Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 9

Tree Flow

40 min - Practice


Radiate outward from the central channel of the body, finding physical and energetic strength and balance through Tree Pose, Handstand, and Headstand. We settle into a final mediation and 3-part breath practice. You will feel stable and centered.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

About This Video


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Hi and welcome back. This practice I'm really excited about. It's one of my favorite flows inspired by a tree and also by Mr. Iyengar. All living beings have a central channel. If you think about a leaf, it has the central vein from which life grows out of. So we'll be playing with that motif in tree pose, in headstand, maybe a little handstand, and some other fun poses. So let's get started. Go ahead and come onto your back. We'll bring the soles of the feet together, the knees out, and you want to have your heels pretty close to your pelvis for some frog pumps. And so what you'll do is roll your back flat onto the mat, lift your tailbone up towards your knees, and lift your hips up a bit, really keeping the ribs and the hips together. So it's not a back bend. And then lower down, release your groins completely. I like to keep my hands like this because it helps me really work on my pelvis, my spine. Let's do another one. Flatten, squeeze, lift, and release completely. And then flatten, squeeze, lift, and release. Go ahead and bring your knees into your chest. We'll do a little rocking and rolling here, and rock and roll ourselves a couple times. And then we're going to come into a standing fold here, and exhale completely. And on your next breath in, go ahead and come all the way up to standing, just resting the arms along the sides of your body for Tadasana Mountain Pose. Now you're welcome to stay like this in kind of a more comfortable Tadasana alignment. Or you can explore a little bit different Tadasana alignment if you'd like to try. You'll bring your feet all the way together, and then lift the inner edges of your feet so that as you seal your inner foot on the mat, your calves seal, your knees seal, your inner thighs seal, and you really feel your hips compacting and drawing in, and then resting the arms lightly off the sides of the body, almost like someone's hooked their fingers in your armpits. Upper arms turning out, lower arms turning in, elongate the back of the neck. Mountain Pose. Maybe closing your eyes and finding that inner balance. And see if you can breathe your breath from the center of your body outward into your extremities, just like that leaf. Go ahead and open your eyes. As you inhale, you'll reach your arms over your head and bring the palms to touch in line with the elbows, so don't drop them to the back of your neck. Just keep them right in line with your elbows for a headstand shape, except that we're not upside down. I just want you to feel the actions here of Shrishasana, of headstand, the tailbone moves in, the ribs move in, outer armpits wrapping forward, taking a breath, and then we'll lift those arms, inhale, and exhale, bring the hands to the mat. Coming into Tip Toe Pose, inhale, lifting your knees and your heart, resting your hips on your heels, and then you're all set up to flatten your hands and hop right into Chaturanga and lower onto your belly. This is one of my favorite ways to practice tree. It's a prone tree, and we're going to start on the left side today because it's good to change things up. So you're going to reach your left hand under you for your left ankle, grabbing the ankle and flattening the foot against your thigh, and then you can have your hands stacked. And make a little muscle memory of what tree feels like here. Squeeze your left glute and maybe lift your left knee off the mat. Try not to use your upper body though, just using that glute strength. Let's do that one more time. Squeeze the glute, knee up, and release, and one more, and release, and sliding that left leg out. Bring your hands under your shoulders, tuck your toes as you inhale, coming up into an up dog. You can roll over onto the top of the feet, and then we'll roll up and back into Down Dog on the exhale. Take an inhale, look forward, up, or hop your feet up, and coming right back into that little tiptoe. And as you exhale, straighten your legs, fold, inhaling, arms up, come back into Tadasana, seal the inner leg, touch the palms together for Sureshasana, Tadasana, headstand, mountain pose, and we'll release and exhale, swan dive forward. Inhaling, tiptoe pose, hands to the mat, hop into Chaturanga, exhale, and lower. Prone tree, so reaching for that right ankle, bringing it up against your inner thigh. Take the other hand on top, rest your forehead. Just noticing what are the actions of the hips here and the glutes. How can you open that inner right groin? Can you sharpen the right butt crease? And then possibly tapping into that glute strength to lift your right knee off the mat. Maybe one more time, and one more time. Big exhale.

And release, slide the right leg long. Let's come into our Upward Vasing Dog on the inhale, keeping you rolling over onto the tops of the feet. Exhaling into Down Dog. Take a big breath in and out. Shake the head out a little bit. On this next breath in, let's lift that left leg up and take a big step up into Warrior One, nice anchoring in the right foot. Inhale, exhale. As you exhale, you can lift your heart up and lean back a little bit. Inhale into the center. Bring the hands to the heart. On the exhale, begin to hinge forward. And inhale to lift the right leg, coming into Warrior Three. Holding for three. Can you bring the root of the left thigh back? Squeeze the outer right hip in and up. Lower the right side of the sacrum. And using this exhale to bring the hands to the mat for a standing split. So you're welcome to just keep the hands down like so, or you can take this variation that I really enjoy. Your right hand is going to reach for the back of the left ankle. Pulling it up like it's a weed. And as you do that, you're rolling your right thigh in. And maybe placing your left hand in line with the left heel, the fingers turning away. One more breath. You're welcome to stay right there. Or if you'd like to hop around in Handstand with me, we can give it an attempt today. So you'll bring your hands to the mat. And it's helpful to hop that left foot back a little bit. Look a couple inches in front of your thumbs. So fun Sanskrit fact. Adho Mukha Vrkshasana is the Sanskrit name for Handstand and it means Downward Facing Tree Pose. So let's see. You can hop that left foot up one inch. Or maybe a little bit more. And I like to try and tuck my left foot into my right thigh to catch a tree shape. Let's take one more little hop. And just one more because it's fun. Great. Take a little step or a little hop to the back of the mat. Exhale Chaturanga. Inhaling Up Dog. And exhale into Down Dog. On your next breath in, that right leg lifts. And we'll step right up into Warrior One. Inhaling to come up. And as you exhale, a little back bend. Center on the in-breath. Bring the hands to the heart. Using an exhale to start to hinge forward. And then inhale to lift the left leg. Let's take a few breaths here. And you bring that left side of the sacrum down. Reach to the inner left heel skin. Squeezing the outer left heel up into the outer hip. The root of the right thigh back. And one more. And we'll bring the hands to the mat for standing splits. You're welcome to hang out right here. Or this variation, the left hand takes the back of the right ankle. You're drawing your left thigh in. Pulling up on the back of the right ankle like it's a weed. You placing the right hand in line with the heel. Even spinning the fingers away for two.

And one. We have a second attempt at our inverted tree here. Hands on the mat. Look forward. This breath in and a little hop. And maybe one more. And just one more because it's fun. Maybe you flip over and we can step or hop the feet back. You're welcome to take a vinyasa, up and exhale down dog. Big breath in and a nice big exhale. And go ahead and walk the hands to the back of the mat. Coming into our padahastasana. So you can slide the palms of the hand underneath the feet. And another nice way to practice this is to place the back of the hand against your shin. So just choosing the one that feels right for your body today. Let's take three big breaths. Can you get those toesies all the way up to the wrist crease if you're in the hands on the floor variation. And go ahead and inhale yourself all the way up to standing. We'll take a moment in tadasana. You're welcome to work on this variation that we're playing around with where you roll the inner edges of the feet together. Or you can take that classic tadasana shape with the feet hip width. Take a moment to breathe from the soles of the feet to the middle of your brain. And exhale back down. Feeling everything squeezing around shishumna nadi, the central channel in your body. And how your breath like ripples in a pool flood from the inside out. Blinking your eyes open. Inhale hands lifted. Exhale to fold. Let's walk the hands back up into down dog. And you're welcome to join me in a vinyasa if you'd like to or you can stay in down dog. Roll into up dog. Nice breath. Exhaling back. And as you breathe in, lifting your left leg. And exhale, bend the left knee. Take a nice big breath. Exhaling into a lunge left foot between the hands. And then turn into twist. Left arm comes up. And let's spend a couple moments doing some helicopters here. Up and back and down with arm, left arm. You can follow your hand with your eyeballs. Last one. Left arm reaches right overhead. Really solidify the right hand on the mat. It's just a smidge in front of your shoulder. Spreading from pinky finger to thumb. And then roll onto the outside edge of the right foot and step the left foot on the right. So you're in tadasana. Now I love this, did I say tadasana? You're in vasistasana, side plank. And I love this tadasana variation of vasistasana with your hand just hovering right over your hip. Can you look over that left shoulder? Squeeze the bottom hip, bring the tailbone to the heels. And then go ahead and step into a single armed high plank. So feet wide, left arm around your ear. And as you inhale, maybe pop your right leg up. And left hand to the mat, dropping both knees to the mat. You'll tuck your toes and come into big toe stretch. So sending your hips back on your heels. And even get that little pinky toe down. And then raising your arms over your head and can you bring the palms to touch and really begin to lift the shoulders in and up. And on this next breath, connecting with the core and popping the knees off the mat. And exhaling them down.

And inhale, pop them up. And slowly lower the heels coming all the way to tadasana with the hands lifted at the back of the mat. Then you'll turn your left foot out to the side and crawl it up into tree, into Vrksasana. This is our third attempt at tree. Trees grow up, not down. So can you cinch everything around the center of your body and grow a little bit taller? And a little bit taller? And a little taller? And we've got to come out the way we came in. So sliding your left foot down. Come to the toes, the balls of the feet. Inhale and slowly lower the knees down. Exhale. Nice breath in. Exhale, pop the knees to the mat and bring the hands down. We'll prep for our shirshasana, our headstand. So all I want you to do is interlace your fingers up to the webbing. Elbows are shoulder width. You'll keep your head lifted. Tuck your toes, lift your hips. And walk your feet in just as far as you can go. And when you've hit your edge, you'll bring the head down. And then you'll lift your head back up and you'll walk your feet back out. And we'll do that one more time. Don't come up just yet. We'll do it right at the end. This is our third attempt. So walking the feet in and bring the head down towards the backs of the hands. Lift your hips up and then make sure you can lift your head up and walk your feet back out. Drop to the knees, press the child's pose and exhale. And as you inhale, you'll come to cow and exhale into down dog. And let's lift that right leg up and open and exhale, bend the right knee. On this breath in, step the right foot between the hands. Bring into lunge, twist, left arm up. Begin to circle the left arm, some helicopters up and back and down. This will be our last one. I'm preparing for side plank. Left hand just a smidgen in front of the shoulder, spread from pinky finger to thumb. Take a big step as you roll to the knife edge of the left foot, tailbone to the heel. So this is a lot like Tadasana. Lower the right arm, looking over your right shoulder. And on the one, we'll come into a single armed high plank. Step your feet wide, reach your right arm around you. You're really connecting with Shishumna Nadi, central channel in the body and possibly pop your left leg up. Let's breathe. And release. Drop both knees to the mat. Tuck your toes and sit your hips back on your heels for big toe stretch. Then reaching the arms up over your head, trying to seal the palms. They may be wide. See what happens. Connecting with core, inner thighs draw together as you breathe out, pop the knees up. Inhale lower. One more. On the exhale, pop the knees up and slowly come to standing. Arms reaching upwards. Let's turn the right toes out to the side and use an inhale to crawl that right foot up wherever it lands into tree or Vrkshasana. Then remember trees grow upwards. So can you squeeze your left hip in? Squeeze everything around the center of your body. Reach upwards.

One more breath. And coming out the way you came in, right foot slides down. Come to the toes. Inhale, bending the knees, slowly lowering the knees to the mat. Exhale and bring the hands down. We'll prepare for our Shrashasana or headstand and you're welcome to join me or you can stay in the prep. Whatever feels appropriate for you today. So fingers interlace all the way up to the webbing. Elbows are about shoulder width. And when you're ready, we'll tuck the toes and lift the hips. And then walk the feet in. And the head's still lifted and when you can't bring the feet in anymore, then you'll bring the head onto the mat, close to the backs of the hands. Start to lift the heels and maybe hover the toes off the mat and possibly lift the legs all the way up. Feeling that action of Shrashasana, it's Tadasana, it's mountain pose but you're upside down. For three. And two. And one. And begin to slowly lower the legs down. They can be straight or the knees can be bent. We'll take a moment to decompress here in our child's pose. Reaching the arms out in front of you, pop the wrists up and rest the forehead on the mat. Let's take two more breaths here. Go ahead and come up and looking around for your blanket. Grab it and take it to the side. Open it up into this wide shape. I call that size tortilla size. And then slide all the way onto your belly. And then you'll bring your left leg onto the blanket. And the knee will be just below the hip. So not up here, not above the hip, just below it. With the ankle below the knee to the best of your ability. Go ahead and rest on your belly. You can have your arms in this box angle and turn your left or right cheek down your choice. Take a couple big breaths. Starting to slow the breathing down. And I love to turn this hip opening posture into a beautiful twist. So you'll take your right arm and bring it under your chest, over to the left. And then you'll lose your left hand here to start to push yourself. And your left leg might peel off the blanket, that's fine. To push yourself over into a, like a floating twist. Shoulders lifted, the knees lifted, that's okay. Just hanging out in space here. Go ahead and breathe. You're welcome to keep resting right here. Or if you'd like a little thoracic rotation, as you exhale, your left hand reaches to the right. And as you inhale, you pull your left hand away. And exhale. And inhale. And maybe one more. Exhale, hand to touch. Inhale, hands pull away. Now we'll exhale and roll all the way back to the belly, flattening the legs out. Grab your blanket and slide it on over to the other side. So the right leg comes into frog, half frog position, knee below the hip, angle below the knee. Slide onto your belly. Arms can be in the box angle. And you might turn the right side of your face down. Just a few breaths here. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, eight, nine, eight, nine, eight, nine, eight. I love that this pose transforms into another one. So if you'd like to join me, you'll bring your left hand under your right arm, under your torso, sliding it out to the right. And then begin to press with your right hand. So you roll onto your back or towards your back. Knees probably floating, shoulders probably floating. It's all good. Take a few big breaths.

You're welcome to stay here if you'd like or you can join me for some thoracic rotation. Right arm on the exhale reaches over to the left hand and on the inhale opens right on up. Exhale, hands touch. Inhale, arms open. Exhale, hands touch. This will be our last one. Exhale. And on this inhale, we'll go ahead and roll like a little sardine all the way onto the back so you can center yourself in your mat here. For a few moments of final relaxation before we meditate, I invite you to keep your knees bent. If that would feel good, you could roll your knees into touch or you could straighten out your legs. Whatever is best for you. Creating some space between the arms and the torso. Just settling into the body as it is in this moment. And becoming aware of your body again and the lightness of your breath. Maybe a little wiggle of the toes and fingers. Let's all go ahead and take a big stretchy inhale, full body breath. You can reach the arms over the head or whatever wiggle would feel good. We'll make our way all the way up to seated if you'd like to join me for some meditation. You've got your blanket handy. You're welcome to sit on it. It's getting comfortable. Take a few moments to get the clothing in the right place and the hair situated and the last little wiggles out. I find that all these things are very important for meditating because the mind will just grab onto anything that it can as a way to distract ourself from meditation. Once you feel like you've cleared out all the extraneous clutter, go ahead and close your eyes. Bringing your awareness onto your breath. And becoming aware of that central channel in your body, the core of your being. This is more of an energetic place than it is physical, although you might think of your spinal column as being the center, the central core of your being. Although undoubtedly the entire body is very important. Just noticing how your life flows, how you grow from the inside out, like leaves when they start to crumble, they crumble from the outside in. And so breathe your awareness. Breathe your breath, deep breaths from the center and like ripples and still water out into the extremities.

You can imagine your breath rippling outwards. You can imagine your breath rippling outwards. You can imagine your breath rippling outwards. We'll do a little bit of breath practice here. You don't need to open your eyes or anything, nothing to see, just listening to my verbal cues. It's the yogic three-part breath. So indyugaswasam is the Sanskrit name. And if you'd like to, you can rest one hand in your belly and one hand in your heart. And so we'll practice really filling ourselves up with breath, max breath capacity. Exhaling completely. And then inhaling into the low belly from the pubic bone to the belly button. Keep breathing from the belly button to the nipple line and from the nipple line up to the collar bones. And then sitting up tall for a moment, lowering your chin, holding your breath. Exhale, release the breath, press it like a plunger down the base of your spine. Let's take a recovery breath. We'll do another two rounds of this three-part breath. Inhale, pubic bone to belly button. Pause, belly button to nipple line. Pause, nipple line to collar bones. Longer pause, sitting up tall, maybe lowering the chin slightly, holding the breath. And as you exhale, pressing that breath like a plunger down the base of the spine. Let's take a recovery breath. Last cycle. Inhale, pubic bone to belly button. Belly button to nipple line. Nipple line to collar bones. Pause. And as you exhale, press that breath like a plunger down the base of the spine. A little squeeze at the bottom. You can rest your hands in any comfortable position and return to the natural rhythm of your breath. Just observing that light rising and falling of your breath. Allowing your body, your physical body to be nourished from the inside out. Knowing that this is enough, in this moment it is enough to simply breathe, to be aware of the breath. Nothing more is needed.

Allowing your body to breathe. If you find that your mind has wandered, guiding it back, just like you would bring a small child back into alignment, back to the center, the beginning of your breath, the middle, and then bringing your palms to your heart, sitting up tall, becoming aware again of that central core, that channel in your body from which your life grows outwards. All living beings, even mountains have a core, a central being, a central channel. Soften into that beingness. You can observe your breath rising from the base of the spine to the middle of the brain and back down. Connecting your awareness into the center of the heart, connecting with that presence that you meet on the mat, and slowly opening your eyes, moving into the rest of your day from here. Thank you so much.


1 person likes this.
Thank you Nuria!  I really enjoyed this sequence and each build.  The build upward into tree really helped me to experience from the ground up as well as tapping into the central channel.   The meditation at the end was the beautiful accompaniment to what came before.   Your quotation of growing from the inside out resonated with me today  on the mat and I hope off the mat too. 🙏 
So appreciate your creative flows! Great incorporations of various asanas flowing into each other guided by your calm encouraging voice.
1 person likes this.
Christel, hello dear one! This is a sweet class - I loved getting creative with all the "tree" concepts! Thanks for appreciating it. 
M Angela This great feedback, thank you! It's all about the central channel where live feeds us from the inside out. I hope this did stay with you all day. x
1 person likes this.
Such a great practice!! It went by so fast, talk about getting lost in the flow. Thank you!!!
1 person likes this.
My first 2/3 class and I loved it. I’m usually on 2, and was hesitant to move up, but so glad I did. Thank you so much.❤️
Laura M Yessss, it's a speedier flow, so happy you enjoyed it. 
1 person likes this.
Tonia T Celebrating you for jumping into a 2/3! Well done dear one. 

Thanks a lot Nuria, your lesson has been very relixing and inspiring. For the first time I succed in doing Shirsasana: your explanation is very clear and i felt relaxed and stable while previously I felt unsure.  Thanks to you,  Thanks a lot! 

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