Gentle Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 2

Gentle Strength

25 min - Practice
269 likes
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Alana guides us in a sweet and simple practice with a focus on external hip rotation and side bending in preparation for triangle pose. You will feel nourished and spacious.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

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Dec 26, 2019
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Welcome to gentle strength. This is a sweet and simple practice. We'll focus on some external hip rotation, some side bending in preparation for triangle pose standing. So find yourself in a comfy seat. You might sit up on a blanket or two, and I prefer a blanket, and you might have a block or two nearby. So come into a comfortable seat. It might be cross-legged, and we'll start with some circles. You can also do this in a chair if you're more comfortable. So hands on the legs, and just begin to find a circle with your torso, with the upper body. It's nice and easy, feeling into your hips, feeling into your spine, and circling the rib cage. Just finding a range of movement that feels good for your body. Nice. And notice the quality of your breathing. Good. And then we'll circle in the other direction, just warming up, waking up the spine, the hips. Noticing any areas that feel a little sticky or tight. A few more like this. Nice. And then as you come back into the center, we'll find some cat-cow seated. So inhale, lengthen up through your spine, and then exhale, curl the tailbone under, round and stretch your back. Get round. And then as you inhale, roll your pelvis forward. Find a bit of length through your spine, arching your back. And then again, exhale again, curl and round, stretching the back. Ooh, it feels so nice to get kind of slumpy and round. And then inhale, rock towards the front edge of your sitting bones, feeling that length and space. A few more times here. Exhale, curl and round. You might close your eyes if that feels good. And with your inhale, roll your pelvis forward, arching your back, feeling that length through the front of the spine, maybe the throat. And exhale, curl and round, stretching the back of the heart, the shoulder blades. And inhale, rolling the pelvis forward. Let's find one more like this. Exhale, curl and round, stretching the back. And inhale, roll the pelvis forward and arch. Nice. And just settle into a neutral position. From here, we'll come into a side bend. So reaching your right arm out, inhale, lift your left arm up towards the sky. Just go down through your left sitting bone as you find a bit more length and space. And keep a soft bend through the elbow, maybe walking your fingertips out a bit further and stretching up out and over. Really finding a place where your neck feels happy. Your neck feels good. You might roll your ribcage up and you might roll the ribcage down. Breathing wide into the left side body. Beautiful. Let the inhale carry you up. Nice. Take a moment to pause. Let's roll the shoulders up and then drop them down. Good. We'll find the other side. Reach the left fingertips out. Inhale, reach the right arm up. Go down through that right sitting bone as you just reach on up. Find that length, that good stretchy feeling through the right side. You might stay here. You might walk the fingertips out a little bit more and stretching the arm up out and over. You might find the side feels different. I know I sure do. And you might roll the ribcage down and maybe rolling it up. Breathing wide into the right lung, stretching the side body, easy through the neck. Nice. With an inhale, let that right arm come all the way back up. Exhale, release. Let's draw the shoulders up and then drop them down. Nice. And then just go ahead and switch the cross of your legs if you're seated. Wobble into your sitting bones again and we'll interlace our fingers and then stretch the arms forward and then go ahead and round the back again. Finding that cat stretch and you might soften the chin towards the chest and then roll the pelvis forward. Lengthen up through the spine. Reach your arms up towards the sky. You keep a soft bend through the elbows. That's it. Inhale, draw the spine into the back, feeling that length and then release the hands. Exhale, spinal twist to the right, left hand onto that right thigh, right fingertips behind you. Inhale, lengthen up through your spine and exhale, just a gentle twist towards the right. Taking a few breaths here. Notice if you can soften and relax any gripping or effort through your hips. Feeling that grounding quality through the sitting bones and then stay in the twist and just let the head and neck come over the left shoulder. So we're stretching the neck. Ah, and then just slowly unwind the body. Good. Inhale, draw the shoulders up and then exhale, drop them down. Let's find that on the other side. Interlace your fingers.

Maybe it's the funny knuckle on top. If you can remember, draw the arms forward and then again we'll find that cat stretch through the spine. So just round your back. Yeah, maybe softening the chin down towards the chest. Good. And then roll the pelvis forward. Find that length. Stretch the arms up over the top of the head. You might keep a soft bend through the elbows, grounding through the sitting bones with an inhale. Feel that length through the spine, not through the crown of the head. Release the hands with an exhale. Spinal twist to the left, right hand onto that left thigh, left fingertips spined you. With your next inhale, feel the length through the spine and then exhale just a gentle twist to the left. Few breaths here. Notice if there's any gripping through that right hip, let it soften, let it settle. Easy through your face. Staying with your experience with the sensations. Beautiful. Stay in the twist and then just slow let the gaze, let the head come over the right shoulder, stretching the neck. And then just unwind the spine. Notice how you feel that the shoulders come up again and then drop them down. Nice work. Lean back and just free your legs. You might shake them out. You might lean back and do a little side to side shimmy. I love this one. Just relax and release some of the effort through the hips and through the spine. All side to side. Nice. And then from here, we'll make our way to standing. So find your way there. All right, grab a blanket, just bring it off to the side. We're going to start with some shoulder warm-ups. So find a comfortable stance and we're going to inhale and squeeze the shoulders on up and then drop them down. Again, roll the shoulders up, squeezing and then dropping and releasing any tension. One more like this. And then drop and we're going to roll the shoulders back one at a time. I love this one. I'm binding this fluid movement through the whole upper body. Ribs, collarbones, shoulder girdle area, shoulder blades. Nice, slow fluid movement. And then we'll reverse back up and forward. Lifting the elbows, getting into the shoulder blades. Letting the head move just a few more. Nice. Good. And then coming back. Inhale, reach the arms up, clasp the left hand and then take it up out and over to the right. So right hand around that left wrist, pressing through that left foot. You might look down or straight ahead. And then inhale, back up through center, clasping left hand, right wrist and taking it up out and over to the left. Nice. Inhale, back up through center. Exhale, release the arms. Inhale, draw the shoulders up and then exhale, release them down. Nice. Let's reach the arms up towards the sky. Turn the palms away slow, release the arms and lower them down just a little bit, right about there. And then just slowly begin to bring your left or your right ear towards your right shoulder. And pause when you first begin to feel something. Usually it doesn't take much with this. Now you might stay right here. If appropriate, you might slowly begin to flip your left palm up towards the sky and then maybe nod the head gently. Yes. Up and down. And if this feels like it's too much, you might flip the left palm back down towards the floor. A few more moments here. Letting the head gently move up and down. I'm feeling a lot of sensation down through the shoulder, down through the arm. Nice. And then when you feel ready, use your right fingertips on your temple and then just gently press the head right over your spine with support. That's right. Release the arms. Let's draw the shoulders up and then drop them down. Good. Arms reach up. Exhale, palms turn away, lower the arms, and then slow left ear towards the left shoulder. And pause when you first begin to feel a stretch. For me, the side feels a lot different. You might stay right here. You might slowly flip the right palm up towards the sky and then perhaps nodding the head. Yes. Down and up. Down and up. Again, always making adjustments and customizing it for your body so it feels right. And if it feels overwhelming or intense, you might flip that right palm back down. You might find a spot where you want to pause or prefer that gentle movement up and down. Breathing into where you feel the stretch, easy through the eyes. Okay. And then when you're ready, bring your left fingertips onto your left temple and then gently draw your head right over the spine and then relax the effort. Let's draw the shoulders up one more time and then exhale, drop them down. Bring the hands together at the heart. You can bring the feet about hips width apart, taking a few breaths here as we move into quarter sun salutation. So hands at the heart will inhale. With an exhale, press the hands down towards the earth, releasing the shoulders. Press the feet into the floor. Inhale, circle the arms up to the sky. Feeling that length up through your spine. Exhale, hands together at the heart. Two more with the breath. Inhale. Exhale, press the hands to the earth. Feed into the floor. Inhale, arms reach up to the sky. Exhale, hands right back to the center. One more inhale. Exhale, empty. Inhale, arms sweep up and exhale, hands to the heart. Letting the arms release for a moment, mountain pose. Nice. From here, let's bring our feet wide, finding a warrior to stance. So spin the left thigh and foot in, and then spin the right thigh and foot out. So that internal and external rotation, go ahead and bend the right knee any amount. Just aware that the knee is tracking over that second third toe. So rooting a little bit more through the outer edge of your right foot. Hands can stay on the hips, or you might stretch your arms out. Maybe flip the palms up for warrior dance. And on an inhale, press into the ball of your right foot. Arms reach up again.

Exhale, open wide, bending the right knee. Inhale, press the feet into the floor. Arms reach up. Exhale, open wide. One more. Inhale, arms reach up. Exhale, open wide. Let's pause for three breaths. Finding the ease through the neck, reaching out through the fingertips. Beautiful. And then press into the ball of the right foot. Hands can come onto the hips. Spin that right thigh and foot in. Externally rotate your left thigh and foot, and then bend your left knee. And just see how it feels. Make sure it's tracking appropriately, feeling that stretch through the inner thigh, rooting through the outer edge of your left foot. Arms might float out, and palms might open towards the sky. With an inhale, press into the ball of the left foot. Arms reach up. Exhale, open wide. Two more. Inhale, gathering the energy, reaching up. Exhale, warrior two. Last one. Inhale, arms reach up. Exhale, open wide. And we'll pause for three breaths. Finding that inner ease within the effort. And then hands onto the hips. Press into the ball of your left foot. Turn that left foot in. Toe heel the feet a little bit closer. Inhale, hands on the hips. Lengthen. Exhale, hinge at the hips, forward fold. Maybe there's a soft bend through the knees. Releasing the hands, releasing the head. Coming into a wide forward fold. Stretching the back body. Right head below the heart. We're in this inversion. Soft bend through the knees. We're going to roll it through our spine with the feet wide. As you're ready, chin into the chest. Slow rolling your way up. Pressing through the feet. Feeling the heart. Feeling the shoulders. And feeling the head. And then we'll heel toe, or toe heel, our feet in mountain pose. Right underneath the hips. Take a moment. Just let everything settle. Palms open. Connecting in. Nice. Inhale through the nose.

Big exhale out of the mouth. Beautiful. From here we'll add on. If you have a block or two, you might grab it and set up for a triangle pose. So the blocks are optional. They can be very helpful. So if you have one to two blocks, you might set them up on either side of your foot. We're going to step wide. Again, find our warrior two. So spin the left foot in, right foot out, setting up for your warrior two shape. Nice. Reaching the arms out. Settle in. Soften the shoulders down the back. Taking a breath or two here. Nice. And then from here, slide the left hand down the left leg. Press into the ball of the right foot and reach that right arm up towards the sky. So the right leg is straight. The left leg is strong. And you feel that length through the right side of the body. Beautiful. Feeling the support through the abdominal muscles. And inhale. And as you exhale, begin to hinge at your right hip. Lengthen that right underside as you reach towards triangle pose. You can keep a soft bend through that right knee. Now as you tip, the right hand might find the thigh, right, the shin, or maybe your block is useful here. Keep a soft bend through the knee. Now the top hand might stay on the hip. Or if it would feel good, you might reach the arm up towards the sky. Feeling that length through the spine. Finding a place for your neck feels comfortable. And breathing. Nice. Feeling the right side lengthen. Good. And then to come out, reach with the top arm strong for your legs. Inhale. We're gonna lift all the way up. Nice. Hands on the hips. Spin that right thigh and foot in. Externally rotate the left thigh and foot. Warrior two. Bend the left knee. Reaching the arms out wide.

Softening the shoulders. Taking a moment to settle into your warrior two. Palms might flip up. And then from here, sliding the right hand down the back leg, press into the ball of your left foot. So left leg becomes straight-ish. And you're lengthening through that whole left side of the body. Like you're reaching back. Strong through the legs. Lifting up through the low belly. Beautiful. Inhale. And then exhale into triangle pose. Keep that length through the under left side. Hinge at the hip. Keep reaching towards the back edge of your mat. And the hand might find the shin. You might prefer the block. Right around your ankle. Top hand might stay on the hip. Or you might reach it up towards the sky for triangle pose. Taking a few breaths here. Strong and active through your legs. Enjoying your breath. And just finding a place for your neck feels good. Nice. As you're ready, reach with that top right arm. Strong through your legs and your core. Inhale, reach all the way up. Nice. And then spin that left foot in. Toe heel the feet just a little bit closer together. If you have your two blocks, you can bring them out in front of you. And then we're gonna reach our arms out wide. Nice. Feeling the space. The length. Hands on the hips. Inhale again. Exhale. Hinge at the hips. Forward fold. Bring the hands to the blocks or the floor. Right in line with your shoulders. And we're gonna inhale. Lengthen the spine. Feeling that length from the tailbone all the way to the crown of the head. Nice. Moving towards the twist here.

So grounding through your left hand, bring the right hand to the heart. And then begin to turn your ribcage to the right. And then maybe reach that right arm up towards the sky. Beautiful. Feel the lungs turning to the right. Feeling that space through the arms. Inhale. And then exhale, slow release the right hand to the block. And now to lengthen the spine again. Nice. Grounding through the right hand, bring your left hand to the heart. Begin to turn your ribcage towards the left. And you might stay right here. It might feel good to reach your left arm up towards the sky. Reaching from the heart into both hands. Breathing. Finding a place where your neck's comfortable. One more. Inhale. Exhale. Release that left hand back down. Nice. Strong through the legs. Hands on the hips. We're gonna inhale. Come all the way up with the flat backs. You're gonna use the strength of your legs to help you up. And then heel-toe, toe-heel to feet underneath the hips. Bring the blocks off to the side. Let's come back into mountain pose here. Spreading the toes. And finding this neutral position. Right. Spacious through the collarbones. And bringing the hands together at the heart. Three more. Quarter sun salutations. Moving with the breath. Hands at the heart. Inhale. With an exhale, press the hands to the earth. Soft bend through the knees. Press the feet into the floor. Arms reach up. Exhale. Hands to the heart. Two more at your own pace. Breathing in. And exhale. Grounding. Inhale. Stretching the lungs. Reaching the arms up. Exhale. Hands to the heart. Last one. Breathing in. Exhale and press. Inhale. Arms reach up. Exhale. Hands to the heart. Taking a moment to pause here. Palms open. Lengthening all the way up through the spine. From the soles of the feet up through the heart. Lengthening the base of the skull. Feel relaxed and spacious. Happing into this gentle inner strength. Beautiful. And then from here let's rub our palms together. Feeling, gathering up all that energy. Warm strength from our practice. And then bend the knees and then reach the arms up. Let it go. Feel your energy expand. Let the palms open. Thank you for your practice. Have a beautiful day. Namaste.

Comments

Jenny S
4 people like this.
So sweet and nurturing...lovely for post-holiday grounding...and the ending was perfection ✨✨✨
Jennifer E
3 people like this.
What a lovely class! So grateful! Thank you, Alana!
Alana Mitnick
Jenny, So delighted to see you here! Lovely to practice together... so sweetly and gently. Wishing you a bright and wonderful new year! Love, Alana 
Alana Mitnick
Hi Jennifer! So happy your enjoyed this yoga practice. Please keep me posted as we move through the season. Happy new year and much love. xoA 
Suzanne D
2 people like this.
Thank you so much for this beautiful class. I am excited for the next one! Suzanne
Matthew
2 people like this.
very pleasant - and effective. many thanks.
Alana Mitnick
Hi swdbsn! So delighted to hear from you! Love your profile picture. Please keep me posted along the way with any questions or insights. Wishing you a glorious new year! Warmly, Alana 
Alana Mitnick
Hi Matthew, Great news! Pleasant and effective is the goal. Enjoy the practices and stay close. xoA
Leah K
2 people like this.
Thanks for a great mindful practice Alana! Happy New Year
Alana Mitnick
Hi Leah! Thanks for leaving a comment. So delighted to be practicing together as we transition into a new year! Enjoy and stay close. Love, Alana 
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