Align with Freedom: 30-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 15

Day 13: Power 1

30 min - Practice


We kick off Day 13 and our "Power" theme with Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) to build internal heat in preparation for exploring an arm balance and back-bending postures. You will feel open and aware.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back to day 13 of the 30-day challenge. I hope you enjoyed that restorative session. We need to take a break every so often, cool down the energy, and we are going to need that energy as we're just starting into our theme of power and the element of fire and building that inner heat, that inner commitment to practice, and diving much deeper. I felt it fitting that we start out the theme of power in sun salutations. Let's start at the head of the mat, and we'll take the feet about hip-width apart just to make it a little easier on the body. We'll start just checking in if you'd like to bring your palms into your chest or any other position that helps you to dive in. Take a moment to close your eyes, take a few breaths, feel into your body, and then release the arms down, eyes open. Let's take a breath in with arms up, soft knees, bend the knees, fold down ragdoll, let your arms relax, neck to be soft, drop the head. Take a few breaths here, relaxing the back, take the hands to the floor, step back into a plank, big breath in, exhale, chaturanga dandasana, hold for just a second, then push over the toes, an easy upward dog, easy, easy. Pressing back on an exhale for downward dog, great opportunity to pedal the legs a little bit, press the heels down, moving the hips a little left and right as we build into this heat, and then working the feet down towards the ground. Let's just take a moment in full dog pose, raise the heels, look forward, step to the front, again feet about, hip width, soft knees, bent knees, hang down, soft head, soft neck, hands on the knees for just a moment, lift the chest and look forward, we'll let the blood settle down, then coming all the way up, raise the arms, inhale, exhale, we're back to tadasana, inhale, arms, exhale, you could keep the legs bending or straight legs this time, uttanasana. Hands to the floor, step back, plank pose, breath in, exhale, chaturanga dandasana, squeeze the body with those elbows, inhale, up dog, exhale to down dog. You can pedal the legs again or if you'd like to just get into your pose, start to feel inside, long smooth breaths, active legs, firm arms, press those palms flat into the mat, raise the heels, inhale, look forward, exhale, step to hip width again, straight or bent legs, your call, fold on an exhale, inhale, come all the way up, arms overhead, release your hands down, we're in tadasana. Let's bring the feet together for sun salutation B, inhale, squat down, arms up, exhale, forward fold, inhale, hands to the mat, exhale, step or jump back, adding a little extra heat, inhale, up dog, exhale, downward dog, right foot between the hands, left heel rolls to the mat, this is warrior one, arms up and arms down, step back, bend the elbows, exhale, up dog, inhale, down dog, breathe out, left foot between the hands, right heel rolls down, arms up, inhale, warrior one, exhale, hands to the floor, bend the elbows, chaturanga, inhale, up dog, I can feel that heat starting to build, down dog, press back, let's take a few breaths in dog pose, so as we build up this heat we're working towards a little bit of back bending since we've built the strength in our first theme, the balance, now we get to use all of that to take our poses a little deeper, inhale, raise the heels, look forward, exhale, step or jump your way to the front of the mat, fold in Uttanasana, inhale, squat down, arms up, exhale, coming out to Tadasana, one more time through, inhale, squat down, arms up, exhale, forward fold, inhale, look forward, lengthen your spine, exhale, step or jump back, bend the elbows, chaturanga, up dog, inhale, down dog, exhale, right foot between the hands, roll your left heel down, arms up in warrior pose, hands down, chaturanga, exhale, up dog, inhale, down dog, exhale, left foot through for warrior pose, right heel down to the mat, arms up, breathe in, and breathing out hands to the floor, step back, chaturanga, up dog, inhale, down dog, exhale, take a few breaths here, we're going to start to add in a few new poses now, then stepping your left leg forward through to the hands, lower your right knee to the ground, bring the hands off the floor for a moment, rest them on your left knee, and let the hips sink a little forward, opening up the fronts of the hips, opening up the chest, and then come back out of the pose, right hand to the floor, left arm to the sky, rotation, twist, release the left hand down for a moment, lunge a little forward, bringing the hips and left knee a bit forward, we're now going for a quadricep stretch, left hand grabs the right foot, some folks might need a strap to help grab that foot if that's not available to fully catch, turn your chest open to the sky, again hips moving forward, a light draw of the heel towards your hip, and then release the leg, coming into a full lunge, let's move into some standing poses from here, roll your right heel to the ground, come up, extend the arms nice and wide, let's anchor into the ground, rooting into the ground to help lift and open the chest, then for our warrior two, we're going to interlock the fingers behind the back and roll the shoulders together, attempting to straighten the arms, keep the chest nice and open as you exhale to bend left knee, here we're rolling those shoulder blades together to help open and expand the chest, starting to build the heat up in the left leg, the power we're gonna need to get into those back bends coming up, then inhale and straighten the legs, release the arms, exhale triangle pose over the left leg and you can place your hand on the shin, now we're going for a chest stretch with the top right arm, we'll open the arm, rolling the arm back behind us and turning the chest up, looking up, element of balance here as well, stretching open right side chest and shoulder, and then bring the arm straight up over the body, inhale come up, take a breath, side angle pose, breath in, exhale bend the left knee, extend the trunk over the left leg, hand down to the floor on the inside of the leg, and now to take the chest opening a little bit deeper, left arm comes underneath the thigh, you can see it there, right arm comes behind the body in an attempt to clasp the hands together, roll the shoulders back as though to straighten the arms off the legs, it's quite a bind here, turning the chest up to the sky, holding, breathing, shoulders back, then release the arms to the full open position of parjval konasana, inhale come up, exhale bend the front knee, we'll take the hands down, let's go through a vinyasa, starting in plank, breath in, exhale chaturanga dandasana, inhale upward dog, downward dog exhale, take a minute to pedal out the legs, lengthen your spine, if you need a child's pose, great spot for a child's pose, rest here, let's move it work to the second side, raise the heels up, look forward, right foot between the hands, left knee down, bring the hands off the floor onto the right knee and sink forward to open up the left hip, and just a reminder we want us to have a little bit of muscular resistance here on the front of the left thigh, so we're not just hanging on the ligaments of the hip joint, and then from here moving into the twist, left hand to the floor, bringing the right arm up toward the ceiling, turn your chest, not only the chest but turn your abdomen up towards the ceiling as well, release the top hand down, lunge a little deeper, now we're going for the quad stretch, right hand is going to catch left foot and we turn the chest open to the right side, allow your hips to move forward a little deeper into your lunge, turn chest and abdomen up and a light little pull of the foot closer to your left hip, then release your stretch, let's come into a full lunge for just a moment and then rolling the left heel down, inhale come up and stretch the arms, we'll interlace the fingers behind the back for a first pose warrior two with this little modification, breath in, exhale, bending the right knee, rolling the shoulders back, lift the chest and specifically lifting the top chest up, be careful of digging the kidneys in that mid-back area, we're trying to just lift the top chest up, a couple more breaths and then straighten the right leg, stretch out your arms, now for triangle pose, big breath, exhale, right hand to right shin, now stretching the chest, the left side will take that arm back behind, rolling open the chest, opening the spine, again that little element of balance and then bring your pose back to the original triangle pose, inhale come up and now Parjvalkanasana side angle pose, breath in, exhale, bend the right knee, take the right hand to the inside of the right foot, now we work to bind, right hand comes underneath the leg, left hand behind, see if you can catch the two together, then roll the shoulders back and chest up, definitely feeling the heat in those legs as we open the spine and then release the arms to your full side angle pose, inhale, come up, exhale, bend the front knee, hands down to the floor, step back to a plank, big breath in, exhale, Chaturanga, inhale, upward dog, exhale, downward dog, take a breath here, if you need a child's pose, great time for it and then come down to your knees, we bring a new pose in today, dolphin pose or working towards elbow balance, Pinchamayarasana, I'm gonna recommend a block for this if you have it, if you don't it's fine but it helps to keep our elbows and hands at a right distance, so I make a figure L around the corner of the block towards the head of the mat, we make those two figure L's right around the corners of the block, forearms down shoulder-width apart, then lift the knees as though you're in downward facing dog, here we push down the forearms to move the shoulders back away from the block, let's just start with that, holding there high heels, hips high, if you're finding you're struggling with this you might bend your knees a little bit to free up the motion of your hips, and walk back come down with your knees and take a little rest, let's go again, hands on either side of the block, forearms down on the mat shoulder-width apart, curl under the toes lift the knees and you choose if bent or straight legs is right for you, I'm gonna work with straight legs and then I walk in, bringing the feet together, I walk in as far as I can without the shoulders falling toward the block, keep the shoulders well lifted and we add a little surprise here, right leg up in the air, shoulders still lifting up and away from the block, five, four, three, two, foot down, walk back with the feet, come on down, let's take a rest, a little check in, we'll do the other side, hands down around the block, forearms down shoulder-width apart, curl under the toes, lift your knees, walk in feet together and you can go bent legs or straight, remember you walk in only as far as you can keep the shoulders pressing up and back away from the block, second leg, left leg up now, my strong lift, four, three, two, foot down, walk back, bend the knees, let's just take an easy child's pose for a second here, let the body recover and slowing down that breath, definitely a power move there and we'll press up, ready for our next pose, you can put the block away and we're going to explore camel pose, ustrasana, we're gonna do it single-sided here first, tuck your toes under and this helps give us an elevated platform to reach back to, we'll start by lifting up through the chest and sacrum and tailbone down, lift up to the chest sacrum and tailbone down and we'll start by reaching back with the left hand to the left heel, push down with the hand to lift the sternum up but keep the sacrum and tailbone down, we'll raise the right arm nice and high and then inhale strong core, come up, point the toes, have a seat, right back up, let's go the second side, curl under the toes, feet and knees about hip-width, sacrum and tailbone roll down, chest up, we'll lean back a little, right hand to right heel, push down on that heel to raise up the sternum, left arm to the sky and then inhale, lift up, point the toes, have a seat, one more time each side, come up, curl under the toes, sacrum and tailbone down, this helps us protect the low back, left hand to the left heel, anchor there and then rolling and lifting up the spine, right arm up, we can take it a little further here, turn the right palm to point behind you and reach the arm over your head, still lifting up to the chest and spine, sacrum and tailbone down, tailbone in and inhale come up, point the toes, have a seat, a breath and one more time last side, curl under the toes, sacrum and tailbone down, sternum up, coming back, right hand to right heel, pausing there, press down through the right arm to lift up to the spine and sternum, left arm up and turning the left palm to face behind you, reach that arm at your level over your head, three, two, inhale, come up, point the toes, have a seat, it's nice to do that single-sided so we don't have to do the full pose all at once, we can get used to that energy of the pose, next stop we'll come down onto the tummy and bringing the arms a bit forward in front of you, we're going to work on bhujangasana or full cobra pose to work towards bow pose, dhanurasana, pressing the hands into your mat, lift your spine and roll the sacrum and tailbone toward the heels and then come back down, let's do a single-sided bow pose from bhujangasana, press the hands down, sacrum and tailbone rolling towards your heels, anchor your right hand on the mat, bend the left knee, reach back with the left hand and here we're in a modified bow pose, holding here push that left foot as though to touch it down to the mat, holding three, two, one, release and come down, take a little pause you can rest your head down and then coming back, let's try bhujangasana again, press the hands down, sacrum and tailbone rolling towards the feet, anchor the left hand down, bend the right knee, catch that right foot, push down through the left hand and press that right foot down toward the mat, holding here and release, so nice to do the back bends with that little extra support, head down for a second, one more time each, hands on the floor, bhujangasana cobra pose, roll the sacrum and tailbone toward the heels, anchor the right hand, bend the left knee let's catch, when you catch that foot though we're single-sided here work to turn the chest straight ahead and release, head down, final side, hands for bhujangasana, sacrum and tailbone rolls toward the heels, anchor the left hand, bend your right leg, catch that right ankle, work to square the chest, right and left side chest, straight ahead and press that right foot down toward the mat, very good, release, take a moment head down, allow the low back to relax and then bring the hands alongside you, press up to hands and knees and a few easy left right swaying motions to start to unwind your spine, as you start to feel more and more freedom there you can increase the motion left and right spine like a snake through water and then some traditional cat and cow, spine goes up, exhale, spine goes down, inhale, you don't have to get all the motion in the first couple movements, let your body unwind, feel, exhale spine up, inhale spine down, one more time, okay, coming to sitting, cross legs and we'll start here reaching forward, folding through the hips, coming forward, sits bones heavy down into the floor, release your head, release your neck, again we're just releasing here not trying to force motion in any way, walk the hands back up, we'll turn over the left leg, turning the ribcage, walk the chest right down along the line of the left leg, we'll leave the left hand here and elongate the right arm forward, in this recovery pose we're working to turn the right side of the trunk down or at least level with the left, breath here helps to open up the ribs, the spinal muscles, come back up, we'll go to the right side, turning chest directly over the line of the right leg, coming forward, right hand will anchor back by the knee, left arm comes forward and this helps cue that rolling of the left side trunk, it's as though we're trying to roll the muscles away from the spine a little, getting that space and coming back up, we'll change the across of the legs, one more time through middle, sits bones down heavy, allowing the low back to release, coming back up and just as a note if cross legs doesn't work for you, if you find your legs are up here just by your structure, your design, legs straight out into a V can sometimes be really helpful for that, you could also, we'll go to the left side here as I'm sharing this information, you could also sit on a bolster or blanket to help with your mobility, reaching that right arm forward, rolling the right side trunk down and then coming up to the right side, lengthen the left arm forward, rolling the left side trunk down toward your yoga mat and then coming up, we're going to move our way into Shavasana, what I'm going to recommend as our prop for Shavasana is a rolled blanket, we're going to place the rolled blanket underneath the knees, so a nice tight roll to help support the knees, this allows a low back to sink easily into the floor to help release even further, so we'll turn our way into Shavasana, lengthen down onto the mat and again blanket right underneath the knees, take a moment to gently lengthen your low back, move the buttocks down toward the heels a little bit, we'll tuck the shoulders lightly underneath, moving them a bit into the spine and opening the chest, let your eyes close, allow the legs to relax, it was a great first power session with you, take a minute now to withdraw that energy away from the limbs, let your body settle, try to bring quietness into the feet, the legs, stillness into the hands, let go of any tension the shoulders, let them be heavy into the mat, soft face, soft jaw, abdomen calm, quiet, allow the low back, mid and upper back all to be settled and restful into the floor. And you're settling into that internal world as it is, as always, stay as long as you need, take the rest you need, you deserve it, if you are ready to come up with me, we'll bend one knee at a time, rest your hands on your tummy and take a moment to turn on to your side, just rest there, support your head, use your hands, press your way up to sitting, find a comfortable sitting position, fantastic first power session with you, so glad to have you here, I would love to hear how you're doing through our power theme, please reach out anytime and leave a comment, have a fantastic day, see you in the next session, namaste.


Kate M
2 people like this.
Nice balanced sequencing! Nice to mobilize that inner strength...
Robbie S
Should the toes hurt in camel pose?
Nathan Briner
Robbie, I suspect that your toe flexibility may be limited in such a way that tucking the toes under may cause strain for you. Some options to fix that are pointing the toes and feet so that the tops of the feet are on the mat as in the traditional asana. In this version I’d recommend two vertical yoga blocks be placed alongside the ankles. Bring the hands to the blocks. Or you could rest a bolster on the calves and ankles for the same effect. Hands come to the bolster. 
Lastly, you could roll a thick yoga blanket and place in under and across the ankles so that the feet are no longer in contact with the mat. Similar to this picture but with the tops of the feet resting on the blister or blanket. I hope these tips help :)

Maggie T
1 person likes this.
Great first power session. My knees really hurt in camel and boat pose. Any suggestions. I put a towel underneath for camel...and it was ok.. but how about boat?
Nathan Briner
Maggie, good to hear from you! If the trouble with the knees is pressure on from a hard floor, then a towel is a good solution or folding your mat once or twice for extra cushion. I’m not sure about boat pose because the knees are off the floor. Which part was giving you trouble?
Maggie T
The pressure of holding the ankle in boat puts undue strain on my left knee in particular. I guess I should just avoid it then? It feels painful in a bad way... But curious if there is a good way to modify...??
Nathan Briner
Maggie, I think you mean Bow pose? Danurasana? If grabbing the ankle puts too much pressure on the knee you could try using a strap around the ankle area and holding the strap in the hand. This diminishes the angle at the knee. Adjust the strap length to suit your needs. You could also skip the ankle hold entirely and just bend the knee. 
There are many factors that could cause the knee to act up but it could be from the knee being held too close to the midline of the body. Shift the knee/leg to a wider position and see if that helps. Let me know how these ideas work for you :)
Maggie T
1 person likes this.
Yes! It is Bow pose! Sorry about that. I will try the strap and moving the knee away from the midline! Thank you so much 😊
Nathan Briner
Maggie, let me know how it goes :)
1 person likes this.
Thank you for another great session. Really enjoying the 30 day challenge.
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