Gentle Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Gentle Morning

35 min - Practice


Alana guides us in an all-around feel good practice to lift our energy and spirits while inviting ease into the body and mind.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block

About This Video


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Welcome back. Nice to be together. This is a just feel good practice that can be done any time of day to help lift your energy a bit. So we'll start on the floor, we'll roll around a bit with a few of my favorite things, and then we'll eventually come up to standing and come back down. So join me on your mat. You might have a blanket under your spine. I usually like that it feels pretty good or you might have support underneath your head. And as usual, let's draw our knees into our chest and just start by rocking yourself side to side. This feeling into the back of your body, the lower back around the spine. We'll start with windshield wipers feet wide on the floor, arms out to your sides or over the top of the head. And then just letting the knees go side to side, layering in with your breath. Now knees up, exhale to a side. Now knees up and exhale over to the other side and continue a few rounds. So finding a pace that feels good for you. Your head might roll away from your knees, feeling the back of your head on the floor. Nice. Letting the knees fall over to the right, pause there, reach on up through that left arm, get long. You might stay with this or you might bring your right ankle on top of your left thigh, maybe clasping your right hand around your left wrist. Kind of wiggle and lengthen through the left side and with an exhale, let the right knee get heavy towards the floor. Relaxing through the face, bringing your attention into your left lung. When you're ready, slow release that right foot, release the wrist, inhale knees up, exhale over to the left. You might stay here, maybe it would feel good to bring your left ankle on top of that right thigh, maybe clasping left hand around your right wrist there. Good. Wiggle, lengthen, get long, dropping your attention into your right lung, feeling how the breath gently expands into the intercostals through the ribs, smoothing out the face and then just slow releasing that left foot down, inhale the knees up, few more rounds side to side.

Enjoying this fluid movement through the body. Then as the knees come up, draw the knees into the chest. We're going to bring our hands between our legs, so grabbing hold of the back of the thighs just below the knees. You're in a variation of happy baby. You can draw the heels in for a moment, feeling the stretch most likely through the hips and the groins and just letting the knees get heavy towards the floor. Then we're going to extend out through our right leg, so feeling into the inner leg line, the hamstrings and then circle your right ankle out. Nice. Both directions. Drawing that right heel back and extend out through the left leg and then circle the ankle out. Both directions. Drawing that left heel in, kicking the right leg out, drawing the heel in, the left leg out. Drawing it back in a few more times. Let yourself play with this. Let yourself rock side to side. You're playing around on the floor. Your head might move in one direction or the other. A few more moments here. Good. Then letting the knees come back into the chest, stretching the legs up towards the sky. Good. We're going to find some air bicycles. You're going to begin to bicycle your legs a little bit here. Now we're warming up, waking up our core muscles and then bicycle with your arms as well. Your arms and your legs are moving. Nice. Good. Keep going. It's warming up the legs, warming up the core and the arms. The head is relaxed. Few more moments here. You might bicycle over to the right. Letting the legs move to the right, the arms to the left and then back through center. Then legs to the left, arms to the right. Then back up through center. One more time over to the right. Back through center and then over to the left. Nice. Back up through center and then just circle out the ankle, circle out the wrists. Both directions. Then draw the knees back into the chest and rock a little bit. I feel a little bit more awake after that. From here, roll to your side and then we're going to use our arms to press ourselves up. Let's come into a seat. If you're working with a blanket, you might refold it and sit on it. Setting your blanket up and then coming into a sukhasana. A shin to shin position. You find that you're needing more support. You might sit up on a couple of blankets or a bolster as well. Just settling into the sitting bones here. Feel that you can draw the spine into the back, finding a bit more space and laying through your spine, your chest. Then reaching out through the right arm, we'll draw our chin towards our chest and just begin to stretch the left ear towards the left shoulder. We're just stretching away from that right arm. Then just slow, let the head move down. Then just slow, let the head move up towards the left. Then just gently nodding the head down and up. Notice the quality of your breath as you feel into the sensation through your neck. You might prefer a bit of movement here or you might get to a place where you want to pause and linger. Allow for an inhale. Nice, full exhale. Last part of this you might play with rolling that right shoulder forward. You're internally rotating through the shoulder, the arm, and then externally rotating. Let the palm turn up. Good. Roll the palm back down, draw the chin back into the chest and then just bring the head up right over the spine. Clearing breath, inhale. Nice, full exhale. Find the second side, drawing the chin down towards the chest and then rolling the right ear towards the right shoulder as you reach out through the left fingertips. Start by nodding the head down and gently nodding the head up and then back down and back up. A few more times here. Breathing into where you feel the stretch and the sensation and keeping it relaxed through the eyes. You might prefer to keep moving a bit here or you might get to a place where you want to pause and allow for an inhale. Nice, full exhale. Last part of this, rolling that left shoulder forward. So just internally rotating and then externally rotating out through the arm, palm facing up. One more inhale. Exhale, palm rolls down, chin rolls towards the chest and then just let the spine lift and lengthen, head right over the spine. And now draw the shoulders up around the ears and then exhale, drop them down. From here, let's bring our legs wide and taking a few moments to settle into this shape and you might find that your knees are bent. If you're working with anything in the knees, any injuries, you might even roll a blanket and put a blanket up underneath the knees. Nice. And then taking it over to one side. So sliding that right arm down the leg, inhale, lift the left arm up. Feel that you can go down through that left sitting bone as you reach up and lengthen. And then inhale with that top arm, left hand slides down, inhale, right arm reaches up, finding that length and space. High body stretch and then back up. And a few times side to side, over to the right, stretching that left arm over, inhale up and then over to the left. Nice. Inhale up and over to the right. So there's some momentum over to the left. And inhale back up over to the right. This time we'll pause here, lengthening through that left side and you might stay here. You might play with rolling the rib cage down towards the floor, maybe rolling the rib cage towards the sky so you're revolving up through the lungs and the heart. Nice. And then taking a look down, inhale, let your left arm carry you up and release. And then sliding the left arm down, inhale, reach that right arm up and stretching up out and over to the right, grounding through the right sitting bone and hip as you reach on up, feeling that length for the whole right side body. And you might stay here breathing, you might round and move a little bit, wiggling and then spiraling or evolving the lungs, the heart towards the sky. Nice. On an inhale, reach with that top right arm, let it carry you and then just slowly release and notice how you feel. And here we'll transition into tabletop. So find your way onto your hands with your knees and you might bring a blanket underneath the knees.

Cat, cow. As you're ready, exhale, round and stretch your back, releasing the head and inhale, extend and lengthen. Wide through the collar bones, sitting bones, exhale, round and stretch the back, release the neck and then inhale, extend and lengthen. Let's take one more, exhale, curl and round, stretch the back, this time draw the hips back towards the heels. So you're finding more of an active child and then stretching, feeling that traction through the mid-low back. Take a nice little breath wide into the back. Nice. Slow the shoulders back over the wrist, tuck the toes under, nice and easy, downward dog towards standing. So just lifting your hips up, soft bend through the back of the knees and downward dog, spreading the fingers and just easing into your downward dog, easing into this inversion, wiggling, lengthening, breathing. When you're ready from downward dog, aware of your blanket if you have one there, just walk your hands and feet towards each other. Nice and easy, bend the knees, forward fold. Let the head drop and let the arms release. Now your hands might dangle or you might bring the hands around your elbows and just sway a little bit from side to side, feeling that stretch through the whole back line of the body, the back of the legs, the spine, maybe it feels a little dull and achy. When you feel ready, releasing the hands towards the floor, soft bend through the knees, chin into the chest, roll up nice and slow, one vertebra at a time, one bone at a time, unfurling the spine, head relaxed, press into the feet, the legs, feeling the front of the spine lengthen, the shoulders roll up, back and down. Once you arrive standing, take a few moments just letting the blood, letting the energy drop down into the legs and the feet, easy out through the neck. Just allow for an inhale, nice full exhale arriving. And then let's turn wide on our mat, so if you have any props around you, just come off to the side and let's step wide, setting up for warrior two and some standing poses. Feet wide on the mat, let's spin our left thigh and foot in, externally rotating the right thigh and foot. And then let's go ahead and bend our right knee and as you settle in, make sure the knee is tracking over about that second, third toe and you're rooting through the outer edge of that left foot. So you feel that external rotation through your right thigh bone. Yeah, and then the pelvis is kind of at a diagonal, so it's comfortable. And then let's reach our arms out. Moving with our breath, inhale, press into the ball, the right foot, right leg straightens, arms reach up and exhale, warrior two. Nice, inhale, arms reach on up, exhale, warrior two. Let's find one more, inhale, arms reach up, exhale, settling into our warrior two. Nice, taking a few moments here, feeling the abdominal muscles supporting you, find that ease through the neck and then we'll slide the left hand down the back leg and inhale, reach that right arm out, coming into that reverse warrior. Inhale here and then exhale, moving towards extended side angle, right form onto the right thigh. Now you might keep your left hand on your left hip as you kind of roll the ribcage up towards the sky or it might feel good to reach the arms straight up towards the sky. Nice, strong for the legs, reach with the top arm, inhale, come back into your warrior two and then reverse, reaching up through the arm, inhale and then exhale back into your extended side angle. And left hand on the hip or reaching up, feeling that opening through the chest. One more time, inhale coming up to warrior two and then reverse, lengthening and exhale, side angle. Last one, inhale, come on up, hands on the hips, press into the ball of that right foot. Nice, and then spin that right thigh and foot in, externally rotate the left thigh and foot. We'll find that on the second side, bend the left knee and check in, make sure the knee is tracking second, third toe, there's that opening through your hip and then you're connecting through the outer edge of that right foot, putting the arms up, softening the shoulders down, palms up, inhale, press into the ball of the left foot, arms reach up, exhale, open wide, bend the left knee. Beautiful, inhale, arms reach up, exhale, taking up space. Last one, inhale, arms reach up, exhale, warrior two, taking a few moments to settle in, pause, feeling the shoulders over the pelvis and then reverse, slide the right hand down the back leg, inhale, lift the left arm up, find all that length through the left side body. Keep that left knee bent and then extended side angle, left forearm onto the left thigh, right hand on the right hip or reaching the arm up and feeling that opening through the chest, easy through the neck, strong through the legs, reach with the top right arm, inhale, come back into your warrior two and then reverse, slide the right arm down, reach up, inhale, exhale side angle, left forearm onto the left thigh, right hand on the hip or reaching up. Strong through the legs, inhale, rise up warrior two, exhale, reverse, lengthen, inhale, exhale, side angle, left forearm onto the left thigh, right arm reaches up and then inhale, come all the way back up. From warrior two, press into the ball, that left foot, turn the foot in, toe heel to feet just a little bit closer together, hands on the hips, inhale, lengthen up through your spine, exhale, hinge at the hips, forward fold. You can keep a soft bend through the knees, releasing the hands, releasing the back of the neck, head heavy and then from here walk the hands out for hammock pose and then shift the weight so you're reaching the hips, the sitting bones back away from the hands and keep a soft bend through the back of the knees, releasing the weight of the head, new breaths here. Nice. And then as you're ready, walk the hands back underneath the shoulders and soft bend through the knees, chin into the chest, we're gonna roll up with the legs wide and then the strength through the legs as you roll up through the spine, feeling the heart, the shoulders and the head. We'll just heel toe our feet underneath our hips, coming back into mountain pose, tadasana, just taking a few moments here to let everything kind of reset and settle, feeling your bones stacking with the internal mood, feeling the shoulder blades softening down the back, finding that ease through your neck, feeling the space between the eyebrows and the base of your skull, real spacious through the pelvis, the lower back. Just allow for an inhale, nice full exhale. From here let's find our way down to the floor, so in whatever way you like to, we'll meet on our back and if you like that extra blanket underneath you, set it up, and I do. And then have a block nearby, if you have one, it's optional, it could be nice. We're gonna come on to our backs. Setting up for bridge pose, so bringing the heels in line with the sitting bones, feet about hips width apart, you want to have your feet on the mat for this, so if you find the blankets right there, kind of pull the blanket out.

Palms down alongside the body, inhale and as you exhale curl the tailbone under, press through the feet, lift the pelvis up, coming into bridge. And just feel how the front of the body can lengthen, so lengthening the thigh bones, you might roll and tuck the shoulders a bit under the back as you press the palms into the floor. Just feeling it spacious through the throat, the face, and spreading the effort evenly through your body. So if you notice that you're pressing more towards your shoulders with the strength of your legs, consider finding a bit more length through the front of the body, thigh bones to knees. Nice, stretching the arms up towards the sky, we'll lift the heels up, come high up onto the balls of the feet and just round the spine on down, upper back, mid back, low back, and pause. Now second round of bridge with the option to bring a block under the sacrum, then bring the legs up. So as you're ready, inhale, exhale curl the tailbone under, press your feet into the floor, lift your hips up, and then go ahead and slide your block underneath your sacrum if you have that lowest setting. So the block is supporting like the lower two thirds of the sacrum area. So it's not jamming into your back, but it's supporting the weight of your pelvis. And just take a few moments to settle in here with the support, relaxing through the legs a little bit. I love this feeling. You might stay here, you might choose to bring the knees into your chest and then stretch the legs up towards the sky. You might need to readjust your block and bring it in a little bit closer as you stretch your legs up, and then just reaching the palms down alongside the body. A little bit of juice through the feet, through the toes, relaxing through mouth, the eyes. This is one of my favorite energizing, rejuvenating shapes where we're just bringing the blood and the energy down from the feet into the pelvis, the heart, the brain. Always keep a soft bend through the back of the knees here. Just a few more moments here, connecting with your breath, finding that balance, that play of ease and effort. You might stay here a bit longer when you feel ready to come down, bend the knees, bring your feet into your bridge pose, so finding that kind of blueprint, and then press the feet into the floor, lift the pelvis up, go ahead and remove your block, and then just slow, lower down. Nice. The mirror might feel nice to draw your knees into your chest, and now the option from here is to begin to stretch the legs back up towards the ceiling. You might stay right here depending on what you're working with in your neck and your cervical spine. If moving in the direction of a plow would feel delightful and good for your spine, you might press your hands into the floor and then slowly begin to roll up and back, so you're gently moving towards the shape of a plow, drawing the chin in, relaxing through the face. Nice. And then taking your time to slowly roll down, one bone at a time, keeping the chin into the chest, and then slowly beginning to send the head and the gaze in the direction of the feet, rolling the spine down, and then releasing. Bend the knees, bring the feet to the floor, and then go ahead and just cross the ankles, so it's like you're sitting in a cross-legged position, and then moving towards fish pose is a counter, so pressing the forearms into the floor. As you inhale, begin to lift your chest and you might come up onto the top of your head if that would feel agreeable and good with your neck, letting the throat open, letting the chest open, breathing, and then slow chin into the chest, chin to the chest, lowering down, and then draw the knees back into the chest and rock side to side. Let's find a spinal twist to release that, so we'll wrap our top left leg over the bottom, coming into that eagle-wrapped shape, and then rolling onto your right side, stacking the arms, and then letting that top arm open, and then bringing the shoulder in the direction of the floor. Now, if you find there's any irritation or tenderness in your low back in this shape, you might just simply stack your knees on top of each other. This is a wonderful option here, or you might prefer today the eagle-wrapped. And as you settle in, allow for an inhale, exhale, softening the belly, taking about three to five breaths here, and without any strain or force, noticing how the breath responds with your attention, feeling the space between the eyebrows. Nice. When you feel ready to come out, unwrap your legs, stack them on top of each other, reach with the top leg, let the bottom leg follow. Just kind of reorganize your spine, knees into chest rock, and then moving towards the left side. If you're finding the eagle-wrap, it's wrapping the top right leg over the left, or stacking the knees and rolling over to the left side, stacking the arms, and then letting that top arm open, shoulder releasing towards the floor. Find a place for your neck, feels good. Inhale, and exhale. Three to five full breaths here. And taking your time, when you're ready, unwrap the legs, inhale, lead with the top leg, let the bottom leg follow. Draw the knees one last time, and you might, from here, draw your chin in and curl up, bringing your forehead towards your knees. And then just slowly release the upper back, the head, and stretching the legs out. If bringing the soles of the feet together, knees wide would feel nice, you might stay here for Shavasana, or you might choose to simply stretch the legs out on the floor, bringing any support underneath the back of the legs. Nice, full exhale. So Shavasana, our final relaxation, is this wonderful invitation to practice consciously letting go a little bit. Relaxing any effort through the body, the mind, the breath. Thank you.


Rachel S
2 people like this.
Really wonderful. Was feeling a bit sore and worn out today - this was the perfect way to rebalance!
Alana Mitnick
Great new, Rachel! So happy to hear that you enjoyed this practice and feel more balanced. It's amazing how our energy and perspective can shift after practicing. Love, Alana 
2 people like this.
just the right balance of challenge and relaxation for me today - left me feeling refreshed and grounded. thanks.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Matthew, Great to hear! So glad you enjoy this practice and felt refreshed and grounded... such a good feeling!  Warmly, Alana 
Megan W
2 people like this.
Perfect practice for my day off!  Very relaxing, but I also feel grounded and strong.  Your classes are always a hit with me.  :)
Alana Mitnick
Awesome, Megan! So happy to be practicing together. Way to kick off your long weekend with Yoga! xoA
Marina L
1 person likes this.
Really enjoying your vibe Alana! I appreciate your ease and playfulness.  :) 
Alana Mitnick
Nice to hear from you, Marina! So happy to be practicing together. Love, Alana 
Kate M
2 people like this.
This is my "gentle evening" practice tonight : ) 
Lovely sequence : ) Thanks, Alana!
Alana Mitnick
Haha.. love this Kate! You've got it... It's all about customizing the practice suit your energy, mood, time of day, and intention. Sending love. xoA
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