Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 2

Willpower Flow

40 min - Practice


Strengthen the back body in this creative sequence flowing through Warrior Dance, stabilizing in Side Plank, and stretching in Wild Thing and King Cobra. Prone Savasana activates the vagus nerve and helps us drop into a deeper state of relaxation, before finding effortless effort in an extended seated meditation. You will feel centered and at ease.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

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Welcome. I'm so excited to share this flow with you. Today we'll be working on the strength of the backside of the body which is where we pull things to us, the posterior chain. It can be helpful to have two blocks for your practice and a blanket if you have a wood floor or you could grab some paper plates from your kitchen but you won't need to use those necessarily. But you could have them on hand. It's going to be fun to flow. And I am really excited. Let's get going. So you'll start by rolling onto your back for some lifts in and out of bridge. So as you exhale, flatten the back onto the mat, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips. And as you inhale, you'll lower on down. Let's do three more. Exhale, squeeze, lift. So here we go. We're beginning to wake up the backside of the body. Last one, squeeze, lift, pause at the top. See if you can bring your ribs and your hips together, lifting the tailbone to the back to the knees and pressing down into the heels. So really biasing the back of the leg, the glute, the hamstring and the whole backside of the body. Oh, did I mention there's no chaturanga in this flow? Go ahead and roll on down. Grab your knees with your hands and rock yourself up to seated. You'll place your hands behind you with your fingers facing into your hips, bending your elbows. And as you breathe in, you'll push your hands down into the mat and forward and lift your heart up. Exhale, elbows bend. Inhale, hands push down and forward, chest lifts. Exhale, elbows bend. On this third one, if you'd like to join me, we can come all the way up into a tabletop, keeping the front of the back of the neck long, bringing the tailbone towards the knees. Last breath. And come on down. Go ahead and cross around the shin and roll over your legs to step back into down dog. Let's take a couple moments to get comfortable in our down dog, spreading from pinky finger to thumb, bringing the sitting bones towards the heels. Keep the ribs in. Spread across the shoulder girdle. Maybe an open mouth exhale. And as you next inhale, lift that right leg up and step the right foot right between the hands, coming into a lunge. This, and we'll drop the knee there to the mat. Inhale, lift your arms. As you breathe out, take a little back bend, lean back. Inhale, come to center. On your exhale, straighten out the right leg for half split. Let's take one inhale. So hands on the mat or on blocks, lifting your heart. Exhale, fold. And one more. Exhale. Go ahead and grab your blocks if you don't have them yet. I want to show you what our Chaturanga is going to be like today. So you'll place your blocks on either side of your right foot. You can have them on one of their three heights. You'll take a breath, lift your back knee, come into a lunge, and then slide your left foot all the way through. So I call this skater pose.

Then you'll sit down on your tush, bringing your hands behind you. And as you take a breath in, you'll lift your hips into this reverse plank. So it's like a Chaturanga, but we're working the back side of the body. Go ahead and release, coming out the way you came in. So hovering that left leg, tuck the knee in, step all the way back, and then come back into down dog. Right foot meets the left. Let's take a nice big breath, lifting that left leg up and stepping it right between the hands. Right knee to the mat. Inhale, raise your arms. Exhale, little back bend. Come to center. And as you breathe out, pull back into half split. Let's take two breaths. Left leg nice and straight, squeezing the heel down. Heart lifts. Exhale, heart to knee. Last one. Inhale, heart up. Exhale, heart to knee. Grab your blocks. Get ready to skate through. Right knee lifts. Take an inhale. As you exhale, slide the right leg through. Coming all the way onto your tush, slide your hands behind you. Inhale, hips lift. Half reverse plank. Exhaling, lower. Go ahead. Big breath out. Right leg in and skate all the way back. Then you'll place your hands on the mat. Step back into down dog. Take a nice breath as you roll all the way forward and lower onto your belly. Look around for your blanket or your paper plates. If you don't have either of those things, you can just slide your hands on the carpet. I teach it like that all the time. We're going to do some what I call blanket pulls. It's helpful to curl the mat up a little bit so you have some space there. What you'll do is reach your arms out on your prop, whatever you're using. As you inhale, draw the shoulders onto the body and start to slide the blanket in. As you exhale, slide that blanket out. Let's take two more. Really feeling that back side of the body, our ability to pull what we want to us. That's that action of willpower. The back side of the body draws things into our body as opposed to the push movement where we push something away. Go ahead and slide your prop to the side. Roll your mat out if you rolled it up and let's feel into up dog now that we've warmed up the back side of the body. Hands underneath the shoulders. As you breathe in, you'll start to peel the front of the body up, maybe lifting the legs, maybe lifting the knees. Draw the heart up and back. Rolling over those toes, exhaling back into down dog. On your next breath in, lift your right leg up and step the right foot right between the hands. Go ahead and look up, look forward. Grab your blocks. Get ready to skate through. Left leg comes in and you slide all the way through. Roll onto the back for some single legged bridges. What you'll do is plant your left foot, draw your right knee into your chest and hold it there. As you exhale, lift the hips into a single legged bridge. Inhale lower. Let's take four, three, and two. Last one. Hold, connecting with that left glute and release. Left leg goes long but hovers. Bring your right fingers on the back of your head, right elbow to the right knee, left fingers on the back of the head. Power crunch for five. So that elbow opens all the way out. Exhale, left elbow in four, three, two, and last one. Awesome. Stay lifted. Roll yourself up to seated, right foot on the mat. You can use your blocks if you'd like to. Hover the left knee, left leg and take a slow step back into lunge. Go ahead, inhale and pause. From here, flattening the back foot and take a nice big inhale. Come up into warrior two. Exhale. Let's go three breaths. Front leg straight, inhale, arms up. Exhale warrior two. Two more. Inhale, leg straight, arms up. Exhale warrior two. Last one. Exhale. Big breath in. And on the out breath, come all the way to twist. Left hand on the mat, pivot onto the ball of your left foot and bring your right arm up. Now what you'll do is turn your right toes out to the side a little bit and start to straighten your right leg. So we're really reaching the hips up and back, reaching the right arm up and back. You can look down at your left hand and see that it's just a smidgen in front of your shoulder because we're going to take a big step all the way into side plank. Right foot stacks on the left. You can look down or up. Take a nice inhale. Squeeze your bottom hip in. So this pose is really about the bottom hip. And on this next breath in, step into single armed plank. So your feet will go wide and you'll reach your right arm around your ear. Squeeze into the midline of the mat.

Hold for one, two. And as you exhale, pull your hips back into a reverse or revolved down dog. So right arm reaches underneath you over to your outer right leg. Everything's getting all twisty for me. And it can be helpful to grab the side of your mat with your left hand if your left hand feels slippy. So back of the right hand on the outside of the left leg, you're turning under your armpit. I love to teach this pose before I do some backbending or hand standing because it teaches us overhead position. One more breath. Big exhale. Inhale, exhale. And stepping back into down dog, exhale. Let's lift the left leg. Nice breath in. And bring the left foot between the hands. Grab your blocks. Get ready for skater pose. Inhale, look up. Exhale, right leg slides through and you come all the way onto your tush. We're going to roll onto the back. So you'll bring your left knee in and place your right foot on the mat. And I like to interlace my fingers over the left knee for three single legged bridges. Exhale, squeeze the glute. Lift the hips. Inhale, lower. And just a quick alignment check. Right foot's down, left knee's in. Exhale, lift. One more. Lift. Pause at the top. See if you can bring your hips into a nice level position. Is one hip collapsing? Imagine you've got a block on them and you're lifting that block evenly on both sides. And release. Right leg goes straight and hovers. Bring the left fingers on the back of the head. Left elbow against the knee. Right hand to the back of the head. Power crunch. Exhale, right elbow in for five, four, three, two, and one. Stay in this lifted position and roll yourself up to seated. Left foot's on the mat. Inhale, hover your right leg, your right knee. Tuck it in and step all the way back to lunge. Take a nice big breath in. Pause as you exhale. On this next breath in, go ahead and ground your right foot. Take a big arc with your right arm and come all the way up into warrior two. Exhale into the pose. Front leg straight, arms lifted. Inhale and exhale. And again, inhale and exhale. This is our last one. Pause in warrior two. And on your next breath out, wind mealing right hand to mat for twist. Pivot onto the ball of your right foot and lift your left arm up. So you can stop right here or playing around with this little prep for side plank. The left toes will turn out. Your left leg starts to straighten. You feel the left hip really pulling back as you look up and over that left hand. Just do a little alignment check is the right hand. Just a smidge in front of the shoulder. And when you're ready, roll all the way onto the knife edge of the right foot. Left foot stacks on the right.

For side plank. Remember, it's about your bottom hip. So really squeezing that bottom hip up and in. One more breath. And we'll take a single armed high plank. So feet step wide. Left arm reaches around the ear. Squeeze into the midline of the mat. Can you drop your left hip a little bit? Three. And two. And on the one, drawing back into revolved, downward facing dog. Remember, you can grab the right edge of your mat with your right hand if you need to. Left one wraps underneath you. Back of the left hand on the outside right leg. And turn under your right shoulder. See that the sacrum and the hips are level. Just another two breaths. Go ahead and release. Walk both hands to the back of your mat. Finding a nice big exhale. Bend your knees and take a slow roll up to standing. And as you breathe in, lift your arms over your head. Exhale, the hands come back and down. You can rest your hands on the tops of your hips. I'm gonna turn around so you can see me. Or you could slide your hands down right below the line of the cheek. Tailbone comes in. Toes turn in slightly. The heart lifts. And we start to use this structure in the backside of the body to trust ourselves. Heart opening and back bending here. Sliding down as much as feels good. Lifting the heart up. Leaning back. Front and back of the neck long. Draw the middle glute in. The navel to the heart to come up. Use an inhale. Standing into dasana in mountain pose there to integrate as you exhale. One breath from the soles of the feet to the middle of the brain. And let's go ahead and come into our flow here. Arms lifted. Big breath in. And fold forward as you exhale. You'll walk your hands up the mat. Coming into down dog. And we'll lift that right leg up here and bend the right knee. Give yourself a few breaths. And then on this next inhale, step right up into lunge pose. Our last opportunity to skate through here. Grab your blocks. Look forward. As you exhale, you'll slide all the way through. This time we can take a full reverse plank if you'd like to join me. You can keep your right foot where it is or step your right foot to meet your left. Hands behind you. Inhale to lift up into purvatanasana. Take a nice breath in. And slowly lower those hips down. Let's pull the right leg in and go ahead and roll onto your back. And for a half happy baby, so you'll reach for the outside edge of your right foot. You can rest your left hand on your thigh for structure. And the right heel is above the knee, outside edge of the foot, parallel to the mat. Lifting the inner arch up. See if you can elongate the hamstrings. So from the right sitting bone to the back of the knee. You're welcome to stay here or if you'd like to, you could extend the right leg out to the side. So even though we're probably feeling this in our right leg, our brain, our awareness, the intelligence is really in the left leg. That's where the structure and the support and the stability is. When you're ready here on this next breath or so, you can bring your right knee in. Take the right knee into the left hand and as you exhale, transfer the right leg over the body to the left for a supine twist. Turning and looking over at that right hand. Take a nice breath in. And a big exhale. On this next inhale, go ahead and roll back to your back. The right knee stays in because we're going to do a little rock. This time planting the right foot. You're welcome to use your blocks and coming all the way up into standing splits. And can you keep the left leg straight as you make that transition? You're welcome to stay here with both hands on the mat. Or you could grab the back of the right ankle with your left hand. A little bit different variation in standing splits. And start to pull up on it like a weed as you draw your nose, your chest and your chin into your shin. And you're welcome to stay there or you can play around in handstand with me. We'll see how it goes.

So I like to turn my fingers out a little bit. Maybe hop the right foot back slightly. Look forward. Think internal rotation in both legs. It's helpful to use an inhale when you're moving against gravity. So you can try that. On your next breath in. Maybe a little hop. Or maybe a bigger hop. Maybe one more attempt. And let's bring that right foot down. And step back. Right foot still at the top of the mat. Left foot steps back into lunge. Left hand down. This is your foundation. Right toes turn out to the side. You're welcome to come into side plank. Or you can play around with this version of side plank with me. You'll grab your right big toe with your first two fingers. And start to straighten out that right leg. Rolling towards the outside edge of the left foot. And as you get there, you'll lift your right knee up. Keeping it bent. Come onto the sole of the left foot as much as possible. And possibly straighten your right leg. Take a nice breath in. Wild thing. Right foot steps behind the left knee. Flipping all the way over. Think hips and heart lifted.

Looking down at the left hand. Nice breath here. And let's come around into down dog. As you inhale, lift your heels high. Exhale, lower the heels to the mat. Inhale, bring that left leg up. And we'll step right up into lunge there. Take an inhale to look forward. Last opportunity for skater pose. Maybe grab your blocks. And as you exhale, you'll slide your right leg through. You're welcome to repeat this half reverse plank. Or you could bring your left foot to meet your right foot. Hands behind you. Inhale, hips left. One more breath. And slowly lower the hips down. Left knee pulls in. Roll all the way onto your back. And take a half happy baby. So you'll catch the outside edge of your left foot. Right hands on the right thigh for structure. And again, even though we're probably feeling this in our left leg and our left hip, really put your awareness in the right side. So this is where the brain is. Can you draw the right glute in a little bit and reach through the inner right heel? Drawing the toes back towards the knee. You're welcome to stay right here. Or if you'd like to, you could straighten your left leg out to the side. And you might recognize this pose as that big side plank version that we did. Maybe if you brought your hand out like that. Except we're laying on our back. Let's take another big breath.

Reach through the inner heel skin on both feet. Elongate the pubic bone. Draw the ribs and the hips in. Then go ahead and inhale. Bring that left knee in. And you could take the left knee with the right hand if you'd like to and twist as you exhale over to the right side. Reaching the left arm out. Maybe turning to look at the left hand. Elongate the spine and twist around the spine. And on this inhale, go ahead and roll back onto your back. Left knee stays in though because we're going to rock and roll all the way up to seated and plant that left foot on the mat. Here's your last opportunity here to do some block work. Hands on blocks. Can you hover your right leg? Try to keep it straight as you come all the way up into standing splits. And you're welcome to place both hands down. Or you could grab the back of the left ankle with the right hand, pulling it up like a weed. Bringing the chin or the nose to the knee. You can stay right here. We have another attempt at handstand. Hands on the mat. I like to turn my fingers out slightly and hop my left foot back a bit. Rolling your right thigh in. Thinking internal rotation both legs. It's helpful to come up on an inhale. And remember coming up counts as a teensy little hop. So you can just play around with it. Maybe taking a bigger hop. And maybe just one more attempt. And let's all step that right foot all the way back and come into a lunge. Big breath. Right hands on the mat for structure. Left toes turn out to the side. So with or without the big toe. Starting to roll towards the outside edge of the right foot and straightening the left leg. And when you're ready, you'll roll all the way over into side plank. Bending your knee. And start to reach through the inside edge of that right foot. Possibly straightening the left leg up. You can look down or up. One more big breath. And then we'll go ahead and step the left foot over the back of the right knee and flip into wild thing or flip dog. Look down at your right hand. Think tailbone and heart up. Big breath. Nice exhale. Let's inhale, come around. Coming into down dog. On your next breath, lift the heels nice and high. And exhale, sink the heels to the mat. Inhaling, come onto your knees and press your hips back into a child's pose. For two. And one. And as you breathe in, lift up to your hands and knees again. Big toes touch, knees out to the side. I love this King Cobra variation. The hips start to come forward. You're reaching your tailbone towards the backs of the knees. Big toes touch. And as you inhale, lift your heart up. Draw it forward. And as you exhale, reach the feet towards the head. Last breath. On this next inhale, pulling back into child's pose. Exhale, hips to heels. On your inhale, just lift, walk the hands out in front of you, coming into heart melting. And slide all the way onto your belly. Stack your palms and drop the center of your brow on the backs of your hands for a prone Shavasana or a prone final relaxation. And there's some magic that happens in our nervous system when we apply pressure to the space between the brows. We activate our vagus nerve, which drops us into a deeper state of relaxation. So allow your nervous system to down regulate, coming into a state of calm. After all that pulling work we did, strengthening the backside of the body. Don't stack our other hand on top. I like to do things in a balanced manner. Take three more breaths here. You could bend your knees and do a little windshield wipering, the legs, moving the hips back and forth if you'd like to. From here, it's time to come up for seated meditation. If you'd like to join me, you're welcome to stay prone on your belly. Suppressing yourself up to seated, grabbing a blanket or a block to sit on if you'd like to. Finding a comfortable seat, which can mean different things for different people. So find a way to sit comfortably. It can be helpful to have the hips a little bit elevated, like mine are on a blanket or a block. You can try that. And take a few moments just to get the wiggles out of the way, align the garments, fix the hair, get those last itches out. All the things that the mind will grab onto when we're trying to be quiet in meditation. You can have open or closed eyes for meditation. If you're keeping them open, it's a soft gaze and the gaze is down on the floor in front of you. When you're ready, bringing the awareness inside and starting to focus on the breath. Begin by watching the breath, the full length of the breath in, the full length of the breath out. I think of the breath like a ribbon, a ribbon of breath in and then a ribbon of breath out. Bringing all your awareness to the two nostrils and watching that ribbon of breath. See if you can take five or seven concentrated breaths.

Take five, six, eight. And if you find that you've gotten lost in thought, just knowing that that's okay, directing your attention back to the nostrils, back to the breath, without any judgment or frustration. Let's release the breath awareness, moving from a single point of concentration to open awareness. Let your mind be soft and easy, becoming aware of the whole body. Take a breath that fills up the whole body, like the whole body inhaling, the whole body exhaling, not just arms and fingers and toes, but one whole body breath in and out.

Bringing your awareness to the space around the body, letting your mind be soft and easy, like the brain gets a chance to exhale as you focus on space rather than object. Feeling the air on the skin and the space in the room. If you cast your awareness a little bit wider still, you might go outside of the room into the space of the sky and beyond that into space, space. Just noticing how space can only be defined by what's inside of it. Collecting your awareness like a fisherman drawing a net in.

Take a big breath, draw your awareness back inside, resting it in the space of the heart. You can go about two inches in from the center of the breastbone, focusing on one single point. Maybe listening to the heartbeat, observing the soft rise and fall of your breath from that single point. Release the awareness to the space around your heart, around your chest. Having some soft awareness on the breath, the space that the breath occupies as you inhale, returning to the space around you as you exhale.

Releasing any effort that you're making, meditation is effortless effort, resting in that effortless presence, which is you. Lightly bringing your palms to touch at your heart, try not to disturb your nerves as you make these moves, keeping the nervous system soft and relaxed. You can lift the chest and lower the chin. Have a moment to connect with that limitless being that you meet on that. Slowly opening your eyes, you can let your palms rest face up, keep your gaze and stillness for a moment, integrate with the room.

When you feel integrated, moving into your day from here. Thank you so much for sharing your practice with me.


Christel B
2 people like this.
What a wonderfully led meditation for the end of this session of innovative asana. Namaste
2 people like this.
Christel And what a pleasure to share practice this with you! Namaste. 🙏🏼
2 people like this.
Innovative and well-guided flow.. and great to sit at the end. Many thanks!

Tracy S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for beautiful guided flow and meditation. Loved the creative twist on traditional poses. :)
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Thanks for a beautiful practice and calming meditation. My hips have never felt better,  I back to the Glenford glide  and feel years younger. Namaste. 
 Shawn Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed the innovation. 
Hi Tracy! Thanks for being here and appreciating creativity. 

Hi Glenford! Happy to have assisted you in reclaiming the Glenford Glide. It sounds like a beautiful saunter. 
Glenford N
3 people like this.
Hi Nuria. Thanks to you I'm flowing and glowing through my day spiritually emotionally and physically. 
Diane C
Thank you for a wonderful class. i loved the King Cobra1
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