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Season 1 - Episode 6

Awaken With Ease

40 min - Practice


Alana guides us in a feel-good stretchy floor practice to help us feel awake with ease while finding opening in the hips and side body. You will feel more spacious in the body, mind, and heart.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket

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Welcome back. Nice to see you. This is a feel good stretchy floor practice to help us feel awake in ease and with ease. We won't be bearing any weight on the knees or the wrists. We'll just find a bit more opening through the hips and the side body. So join me on your back. I want a bolster or if you have a couple of blankets or a pillow and we're going to start in reclining over the bolster. You might choose to have a blanket nearby under your head or supporting your legs. And as you arrive on your back settling in, drawing your shoulder blades down your back away from your ears. And let's start with our feet a little wider than the hips, letting the knees rest together. Oftentimes we refer to this as constructive rest pose, just creating and offering a bit of support and space through the lower back and the sacrum area. Nice. And as you arrive and settle into your practice, letting the eyes soften and beginning to feel the back of the body soften and release towards the support. Now you might choose to keep your legs where they are, depending on how it feels through your lower back. You might be comfortable here. You might choose to bring the soles of your feet together and let the knees fall wide into a butterfly or a bodhikonasana shape. And here's where having support under your knees could be helpful. Maybe a blanket or blocks. Or you might choose to just simply stretch your legs out on the floor. Just noticing what you prefer to do with your arms. Your arms might be resting on your belly alongside the body. Or depending on your shoulders, it might feel nice to even stretch your arms overhead. Just creating a bit of length and space through your body, chest, the shoulders. And as you settle in, we'll offer ourselves to stillness for a few moments. A few long moments. And bring your attention towards your breath. And notice the quality of your breathing in this moment. Letting your mind, your attention stay tethered to the breath. Notice the quality of your inhale. The quality of your exhale. Feel free to make any adjustments with your arms, your legs. The shape continues to feel comfortable and supportive for your body. And as you tune into your breathing, become aware of any sensations for your body.

Being aware of your inner mood in this moment. Noticing any areas you can soften. And as you settle in, if you find your mind is still quite active or busy, which it tends to be for just about all of us, you can tether your attention to the breath. Tracking the inhale, top of the inhale, the exhale, and the very bottom of the exhale. Allowing yourself to remain awake and aware as the body perhaps feels more and more settled and at ease. And feeling the support beneath you allow for an inhale. Nice, full exhale, maybe a sigh out of the mouth. Feeling the ribs soften into the body. Feeling the mouth and the jaw release. You might feel good to stay where you are. And when you feel ready to transition, let your knees bend and go ahead and roll onto your side. We're going to push our bolster off to the side and come onto our back. Just roll onto your back if you like a blanket under your head, put one there or support padding under your spine. And we'll start with windshield wipers as usual. Bring the feet nice and wide. Be wider than your hips. Your arms might stretch out to your sides or might feel good to stay over the top of the head and let the knees go side to side. We're just cruising onto the inner outer edges of the feet and letting your attention move from the soles of your feet up through your knees and then from your knees up through your legs and to your pelvis, your hips. And drawing your awareness up through your spine from the tailbone all the way up through the neck. Your head might want to roll or rock in one direction or the other. And a few more rounds here. This is one of my favorite ways to just check in with the body. Feeling length and space and finding this fluid movement. Nice. And then letting the knees come back up through center, draw the knees into the chest and rock yourself side to side. Nice. So we're going to bring in the hands on the inside of the legs and grab a hold of the back of the thighs just below the knees and just let the knees go wide. So we're coming into like a variation of happy baby. Feeling a bit more sensation through the hips and the groins. And then we'll extend out through our right leg, finding this pattern as we circle out through the ankle. You might look lovingly at your foot. Nice. And then draw it back in, extend, stretch out through that left leg, circle it, waking up the inner leg lines. And then a few times side to side, back and forth, rocking, kicking out. Nice. And letting the head rock along. Massaging the back of the body, the muscles there, the low back, the sacrum area. Nice. Good. All right. And then just come back into the center and rock a little bit from side to side. Okay. And then from here we'll transition to a seat. So just roll onto your side. Use your arms to just slowly press yourself on up. And we'll come into our peak pose seated. So from here you might want a bolster, a blanket underneath your sitting bones. I'm going to use a blanket. And just take a moment to prop yourself up.

So make sure you're set up with support. We're going to bring our legs wide. Nice. And then from here we'll bring the sole of that right foot towards the left inner thigh. Nice. Settling into the sitting bones, you might pull the flesh out from underneath you and we'll find a gentle twist here. So inhale, lengthen up through the spine and then exhale. We'll twist to the right. So just twisting to the right. Nice and easy. Left hand onto that right thigh. Right fingertips behind you. And with an inhale, lengthen up through the spine. You might feel your pelvis rock forward a little bit. Feeling that length through the chest. And then exhale, just a gentle twist towards the right. Maybe looking over that right shoulder. Notice what it feels like to engage the left leg and draw the toes towards you. Nice. Inhale, lengthening the spine. You're lifting the spine into the back a bit without hardening the back. And then exhale, soften the belly, twist towards the right. A few full breaths here. Nice. And then let your body stay in the shape and then just slowly let your head and gaze come over your left shoulder. Now we're stretching our neck here. Good. Keep your left hand on your right knee and we're going to inhale, sweep the right arm up towards the sky. Feel that you can go down through that right hip as you lengthen through that right side body. You might stay right here. You might begin to play with lengthening the underside and stretching up out and over towards your left foot there. Breathing and find a place where your neck feels comfortable. And we'll now come back up and then release that left hand. Now we're just going to slide it down the left leg. Nice and easy. Stretching the right arm up, out and over. It's taking the opportunity to feel and find that length. Like you're lengthening out of the waist, the low back. Always finding a place where your neck's comfortable.

You might prefer some movement here. Like what would it feel like to roll the rib cage down or up? If your top arm is feeling a bit tired, you might even bring the back of the hand to the head and open up the chest. More moments here. You're weaving your breath into the rib cage. So stretching those intercostal muscles, which really are primary muscles of breathing. Intercostals, diaphragm, abdominal muscles. And then slow from here. As you're ready, reach with that top arm and now let it carry you back up. And before we find the other side, just take a moment to pause and notice how you feel. You might catch that sweet flow of blood, energy. And then just lean back and free that right leg carefully. Shake it out a little bit. And then drawing the left knee in. Bring the sole of that left foot towards the right inner thigh, settling in. And then as you're ready, inhale, let the spine lift and lengthen. And then exhale, we'll twist to the left. So away from the right foot. Right hand finds the left thigh, left fingertips behind you. Inhale to lengthen. And then exhale with a gentle twist to the left. And you might choose to engage that right leg, drawing the toes towards you. Feeling the spine lift and draw into the back. But see if you can keep those back ribs nice and full and spacious without hardening the back, keeping it kind of cozy. Nice. A few more breaths here. If you find that you're really using your hands, the strength of your arms for the twist, see if you can relax some of that effort and feel, feel the twist come from the center of you. From the tailbone all the way up through the spine, base of the skull, crown of the head. And then stay in the twist as you inhale. And with an exhale, just slow, let the head and the neck come over the right shoulder, stretching the neck. Good. And then keep the right hand on the left thigh and we'll inhale, stretch that left arm up. Go down through that left sitting bone and hip. You might stay right here and just work to really lengthen that left side. It might feel good to stretch up down and over towards the right. Really finding a place where your neck feels comfortable. Breathing into the left side body. Nice.

You might find yourself making sounds. Good. When you're ready, reach with that top arm, let it carry you up. Good. Release the right hand and we're just going to slide it down the leg. Any amount, maybe towards the knee or the shin or the ankle and with it and now stretch the left arm up. Find all that length and space. And with this, you might take it up out and over. It feels so good to stretch. As much as we resisted at times, right? All right. Again, you might stay where you are. You might prefer a little bit of movement, rolling the rib cage down, revolving the rib cage, the lungs, the heart towards the sky.

Kind of make it your own. Find what feels good for you. Breathing into the left side body. Nice and wide into those ribs. You might keep your left hand extended or you might even support the back of your head with your hand. Maybe letting that elbow and chest kind of open. Breathing. Nice. And then slow as you're ready on the inhale, reach with that top arm, let it carry you on up. Exhale, release and just notice. As you're ready, lean back and just free that left leg.

Shake it out a little bit. Nice. You might stay upright. You might just slowly begin to play with walking forward a little bit. Again, just enough to feel a stretch. It really doesn't take much here. Easy through the eyes and the jaw. Finding that appropriate edge of stretch and sensation, which can shift and change from moment to moment, day to day, just like our moods, just like our energy, just like the quality of our attention. Good. And just walk yourself on up. Nice. And then we'll bring our legs towards each other. I'm going to turn on my mat and we're going to stretch our legs out. You might sit up on your blanket. And if you have a bolster, it can be nice. I'm going to bring the bolster onto the thighs this way. And as we approach a forward fold, we're going to inhale and lengthen the spine and then exhale, gently hinge at the hips. Nice. Letting the belly rest towards and over the bolster and just letting your back round and stretch. So sometimes we work with the spine extended and lengthened in this posture and this shape.

And sometimes we just allow the back to round and stretch back of the neck releasing. Nice and wide through the back ribs. You feel the breath right around the kidney area. A few more moments here. Resting in this in a neutral shape, this symmetrical shape. And most likely I find here there's like a dull, achy, stretchy feeling through the back body, through the back of the legs, the spine, back of the neck.

Good. When you're ready, just slow around the spine back up and then just bring the hands behind you and lengthen up through the spine. It might feel good after that to just lift up through the heart, nice and wide through the collarbones. Ooh, nice, beautiful. We'll come back onto our back. So find your way there, roll onto your back. Set yourself up the way you like it. You might have a blanket underneath you or under your head and then just draw your knees into your chest and rock a little bit side to side. Now before we come into a few rounds of rolling bridge pose, we're going to do just a little bit of abdominal work to support our bridge. So go ahead and lift your knees up. So the knees are in line with the hips and you can lift the feet up in line with the knees. And then we'll interlace our fingers behind our head. We're going to do a gentle yogi sit up. So elbows nice and wide. And then feel that you can draw the navel towards the spine a little bit, feeling the lower back down towards the floor. And we'll inhale and on an exhale, just gently lift the upper back up off the floor, curl up and draw the elbows towards each other using the abdominals. And then exhale, just nice, open wide. Inhale, exhale, curl up, lift up, and then just slow open wide back down. Let's take five more. Exhale, curl up, lift up, and then slow lower down. Inhale, exhale, lift up, lower down. Three more. Inhale, exhale, lift up, lower. Inhale, exhale, lift up, curl up, lower. Last one, elbows wide, inhale. And then from the belly, exhale, curl on up. Beautiful. And then release nice and slow. Feet on the floor. Now we're ready for our rolling bridge. Heels in line with the sitting bones. Feet hips just distance apart. Arms down alongside the body. And as you inhale, curl the tailbone under, press the feet into the floor, lift the pelvis up, and then stretch the arms up over the top of the head. Now, depending on your shoulders, you might keep the arms overhead, or you might just let the arms rest alongside the body. And then with an exhale, we'll roll everything down, upper back, mid back, low back, and arms. And then inhale, curl the tailbone, press up, lift up, stretching the arms perhaps over the top of the head. And then exhale, just slow, roll the spine down, upper back, mid back, low back arms. Nice. Three more. Inhale, brings you up, feeling that length, finding that internal rotation through your thighs, and then exhale, round and roll the spine down. And inhale, pressing up, lifting up and lengthening, spreading the effort evenly through your body. Exhale, rolling on down. And last one, inhale, curl the tailbone, press through the feet, lift the pelvis up, lift the arms up, you're in the full expression of your bridge pose. And then exhale, roll everything down slowly, feeling the back of the body, one vertebra at a time, arms releasing. Nice. And then pause. It would feel good, you might draw your knees into your chest and rock a little bit from side to side. Sweet. And then we'll bring the feet down to the floor, bring the right ankle on top of that left thigh, and just send that right knee away. Nice, letting the hip open. And then without the hands, drawing that left thigh in, lift the foot up, and you might rock a little bit from side to side. You might stay with this. You might choose to weave your right arm through, finding the back of that left thigh or top of the shin. Go ahead and see what it feels like to flex that right ankle a little bit, just to protect the joints. Yeah. You might stay with this. You might, on an exhale, curl up, draw the chin in towards your chest, lift up for a moment, finding that cat action through your spine, so your inflection. And then just slow rolling on down and hugging that left thigh in. Nice. More moments here, just allowing that right hip to release on its own. Oftentimes, the kind of the inner dialogue or temptation can be, oh, I got it. I'm going to stretch and open that hip. So consider the possibility of the hip just releasing with time, with breath, with your attention. Nice. Good. Inhale, exhale, release your hands, lower the left foot down. We'll just free that right leg up. It might feel good to point and flex and circle the ankle out. We'll just bend the knee and let it lower. Clearing breath. Inhale. Nice. Full exhale.

Find the other side left ankle across that right thigh, opening the hip. And then without the hands, just lift that right foot up off the floor. Snuggle the knee and rock a little bit from side to side. You might stay with this or weave your left arm through. Finding the back of the right thigh or the shin. You might flex your left ankle. You might stay with this or you might again draw your chin into your chest. Lift up, curl up, bringing your forehead towards your left ankle there. And then just slow rolling on back down. If you find in the shape that your head is dropping back and there's any strain in the neck, you might bring a blanket under the head or even your bolster. Nice. A few more moments here. Breathing into where you feel it. All right. As you're ready, allow for an inhale. And with the exhale, release the hands. Lower that right foot. Just free that left leg up to the sky. You might point and flex. Circle it out. Nice. And then just draw the knee into the chest and rock a little side to side. All right. From here, we're going to roll to our side. And we're going to just slowly press ourself up and come into a spinal twist seated on the floor. So we'll work with our bolster. And you might have a blanket on top of it. And we're going to sit side saddle. So you're going to bring your right thigh parallel to the edge of the bolster. And then the sole of that right foot towards the left inner thigh and that left foot behind you. And what we'll do is we'll inhale and lengthen the spine and then exhale gently twist to the right. I like to bring my hand and just kind of turn the rib cage torso. Feeling the lungs turn towards the right. And the key here is to really lengthen and then lead with the heart and just slow lower down. Coming into the spinal twist.

And you might let your forehead rest down. You might turn one cheek or ear towards the support. Let's find what feels best for your neck. And we'll rest here for about two minutes or so. And you're allowing the body to receive the support beneath it. And can you feel the sense of the breath in the back of the lungs? With each exhale softening, relaxing the abdomen.

At any moment making adjustments in the shape so that it feels comfortable. And you might even find stacking your knees in a different way feels better for your hips and your back. Just letting yourself rest here for a few more moments. And then slow when you're ready. Slide the palms underneath the shoulders. Keep your head heavy and then just slowly make your way up. And then to transition to the other side you might turn away from your bolster and then just bring your knees on over to the other side. A little bit of like a windshield wiper action. And you might bring the sole that left foot towards the right inner thigh or you might prefer just stacking the knees on top of each other. That makes more sense for your body.

And then take a moment to lengthen the spine as you inhale and then exhale twisting towards the left towards your bolster. Lengthening the spine and then slowly walking and extending releasing towards the support. And you might bring your forehead down. You might turn one cheek or ear towards the support. I find usually facing the direction of the knees tends to feel a bit more comfortable. It's less of a twist through the cervical spine. And find what feels right for you. Settling in. Be aware of the back of the lungs. And with each exhale letting the belly, the abdomen soften. And just a few moments here. And taking your time when you're ready, bring your hands underneath your shoulders. Keep your head heavy and just slowly press yourself up. Letting yourself unwind and pause. Nice. From here we're going to stretch out for Shavasana with the support of the bolster.

So you might bring your blanket underneath your head. That might feel really nice. Like a pillow. And then my favorite, bring your bolster underneath the back of your knees. And then we're going to roll on down, coming onto our back. You might draw the knees in one last time and rock. And then stretching the legs out. Nice. Smuggling the shoulders down the back. Feeling the back of the neck lengthen.

And then rolling the palms open. Letting the thigh bones just gently in the flesh. Just kind of roll out. Feet rolling out. You might gently wobble the head a little side to side. Eyes soft, jaw relaxed. Just letting your whole body, your whole being melt towards the earth. Towards the support. Nice and spacious through the hips and the pelvis. Relaxing any effort around your breathing. Resting in this wide open expansive awareness.

Relaxing in this wide open expansive awareness. Thank you. Feeling the support beneath you. Become aware of your body, receiving the air, and releasing the air. And you might stay here a bit longer.

If and when you feel that inner string, draw your knees into your chest, rock yourself. Taking your time, no rush, rolling to your side, let yourself pause and curl up, lingering. When you feel ready, press your hands into the floor, and then just find your way up, coming into a comfortable seat. You might prop yourself up. If you find it comfortable, let yourself wobble and rock a little bit.

And then gradually offering yourself to stillness for a moment. Resting in perhaps a more spacious and quiet body, mind, heart. Like this, joining the hands together at the heart. Allow for an inhale, and gentle exhale. Thank you for your practice, and may this support you in your day.



Jenny S
5 people like this.
This supportive and deeply nourishing practice is like wrapping oneself in a big cozy blanket with a mug of something warm and sweet - just perfect for a midwinter day ☕️❤️
Alana Mitnick
Beautiful Jenny. Love the feeling of your description. xoA
Fabian H
2 people like this.
everything I needed this morning. perfect practice.
Alana Mitnick
So happy to hear, Fabian. May your day unfold with ease and spaciousness. Warmly, Alana 
Suzanne D
2 people like this.
Thanks Alana. This practice is also great for the end of the day. I enjoyed the stretch and release of tension.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
This was just what my body and soul needed this evening, Alana. So lovely. Thank you.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Suzanne, So great to hear from you! Releasing tension is so essential... I am continually amazed by how much there is to release and let go of - on a daily basis. We are in this together. xoA
Alana Mitnick
Wonderful news, Kate! What a sweet evening gift for yourself. Love, Alana 
Andre W
1 person likes this.
The hip stretches were great, it’s been helpful for heavy deep squats. Thank you
Alana Mitnick
Hi Andre, Great to hear! So glad you found this practice helpful. Hips and hamstrings! Keep me posted as any questions arise. Warmly, Alana 
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