle. If this is relaxing, know that you could stay here and continue to connect to just the breath with a still body. If you're ready to move, take your hands by your sides, palms face forward and thumbs can turn out.

On the inhale, lift your hands up overhead, even behind closed eyes you can look upward. And then exhale, flip the palms almost like the breaststroke and face them towards the floor as you lengthen your spine on the exhale. With the breath it will go like this. Inhale, reach up, widen and maybe even look overhead. And then exhale, soften and return to your center. Eyes can stay closer if you'd like, blink them open and then inhale, look up above you.

And then exhale, return them by your sides. Last time like this, listen for a gentle change. Inhale, this time reach hands up overhead, maybe fingertips touch. And then exhale, send your left hand forward and your right hand gently back. It can look like a Y or maybe out to the side. Inhale, hands reach back up to center, look up if it feels comfortable.

And this time we twist to the left, right hand moves forward and left hand moves back. Good, inhale center, lengthen through the belly and the spine and the neck. Exhale for a gentle twist. Good, inhale back to center, feel your length. Exhale, twist to the left, maybe opening the arms a bit wider and looking farther back.

Inhale, last time each way just like this. Now you've got it, exhale open and twist. Inhale, lengthen. Good, inhale return to center. And then exhale hands to heart or back to your thighs.

From here we'll come to all fours, simply release your hands, crawl over your knees or set aside your chair if you began in one and come to face the short or top side of your mat. You have the option to use blocks today. If you'd like you can place them towards the front of your space, one on each side. We'll plant the hands soundly underneath the shoulders and here's a nice place to use the blocks to measure up. You'll take the block behind the forearm and see if the forearm is nice and vertical by trying to touch the block with a lot of skin on the back of the arm.

You'll place the knee underneath the hip and check its distance as well by using the block. It's a bit shorter than normal or than maybe what you're used to or maybe you're new and you have no bad habits yet. Hands underneath your shoulders, fingers spread nice and wide and start to make little circles. You can look down or look forward, whatever feels great to you. And then go the other way, noticing where it's easy to press into the hand, the knees or the feet.

We'll pause at center. Begin a simple shape of a cow. Let your cute belly hang nice and low. How relaxing. Lift your bum up and back and lift the back of your head to arch your spine.

You'll feel the back side shorten and the belly in the front side lengthen. Take a full breath here. Then exhale, press into knees and hands as you squeeze and curl to a shape we call cat. Tuck your forehead towards your belly and this time we lengthen the backside and shorten the front. Press into your feet, roll your shoulders down your back, inhale to our cow again.

Exhale, press into fingertips, lean slightly forward but squeeze the hands towards the knees for cat. Good, with breath, inhale, cow. Exhale, cat. This time pause at cat and we'll switch the breath, inhale, suck it up into the back and belly. And then exhale, stick it out, press it out for cow.

Inhale, cat. Look down and in. Exhale, cow, look out and up. Last time like this. Moving on, we'll take Garudasana legs on the floor so step your right knee to the center of your space below you.

And then tuck your left knee just behind your right knee. I have to lean forward a little bit to get what we call like the knee armpits together. You can use your blocks to help bring your hands up if it feels tender on the wrist or you can plant your hands on the earth. Feet are nice and wide, you'll want to see your toes touch the sides of your mat. Good, from here start to make circles with the hips, starting to really mobilize the low back and the bum.

Maybe you strut your stuff a little bit. Nobody's watching and even if they are, they'd probably be impressed by you. Make it simple, make it sweet, almost like you are churning butter. But I've never done that, I've just heard about it. Come back, pause and then go the other way.

Turning and turning, whirling and whirling. Good, for a nice stretch of the hips you can use your blocks here if it's hard to come to stand. I promise it gets easier over time, that's why we practice. Come to stand onto your knees, it will be simple for the hips to turn to the left. So see if you can take your left hand to your left hip, your right hand to your outer right hip.

Pull the right hand back, press the left hand forward and look forward. Take a full breath in and a full breath out. If it's hard to balance, don't worry, your blocks are there to help you. And even if your hands are on the blocks, just look forward, where you're going, into the future. That's where we're headed.

Slowly take your hands back to the earth, just in front of the blocks if you'd like and we'll switch out the knees. This time placing the left knee in the middle, snugging the right knee up behind it. Feet come nice and wide on the mat and start making circles this way. Through these simple circles, notice where you can or can't go. Where you like to or where you have to try a bit harder.

Good, and then switch it up the other way. Almost like a clock, find each number on the clock. Let the circles come through the low back to the waist. Good, and then we'll come up to stand. Fingertips to the blocks, if comfortable, to the hips.

Pressing the right hip forward, dragging the left hip back, looking up and forward. It might look simple, but you'll know it's hard. The challenge is something you're up for, stay with it. Take one more big breath in, lengthen and lift. Very good, exhale hands to the blocks and then to the floor.

Uncross the legs. Stack your blocks at the top of your space, one on each side or together. Place your hands into the mat with the same integrity you found in all fours. Fingers, press wide and open. Curl your toes under.

Start to lift your hips up and back as you lengthen your arms. Bend your knees nice and deep and find a down dog. From this space, see if you can feel your knees come towards your armpits. Wiggle your bum up and back. Good, take a full breath in and a full breath out.

If it's hard to focus on the shape or the breath, maybe you focus again on the circle. Even though you're upside down, which part of the circle would you draw on your inhale and on your exhale? This inhale slowly roll forward to a high plank, look to the top of the mat. Good, and then exhale, set your knees on the earth. Walk the hands back underneath the shoulders, curl your toes under and we'll take a shape known as inchworm.

Find the curve of cow in the back, look forward and as you bend your elbows towards your ribs, lower your chest and chin towards the mat. Then like a yogi doing the worm, untuck your toes, curl your low belly towards your chest and then roll through to cobra. Press into the feet and pelvis, lengthen through the upper and mid back and then exhale, release your hands and chin to the floor. Cobra three times, inhale, lift up, inhale, exhale, release. Two more times, inhale, rise with the breath, exhale, release.

This time inhale, really lengthen and lift, exhale, release to the mat. Curl your toes under and lift back through a high modified plank, widen the knees, untuck the toes and release to child's pose. If the floor feels far away, you can always use a block underneath your forehead, extend the arms nice and long and return to the simplicity of the breath. Yoga can often feel like a circus or a show sport, I promise, it doesn't need to be. You're not a gymnast or a dancer, though if you are, we're impressed by you, we're just not after the same goals in this moment.

So focus on the simple goal of this moment, to soften and return to simple. And through simple we see our brilliance of what we already are, of what we can be by just being here. Keeping it simple but starting to move with both speed and sweetness slowly start to press up to all fours. From here, step your right foot out to the right, keep your right hand underneath your right shoulder. Step your left foot to the back of the mat and reach your left hand up, a modified side plank.

Inhale, the hand up overhead to the top of your space and then exhale, make it in a big circle. This time with breath, inhale, reach up overhead, exhale, soften and smooth towards the floor. Last time like this, inhale, reach up big circle with the shoulder, following with the eyes and then exhale back to all fours. Inhale to cow, exhale to cat. Good, inhale to a neutral spine in all fours.

Come to the second side, left foot steps to the left on an angle, left hand underneath the left shoulder. Step your right foot to the back and inhale the right hand high. Stay here or inhale, reach the right hand up, reach overhead and then exhale down back towards the floor. Inhale, lengthen, expand and lift, exhale, swing and sweetly close. Once more like this, inhale, reach up and around and then exhale back to center.

Hands touch the earth, knees do too. This time you can step your blocks up to the top of your space, you won't need them for a moment. Curl your toes under, walk your feet towards your hands and sweetly come into a forward fold at the top of your space. Bend your knees a lot, soften the crown of your head towards the earth, but lift your bum a little bit higher without having to straighten your legs. Feet as wide as your sit bones.

Take your hands to your shins and on an inhale find a halfway lift. Exhale, lengthen through the low belly then soften the mid belly to the thighs and the shoulders towards the earth. Twice more like this, press into the shins, shins press back, lengthen your spine. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, last one, halfway lift.

Shoulders pull onto the back and then exhale, soften towards the floor. This time we'll take a reverse swan dive meaning the head will reach forward, the hands will reach back. Bend your knees and almost like a reverse dive slowly come up to stand, lengthen through the low, mid and upper back. Good, exhale hands to heart, bend knees, drag the hands down the midline and gently forward fold. This time left foot will step to the back of the mat, fingertips can touch the floor.

If you would prefer blocks underneath the hands, go ahead and use them. Step your left foot to the back of the earth. Right knee into the right armpit in this low lunge, lengthen the left leg and look forward. Keeping the right knee in the right armpit, pull the right hip back. You can curl the right toes up towards the face and find a modified pyramid.

It will give you a big stretch through the back of your right leg. Good, and then slowly lower the right foot back to the floor. Inhale to your low lunge, look forward, plant your hands and then step your right foot to the back of the space down dog. Good, inhale, roll forward, high plank pose. If you've been here before, exhale knees, chin and chest to the floor for inchworm.

Good, yogi's little roll, press toes, then pelvis, then belly to the floor, inhale to cobra. And then exhale, sweep it up and back to down dog. This time the left foot steps to the top of the space, low lunge. Look forward. Good, first time in this low lunge, step left, I'm sorry, step right to meet the left, forward fold.

Inhale, halfway lift, long spine. And then exhale, fold in. Reverse, swan dive to stand, hands move back, head moves forward, slowly come up. Good, and then return hands to heart. Inhale, hands sweep high, bend through the knees, forward fold.

Nice and simple, second side, inhale, halfway lift, long spine. This time the right foot steps to the back of the mat for a nice low lunge. Inhale, look forward, left knee into left armpit, then slowly press the hips back, modified pyramid. The stronger the feet are, the safer the knees and hips are. So spread the toes wide, keep the left knee bent and try to pull the left sit bone back.

Good, inhale back to a low lunge. Plant the hands, step the left foot to the back of your space, down dog. Good, from here, inhale, roll forward, high plank pose. Here you are again. Exhale, knees, chest and chin for inchworm, look forward, squeeze to center.

Yogi's body roll to cobra. And then exhale, press back to down dog. This time the right foot steps forward, low lunge to the top of the mat. Exhale, inhale, step to a halfway lift at the top of your space, hands to shins. Exhale to forward fold.

Second time through, inhale, reverse to stand. Good, and then fold again forward. Inhale, halfway lift. Exhale, step left foot to the back of the mat, low lunge. Inhale right here.

And then exhale to your modified pyramid, press it back, right knee stays in the right armpit. Good, inhale to your low lunge. Exhale, step it back down dog. Inhale, roll forward, high plank. Exhale, inchworm, you got this, stay strong.

Yogi's body roll, it's fine, I promise. Exhale to down dog. Left foot steps again, low lunge, exhale. Inhale, halfway lift, top of your space. Exhale, fold in.

Reverse swan dive to stand, get tall and proud and brilliant. Exhale, fold and fall towards the floor as you fold at the hips. Right foot steps to the back of the mat. Inhale, low lunge. Exhale, modified pyramid.

Squeeze the left hip back, left knee into left armpit. Inhale, low lunge, look forward. Exhale, down dog. Left foot steps back, last time like this. Inhale, high plank, good strength.

Exhale, inchworm, look forward, stick your booty up and back. Good, last time for the roll, you got this. Reach up and then exhale right from here. Stack one hand and then the other. Relax your forehead on your hands and just breathe.

After this moment of rest, slowly lift your head and we'll come on to our backs. Right from here, rolling onto the spine. If your blocks are near you, you can press them away. You can keep one for this next pose. Using a block, you're welcome to do this in a more active way, but we'll take a supported bridge posture.

Arms down by your sides, tuck one shoulder under and then the opposite. Press into your feet and slowly lift your hips to a bridge shape. You're welcome to use your block to support yourself here on any height that feels good to you. I'll pick the second height and you place it right on your sacrum, sort of the flat part right above your bum. Resting the body here, you can allow the weight of the bones to soften into the block.

You'll notice the soles of the feet are a little bit softer and you can again return to the simplicity of breath even after our great work together today. If you're feeling stressed, you're always welcome to stay here, but we'll move on to another shape, continuing to neutralize the body. Press into your feet, lift your hips off of the block, slide the block out from underneath you and then gently stick your butt out as you slowly roll to the earth. From here, we'll take a supine figure four. Keep your left foot planted on the ground and take your right foot towards the ceiling.

Your hands can interlace behind the right thigh if it feels good. You're welcome to stay here or wrap your right ankle on top of your left knee. Making a four shape with your legs, press your right knee away from your right shoulder. If this doesn't provide much sensation, ask yourself if you're engaging through the hips, you want to stick your butt out a little bit, flex your feet and then press through the outer right knee. Throughout the series, we'll continue to grow this shape, so don't feel rushed into doing more.

Instead, return to your intelligence and your integrity by doing a little bit less. See what would happen in this space if you stopped running, stopped swimming away and instead paused. Moving into another shape, drag your right knee into your chest and then soften your right foot to the floor. Second side, right foot stays on the mat, left foot goes towards the ceiling, hands behind the left leg, almost pressing the left foot bone away from the left shoulder and then tucking the left ankle on top of the right knee. You can use your hands to press the left knee away from the left shoulder, keeping the feet active, softening through the belly but strengthening the mind, its focus, its attention to detail and its ability to soothe yourself in moments of simple action.

Take another breath here and stay for the exhale. Left knee into the chest and then soften your left foot to the earth. Walk your feet nice and wide and we'll knock both knees over to the right side. Left inner knee falling towards inner right ankle, left hand can come up overhead. I like to rest my right hand on top of my right thigh or even across to my left hip.

You're welcome to look upward, close your eyes and look inward or turn your chin to the left and look past your armpit. Take a full breath in and a full breath out. Gently lifting through center, both knees past the midline and then over to the left side. Inner right knee falling towards inner left ankle, right hand up overhead if it's comfortable on the shoulder. Looking upward, closing the eyes and looking inward or if it's comfortable tipping the head to the right and gazing past the right arm.

We'll slowly come back through center. If you have a blanket at home, this is a nice time to use it to settle into our short Shavasana. Take the blanket and I like it simply just over my hips. Just helps ground me, makes me feel my belly. Shavasana is just a nice lying pose on the earth.

Legs extend long, arms extend long by your sides. You can tuck one shoulder and then the other underneath your heart and make it really simple. In our modern world, simple is not always easy, but invite yourself to enjoy it. Our practice has come back to the basics, but it wasn't always for beginners. Here, if it's hard to settle into stillness, maybe again you find the circle.

Inhales a simple breath in and a smooth breath out. Take a few more here with yourself. You're welcome to stay longer, but if you're ready, start to wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch and reach your hands up overhead. Pass your blanket off your body and roll to your right side.

Stay here or if you're ready, press your way up to sit. In any shape that feels comfortable, we'll simply connect to close. Take your hands to your heart and notice how long your spine is. Lift your thumbs to the center of your forehead and know that we hope your thoughts are full of happiness. Drag your thumbs to your lips and may your words be full of kindness.

Drag your thumbs to your chest and may these simple movements remind you of your brilliance and your strength. I hope to see you again soon. Namaste.


Jenny S
9 people like this.
Aaahhh, nice and simple...seems like the perfect approach to a summertime practice. No need to rush, or to get overly heated up. I imagine I’ll be coming back to these classes even after the challenge is finished, to get some sweet yoga in on even the hottest of days. It’s a great concept to remember to be easy on oneself and reap the benefits. 🌞🏖
Lorraine Marek
This simple easy practice helped calm my monkey mind
Chelsea C
3 people like this.
Perfect to stretch and move without having to go hard or fast after a long day of work, thank you
1 person likes this.
Lorraine so happy to hear this! Its a challenge for me too, but I love to hear that this practice helped you experience more calm. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to hear what you think of the next few days of the challenge! Look forward to hearing in the forum 💕
2 people like this.
Chelsea, oh this is exactly what I’m using the practice for too! I had an 11.5 hr day. I love that’s it’s a nice and simple 30 minutes! The next few days pose slightly different challenges but I love being able to come back to this practice for tough days, because we all still need yoga on those sort of days!! 
Leah K
1 person likes this.
Thank you for practicing with me, Steph! Namaste
Natalya K
1 person likes this.
I loved it! Thank you for the peaceful practice and for the beautiful message at the start. It was great!
1 person likes this.
Leah thank YOU for practicing!! I hope you’re enjoying these classes ☺️
1 person likes this.
Natalya so happy you had a great class! Excited to hear what you think each day. 
Diane H
This was a perfect start for me, after being away from yoga for a while.    Very peaceful, simple,  relaxing .  Thank you for a wonderful practice!
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