Summer Ayurveda Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Day 2: Slow and Curious

60 min - Practice


Awaken your intuition and inner joy as we practice replacing the question "Am I doing this right?” with "Does this feel good?" In Day 2, we begin supine to connect with our essential core muscles, then explore moving in dynamic ways in standing postures to better align with breath and a playful attitude.

Your Self Care Homework Challenge for Day 2:

The homework for this challenge is cumulative, and today is focused on growing your morning self-care routine.

  • Body: Use a drop of Nasya oil in your nostrils to moisten dry tissues.
  • Mind: Massage aromatherapy-infused oil in the morning for deeper hydration and to calm the nervous system.
  • Spirit: Steep a cup of tea herbal tea in the afternoon (ex. hibiscus, rose, mint, fennel) to stay cool and hydrated.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to day two of our Summer Ayurveda Challenge. It's a real honor to be here with you today and thanks so much for choosing to be here today with us. We are live streaming again from this beautiful place in Ojai, California. And today our practice is called Slow and Curious. And for practice today, it would be helpful to have a blanket, a strap and a block. And once you have those items, we'll begin on our back as we often do when it's warm outside to give us a little bit of grounding and to welcome the support of the floor. So if you will, come on down to your back and you might slide a little thin blanket under your head, whatever amount of cushion works for you.

And let your arms drop somewhere out to the side where you can make good contact with the floor for your arms, shoulder blades. And everyone's a little different how you like to start with your legs. So if you like your legs parallel, we can stay here and let your knees drop wide or recline Cobbler's Pose, or maybe it's Shavasana where you want to begin today. So as you choose that spot that helps you settle, perhaps when everything feels like it's in the right place, you can close your eyes to help decrease whatever distractions are in the room. And to help orient you a little bit more to this inner landscape and be curious if there's any way to make this pose even more comfortable. What little shift would require to move your shoulders or just your legs with or without props.

So that you allow yourself to flow here with the grace of gravity into however this form wants to settle this unique morning. And then when things feel right, maybe we make a little bit more of a formal commitment now to our practice. This time we've dedicated to be together today. And notice what it feels like as we start breathing more consciously aware of breath coming in. What shifts happen in the body as you breathe out.

And with that attitude of curiosity again just noticing the shifts that are occurring. Letting go of what you think should be happening in the pose and just be a witness today to what is happening in the posture in the pose. Let's take about three or four more breaths just witnessing the shifts occurring in the body as we welcome the support of the ground as we again surrender to the grace of gravity. Bringing more consciousness to the breath which doesn't necessarily mean that you're needing to change the breath. Just curious what happens when we breathe in. What happens when we breathe out.

So if it's okay with your arms as they are, I'd like you to start to make a little shift in the legs if your legs aren't wide and recline cobblers maybe you join us here for a moment. Let's start to bring the knees toward each other in one inch increments. So bring the knees in an inch pause. Bring them in another inch pause. Another inch closer pause. Couple more inches pause. And eventually maybe your knees touch.

Let's drop them one more time back out to the sides. Upper body still relaxed. Let your knees come an inch closer together. An inch closer. Just notice along the way these little increments if you start feeling some new muscles in your inner legs and your hips, the pelvis, and until eventually your knees touch. And let's swing your arms a little further back towards your ears just generally in that direction. Separate your feet now as wide as your yoga mat.

And we're going to five times bring your right knee and your right elbow to touch. Stretch your right leg all the way down to the floor. Stretch your right arm all the way back by your ear. Bring your right knee and elbow to touch. Right leg and arm away from each other. Elbow and knee touch. And the leg and arm away from each other. Now you can try with your left leg straight. See if you like the way that feels better. Right knee and elbow touch.

Slowly drop the leg and arm away from each other. Right knee and elbow touch. And then let's anchor down here. Let's go ahead and switch out and we'll bend your knees. Actually put your feet back on the ground. Now try your left elbow and knee touch. Stretch them away from each other. They both touch the earth. Left elbow and knee touch. Reach apart.

So see if you like here with that right leg straight. Bring your left knee and elbow to touch. So the center of the body, the core of your body is still as you're simply moving your left knee and elbow toward each other. Waking up some of the core muscles. Now let's go ahead and do the opposite elbow and knee. So let's bring your left knee and elbow toward each other. Your head is on the ground.

Come back to our big X shape. Right knee and left elbow touch. Come back to your X shape. Right elbow, left knee. And how can we move in this way that keeps the center of the body stable? Left knee, left elbow, right knee toward each other. I think you've got the rhythm. Try to find your pace a few more times. You're reaching across your body. Elbow to the opposite knee with the center of the body stable.

Try just a couple more. See if you can start to feel the core of the body starting to warm up. All right. Now let's go ahead and bring both knees in towards your chest. Give them a little squeeze towards your chest and make a few circles. Massage that lower back. Relax your belly. Now we're going to keep your knees right over your hips and float your heels up as high as your knees.

Now raise both arms straight up in the air right above your chest. And that will stretch your right leg and your right arm straight down and back. And bring your right knee back to where we started. Fingertips point towards the sky. Right leg and arm stretch away from each other. We come back to I'll call this neutral. Right knee and arm stretch away from each other.

Back to center. And think about paying a little more attention to the core of the body so you don't shift into a huge backbend to get your leg to the floor. In fact, the leg doesn't even need to touch the floor. Let's go back to center. Now try your left leg all the way down. Left arm back by your ear. Knee back to neutral. Fingers point to the sky. Left leg and arm reach away from each other. We're back to neutral.

And try a few more times in your own pace. And that right arm isn't doing anything. Right leg is just hovering in that neutral position. So one more time. Now let's bring your hands to your knees and bring your head up to meet your knees on exhale. Then come to the X shape where you drop both legs down, arms wide. Gather back into your little O shape. Our little hugs and kisses. Go back to your X. Come back into your O. Curl into your ball.

Go back to our X. And let's curl into our little ball. Last time in that X shape, as you hug your knees in towards your chest, go ahead and stay here. And park your arms down by the side of your body. Now with your arms here at your side, circle your knees together as a little team. As they circle around, it might be a small circle.

And that should hopefully orient you a little bit to your abdominal muscles. And maybe the circle gets a little bit bigger, the knees would move further away from your chest. Let's circle the opposite direction a few times. Some basic warm ups. Going around and around. Now let's come back to neutral.

If you will now, raise your legs up in the air above your hips and tuck your hands more underneath your pelvis. So it gives you a little bit of a wedge to rest your buttocks on. As we separate the legs out to the sides. And then imagine each leg makes a circle. So it comes down forward to your center line and then lift straight back up.

Legs reach away from each other, kind of draw a circle, come to the center point, come right back up. Legs wide, they drop forward and down, gather at the center and lift up. See if you can make a few more circles and your legs don't need to drop that far down for this hopefully to feel like it connects you to some of your abdominal muscles. As well as hopefully helping you get some better movements in the ball and socket joints of the hip. A couple more big circles.

Legs are up. One more round, circling. Now when your legs come up, let's bend the legs a little bit and then shake out your ankles, your calves, leg muscles. Just jiggle them up in the air, shake, shake, shake. Now let's put your feet down on the floor. With your feet about hip distance apart, palms on the ground by your hips.

Now as you inhale, please raise your hips up off the floor and just do a little test run to make sure you feel you've got ease in your lower back when you lift. If you don't adjust the distance of your feet away from your hands. Come back down to the floor. Now if there's big blanket under your head, please move that away so you've got neutral neck. Now all together if you press down into your feet, lift your hips, you're comfortable heights. Now keep your hips lifted as you take your arms all the way back towards your ears.

And leave your arms here on the floor as you lower your spine slowly down to the floor, like you're trying to feel each little joint of the spine touch down. And then as you lift your hips back up, take your arms back to the side of your body, more traditional bridge pose. Hips might be lifted another inch. Take the arms back towards your ears as you lower your spine slowly to the floor, not being in any rush. Press into your feet, lift your hips up, arms anchored down to the side of your body.

Lift the pelvis as you press down through your feet. Release your spine, buttocks, arms full back towards your ears. Let's try one more time. Lift your pelvis up, root your arms to the side of your body, hold as you lift the pelvis. Lower your spine, buttocks as your arms, this time stay back by your ears. Keep your feet as wide as your yoga mat if they're more narrow and let your legs winch a wiper to the side, to the right and to the left. Legs winch a wiper inside the sides.

And then maybe you feel again, can we keep the knees tilted over to your right side, just a little basic warm up. Adjust the width between your feet, knees so that if you'll see through your knees in particular. If anybody wanted to add a little bit more stretch sensation, you hang your right heel on top of that left knee. And we invite that inner left thigh to drop perhaps a little bit more towards the floor. Or you invite that left knee to stretch a little further away from your left rib cage or waist.

Come back to center, both feet on the ground and then tip your legs to the left please. Keep that wide distance between your feet and with the legs close to 90 degree angles you might hang out here. Maybe with your eyes closed you can feel again the need or maybe this is exactly where you need to be to rest, to settle or to make a little adjustment to make this even better. Left heel could hang on top of that right knee. And inviting that sense of spaciousness down into that right waist, right thigh.

I even get a nice stretch up through my right shoulder in this pose so maybe you do too. All right, let's go ahead and set that left foot on the ground tip yourself back to neutral. You might catch your legs if that feels okay to rock up to sitting or roll to your side and then let's come up to sitting. Okay, now when you're all the way up please grab your block. This would be number one place we're using the block and I'd like you to put it right between your feet.

As you squeeze the block with your feet your knees would be out to the side so it's almost like you're reclining cobblers, but a block wedge between your feet. And reach your arms out in front of you. We're still doing a little bit of our core warm-up, seeing what this feels like today. Squeeze the block and roll back a few inches towards the floor. And then keep squeezing the block as you reach up towards the ceiling or sky. You might find ourselves rolling a little bit further back.

Squeeze the block as you're lifting up, see if that helps you pull forward more easily. And we eventually might roll all the way down to the floor. Stretch your arms back. When you reach forward squeeze the block you could catch your knees and pull yourself forward, then send the arms up. Let's see if we can get this spine moving in this playful way. Arms back by your ears, reach forward, squeeze your block.

It gets better with practice like everything. Every day a little different. So can you smoothly roll back and forth? Apparently I can't today. So again, you just grab your legs. No big deal. Just grab your legs, roll back and forth. There's the ground. One more big burst of energy to come up.

There you go. Grab your block with your hands. And now let's transfer that between your thighs here. So as you squeeze the block with your knees, reach your arms straight out in front of you. And just engage with that block for a moment. So when we bend our right elbow, we're going to lean back and follow that right elbow back a little bit behind you as you squeeze the block with your legs.

Reach your right hand back to your left hand and bend your left elbow, squeeze your block, and we're going to reach that left elbow back behind us. Come back to center. Squeeze your block, bend your right elbow, follow it back behind you. Hands come forward, bend your left elbow, follow it back behind you, squeeze your block so your knees aren't shifting, your pelvis isn't shifting when you twist. Let's try another one again because I'm sure you're all really enjoying this part by now. Reach your arms out in front of you, bend your left elbow, follow that elbow back.

And we come back to center. All right, let's go ahead and get rid of that block for a moment. Set it to the side. Let your hands come behind you. Separate your feet to the edge of your mat.

And think of that windshield wiper action we did on our back just a moment ago. And just do the same here, rolling over the outer hip. You begin a little stretch through your inner leg and your knee area. Next time that the legs fall over to your right side, keep your legs in that shape as we reach the left hand from behind. And we're going to turn and face the far end of your mat, maybe where your blanket is.

If you will stretch your left arm out straight, bring your right hand in to act a little bit as your pillow, rest your forehead on your forearm. And then see if you can find an interesting spot for that left hand. There's no right or wrong way to do this pose. But my hope is that you feel a wonderful stretch down that left side of your back or up through your shoulder. And you really make the pose your own, a pose that's maybe never been done before.

It's not about, am I doing this right or wrong? Does this feel good? And do you need to make any micro adjustments to make that really true? And often we know we're heading in that right direction when we take that big or fuller breath. Maybe there's a little more willingness to sink and surrender to the grace of gravity today.

Let's pull that left hand back in underline of your chest. And as you transfer up, we'll face the end towards your feet, come back to neutral. And then the knees now tip over to your left sides, that windshield wiper action. So your left hand on the ground as you swing your right hand towards maybe where your blanket is, where our head was at the beginning. We bring that left arm down.

That's going to be where your forehead rest. Right arm stretches out at some wonderful angle that allows you to release your head towards your left arm. Stretch out through your right fingertips. And send just the right amount of energy for you to enliven now this right side of your back. Right side, maybe even of your shoulder.

The chest more or less facing the earth, the ground. And then noticing what little adjustment you might need to make for that fuller exhale to appear. Just organically. That sense of dropping into the pose. Let's pull that right hand, if you're ready, under the line of your chest and come on up.

And now let's turn to face the edge where your head was originally and come into your tabletop. Okay, so now if you like padding for your knees, I encourage you to get a little cushion for your knees here. And as we have that padding, put your hands please on the ground off the blankets. You can dangle your toes in the back. And when you come to that all force shape, bring your knees just a little bit closer together.

So it'll be a little bit easier to balance when we swing that left leg up into the air by the size your pelvis. And then we're going to bring that left foot over to the right and look over your right shoulder and see your left toes land. Maybe you feel a stretch in the vertical arch of that left foot. And then we'll bring that left leg back up in the air to neutral. Bring your left knee to your left elbow.

Left leg kicks back behind you, swings over to the right, look over your right shoulder. Lift that left leg back up to neutral, bring your left knee to your left elbow, stretch the leg back straight. Follow your left leg over to the right, look to the right. Float the left leg up, neutral, left knee, the left elbow. One more time, left leg kicks up. Follow it to the right please, look over your right shoulder.

Lift that left leg up and bring your left knee in towards your elbow. Okay, put both knees down, curl both toes under, stretch your feet as you come into this version of child's pose. I like to think of it as a warm-up for downward dog with your forehead towards the ground. Stretch to the feet as your arms reach forward. Big breath in and maybe even an audible breath out.

Now let's come back to tabletop. Alright, relax your feet please. Then take your right leg straight up in the air, the heel is maybe about the height of your pelvis. Stretch that right foot over to the left and look over your left shoulder. Lift that right leg back up to neutral, right knee comes up towards your right elbow.

Swing your right leg straight back, then over to your left, look to the left. Lift that right leg, right knee to your right elbow, right leg straight, feel that hamstring glued, engage. Take your leg over to the left, look to the left. Neutral, right knee to elbow, and then right leg straight. Last time, let your left toe strip to the right, look to the side.

Lift back up, right knee to your nose or your elbow. Put both knees down. One more time, please stretch your feet. Toes stay curled under if that's okay. Fingers might reach out towards the edge of your mat so you're really wide, then bring your forehead down.

Celebrate whatever you feel is opening there in the shoulders, the side body, your back, your feet, so many places we could be feeling sensation. Take one more breath as you are here. Let's come forward now, bring your hands more underneath the line of your shoulder and separate your knees a little further apart. Now we'll come into downward dog. And as you send your hips up, actually you could take your blanket and send that out of your way if you wish.

We won't need that for a little bit. So in your downward dog, spread your hands really wide and try to push the floor away with your hands. Separate, bring your feet just a little bit closer together so it's easier not to balance when we take your left leg straight up a little higher than your pelvis. Reach that left leg over to the right and plant your left toes to the floor outside your right foot. So if you look back, you see your legs are crisscrossed and that left leg is behind the right.

Float that left leg back up to neutral. Reach over to your right and drop your left toes to the floor outside of your right foot, maybe the corner of your yoga mat. Left leg back up to neutral. One more time, reach over to your outside of the right foot. Now press your thighs against each other, right thigh pressing to left, push the floor away. If you wanted a more intense stretch, you walk your hands in towards your feet.

Your legs are crisscrossed kind of like that old school runner's stretch, the head dropping towards the floor here. Press your thighs into each other. Walk it forward again, walk it forward, raise that left leg back up in the air. Both feet to the floor, knees to the ground and swing your hands towards your ankles and coming into that more traditional balasana child pose. Just for a moment, letting the shoulder slightly round, hands soft, wrist relaxed, big breath in and out.

And then the arms swing forward. Let's come again, find your rhythm, back up to your downward dog, separate your feet, maybe about as wide as your pelvis or more narrow. Spread your palms, freshly spread those palms, swing your right leg up a little higher than the height of your pelvis and let that right leg reach over to the left and drop your toes towards the floor outside left foot. Swing that leg back up, transfer it over to the left, toes touch the ground, maybe on the edge of your mat. The right leg back up and this time with your right foot landing on the ground, press your hips further away from your shoulders, from your left thigh into your right. And maybe you get that outer hip stretch or calf stretch you need.

Maybe you didn't know you needed it, but now you realize you need it. Stay there or walk your hands back towards your feet. And press your left thigh into your right thigh here, that more traditional again runners stretch with fingertips on the ground, head down. Let's all walk it forward if you went to that shape and when your feet are both on the ground, toes pointing straight ahead, walk your feet right up to the backs of your wrist. Turn your toes out a few degrees and come down towards your squat, which could be halfway down or all the way down with your hands for a moment, perhaps in front of your chest, sinking into your feet. Let's reach your arms straight out in front of you and then inhale all the way up to stand and then arms come down at your sides.

I'm going to turn to face you now for a moment and I want to invite you to separate your feet maybe about as wide as your shoulders. And we'll think about making kind of an X shape, a standing X shape. Now we'll step into our left foot and take that right leg behind that left leg, anchor your foot, reach up and catch your right wrist and now we're going to press into the feet as we lean to the left. You can't get through a day without some good side body opening and then come back to your X shape. Stand on that right leg, swing that left leg behind, anchor that foot, catch your left wrist with your right hand and stretch over to your side.

We firm your thighs into each other. Let's try again your X shape. Right leg swings behind the left, reach up for your right wrist and exhale over to your left, squeeze your legs into each other, come back to our X. Last time that left leg behind the right, grab that left wrist and exhale to your side. And then come back to our X, arms down.

Make a few little shoulder rolls. So this next little piece involves your block. And it's just a way I've been appreciating practicing these days, which makes the practice feel for me anyway a little bit more meditative, probably familiar poses. But when you do them with a block on your head, a lot of new things have changed for me my posture, as well as in my appreciation for the poses that I thought I knew so well. So I hope that you enjoy this play here of putting a block on your heads.

And those of you with flat heads certainly have an advantage over those with more rounded, pointy heads. The block might move, the heavier the block, the better in my experience now. So when you stand in Tadasana, can you feel the feet press into the earth as you try to lift this block closer to the sky? And again, the block might move and it's really normal for it to fall off. You might just, again, know that's part of the practice and see if we can put it back on just to give this a try.

Now in our Tadasana, see what happens with your feet under your hips. You start to bend your knees and reach your arms up and think about your chair pose shape. While constantly lifting that block towards the ceiling, send your hips back. We hopefully maintain that long spine. Press into your feet, come back up to Tadasana.

And I'm going to turn and face that front small edge of the mat. And this is where things always get exciting with the block is when you move. So it becomes more of a moving meditation. Now face the small edge of your mat please, Tadasana. Let's keep your left foot forward, step your right leg back into your warrior one footprints.

And just notice how mindfully you step back to keep the block on your head and how often we might just unconsciously step back. So place your feet in a way that allows you to lift the block towards the sky. Raise your arms out in front of you or maybe out beside your ears and see if you can press into your feet to try to lift your block closer to the sky. You really feel the curves of your spine engaging and elongating here. Press down to lift up.

Go ahead and lift that back heel and now you're a little bit more in that lunge shape. And then the arms out to your side to help you balance as you transfer your right foot forward, the block still on your head, chair pose, arms by your ears. And trying to lift the block towards the sky as you come up to straight legs, arms down at your side. Transfer your way to your right foot and step back with your left leg into your warrior one footprints. And how mindfully you're moving to keep the block on your head.

Just notice it might be different than your normal approach to warrior one. Swing your arms up by your ears when you're ready or out in front of you if that's better for your shoulders. Now consciously press down into your feet and lift that block a little bit higher towards the sky. Can you actually pay attention and notice again the curves of your spine when we lift up each curve lengthens just a little bit more. Now transfer that left foot forward and your back in your chair pose squats as you reach your arms up, block still on your head.

And then we'll come up into your straight legs and let your arms come down to your side. Now let your weight shift over to your right foot again. Bring your left knee up towards your chest, keeping the block on your head as we raise our arms up and take a step back to that high lunge. Keep the block on your head as you step back into your right foot and grab a hold of your left knee. I'm imagining things are getting pretty exciting right now.

Step back with your left leg, reach up with your arms, the high lunge, come back to the balance. And remember if you don't like this moment, this too shall pass. So let's do one more. Step back, tap with your left foot, high lunge, and then step that left foot forward chair pose, come back to your center. Straight legs, arms down at your side, transfer your weight to your left foot.

Just pay attention again how mindfully you're moving to bring your right knee towards your chest. Arms go up, step back to that high lunge. It might not be a very deep lunge with the back toes pressed down, the block lifting towards the sky. Step into left foot, bring your right knee up towards your chest, and then send that right leg back as your arms rise up. And just feel that ground freshly with your back foot.

One more time, make whatever little micro movements you need to stand, hold your right knee. Wobbly still, really fun, really helpful, high lunge, and then chair pose. It's kind of our base in between, chair. Straighten your legs, arms down at your side, and then we're going to turn to face the long edge of your mat. Again, still block on your heads and see if you can let your feet now wiggle apart, and you don't even need to look down, just kind of sense how wide to place your feet so that you feel stable here.

When you feel stable and alert and excited about what's happening in the legs, raise your arms out to the sides. Let's turn your right foot out first for warrior two, bend your right knee while you lift the block towards the ceiling. And for me, when I do that, I actually don't go very deep into my lunge, the front leg. Just a little bit more conscious of the opening from the center line of my spine out to what I might call the east and west sides of my body, opening a little bit wider as I maintain that length, as I might call that through the north and south ends of my spine. Let me take one more, just trying to lift that block slightly up towards the sky, if you're still with me with the block.

If not, maybe you're imagining you've got a block there. Relax your arms, turn your right foot in, turn your left foot out, arms come up when you're ready as you bend your left knee, and constantly trying to lift this block towards the ceiling, or in my case, this beautiful blue sky above my head. How much are you grounding your feet to lift this block up? Can you feel all those muscles parallel to your spine, hugging in towards your spine to hold you in this wonderful posture? Another moment, just kind of retraining the body to look towards your horizon line, that's helpful to keep better posture.

And now with your arms relaxed at your side, turn your left toes in, and slowly, the key word here, mindfully feel your feet come towards each other, keep the block on your head, and how often do we move that slow to bring your feet together? I feel like it just kind of brings a little mindfulness into the movement. Reset your block. Now with your block hopefully still on your head, slide your hands up please to the sides of your hips, stand on your left foot, and bring your right knee up towards your chest here. We're going to open that right knee out to the side and plant your foot somewhere along that left leg line with your right hand resting on your thigh.

Now let your left arm swing up towards your ear and your arm might even make contact with that block above you. Now press into your left foot to lift your block closer to the ceiling. This right hand you can press against your thigh if you feel like you're losing balance, anchor yourself here. Now feel how much stretch you have in that left side of your chest. See if you can match that stretch now with your right arm coming up towards your ear and evenly lift through your side body.

I like to even come in and give the block a little squeeze with my inner elbow forearm to bring those arm bones just a little bit deeper into the socket and into the stretch. Take another moment looking straight ahead to your horizon. Is it a windy day today or is it just really still? Let your arms come down, mindfully transfer your right foot to the floor and then hands back up to your hips as we shift our weight and send the left knee towards the ceiling. Dial in your balance here.

Send your left foot somewhere along that right leg line and the left hand against your knee and the right arm when you're ready straight up towards your ear. And you might even touch the block as soon as that right arm comes up. Dial into your right foot as much as you can. It's pressing into the ground, press into your left leg to help you find better stability, more stability. Feel that stretch that right side of your chest and let's see if we can match that and bring that left arm up and give a little squeeze potentially of your arms in towards the block. Still lifting that block towards the ceiling and when you do, see if that reinvigorates that right foot, wake it up to that purpose to root us so we can lift and expand.

Keep that block on your head, arms down at your side and then we'll step the left foot to the floor and maybe a big challenge of making a few hula hoop circles with your hips while you keep this block on your heads. Exciting things yoga teachers do to play around with their props and explore new ways to get deeper into their asana. Now I want to invite you to try with me to come down to sit and as you come down to sit on the knees and kneeling position first, it's going to keep that awareness of good posture. And you might keep your block here, bring the feet a little closer together, and maybe you sit back on your heels, or maybe you need to put this block between your ankles and feet. So whatever keeps you safe in your asana, if we sit on the heels and we feel safe, or now is the time to get rid of the block. If you want to put that between your ankles.

Okay, so whatever is safe. Hopefully the block has made a good impression on top of your head. So I'll go ahead for now just keep this on top of my head to model for those of you what that looks like. Alright, Virasana for a moment. See if you can move the block towards the ceiling here and feel what that does to your thighs. You feel the grounding. Now we're going to take the arms up for a moment and we call goalpost arms, and then we're going to turn the fingertips to point down to the floor and feel what's different with your arm bone in front. So we're going to flip the arm bone slightly back, and then we're going to tip and forward towards your chest, arm bones rolling back away from chest and collar bones, and then they come forward and down.

Let's try one more that way up and then down. Okay, now let's grab the block for everybody. Let's take the block for a moment between your feet and find where your strap is we might find that helpful, or we might not need it. So just have that available. And just check out again. Do you feel like you're missing that block already on top of your head. And hopefully again it's left that impression to help you keep that awesome posture as we free your left foot today out in front of you. So if you will, once your left foot is forward, put your right hand down, you're going to lean just a little bit forward towards that left knee.

Take this left arm out to the side goalpost, and then your fingers go down. We're going to go to goalpost arm, maybe open that left knee further to the side lean more forward. Point your fingertips down. Fingertips come up almost to goalpost. Now keep the fingers pointing down and slide your hand around toward that outer left hip. The right hand might come around and find that left hand, or you've got your strap right here to insert between your hands. What's it like here as you press that left arm back away from your chest, look down the tip of your nose and let yourself tip a little bit forward while keeping the chest moving forward away from your belly.

So looking towards the earth or even eyes closed and relax and maybe chin tucks a little more towards your chest. One more moment with that forward folds, looking down towards the earth. Let's release that clasp. Come on up. Go ahead and take this left foot back underneath you and transfer your right foot forwards. We'll keep the left fingertips on the ground as we take the right arm up to goalpost. Now lean a little bit forward. Point the right fingertips down. They come up. Point the fingertips down. Lean a little more forward with your right knee further up to the right. Right arm up, goalpost.

Next time your fingers point down, keep them down and slide your right hand towards your outer right hip. Maybe left hand swings around to make the bind or you've got your strap to feed in between your hands. Then try to look straight down the tip of your nose, everybody, and imagine as you're coming forward that your chest is lifting away from the belly. And that slide forward lean and brings you deeper into that forward fold, maybe even deeper into the stretch in that right hip crease as you lean just a little bit more forward. One more breath here.

And now let's inhale, let go of that clasp. Come on up. And let's go ahead and lift off whatever you're sitting on and set that to the sides and we'll come down to sit with your legs straight out in front of you. And if you know you like a little lift underneath your hips with straight legs, please go ahead and do that. It was straight legs. Now we'll take your right foot into the upper inner left thigh for our Jhanushar Sasana. And if we can all use the strap, even if you think you don't need a strap, let's all use a strap for this one. Where we'll start with your torso, nice and tall.

If you needed a refresher, you could also put your block on your head and come back to this place here with the block. If you feel like you've been paying lots of attention to what that feels like, it's baked into your muscle memory, you're welcome to get rid of that. But try to keep that posture in your awareness as you bring yourself forward with slightly bent elbows. And can we lower the chin a little bit more towards your chest so you're aware that the neck is part of the spine that you're lengthening. Look down as you're leaning forward. And you might eventually be reaching towards your foot with your hands, in which case you let go of your strap.

Take one more moment, try to lift your chest away from the abdomen. Now reclaim the strap, if you will, please, and send your spine back up to neutral. Put the straps into your left hand, use your right hand to tip your right knee in, and we're going to keep that right foot on the ground. Now if you will, reach your right hand around your back to grab the strap with your right hand. I'm going to bend my left knee to make it easier to catch the strap with my right hand.

Now press your left leg straight and see how that opens up that right upper corner of your chest. I'm going to use my left hand to bring that right leg in a little bit more towards my chest. And if it's close enough, you might even appreciate your elbow, left elbow crease, hugging that right knee deeper in towards your chest. Your right hand, when holding the strap, can walk closer to your left toes. Sit up tall as if you had the block on your head as you roll open this right corner of your chest.

Nose perhaps above your heart, or perhaps the nose turns slightly towards the direction of your right arm bone. In one more moment, imagine you have a block on your head. Let's release your right leg, grab the strap with your left hand, slowly release that right arm from behind your back. Both feet tuck into the strap for a brief moment. Straight arms, long spine, flex both ankles, and take a little bit of that traditional forward fold, but really pull your elbows wide.

Chin towards chest, and a little bit of lift in your chest away from the belly. Come back up to long spine and switch out. Now please, Janu Shirsasana with your left foot in your inner right leg. If you need a prop under that left knee, sorry, please use a prop under the knee. Walk your hands towards your right foot.

First, sit up as if you had a block on your head. That's the posture we're trying to keep, even if it means we don't go forward very far. Just be curious, where do we stop moving from the pelvis? And that's where you might want to stop for a moment and just breathe, ground your right leg to potentially get more lift in your spine. And when we have that lift in the spine, maybe with time we'll feel a little more movement in the pelvis.

One more moment here. Please slide your hands back. Hold the strap with your right hands. Tip your left knee in so left foot ends up on the floor. Then bend your right leg a little bit so your left hand can reach around your back and find the strap with your left hand.

Stretch your right leg straight and use that right hand to hug this left knee in towards your chest. Imagine you've got a block on your head, get one inch taller as you turn slightly towards that left leg. You can keep walking your left hand towards your right foot if you don't feel enough stretch in that upper left chest. Nose above the hearts or perhaps the nose turns a little bit towards the direction of that left collarbone. Make it taller through each curve of your spine.

And let's go ahead and release. Left hand lets go of the strap, stretch the leg forward and now we're going to come down onto your back with this strap. So if you will just take this aside for a moment, come down onto your back, ideally maybe with no props or a thin blanket under your head. And let's go ahead and hang your left foot to the outside of that right knee or classic figure four. Then tilt your right thigh in towards your chest and we're going to take the strap around the bottom of that right foot.

Walk your hands up as high as you're comfortable towards your right foot. Your right leg might be above your pelvis or in front of the pelvis if the legs tighter or the knees tight. Or we walk our hands up and allow the back of the pelvis to slowly lift away from the ground as your elbows bend wider out to the sides. So it's like you're feeling a little bit more of that weight dropping towards your upper mid back and shoulders. Find what angle you need to flex your right ankle to find something new to tend to in the back of that right leg.

Maybe it's flexing your left ankle more consciously that tunes you into someplace maybe you haven't visited in a while. Elbows wide. One more moment as you are here. Let's move that right leg forward and put both feet up into the strap for a moment. Flex both ankles. Think of your dandasana posture here. Keep that flexion of the ankles as you bend your elbows wide and feel what it's like to do your forward bend on your back.

As you let your tailbone buttocks potentially lift away from the ground that feels safe in your lower back. One more moment here. Then move your legs forward and let's switch out and this time you've got your right foot hanging to the left sides. Figure four. Walk your hands up.

And when you found that right place that stretches maybe your left hamstring, your right hip gets the stretch versus your knee. Elbows wide and we tip it on back. Perhaps your buttocks lift away from the ground. And then can you feel a little more weight up in those upper shoulders pressing into the floor. Big breath in. Eyes might even be closed. So you're aware of where a little more breath might be appreciated.

And take your focused, sweet attention to those areas of your body. Legs forward. Last time both feet up in the air. One or two breaths with your elbows wide neutral. Don dasana or we're tipping the legs back almost like you're going to do really baby version of halasana plow. Let's bend the knees. Let's go ahead and release the strap out to the side.

Hang up you put your feet on the ground and just sense for this last moment. There's any follow up movements or final movements that you might appreciate before a little shavasana. It will be short in the mornings. Any props you might want to recruit. Anything that we didn't get to that needs to be tended to give yourself a moment to move your body any way that your body needs.

Satisfy those cravings so that you have a little more ease and coming into shavasana. At some point finding your way into what might be your pose for a little reflection here on your back. This place now after moving the body we might be more willing to surrender to the grace of gravity and let go of any tension you might be holding in the face. Muscles widen across the forehead and eyes. Feeling the weight of your upper body and shoulders really drop back into the support.

It's underneath you. And some areas might take longer to release than others so just being willing to gain to pay attention to the whole rib cage. Can we feel parts of it releasing back. Can we feel the rib cage settle. Can we feel any shifts in your whole abdominal area. Digestive organs dropping towards the earth.

Body softening relaxing and however the legs want to roll to the sides whatever angle your feet are just let that be the right spots. There's no way to do this right or wrong. And then a moment again just turning towards the breath. Perhaps a moment of gratitude for all the things you're able to do today for anything you might have learned today in the practice. And perhaps together feeling the support of all the others watching the show today in the summer challenge and for one minute just taking this little silent retreat for one minute together. Deeply nourishing the nervous system.

While you're on your back a bigger fuller inhale, maybe even a more audible exhale. One more in that way big full breath in. It feels good to take a big full body stretch on your back. Take a big full body stretch on your back. Bend your legs when you're ready please roll over onto your sides. And we'll work your way back up towards sitting.

Whatever props you like using for sitting please come on up to sit for a moment. We'll move forward to as we move through our challenge with a little loving kindness meditation, something we can all do together. When you find your upright seats, perhaps we let the eyes close. Take a few deep fuller breaths to center yourself. If you're facing down on your lap or hands together in front of the heart center, just bring a person to mind who invites that feeling of unconditional love into your hearts.

And trust whoever that first person who pops into your mind today is the right person to potentially sit with. Just keep this person in our heart mind as we send Metta the loving kindness towards this person. As you're breathing and just repeating with me to yourself. May this person be filled with loving kindness. May this person be safe and protected.

May this person be healthy and strong. May this person live in the world peacefully and at ease. May this person be filled with loving kindness. May this person be safe and protected. May this person be strong and healthy.

And may this person live in the world peacefully and at ease. And trust whoever that person is to keep this person in the heart mind. One more guided cycle, may this person be filled with loving kindness. May this person be safe and protected. May this person be strong and healthy.

May this person live in this world peacefully and at ease. May this person live in the world peacefully and at ease. And taking a deep breath in, deep breath out here. Let's join together one last time, may this person be filled with loving kindness. May this person be safe and protected.

May this person be healthy and strong. May this person live in this world peacefully and at ease. Let's join the hands together in front of the heart center. And may we awaken for the benefit of all beings. Namaste.

Thank you so much for being part of the challenge and being here for the asana part and for the meditation to help grow this loving kindness practice to hopefully decrease some stress and build a little more compassion for the summer season and maybe for the rest of your life if you appreciate that practice. So in addition to that part of yoga we wanted to introduce a few pieces from the world of Ayurveda to expand your definition of yoga into your life. And in addition to yesterday's nap or siesta that was suggested some water with lime which was suggested and potentially oil on your skin for a little bit of a therapeutic massage. Or that's today's. Spoiler alert.

One of the things today is to encourage you to combat the dryness of the summer is to consider whether it's coconut oil directly from your kitchen that you apply to your skin as a way to work with the heat and the dryness. So coconut oil is usually used in the summer when it's hot out and maybe it makes sense because coconuts grow in places that are really hot that the coconut might be used as a way for us to cool down or the hydrates and when the heat is on. So I like to take a little bit of my actual coconut oil from my kitchen and add a few drops of essential oil. My buddy probably likes a different smell so whatever smell is calming to you is the right one. You don't like lavender that doesn't need to be used, although lavender or something that might be calming for some people. And there's lots of blends that exist out there that have beautiful smells. If you've got a blend that you like. Think about adding that to your skin maybe before you shower, or if you live in a really dry climate you might actually add a little bit of that oil to your skin even after you shower when it's the summertime.

As we go through the day and later afternoon, most of us will notice that our skin is a little bit drier because we dehydrate as the day goes along. And it might be nice to refresh your skin with a little bit of oil, maybe in the later part of the day. So just know you don't have to limit it to just one time, depending on your climates, you might notice your skin drying out more rapidly. And then one way that we can also keep your skin hydrated is the other piece I wanted to introduce today, which was to have potentially an afternoon tea. And you can make it into a cooler room temperature sun tea or make it a hot tea in the afternoon, mostly so that maybe after your siesta you warm up with a cup of tea that's cooling.

And some of the cooling teas are like mint or rose or hibiscus or fennel or some of the teas that I recommend in the summer and that goes really well if you're sequencing this into your day after your siesta where you've cooled down. And then you're refreshed, you're hydrated and you're ready to gracefully move through the rest of your evening. And we'll get to some of our evening wind down treatments as we move further into our challenge this week. The last thing you could do with oil to combat the dryness of the summer is to put maybe even a drop of your coconut oil or what we call nausea oil up into your nostrils to keep the passages in your nose from getting dried out over the course of the day. So those are some things to introduce into your day for the challenge and tomorrow we have a 10-minute Q&A at the end of this session. So if you want to stick around for 10 minutes and send me any questions you have about Ayurveda or the practice of yoga or my approach to yoga, please stick around and send those to us tomorrow in the Q&A.

I hope you have an awesome, healthy, safe rest of the day. Thanks for being here today everybody. Namaste.


Fabian H
2 people like this.
I enjoyed this practice. 
Michelle F
2 people like this.
Melina-thank you I LOVED this practise with the block on my head ----i felt so calm and centred afterwards! It´s funny because I teach English here in Spain and when my little kids are getting overexcited I often play a version of "Simon says" - do you know this game in the states? Anyway, I get the kids to put their books on their heads and then walk slowly round the room or stand up and sit down,etc. They love it - and within minutes they are calm and focussed, their wee faces are a treat.¨¡! Isn't it strange that it´s ever occurred to me to do t myself when Im stressed - until now!
Have a beautiful day!
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Very sweet core strengthening work, Melina!  Many thanks for this challenge : )
Paula E
 I appreciated the mix of movement, meditation and advice.  The block on one's head was a wonderful new approach for me.
Melina Meza
Music to my ears!!! I'm grateful these practices are appreciated and the props are being used to inspire your practice and new insights! 
Linda D
1 person likes this.
What a beautiful practice.  Thank you.  
1 person likes this.
I loved the core work on my back. Though my right hip clunks every time I do the wide circles which is a bit disconcerting! It’s not painful, but it is not relaxing! Should I avoid it? (I realise as I am typing that may be impossible for you to answer and is probably for me to judge!) I liked the playfulness of the movements here and the block-on-head scenario added a new awareness in my feet.
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
Hi Ali ~ Thanks for watching the show and trying out all these new moves! As far as your hip and the clunky movements...I have a few GENERAL things to recommend, please try these and see if they make a difference: 1) make the circles much smaller 2) keep your lower abdominal muscles turned ON as your first priority, then circle the leg and see if that extra support keeps things in place. 3) do all of the above. I'll look forward to hearing how it goes!

1 person likes this.
Thank you Melina. I will try those things when I come back to this practice.
Leslie M
1 person likes this.
This was amazing...might be one of my favourite practices ever. My body, especially my shoulders, feels so open. Thank you so much! I will be coming back to this many times.
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