Ayurveda: Practices to Feel Like Yourself Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 4

Prana Vayu

25 min - Practice
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Nourish yourself. Ali guides us in a replenishing slow and low flow practice to activate Prana Vayu or the energy that lives in the heart and moves up towards the head space.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

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Namaste. This sequence is designed to activate pranavayu. And pranavayu is the energy that lives in the heart and moves up towards the head. This energy is the one that governs the inhale. So this is a great practice for my kapha people if you feel like you have a little excess kapha going on and you've been giving a little too much of yourself away, then it's nice to replenish your energy supply.

It's also great for pitta people. We have a tendency to get pretty stuck in that third chakra and that fire, and this just brings the energy up towards the heart so that we can connect a little bit more. So we'll start with our hands in pran mudra to activate prana, taking the middle finger and the ring finger, connecting them to the thumb, and then the index fingers and the pinkies come out, and you'll place those upright on your thighs for our pranayama. And our pranayama for this practice will be antarakumbaka, which is a retention on the inhalation. So emphasizing taking in.

I'll show you what it looks like and then we'll try it together. Breathing in. And retain the breath in. And then gently breathe out through your nose. Let's do it twice together.

Breathe in. Retain. And softly breathe out. One more time. And softly breathe out.

And then you can release your mudra, take your block out if you're sitting on one, and we're going to meet up in a downward facing dog. So you can tuck the toes under, lift the hips up, and really all of the energies are working together here, right? We need the balance of everything. So if you've been feeling a little deficient around the heart and the chest, if you're having troubles or a little struggle with moving forward, then we're just working to activate and get that balance in prana vayu. So moving forward, roll out, plank pose.

That's your breath in. And press back down, dog. Again like that. Slide out long, plank pose. And press back down, dog.

One more time. Slide out, plank pose. And bring the right knee to nose, moving the leg forward. Swing it up. Down, dog, split.

Right leg up. Step right through. Come into a lunge. Let the back knee drop. And then you can hook the thumbs and lift up into a crescent lunge, lifting the chest.

And then bring the hands down on either side of your right foot. Stay on your left knee and flex your right foot and come into what we sometimes call a runner's stretch. So if you need to adjust where the foot lands, you can adjust that. And then moving the chest forward to come down over the right leg. And I'm not really letting the head bow here.

I'm almost thinking of taking the side waist long out of the hips and reaching the chest forward. And if the sit bone moves back a little bit and the right heel is moving forward, you really feel this in the back of the leg. Come back into your lunge. Blocks here are a great idea for a supported warrior three. So tuck the back toes under, walk the blocks forward right underneath the shoulders and reach the chest out.

Reach the chest out, sending the heart forward. Big bend of the knees to step forward into utkatasana. Left foot meets the right and reach the arms up. From utkatasana, push into the left foot. Come on up to stand.

Bring your right knee up into your chest. Give it a little bit of a squeeze. And then interlace your fingers underneath your right leg. Letting the right hip drop down and then that forward moving energy, stretch the right heel forward. It's like a variation of uttita hasta.

Lift the left arm and lift the right arm. See if you can hold the leg up for a moment and then step your right foot to meet your left. Diverse pose. Reach the arms back, send the heart forward, lift the heels up. Utkatasana, drop the heels and reach up through the arms.

Bring the hands back down to the ground. Hands come down, coming into your cropos. Lifting the heels. And then landing right back down. Release into malasana, walking the hands forward.

And then landing, come on down, lift the legs up, navasana. Reaching forward with the arms, chest lifting, heart open, even turning the palms up there. Stay there for one more breath. From here, rolling back, halasana, use the force of the breath. Let the legs fall up over the head and then rock up, cross the ankles.

You can hop or step your feet back and take it through a vinyasa or right into your downward facing dog. And then let's try the left side. Roll it out, plank pose. And press back down dog. Again, sliding forward, plank pose, reaching out and press back down dog.

Last time, plank pose. This time it's left knee in, down dog split, left leg up high. Step it through center, come into the lunge, let the back knee drop. Hook the thumbs, lift up, crescent lunge, heart opener. And let the hands come down, staying on the right knee.

Send the left heel forward. I like to move my left heel a little further forward and then the hands walk out, the chest reaches out, the sitz bones move back and it's a tip forward from the hips. Not really a dropping down here, really reaching out. Come back into your lunge, bending the left knee. Hands on blocks here, tuck the back toes under and then there's that launch forward.

Reaching forward, evening out the pelvis, dial the right toes down, reach the heart out. You've got all that support there. And then step your right foot to meet your left, Utkatasana. Coming up to stand, bring the left knee up into your chest with both hands, interlace your fingers underneath your left leg. Try to yourself, feel into the right foot, lift the side waist and stretch the left leg forward.

Take your right arm up, take your left arm up, see if you can hold the leg up. And then step the left foot to meet the right coming into your diverse pose. Reach the arms back, lift the heels up, chest moving forward, Utkatasana, and folding forward over your legs, crow pose. And really think of the crow as moving forward. Sometimes what trips us up on arm balance is thinking that we need to go up, but actually that forward motion so that the weight is over the tips of the fingers is going to be very helpful here.

Release the sit bones down, Malasana, into Navasana, lift the legs, turn the palms up, send the chest up, press the sacrum forward, breathe, find your breath, find the energy, and then tip yourself back, Halasana, legs over the head. Walk up, cross the ankles, hop or step your feet back, and take it through your Vinyasa. Or step right back into downward facing dog. Rolling out, plank pose, draw the right knee into your nose. Down dog split, right leg up.

Stepping through, come into a lunge, let the back knee drop. Look the thumbs, crescent lunge, come on up. Little different this time, bring your hands down, and you're going to sit inside your left heel. So if that's better for you sitting on a block there, you can do that. Bringing the left leg into a half Virasana, with the right leg still reaching forward.

Step your right foot then to the ground with the knees bent, interlace your fingers underneath your right leg, and stretch your right leg up, coming into crunchasana. So lift the chest, there's different ways of doing this pose. For today, keep the chest lifting and the gaze lifting, and take some really deep breaths here, and think of just moving forward and up, forward and up, and maybe the leg comes in a little closer. And then bend the right knee, and step the right foot forward, come back into your lunge, hands down, tuck the back toes under, straighten out the back leg, and step back into plank pose. Lower all the way down to the ground.

Bend your left knee, reach back for your left ankle with your left hand, stretch your right arm out long in front of you, and then lift up. And you might even lift your right leg. So it's like a half Dhanurasana, half Shalabhasana. See if you can change legs in the air, reaching forward, and then stretch both legs back. Release the ankles, lift the chest, reach it out, upward facing dog, downward facing dog, and then take a breath or two there.

Left side, roll it out, plank pose. Reaching the heart forward, left knee comes in, down dog split, left leg up, stepping through, come into the lunge, let the back knee drop, crescent lunge, hook the thumbs, lift up, and bring the hands back down, this time sitting to the inside of the right heel. Again, sitting on a block here if that feels better for your hips or for your knees, and then step the left foot to the ground with the left knee bent. Reaching for the underside of the left foot, lift the left leg up into your crunchasana and move the chest up, tip the head up, retract the shoulders, fill up, and just be there. And go into the sensation, and then bend your left knee, step forward, come back into your lunge, and step back plank pose, lowering all the way down.

Bend your right knee this time, reaching back for your right ankle with your right hand, send the left arm out in front of you, lift up. Move the left leg, stay up, and switch. This time if you want it, bend both knees, come on up, dhanurasana, chest moving forward, forward, forward, forward, and up. Big breath in, release down on the breath out, and then tuck the toes under. Take a big breath in, pull the elbows in, plank, downward facing dog.

Last time like this, roll it out, plank pose, reaching forward, draw the right knee in towards you, found dog split, right leg up, stepping right through, come into your lunge, back knee drops, one more time, crescent lunge, lifting up, and bring the hands back down, and then coming back into your runner stretch, reaching the heart forward. Now you're welcome to stay there, if you'd like to come into Hanuman, you can grab your blocks, slide the right leg forward, walk the blocks back, work to keep the hips as even as possible, and the story of Hanuman might be the amount of prana that it took to go beyond where we think we can go, and then gently releasing back out of that, you can step the right foot back, slip the blocks off, and step back, downward facing dog. Plank pose, bring in the left knee in, down dog split, left leg up, stepping right through, let the back knee drop, hook the thumbs and lift up, bring the hands back down, staying on the right knee, lengthen out the left leg, flexing the left foot, reaching the chest forward and either staying there or coming into your Hanuman, and Hanuman is described as the Lord of prana, right, and that energy that lifts the heart, that moves it forward, that makes us remember how powerful we are, and then gently releasing back out of that, blocks can come off to the side, step back, plank pose, drop the knees down, and take a child's pose, and then take the hands back underneath the shoulders, you're going to cross the left ankle on top of the right in your child's pose, and have a seat, stretch the legs out long in front of you, coming into Dandasana, staff pose, and then reach the arms up, you might even hook the thumbs, pull out of the side waist, and your final forward fold, reaching out towards the feet, and I'm still moving the heart forward, forward, and then when I can't go forward any further, then I let the head drop in, and if you'd like to catch your wrist or your hands around your feet, and still working the chest forward, to bow into Paschimottanasana, and take some generous breaths there, equally filling in, and equally dropping down, and this you can really tap into that release, like you've replenished yourself, you've filled up, and then you can just let go into it, trust that the energy will disperse where it needs to, let's take two more breaths there, you might even crawl the heart forward a little bit further, and then roll yourself back up, you can cross the ankles, and come back into your pran mudra, breathe in, retain the breath in, and breathe out, and one last time, breathe in, retain, and breathe out. And then we're going to release the mudra, and we're going to close with a restorative heart opening pose, so you'll grab your two blocks, the first one will be on the middle height right behind your chest, I like it horizontally, and the second one is going to be on the highest height behind your head, set yourself up, your knees can be bent, the block right behind the chest, and it's tempting to look behind you to lower down, but that sometimes can throw you off, so see if you can look straight out in front of you, and then right behind the chest, the second block goes behind the head, on the highest height, and we always want to close our practice with a pose that has the head higher than the heart, it's a little more calming for the nervous system, let the arms fall open, and just feel your body giving way to the blocks, chest is lifted, heart open, lungs have the space to expand, and give yourself the room to breathe sleep, Thank you. Thank you.

And then to come out of this restorative, just be mindful, move slowly. I like to lift up and slide the blocks off to the side and then come right into your Shavasana. And see if you can even fold the shoulder blades underneath you to keep that openness across the chest and the collarbones. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. And let the next breath come in a little bit deeper. You might even hold it for a moment at the top. And then gently open the mouth and just let it go.

Make some little movements with your fingers and with your toes. And then walk the soles of the feet in, place them on the ground. Rolling onto your right side. And use the arms to come on back up to sit. Namaste.

Comments

Christel B
1 person likes this.
Wonderful flow in such a brief time, feeling energized and ending relaxed.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
That was so beautiful. So luxuriously energizing.  Just love this sequence! Thank you, Ali!
Ali Cramer
1 person likes this.
Christel-thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed. Namaste, Ali 
Ali Cramer
1 person likes this.
Kate-so grateful for your kind words! Happy practicing. Namaste, Ali 
Sandra Židan
Beautiful! Thanks, Ali!
Ali Cramer
1 person likes this.
Sandra Židan thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed. 🙏🏽❤️
Lori
Wonderful! Thank you.
Ali Cramer
Lori C thank you so much! 

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