Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 7

Side Body Flow

40 min - Practice


Create space for the muscles that regulate breath through this creative sequence linking together familiar poses like Side Plank, Warrior 3, and Prasarita Padottanasana. You will feel expansive and aware.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block


Read Full Transcript

Hi and welcome. Today we're going to be opening up the side body and the muscles that regulate our breathing to get ready to take some big relaxed breaths. Let's get started. Go ahead and come to child's pose. Bring your big toes to touch.

You can take your knees apart, reaching the arms out in front of you and sinking the hips to your heels. Take a couple breaths here. And on this next breath, walk your hands over to the right side of the mat, placing the left hand on top. You'll draw back into that left hip. Nice big breath into the side body.

Let's go ahead and bring the hands over to the other side. Right hand on top this time. See if you can breathe into the space between your ribs. Go ahead and release. Coming up to cat pose.

So we'll come to all fours and we'll take an inhale and really draw the heart forward. And as you exhale, tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back into a gentle down dog. You can pedal the feet out a few times, just coming into your body as it is today. Maybe an open mouth exhale. And on this next breath in, looking up at your hands and take some little steps to get the feet to the hands, top side of the mat.

And go ahead and hang out in Uttanasana and standing forward fold for a few breaths. Taking your last big breath here and as you inhale, take a slow roll up to standing, rolling all the way through the bones and the spine. On your next breath in, raising your arms over your head, send salutation A. Exhale to fold. Inhaling halfway up, lengthen the spine. And as you exhale, step back into plank, drop the knees to the mat and lower the chest and the chin.

Slide the legs long, inhaling up into a low cobra and exhaling all the way back into down dog. Take one big breath in and out and on the end breath, stepping up to the top of the mat, elongate the spine, exhale fold. Inhale all the way up to standing. Exhaling your hands to heart center. On this next breath, raising your arms, you'll step your left foot behind your right, turning the right toes out slightly, bending both knees.

Then grab your left wrist with your right hand and side bend to the right. You can look up and over your left shoulder and take a breath. On your inhale, straighten out the right foot and lift your left leg. And you're welcome to stay here or as you exhale, you could straighten. Inhale bend, exhale straighten.

Inhale bend, exhaling all the way back into low lunge, drop the knee to the mat. Let's raise the arms on the breath and take a back bend. On your inhale, both hands to the mat. You might want to use a block under your left hand, so I'm just going to reach over here and grab it. And then we're going to take the right hand and reach for that inner left ankle.

I'd like you to pull back slightly in your hips, square the hips off, keep the spine coming right out from the center of the hips. And as you breathe in, you can begin to bring your hips forward. Let's take another big breath. Go ahead and release that left foot. You can place your block to the side and then we're going to take this front leg, the right one, and draw it all the way back, pivoting around on the left knee, tugging the toes.

So you come into a side plank on the knee, right arm comes up, and on this breath, reaching the right arm overhead, exhale, take the back of the hand back, inhaling across the horizon, exhaling back, and one more like that. As you exhale, bring the right hand to the mat and kick your right leg way out to the side. So you've got your right foot and your left knee in the same line. Coming into a posterior pelvic tilt. So we'll bring the tailbone in towards the belly button and then begin to move the hips forward, keeping that tilt and back.

So it's kind of like frog pose and child's pose had a baby or something. Let's take one more. Bringing your hips to center, nice firm right hand, inhale, lift your left arm up. As you exhale, keep the right arm straight, but slide the left arm under the right. Inhaling up, exhale, little thoracic rotation, last one, and on this exhale you can slide the shoulder all the way to the mat, coming in to thread the needle.

Maybe reaching your right arm up, big breath. Bring the right hand under your shoulder, inhale to come out the way you came in, big sweep up, and exhale, draw the left arm around the ear. Keep the right leg up and back. On your next breath out, elbow to knee, inhale to extend, exhale, last one, awesome. Place your left hand on the mat.

You'll tuck your left toes, lifting your left knee up and stepping the right foot all the way up. Inhale, open up into a lunge, exhale, twist, right arm up, possibly hovering this left hand off the mat, take a big breath, and on your next inhale, spin your back foot flat, coming all the way to warrior one. Exhale, back bend, center breath in, and let's bring the hands to the heart. Preparing for warrior three, you can look forward, begin to hinge forward, and slowly crawl your left foot up. Try to find that strength, inhale, lift the left leg, and can you roll your left thigh in a little bit and draw the root, the right thigh back.

On your breath, bend the right knee, rolling all the way up, left knee hovers, and then we'll cross the left ankle over the right knee, and sit into a figure four. And I like this variation with the arms around the ears, the palms spinning to face up, and you're really reaching through the pinky fingers. Then take a big breath right where the arms connect to the spine, one more, come to standing. Let's rinse it out with a sun salutation A, inhale, arms lifted, exhale to fold, halfway up, inhale, stepping back to plank pose, exhale, knees, chest, chin, leg slide long, inhaling cobra, and exhale all the way back into dog. One big breath, and take a step up as you breathe in, nice long spine, exhale to fold, all the way up to standing, breathe in, and exhale your hands down to the sides of the body, preparing for the second side.

Right foot steps behind the left, both knees bend, the left toes turn out a little bit, sweep your arms overhead and grab your right wrist. You'll draw to the left, looking over your right elbow, take a breath, maybe one more. And on your inhale, sweep the right leg up, you can stop here, or you can exhale and extend. Inhale, bend, exhale, extend, inhale, bend, exhale. On this breath, we're going all the way back into a low lunge, bring the knee to the mat, arms lifted, take a breath, and a little back bend, come to center, bring both hands to the mat.

Remember, you can use a block under your hand, reach for your left ankle, pull your hips back a little bit, try to bring the hips into a neutral alignment so they're both on the same plane, spine coming right out of the hips, maintaining that neutrality as you come forward. Let's take two more breaths. And release on the exhale, front leg, left foot pulls straight back, pivot on the right knee, and tuck the right toes. Let's reach the left arm overhead, and exhale around the ear. Beginning some helicopters, taking the back of the left hand away and back, and inhaling over the horizon, exhaling back, last one.

On your exhale, left hand to the mat, kick the left leg way out to the side, looking for that posterior pelvic tilt so the tailbone comes towards the backs of your knees. You'll inhale forward, and exhale back. Two more. Bring yourself to neutral, and reach your right arm up. The left arm stays straight the whole time, exhale, right arm reaches under the left, inhaling up, exhale, this is our last one.

You could bring the right shoulder all the way to the mat, coming in to thread the needle. It'd be nice to walk the left arm up. Let's take two breaths. Let's take one more breath, and on your inhale, bring the left hand under your shoulder. Coming out the way you came in, you'll sweep your right arm up, and exhale the arm around the ear.

Take your left leg up and back. One big breath in, as you breathe out, elbow to knee, and inhale, extend. Inhale, elbow to knee, this is the last one, inhaling, extend, exhale, inhale, and place your right hand on the mat. Right toes tuck, so you hover the knee, take a big step, left foot between the hands. Inhale, draw forward into a lunge, exhale, twist, left arm up.

You can stay here where you might hover your right hand off the mat. One more breath, and on the in-breath, flatten your back foot, coming all the way up into Warrior I. Exhale, a little back bend, center on the inhale, hands to the heart, and we're preparing for Warrior III, so you can hinge forward and start to draw your right foot up. I'm really looking for that strength rather than momentum to inhale, lift the right leg. Can you roll your right inner thigh, reach through the inner heel skin on the right foot, and draw the root of the left thigh back. One more breath, and we'll inhale and roll all the way up, right leg lifts, cross the ankle over the knee, coming into Figure IV.

I've been liking this variation lately with the arms around the ears, and you're really spinning the palms up, trying to reach through the pinky fingers, and then breathe into the space, the place where your diaphragm connects to your spine. So that's around your 12th rib, big inhale, and exhale, and release. Let's take a sun salutation, arms lifted, big breath, exhale, fold. Half way up, and you can step back to plank, and then let's all lower into Chaturanga this time, rolling over the feet, inhaling into Up Dog, and Down Dog, exhale. On your breath in, step your right foot right up between your hands, and right away, exhale, turn the toes, the feet so they're parallel to Prasarita.

We can spend a few breaths here, you're welcome to do some arm variations. I'm going to reach my arms around my ears for another breath, and then let's all walk our hands over to the left ankle. Right hand on top, and it could be higher up on the leg as well, bend your right knee, and draw your hips and your torso and your shoulders towards the front of the mat. You may rest your head in your arm for three, two, and one, release, inhale, slow little crawl up to the front leg, drop the knee to the mat, and begin to heel-toe your right foot over into a pigeon. Before we slide into our ooey-gooey pigeon, let's take some rolls, so pop up on your fingers, inhale lifting the heart, exhale roll to the mat, inhaling up, exhale, last one, and now we can slide all the way into our comfy pigeon.

You can stay on your forearms, you can lower all the way onto your belly, and you may even reach for your left foot with your right hand. Two more or three more breaths. On this next inhale, begin to come up, you can come to your hands, tuck your back toes and lift your right leg up and back. Inhale for you to make a little shape there, let the juice flow back through the hip. Let's place the right foot on the mat.

Inhaling the left foot right up into lunge, and as you exhale, turn the feet so they're parallel and walk your hands around into wide-legged fold, maybe doing a different arm variation this time, you could reach your hands underneath you. You've got an arm variation, release it, and we'll all reach our hands towards our right leg, the left hand on top, holding onto it, bending the left knee. See if you can relax your head and your arm. Draw the shoulders and the hips up towards the front of the mat. Two more breaths.

Inhale to release, and take a little crawl back up to the front side of the mat, dropping the right knee all the way down. Nice breath in, begin to heel toe, left foot over to the right side of the mat for pigeon. Bring your hips forward, coming into your pigeon, before we get too comfy though, pigeon rolls, pop up on your fingertips, inhale to roll the heart up, see if you can connect with the whole spine, exhaling down. Two more, inhale up, exhale down, and the last one, and we'll settle into our comfy pigeon for a few breaths, and again, you're welcome to stay on your forearms, or you could slide a little lower, you could come towards your belly. You may even reach the left hand back for your right ankle, mirroring that shape that we did on the knee at the beginning of our practice.

Three more breaths. We'll take one more big breath, and as you inhale, come up to your hands, and this time we're going to roll over onto the left hip, and swing the right leg around, and roll all the way onto the back. Now you may want to have your block handy, so just make sure it's close by for this one, and so looking for that block, grabbing it, and you'll slide it under your hips, it can be on this low setting, or you may want the medium height, and just see that it's a little bit closer to the tailbone side of the sacrum than the low back. Towing your feet to the corners of the mat, or the edges of the mat, toes turn in, and bring your arms up into this box angle shape, and we'll do a little windshield wipering here, supported by the block, so taking a couple moments to get comfortable, just make sure your block's in the right spot, closer to the tailbone than the low back, that will make a difference, so feel around. And on the inhale we'll let the legs go over to the right, and that means that that left knee rolls in, now you can make this a little deeper by heel toeing the left foot away.

Breathing all the way into the low belly, and the connection of the psoas to the diaphragm and inner weaves right there at that 12th rib, and see if you can get it to pacify slightly. Inhale your legs back up, and exhaling over to the other side, maybe heel toeing the right foot away to deepen. And as you next breathe in, bringing your legs back to center. You're welcome to just hang out here, lovely place to be, or you can walk your legs out in front of you, and again the block does need to be closer to the tailbone. Rolling the big toes into touch, flexing the feet, so you draw the toes back towards the knees, and extending the arms overhead, and reaching the fingernails onto the cool floor.

Take a few big breaths, and across the whole front side of the body. This is the last one, see if you can breathe from your pubic bone, to the navel, into the ribs, and all the way up to the nipple line and the collarbones, and the whole torso exhales. Go ahead and release your legs, placing the feet on the mat, bring your arms down by the sides of your body. Use an inhale to lift the hips up gently, remove the block, and exhale slowly lower on down, placing the block to the side, we'll use it for meditation, so keep it handy. You could do another round of windshield wipering if you'd like to without the block, so the feet go to the edges of the mat, we'll roll the legs out to the right, you might heel toe the left foot away, then you could deepen this by crossing your right ankle over the outer left knee.

Another big breath, and release, flipping on over to the other side, heel toe the right foot away, maybe left ankle on right knee, one more big breath, and straightening both legs out, and just having a short moment in final relaxation. Let the whole body soften and become heavy, one more big breath, let's go ahead and blink the eyes open and bring the knees in, get a little rock all the way up to seated, and we'll set up for meditation, so I want to show you a couple ways you can sit, you'll need a blanket or towel or a cushion, and your block, so the first option is to fold the blanket up in a way that works for you, the higher it is, the higher your hips will be, the more supported your knees will be, so the blanket will slide right under the sitting bones, and the knees will move out to the side, you can sit in a comfortable cross legged position, you may need to sit on a couple extra blankets, you could also place a block under a knee that's sensitive or one under each knee, now this position with the legs rolled out isn't always the most comfortable, so another variation that I like a lot is to sit on the block in an internally rotated position, so the block could be on this medium height or the low height, right under the sitting bones, and the knees point forward, of course there's more flexion in the knee here, so that may not be the choice that works for you, but try it out, see what feels good, I like to sit in this position, so I'm gonna stay like this today, but take a moment to get yourself comfortable or as comfortable as possible, we're gonna be meditating for about 10 minutes, and let's get started, so when you're ready, get those last little wiggles out, closing your eyes if that feels okay, you could also keep them open but just gazing downwards so the eyes are in a still point, we'll move through the body to help feel a little more comfortable in meditation, bringing your awareness to the two sitting bones, whatever surface you're sitting on, see that you're on the center of the sitting bone, that you're not on the front or the back of the sitting bone, and then like a spoon scraping up the front of your spine, elongate upwards, releasing your front ribs and opening up your back ribs, draw the back of a head back slightly so the neck is long, releasing the skin on the brow and the layer of skin that's closest to your bones, let your eyes be soft and heavy, allow the brain to become heavy in the skull, the edges of the brain peel away from the side of the skull, your jaw and tongue is relaxed and then the lips are touching but not touching, try to maintain this illumination of your body, this body awareness and also begin to focus on your breathing and you don't need to change your breath in any way, just watching it, observing it is enough, watching the whole length of the inhale and the whole length of the exhale, let's try for five breaths watching the breath, so I'm going to let you want your own breaths for a few moments, total awareness of breath. And if you find that you've gotten lost in thought, which is so normal, it's coming back to that spaciousness between the breaths without any judgment or frustration and beginning again. Wherever you are in your breath cycle, dissolve the concentration on breath and again coming to the body, become aware of the space around the body, the air on the skin, the space in the room, the patterns of light and dark, listening to the silence and the sounds, listen to the silence between the sounds, noticing how sound begins and ends in the presence of silence. Observe how light your breath became and take a big inhale, collecting all your awareness and drawing it back inside, turning your eyes downwards and inwards and listening to the silence.

Without disturbing the quietness that you've cultivated inside, bringing your hands together at the chest, lift the chest, lower the chin, connecting with that spacious presence that you meet when you step onto the mat. From this place, slowly open your eyes, holding your gaze and stillness for a moment, try not to look around, allow your nerves to integrate with the room, releasing your palms and when you're ready, moving forward from this place. Thank you so much for joining me, it's such an honor to share yoga.


Jenny S
1 person likes this.
I really enjoyed the peaceful meditation at the end - just lovely ☮️
That makes me so happy! Have a peaceful day Jenny . :) 
Christel B
Loving your Move to Meditate series Nuria. Such a nice balance in each session.  Namaste.
Tonia T
Thank you so much. I truly enjoyed today’s practice.❤️
Diane C
Another unique class. I enjoyed the frog/baby/needle stretch and all of the very subtle variations of traditional postures that take us deeper into the poses. Thank you!
Diane Thank you! 
1 person likes this.
Tonia It is a pleasure to "practice" with you!
Christel Thank you dear one! 
Francesca Venturini
thank you for this practice !!
Laura M
1 person likes this.
Thank you!!!
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