This episode is part of a course.
Mindful Movement Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Day 6: Connect

30 min - Practice


In Day 6, we connect mindfully with the movements of the practice, feeling into the awareness of being, and staying rooted in the sensations of the body as we move through Sun Salutations and standing poses. Then, let your mind slip from activity to receptivity in a stabilizing meditation.

For our homework today, Margi invites us to select 2 or 3 of the nourishing items from yesterday’s list, and think about how we can integrate them more into our lives.

What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Chapter 1

Hello. Welcome to day six. Find a seat, and I'd love to share this morning a very short poem by the beloved poet Mary Oliver. In the morning I go down to the shore, and depending on the hour, the waves are either rolling out or coming in, and I say, oh, I am miserable. What shall? What should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice, excuse me, but I have work to do. I just love that poem. It reminds me that no matter what state I find myself in, it's important to get to the practice, get to the mat. So we'll start by listening to the sound of the bell. Remembering to listen no matter what else is going on in your mind, in the room, dial your attention in with soft open ears. Keeping soft ears and soft eyes, let your breath deepen. Gently open your eyes. We're going to practice a bunch of things that we've done, putting a lot of the poses from the other days together, and adding a little extra something along the way as well. So reach your arms out and up with an inhalation, and as you exhale hands to heart center. Two more times like that. Big breath in, feeling the arms like wings. Exhale hands to heart center. Inhale, reach out and up as you ground down and release through the pelvis. Exhale hands to heart. Let your eyes rest on your fingertips, interlace your fingers, press the palms forward, round your spine, rolling towards the back of the sitting bones. And as you inhale, come up into a little back bend, floating the heart up. Exhale as you round, abdomen draws back, chin softens towards the chest. And as you inhale, come up to vertical, a little beyond vertical. One more time, exhale the breath out completely as you round. And inhale coming right up to vertical for our side bend. Left hand floats to the floor, take a side bend over to the left, breathing in. And as you exhale, soften a bit more, perhaps to the side. And then with an inhalation, come up, inhale both sides long, exhale side bend to the other way, breathing in. And exhale softening to the side. Inhale, come up, we'll twist to the left, right hand to the left leg, left hand behind, inhale here. Exhale, soften and turn. Inhale, bring yourself up to the center.

Inhale twisting to the right, inhale here, feeling the length. And exhale, soften and turn, looking over your shoulder. Inhale, come up to the center. And as you exhale, just float your hands down and just take a moment to pause and notice how that very short moment of moving had any effect on you. Alright, we'll shift onto hands and knees. I'm hoping that you're feeling good familiarity with this practice by this point so you can feel like it's yours. It is yours. You should own the practice. You can bring your blanket underneath your knees, set up, cat and cow. Inhale, lifting head, lifting tail and exhale rounding. So you can keep going in this cat and cow or another option is to move the head and the tail in circles. And you can interpret this as you wish. The head and the tail can circle together or in opposite directions. Let it be your own kind of journey and exploration to moving the spine, breaking up any gripping or tightening knots along the spine or in the organs. And then we'll settle back into child's pose for a few breaths. And then come up and I'm going to move my blanket to the side and come into downward facing dog. Opening the hands, opening the toes, remembering about balancing the weight between the ball, the big toe, ball, the little toe. It's always fine, especially in the very first downward dog of the practice to move around, kind of reacquaint yourself with the pose, find your way into it, dipping the toe and then the knee and then the thigh into the pool. Sometimes it's good to go like that. Sometimes it's good to just jump in, but you can find what works for you on this day. From here, we'll rise to the balls of the feet, opening the soles of the feet. Exhale, heels back and down. Inhale, rise up high, high, high onto the balls of the feet. Exhale, heels back and down. One more time. Inhaling, as you rise up, the legs are firm. Exhale, heels back and down. And then the crown of your head pull you into plank position. And as you exhale, let your legs draw you back into dog pose. Just one more time like that. Inhale, moving forward into plank. Exhale, drawing back into downward dog. And our hand walking meditation to the back of the mat. When you get there, open your toes, spread your toes with your fingers, lengthen the toes, lift the arches, and then hold onto your elbows and let your spine release completely over your legs. Breathing here. Release the arms and roll up, feeling the heaviness of the tailbone and the sitting bones. Head, the last thing to come up. And when you do get to the top, feel the head float, lift your shoulders up, and let them soften down. And then half sun salutations, reaching up. Exhale, diving forward. Inhale, find the length of the spine. Exhale, fold back over your legs. Inhale, reach to the sky. Exhale, hands through the midline and down to your side. Again, feeling the feet as the hands float up. Exhale, fold forward. Breathe in and extend. Exhale, soften the spine back over the legs. Inhale, come to stand, pressing the palms up overhead. And exhale, hands to heart. And this last one you can do on your own. I'll be silent, feeling your own body and breath. And then with awareness, we'll come to the front of the mat. We're going to do one sun salutation. If you'd like to have your blocks, if they're helpful for you, please don't hesitate to use the two blocks. Find steadiness in your mountain pose. The points of the feet rooting down, the arches lifting up, the toes long. And then inhale, reach up. As you exhale, fold forward, hands to blocks or fingertips to the floor. We'll step the right foot back to a lunge. And then right away, turning, letting the belly turn from right to left, the chest turns, the left arm reaches high to the sky. And feeling the left thigh hug towards the midline, the right ribs move underneath the left ribs. And then as you exhale, bring your hand down. We'll move the blocks to the side, root the hands, step back downward facing dog. From here with an inhalation, slide forward into plank position. And then either knees to the floor first or not, lowering steadily down to the ground. Little cobra, remembering to use the strength of the back as you inhale. As you exhale, forehead to the ground. One more time, reaching back through each toe, especially the big toes as the chest lifts. And exhale to the ground. This last one, if you'd like to come up a little higher, pressing into the hands, remembering to stay safe and healthy in the spine. And lengthening as you come down. Come up to hands and knees, press back into downward facing dog. Walk your hands back to your feet. And then our walking meditation to the front of the mats. If you're using your blocks, you can go ahead and just get them, bring them back onto the mat. It's all part of it. Inhale, reach up, steady awareness. Exhale, fold. Step the left foot back to a lunge. Then again, twisting, letting the pelvis twist, the ribs twist, the chest twist, the top arm lifts up. Just feel into this experience of lunging and twisting and breathing, being. And as you exhale, bring your hand down, move your blocks, root your hands, downward dog. Inhale, plank. Exhale, lower down. And then again, a cobra, or if you want to do an upward dog, you can move your hands back two inches, push into the tops of the feet and extend the arms as you lift the low belly, soften the inner corners of your eyes. And then coming back through hands and knees, press back into downward facing dog. Walk your hands back to your feet. Bend your knees, come to stand. And we will transition for a couple of standing poses. So please come to the center of your mat and widen your feet. And then bring the hands to the hips. The first one with the wide, the wide legged forward fold. So engage the legs, spread your toes, breathe in, open across the chest and look up. And then as you exhale, come halfway forward. Extended spine position. We know it well. Breathe in. As you exhale, hands down, about shoulder distance apart and let your head release down. And then as we've done, we'll shift the weight. So bend either knee and then shift over to the other side and just shift your weight. You're exploring your own body, your bones, your muscles, connective tissue, maybe even a feeling of all the fluid in the water in the body. And then we'll come to the center. Bring your hands to your hips, come up halfway and pause. Make sure you're not pushing into the backs of the knees. Come all the way up to stand and then step your feet together. Just stand in mountain. Let the residue from that pose settle down into the feet. And then finding the breath, finding the strength of the right leg, rakshasana, the tree pose. We'll bend the left knee, keeping the pelvis even, open the leg and bring your foot to your inner thigh or calf or toes on the floor. All are good options. Hands to heart center. Two breaths. Inhale. Exhale one, right outer hip hugs in. Inhale. Exhale two. Bring your knee forward, step down. Second side, bending the right knee, opening, finding your tree pose. Good to be consistent on the two sides. I'll do my smaller tree. Two breaths. Inhale, feeling the back of the body expand.

Exhale one. Your gaze can be straight forward. Inhale. And exhale two. Mountain pose. Warrior two. You can step or you can also jump your feet apart. We'll turn the left leg out so the left toes point to the short end of the mat. Breathe in. And as you exhale, having some awareness in your right arm, bend your left knee into warrior two. Two deep breaths. Inhale, expanding. Exhale, sink the left thigh. Inhale, feeling your back. And exhale, softening something. With an inhalation, push into the left foot, straightening the leg. Turn the toes in slightly. Right toes turn out. Inhale, expand the arms. Exhale, bend the front knee. Making sure to track it right over the center of the right heel. Two breaths. Inhale, reaching through all of your fingers. Exhale, feeling the roots of your feet. Inhale, bubbling length along the front of the spine. And then exhale. As you inhale, straighten the front leg. Turn the right toes in slightly. Left toes out. Side angle. Breathe in. Reach the arms out. Exhale, warrior two. Let's do reverse warrior here. So the right hand comes to the right leg, reaching back. And then exhale, left forearm to the left thigh, right arm up and over the ear, spinning the belly towards the ceiling. Inhale. Exhale one. Inhale. Exhale two. Push into the feet. Come all the way up. Left toes turn in. Right toes turn out. Inhale, reach the arms wide. Exhale, Virabhadrasana number two. The reverse warrior, left hand to the left leg. And then right forearm onto the right thigh, left arm up and over. Two breaths. Inhale. Exhale, spinning right lung under left lung. Inhale, feeling the length from left heel to left fingers. And exhale, softening the jaw, the tongue, the mouth.

Inhale come all the way up. We're going to do one more standing pose. This one we haven't done yet in this week together. Trikonasana, the triangle pose. Same base. It might be a little bit shorter. See how it goes. We'll bring the hands to the hips and shift to the pelvis like a steering wheel, turning to the left. It's fine to let the right hip move slightly forward. Bring your left hand down onto your shin and your right arm straight up over your right shoulder. It's similar to the other poses that we've been doing, but with straight legs and the spine lengthening to the side. Just feel into this new pose. If you've probably done it before, but maybe not, just feel into it. Notice where you can find breath, space, ease, strength. And then root into the feet. Come all the way up. Stay aware in the transitions. Turn the left toes slightly in. The right leg turns so the right toes go out. Inhale. Exhale, hands to the hips. We'll use the hands to help the pelvis shift over the thigh bones, keeping the legs straight. Not hyperextended, but extended. And then the right hand finds the shin. Another option. You could do triangle pose off and people do it with the hand onto a block. Left hand straight up. Feel the spine lengthening. Two sides of the waist even. And the feet anchoring into the ground. And then with your next inhalation, come all the way up. Look at your right foot. We'll put the hands on either side of the right foot. Lift the back heel and step back into our downward dog, seeing how a dog pose feels after all of those invigorating standing poses. From here, plank position. Lower to your belly. And roll over onto your back. We'll do one little wave, bridge wave. So lift your pelvis, reach your arms up. And then let your pelvis come down and your arms come down. We'll take the arms to the sides, the feet wide and easy. Windshield wipers of the knees. And then hug your knees in towards your chest, rock bit from side to side, just soothing and opening the muscles of your back. And then we'll bring the feet to the floor. And like we did one other day, we'll do supta, bada konasana. That means reclined bound angle. So getting some support underneath your knees is good to not overstretch the inner thighs. If you're at all, feel like you might cool down, put a blanket over your body. You could also cover your eyes and just let all of that activity settle. Move from the doing mode into the being mode. Let your bones rest into the ground. Let your next breath be deeper. And then you can use your hands to help gather your legs together. Roll over to one side supporting your head. Press down and come up. Just sit for a moment. And I hope to see you for a meditation practice. Thank you for moving with me today. Welcome to day six of our meditation practice together. Recently,

Chapter 2

my brother said, look at the bald eagle over in that tree. We were on vacation and he handed me some binoculars and I pulled the binoculars to my eyes and I just, I'm like a little shaky and I just saw kind of a wobbly tree and I couldn't see. I just wiggling with the binoculars and I said, Grant, I can't see it. I can't see it through the binoculars. He's like, oh, push the button on the top of the binoculars, the image stabilizing button. I was like, wow, push the button and boy, there was the bald eagle right there for me to see. And I thought about how this is much like what my meditation practice does for me is it gives me a stabilized image. Sometimes when I feel wobbly or I can't see things clearly, if I remember my practice, if I take a breath or feel my feet, feel my body, it stabilizes me much like those binoculars stabilized the image of the eagle. So here we are. I've given you the nuts and bolts of the meditation practice. And so we sit, we feel, we experience, we let thought come in, we come back to what's happening. Let's do it. So finding your seat.

I'm in a chair today. Of course you can sit on the floor or cushions, virasana, but find a seat that feels like there's potential for image stabilizing. Just to arrive, it can be helpful to take a deeper breath or two and then letting the breath settle into whatever is natural. Letting your engine go from drive mode into neutral mode as you move into a state of receptivity versus the normal state of activity. Feeling into the base of your pose. Notice what it feels like to have legs. How are the legs, the feet, the pelvis connecting through gravity to the ground beneath you. Let yourself drop and sink down. And then feel the spine rising up. You don't want to go so upright that it feels rigid or harsh. Just a gentle rising of the spine out of the bowl of the pelvis. Your spine ends in between your ears, but you could imagine it goes up and pierces right up through the crown of your head. Keeping that length and that grounding, soften every muscle of your face. Relax your jaw. Let there be some space between your molars and your back teeth. Invite the tongue to widen, the throat to soften and the shoulders ungripped. Anchor your attention here, whether it be in the breath or the feeling of your hands resting or your whole body sitting. When thoughts or sensations or emotions arise, a helpful little mantra can be this too. Welcome this too. This joy, this sorrow, this thought, let it all live here now. You shall may even experience and feel the So this too, thank you for meditating with me.

Enjoy your day. Namaste. I really wish that we could have a cup of tea right now and you could tell me how this is all going for you.

Chapter 3

Since that isn't possible, if you could write a comment, I'd love to hear how the practice is sitting with you. The off-the-map practices, are you able to remember to find a breath when life gets a little bit hectic? Are you remembering to feel the feet ground you?

And did you write down your 15 nourishing items? How was that? Maybe for some of you it was easy to find 15 things that inspire or nourish or soothe you. Maybe it was a little bit of a struggle that, you know, the first five or six may be easy and then you have to think a little more. I hope you went in deep and it'd be a great idea now for the off-the-mat time of this day to look back at the list, see what you wrote, and circle two or three that you think you could actually do a little bit more of in your life. And then if you're inclined to write, spend just about five minutes kind of writing down how this would go, how you would imbue these nourishing practices into your life.

A really good idea to get your calendar out and even be like, all right, I'm going to make soup on Wednesday, that nourishes me and I'm going to spend a little extra time petting my kitty on Friday or you could just jot down. You know, it might seem silly, but it can be really helpful to have things in your book to keep you accountable. And it's all about, you know, nourishing, enjoying, finding ease because as we all know, we live in complicated times and there's so much going on. So anything you can do to bolster and make yourself resourced will behoove not only you, but everybody in your community. This practice ripples out. So thank you so much. Enjoy.


Corinne M
Thanks for another great practice!  I didn’t get up early enough this morning to do this before my kids woke up, so they were loudly playing video games in the background.  “this too” felt like the perfect mantra as I tried to tune them out during meditation.   
Margi Young
corinne I too have to practice "this too" with the video games! It's not easy!
Thanks for sharing!  Margi
Francie S
I enjoyed making my list of 15 joyful activities. I have slowly been reconnecting with friends (with appropriate social distancing) and have noticed how much happier I am when I can really connect with a friend.
Margi Young
Francie Thanks for letting me know. Yes, I agree that friendship is key. Keep delving into those joyful activities! Margi
Melissa A
"this too" reminds me of the "yes, and" principle we are using in training the school docents at the Asian Art Museum, and both phrases share the sentiment  “The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.” Recognition, but then the ocean has to get to work!
Melissa A
"this, too" "yes, and" "only connect"  are all good phrases to consider...
Margi Young
I know "yes and" from sketch comedy! So helpful. And today I am going to try "only connect." Thanks so much for your thoughts Melissa 
very sweet practice and nice to follow on with the brief meditation at the end. thanks Margi.
Margi Young
Matthew S Thanks for letting me know Matthew. My fac combo is a little movement and some stillness. Hope this new year is treating you well. Margi
Jessica L
 twister with blocks :)
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