Fall Ayurveda Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Day 4: Vata Flow

60 min - Practice


Keep the Vata grounded by remaining close to the floor throughout this flow. In Day 4, welcome a heavy, rooted feeling in seated meditation, then use the blocks to increase range of motion, coordination, and strength in the shoulders and arms. We work into the core, glutes, side body, and legs, then Melina offers a spicer play into Crow Pose, followed by some gentle back bending. We close in a seated Pranayama practice focusing on deeper, slower breaths, and meditate on gratitude.

Your Self Care Homework Challenge for Day 4:

  • Creativity: Layer in some creative time in the late afternoon to feel more joyful, balanced, and nourished.
  • Tea Time: Enjoy a ginger, ashwagandha, or turmeric tea to warm the body, decrease inflammation, and calm the nervous system as we transition toward evening.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Hello, everyone, welcome back to day four of our fall challenge with Yoga Anytime. It's a pleasure to be here with you today for our Vata Flow practice, which will keep us close to the floor to keep us grounded while we're flowing. It'd be helpful to have two blocks and a blanket. And we're going to start in a sitting position. So if you like a square fold underneath your hips, if you can sit in cross-legged position, please settle into what will be your comfortable seats.

If you need your legs folded back under and Virasana, you're welcome to make that adjustment or any other shape to begin. And if you will, as a grounding gesture, let your hands rest on top of your knees or thighs. And perhaps start with your eyes open, looking out to your horizon line and sort of sense where your head is in relationship to your spine and the center of the pelvis. And while keeping your eyes on the horizon, let your head move back so it feels like it's right on top of your spine, right above the center of the pelvis, almost like you were balancing the book on top of your heads and trying to maintain that posture as you perhaps close your eyes halfway to let in a little less light. Or perhaps you close your eyes all the way to decrease external distractions and still feel this long line in your spine, celebrating all the different shapes in your spine, the different curves.

Get this general intention to lengthen your spine without gripping along your spine. So when you feel the spine is elongated, can we try to relax the legs a little bit more, your thighs a little bit more? Welcoming that heavy feeling in the legs to keep us close to the earth and then feeling the effect of that air coming in and expanding your body front to back. Feel your body open front to back and as you exhale, see if you can feel your body coming in towards that center line. And then from your center radiating out again front to back and perhaps also a little bit left to right.

As you exhale, feel your awareness, your energy, your attention gathering back in towards your center. Long spine again, inhale expanding front to back, left to right and try to feel everything gathering back in towards the center line as you exhale. So maybe we try to establish a rhythm with our breath will be very helpful and useful to help stabilize vata. So we're working with more prana, deep, regular breaths rather than shallow irregular breaths, which is more vata. Let's take one last big inhale together and perhaps one big audible exhale through the mouth.

When you're ready, let your eyes open if they've closed and let's go ahead and grab a hold of your blocks and we'll be using them a fair amount, just giving you that warning right now. What I'd like you to do is to hold that long edge of your block with your hand and then let your arms go out to your side, maybe straight out to your side about the height of your shoulders. And we'll play with different ranges of motion where we're going to reach those blocks up into the air and it doesn't matter if they exactly touch, but just sort of hear that little click above your head and then lower your arms straight down in front of your chest. I'm going to separate the blocks out to the side and maybe a little further back to open up your chest. And again, take those blocks all the way back up above your head and now right again down in front of you.

Go out to the sides, draw back and up over your head and then forward and down in front of you. So let's keep going in those circles and I hope you can appreciate that little extra weight of the block, arms straight down in front of you, to notice that we're building a little bit of strength as we're working into increasing our range of motion. Let's try one more time, going out to the side, back and up overhead and lower the blocks right down in front of your chest. Now if you open the blocks wide up to your side and we'll turn your right hand more towards the ceiling as you turn your left hand and block behind you. And we'll go in reverse and flip left hand up, turn right hand back.

So see if you can feel how you're moving your arm bones into your collar bones and then maybe even getting your upper body to move a little to the left and move a little bit to the right, still holding those blocks. So depending if you've got cork ones or foam ones, if it's too heavy, the kind of block you have, you might let those go and just visualize that. Otherwise, work at bringing some more strength into all these different movements that you can do in your shoulder. Okay, one more time, exploring that movement through your arms into your collar bones. Now let's bring those blocks down to the sides of your legs.

Put your hands flat on your block, so we're going to lean a little bit forward and now push up off your blanket, off the ground and come back down. If your wrists are sensitive, you could also make fists and push into your knuckles or grab your blocks, push down, lift up, come back to your seat. Let's try that three more times. Maybe lean forward to push up and sit down, push down to lift up, sit down, all these different ways we can move our arms and strengthen these joints of the arms, come back up and then down. All right, now let's go ahead and move your blanket a little bit out of the way and we're going to send the blocks back out of your way for a moment, just a moment, as we do a little push up for a moment with feet on the ground, fingertips facing towards your hips, towards your heels and have your elbows bent and squeezing in towards each other.

So you could also have fists and with your knuckles pressing into the ground. So what we're going to do is go from bent elbows to straight arms. So it's not full reverse tabletop. Come back to bent elbows and then slowly come up to straight arms as you push up. Bent elbows and push up.

So it's a little bit of work for your tricep muscles. Let's go up and down a few more times, come down, keep squeezing your elbows parallel together and push up, come down and then up. Okay, now let's go ahead, stay down, let's turn your legs over to the right side, turn to your right side and bring your legs out to about 90 degree angles. We're going to drop your left arm down to the floor here, parallel to this front small edge of your mat and then take your right arm straight up into the air above your shoulder as best as you can tell. We'll press into your left hand as you swing your hips up off the floor and then bring your hips back down.

Notice if you need to readjust the left arm more forward so it's maybe just a hair in front of that left shoulder line, that's where it feels best for me but notice it feels good for you. Again, press down through your left arm and your feet as you lift your hips up and lower back down. So we're pressing down through your left forearm to lift up and engage the side body, come back down. We can add, once we lift up, if you like your top leg straight, your top arm reaching across the room overhead, reach again for the ceiling as your legs join together. You can lift up and stay here, that might be sufficient or kick out through your top leg, reach out through your top arm, come back down to where we started.

Let's do two more, lift your hips up, hold here or kick out through your top leg and top arm, back to where we started. Next one, lift on up, kick out, maybe reach across the room and we come back to where we started. Let's go ahead and press on up and we'll do a little thing in between where we stretch the legs right out in front of you. Grab a hold of your blocks and let's hold the blocks into maybe that stacked side by sides position and we'll hold those in front of us and raise your arms up into the air and then slowly squeeze the blocks together as you lower back to the floor, head down, take those arms back towards your ears and then reach forward, send those blocks towards your feet, then up into the air, arms down in front of you as you lower onto your back, arms reaching back towards your ears, big breath. Reach those blocks towards your feet, see if you can find that momentum to pull you up, maybe more smoothly each time, arms up and then we squeeze the block as we roll down to the floor, take your arms in the block back towards the floor behind you, reach forward, catch the momentum to reach forward and up, blocks up in the air, let's do one more, lower the blocks as you're coming down and take the blocks back towards the floor behind you and one more time, reach forwards, heels are down and then arms come up and now let's lower those blocks, set them over to your side and let's visit the other side where we take your right forearm down to the floor, bring your legs forward again so they're about 90 degrees and notice again that you can press into your right forearm and create space in this right shoulder joints, okay so we want to not be sagging in that we want to be lifting out of the shoulder joint, see if it's helpful now when you have your left arm in the air right above your shoulder, press into your right arm and lift your hips up, press your feet together, lower down, make any little micro adjustment that's helpful for you and again lift up and see if you like adding that kick out through that top leg, top arm reaches by your ear and we come back to where we started, left arm above your shoulder, okay a few more times you're going to lift up, if you like to kick out maybe stretch your arm over heads, come back to where we started, couple more times swing your hips up, keep pressing into your right forearm as you stretch your leg and your arm away from each other and we come back to where we started, one more, swing your hips up, kick your top leg out if you're doing that variation top arm enjoy that stretch and we come back to where we started, let's lower that top arm and then sit on up and then as we're sitting we're going to go ahead and reclaim our blocks, so what I'd like you to do now is to sit on one block, have the other block underneath let's say your right leg first, so whether it's the flat position or the medium position to hold the back of that right knee, right then we take your left leg and slide it on in closer to your hip or the block and then from here if you bring your right hand to your shin and let your left arm reach straight out in front of you, so I'm going to turn the left hand to face out towards that long edge of the mat and swing that left hand to the small of my lower back as I tip forward, I'm going to reach that left arm back out in front of me, turn the left hand behind me and swing my hand to the small of my lower back as I tip forward, reach that left arm again out to the side palm forward, turn your palm back, bend your elbow, place your hand in the small of your lower back, reach back out, turn your palm forward, now maybe we reach further out towards your right foot or maybe you grab a strap if it's difficult to grab your foot, it should be helpful with the block under your knee and we're going to take the left arm and either reach it into the small of your lower back as you bow a little bit forward towards your right leg, increasing your right hamstring stretch or consider coming up and bring your left arm straight ahead in front of you, reach forward and then take your arm out in front of that left knee, then take your hand to the small of the lower back, either stay here folding forward or reach your right hand behind your back, clasp the opposite hand and consider leaning forward as you press your left arm against your left knee or chin, see if being on this extra height helps you tip a little bit more forward, maybe feel a clear stretch in your right hamstring area and openness through your chest, take one more moment as you are here, kind of exploring your version of the pose, let's release the binds that you're working with and as you sit up, take your left foot and tuck it between your blocks down to the floor, when you have a block under your buttocks, a block still underneath your right leg, from here if you will go ahead and slide your right hand down your right shin, maybe you've got a hold of your toes and we'll take your left arm out to the side and we'll start to swing that left arm overhead as if you're reaching towards your right foot with your left hand, take yourself back up, reach out towards the right, take your right hand back over to the left, come back up and out for a moment, nice and tall through the spine open chest, exhale as we reach over and now maybe stay in that side angle and maybe do a little micro movements of slightly lifting out and then a big exhale maybe we lean further over to your right leg and I know at some point it feels good for me to drop that right, the right elbow down towards the inner leg, towards your inner knee, so we sometimes grab that big toe here as we reach overhead, take one more moment if it's helpful you might even hold your head with your left hand to give you a little bit of support, see if that feels good, eyes relaxed and so we're going for that left side opening as well as your right hamstring getting a stretch, let's lift your head up and we'll exit all the way up and out, turn back to face forward to the edge of your yoga mat and set your left foot back down on the floor, so from here we're going to bring this left foot into your hands and with the bent knee if it's difficult to hold the foot you could also use a strap around your left foot and we're going to try to look straight ahead to your horizon as you stretch your left leg up and then rebend your left leg, slowly stretch that left leg towards straight with or without a strap and bend that left leg, left leg again goes up, we bend the knee, so with the repetition maybe we can bring that leg a little closer towards our torso or maybe we found that comfortable edge where we're going to stay, try to continue to rest here your right leg on your block, hold on to the pinky edge perhaps of your left foot with your right hand and then take that left arm and stretch it back all the way behind you, you could keep your nose above the heart chest area or start to look back towards your left fingertips just noticing that that doesn't shorten your breath, decrease your breath as you turn your heads, so maybe the nose above the heart keeps that central line of the spine nice and open, one more big breath as you are here, another big breath out, let's release and as we put that foot down get rid of the block underneath your right leg for a moment, cross your ankles and then tip forwards so that for a moment we're going to stretch the legs back to the edges of your mat with your legs wide, let your pelvis come forward and kind of wiggle right to left forward back to come towards that upward dog shape where we open up the front of the hips, move yourself back into a little bit of a child's pose shape and then again coming forward with your pelvis moving toward the ground, chest moving through the arms, again back into that child's pose variation, one more time please, coming forward with your hips, swing your chest through the arms, back into that child's pose, let's walk your hands in towards your knees and as you sit up let's go ahead and bring your right leg forward, sit on your block, bring your left leg forward and now this time we'll put the block underneath your left leg so either flat or medium, adjust yourself so that you're sitting up and we'll slide this right heel back towards your right sit bone or the block, keep your left hand for a moment out to the ground on the side to help balance you now that you're sitting up so high and we take your right arm out to the right, bring it forward and reach a little bit forward, turn your right palm behind you and take your hand to the small of the lower back, here's kind of teaching this right arm what it might be doing, when we swing it forward we'll reach forwards, bring the arms straight out, take that right hand to the small of your lower back as you bow forward, reach that right arm out in front of you again, one more time take that right hand to the small of your lower back as you lean forward, now as you reach forward grab a hold of your left foot or your shin or grab a strap so that you can reach maybe a little bit further forward inside this right leg and bend your arm either go to the small of your lower back, the right knee could be drifting out to the right or take your right hand and reach all the way forward as far as you can go, take the right arm in front of your right shin and then take the hand towards the small of your lower back, we can stay here tipping towards our forward folds or take your left hand around your back perhaps you find your right hand and we bow forward here to press your right arm back against your right knee and consider every now and then letting your chest lift up away from the abdomen, try to increase the length in the front of your spine while continuing to stretch that left hamstring, take another moment just allowing yourself to settle into that pose, alright now if we feel close to even let's go ahead release the bind, take your spine all the way back up and we're going to slide your right foot between the blocks so your right leg comes underneath you, now when you're here upright left hand comes down to the left shin or towards your ankle, let that right arm reach out to the side and a little bit behind you so you start to turn your belly chest towards your right knee, as you exhale take that right arm and reach overhead as you slide your left hand maybe further towards your foot, come back up letting your arms and hands adjust with you, lean again over to your left, reach overhead, sliding out just getting that repetition to warm up some of these muscles tip to your side and now maybe we stay here, consider if we grab the big toe with your first two fingers perhaps slide that left elbow down inside your inner leg maybe even your right hand catches the left side of your head just to give it a little bit extra support as we breathe here into that right side of your body, let's take another breath just letting yourself adjust in some way getting that stretch into the right side of your torso and into your left hamstrings, when we're ready let's reach that right arm back up and back behind you pull yourself up and out and we come back to face forwards release that right foot so we've got that right foot on the ground in front of you, tip your knee in towards your chest catch the bottom of your right foot again if that's not easy to grab take a strap around the bottom of your foot and work towards straightening that leg bring your knee back in we're gonna go several more times look out or slightly up as you stretch the right leg straight notice if this side feels easier or more tight compared to your first side going back and forth okay now if we're close to about even with our first side let's keep that right leg straight and maybe take your left hand to the pinky edge of that right foot or you've got your strap so you can free your right arm back behind you try for a moment to keep your head over the center of your pelvis keep lifting your right toes towards the ceiling and just be patient not in the rush to turn your head towards your right fingertips towards your right hand perhaps it's better for you with your breath just to simply keep your nose above the heart I know often for me that's plenty of twist just to keep the nose over the hearts okay so see what it feels like to ground your left leg as you keep lifting your right foot slowly slowly turning if that's meant to be today more rotation let's go ahead and slowly turn back to forward put your right foot down now let's take your hands back bend your left leg and let's get rid of that one block out of the way for a moment so you're just sitting on one block now lean back so you can take your hands to the floor let's cross your left ankle over the top of that right knee you know as soon as you're here this might be a good spot for that left hip joint to open we might continue to stay here or take a moment to reach forward and catch your right shin and just give yourself a little deeper stretch like we do that figure four shape on our back so often or like a warm up for pigeon okay so just one more moment leaning forwards when we go back let's put the hands down and go back to those bent elbows squeeze them in towards each other now press into your right foot and lift your pelvis up like you're going to that reverse tabletop look towards the ceiling bring your hips down you could again go to straight wrist so your knuckles could press down go from bent elbows to straight arms lift your hips up look up come on back down let's do one more press down to lift up towards the sky and we release left foot down keep leaning back it's easier to put your right foot on top of your left knee or thigh maybe staying right here is the best spot for your right hip and knee more stretch we catch left shin go under with your right arm to hold the left shin and then maybe sit forward if you want to deepen that stretch maybe you were just perfect where you were okay one more moment now from here let's go ahead and release as you lean back so you end up with both feet on the ground we're going to tip forward reclaim your second block and put it down on top of the first block so you've got a big wide flat seat if you will bring your legs together and potentially scoot your heels back towards the block it's a warm up for a pose called pasasana so from here we'll take your hands in front of your chest take a turn towards your left thigh and when you're turned towards that left leg tip forward so your right elbow ends up outside your left knee and take a peek at your knees and make sure that they're even that your right knee is not forward of the left squeeze in through the inner legs as you lift your chest bone up towards your thumbs we can stay here with the palms together or see if you like your left arm around your back reaching for the top of your right thigh your shirt your pants look down the tip of your nose as you roll open that left chest okay so the chin is dropping towards the throat versus moving forwards so I'm looking down the tip of the nose one more moment here let's release that left arm bring your hands back together and now let the feet separate about as wide as your shoulders going to tip forward reach your torso through the legs reach your hands out in front of you now we're going to ground the feet and lift off our blocks lift your heels up and with bent arms like chaturanga lean forward move yourself back ground your feet gather your hands back in front of your chest let's try that again tip forward lift your heels and bring your arms into that chaturanga position push back to your blocks hands in front of the chest this one kind of sneaks up on us tip forward and heels are up as you lean forward let's come all the way back and hands in front of the chest okay scoot your legs all the way back together a little flow between our twist sit up tall turn your torso towards your right leg anchor your left elbow when you're ready off your right knee look at your knees see that they're even and try to keep them like that as you engage your inner thighs more then lengthen your spine again turn towards your right leg and maybe you bring your thumbs down towards the center of your chest okay we can stay here or take your right hand around the small of your lower back grab your shirt your pants the top of your thigh and then look down the tip of your nose so there's a nice long spine including your neck as you roll your right chest open one more moment letting that right chest open long spine looking down the tip of your nose when we come back to center bring both palms back to touch separate your feet again almost as wide as your mat and torso is coming forward through the legs again lift off your blocks hands down tip forward and maybe you lift one foot maybe you lift both feet feet down come back land on your blocks hands at the heart let's try two more tip forward find your hands on the ground chaturanga arms bend your legs maybe float your feet up or just imagine that bring your hands back to the heart last time bring that hands down feel the ground tip forward feet together feet down and have a seat okay now from here we're going to take maybe your left leg back lift up off one block set that block aside and we're going to scoot this one block to the back of your mat we're going to put our feet around the side of the block as you come down all the way onto your belly I gotta look back just to see how that's going so when I've got the block between the feet which might seem like a new weird place to have your block probably is from here I'm going to have you bring your arms off to the side of your mat so you're making 90 degree angles in your arms with your forehead on the ground or just above the floor so if you can squeeze the block with your feet to feel how you're energizing the inner leg line up towards your pelvis and potentially even keeping the pinky side of the foot pressed towards the ground okay now if we can let's inhale and simply lift your elbows hands and arms face and chest curl your upper body away from the floor and then bring it all back down now with your forehead down lift your feet lift the block and then take the block down keep the block down lift your upper body inhale take those arms up off the floor keep those 90 degree angles lower upper body lift the feet and the block bring the feet back down lift your arms elbows chest back up and bring the upper body down one more time bring your feet up just the feet and legs and then take it on down okay we stretch your right arm out straight pull the left hand by your chest and please tip over onto your right side as you bend your legs and come over onto your sides so think of the legs being more or less 90 degrees and you're going to find some angle where you can balance here again this is not a traditional yoga pose just a nice way to maybe open the front of your hips and side body so as soon as your legs are set take your top arm reach towards the ceiling and then reach down towards your ear and I like that lower hand to come up and catch your top wrist sorry that's not your wrist that's your forearm close to your elbow and then you're in charge of how much you stretch that top side of your waist open as you squeeze the block with your feet you might even push your hips a little bit forward if you're coming into a side dhanurasana the side bow pose take another moment as you are here opening all this new space and we release your top arm back down to your side and then come back onto your belly when you're on your belly keep the chest lifted awareness still of that block between you and think of a little sphinx pose for a moment as you raise your torso up engage the block with your feet and hopefully you don't get the deadly foot cramp as you hang out here and lift your head towards the sky so kind of maintaining the shape of a back bend between the poses and when we bring the chest back down to the floor stretch your left arm straight pull the right hand in front of your chest and then go ahead and tip over as you bend your legs into those 90 degree angles or kind of sensing that's close to that and when you're ready the top arm lifts we reach the top arm overhead and have that left wrist hand reach up to grab your right forearm as you stretch your top waist longer maybe you push your hips a little forwards I know my top hip I can move it forward and get a really nice stretch to the front of my low belly front of my right thigh take one more moment exploring that shape again never been done before just what's opening here and acknowledge what's opening take the right arm down to your side down in front of your chest and come back down onto your belly in that sphinx position with your chest curled up so you're still in that back bend okay now if you can arrange your feet with the block curl your toes under so you're still squeezing the block with your feet please pull your hands beside your chest and we're going to start to lift up and come into a downward dog where you scoot your feet in to make sure you're hugging the block with your feet and as you do just notice how it starts to tune up and wake up your inner legs all the way up towards the pelvic floor maybe even your navel if you tend to hyper extend or lock your knees give the knees a little bend and then try to squeeze with your feet okay one more moment here now let's go ahead and lower your knees down to the floor and rest your left ankle on the block the foot and the ankle on the block walk your hands towards your knees and when you lift your torso up it'll be easier to swing your right foot forward and we'll tip forward and bring your fingertips to touch the ground as wide as they need to be for you to comfortably touch the floor and then allow that right foot to wiggle forward enough that your left thigh can drape a little bit towards the floor here we'll tuck your left toes under now the exciting part tuck your toes on the block and then from here as you look straight down at the floor lift your left knee and come up into a high lunge okay so you can feel maybe more firming of your left thigh towards the femur with your toes elevated on the block let's bring your knee back down to the floor again press into the block and lift your left leg so it's straight now try to feel the length in your spine to the crown of your head one more this way with your left knee down press into your block lift your hips up keep that left thigh firm as you maybe swing your right arm out to the right and take a little twist looking slightly out to the right as you raise your arm up take the right hand down and your left knee down you can release your foot to the side whoops curl your toes under release your right foot back that's the order and then your left knee down and you're kneeling take your body up let's swing your left foot forwards start to come into that second side of the low lunge and then put your ankle right ankle on top of your block hey wiggle yourself into the right position so that your left leg is about a ninety degree angle and your right thigh definitely is coming towards the floor here back toes curl under back toes go on to the block and then find that power of the back leg as you lift your knee and find that right leg straighter than it's ever been in a lunge lower your right knee to the floor maybe that's a big ask but try to feel how you're working that back right thigh how that thigh firms so wonderfully towards the bones of that leg right knee down one last time and when that right leg comes up press into the block with your toes see if you like swinging your left arm out to the side to feel what that's like take the arm perhaps a little higher up into the air and keep working that right leg as you press into the block let's take that right hand down the right knee down and as you slide that left leg back let's go ahead and take that block between your feet and put it forwards as we slide it forward will come down onto your belly so you've got straight legs point your toes back and we'll turn it to medium or flat depending on what height of block you have if I can have you take your left arm out in front of you take your right arm in front of your chest and we have my right hand face down against the floor and I'm going to pull the block so it ends up underneath my forehead and I might have my left arm reaching straight out in front of me to find that wonderful stretch to the outer right shoulder and just let your belly soften into the floor here feet nice and wide if the blocks not quite right you could always go lower and continue to encourage the weight of your upper body to settle into this shape and it can be a huge stretch for the outer shoulder and notice that you might be willing to take a few deep or fuller breaths here and then we think of coming out we lift the head up put your left hand on the ground and take that right arm and stretch your right arm all the way straight when your chest is lifted it'll be easier to slide that left arm close to the front of your chest and you wiggle your left hand out to the right and then maybe readjust the block so it goes underneath your forehead walk your right fingertips forward away from your right shoulder and check out how this side feels taking in those deeper fuller breaths through that outer left shoulder and then can you notice that your belly is soft and receptive here so we're not gripped in the belly as they're working that outer left shoulder and take a few extra breaths just knowing this can be a little intense so making sure you're adjusting your breath to work with the sensations and then let's go ahead perhaps if you feel complete lift your head up bring your right hand down go ahead and bring your hands in towards that block and then hold onto the block with your hands the wide shape of the block please slide that block out in front of you as you bring your forehead all the way to the floor so you've got the hands to squeeze the block to help firm the arm bones a little bit more in towards the joints either stay here squeezing the block or lift your block up so your elbows are on the floor and we can squeeze the block above the head as you drop your forehead to the floor might even tip your block a little bit more towards the base of your neck just sense again in that shape is there room to wiggle the elbows the arms a little bit forward without gripping the neck the jaw the belly one more moment as you are here and then maybe we stretch that block again forward away from your head and then go ahead from here and take your left hand in towards your chest bend your legs and let's flip over onto your back and let's go ahead and take your block with you I just don't want to miss that block and it could be so purposeful here so let's take the block as you come down onto your back let's see again you have choice here what you're going to choose to do but see if it feels okay for you as you're on your back for a moment been here yet big breath in big breath out okay does it feel good for you if you lift your hips and slide that flat block underneath your sacrum and see for you if it feels good for a moment now to have your feet as wide as you need to to help relax your hip creases arms out to your sides if you prefer something like a cushion like a blanket use your folded blanket instead and I've been exploring a lot with this pose arms at your side is often how I've started doing the pose and really good in exploring with arms going wider out to the sides more and more to get that feeling of the upper shoulders anchoring down to the ground and to feel the opening through the sides of the chest sides of the ribs all the way up towards the armpits so there might be a different shape that you prefer when you're here and then when your upper body feels stable you want to consider with your right leg strong the muscles squeezing the bones stretch your right leg out and then maybe your right heel comes down for a moment to touch the ground so the right leg is straight does that feel interesting for your body and for some of you might like your left leg straight and I really encourage you to keep the muscles of your legs squeezing the bones of the legs so it's not really a passive shape so it's almost like you're making that X shape if you were looking down at yourself from the ceiling legs strong upper body relaxed it doesn't feel so good but one leg bent helps your lower back please make that adjustment take maybe one more moment or two as you are here whatever shape that looks like right now let's bring the feet back in more underneath your knees and let your arms come down closer to your side so that you can tip your knees in towards your chest so as a counter pose to our back bend shape the knees floating above your belly area without grabbing your knees just see if gravity starts to bring your thighs a little bit more down towards your belly or your chest again without pulling your legs in towards your body and then see if that helps again stretch the lower back and the buttock area after we've done a little bit of our back bends one more moment arms braced at your side before we start to move your legs forward put your feet down please lift your hips up and whenever you're ready slide the block out from underneath you if there's any last little movements wiggle movements in your hips windshield wiper legs whatever it might be to help you feel complete after some of our movement today move your body the way your body wants you to move before we take our grounding pose of Shavasana and if you feel like you're going to miss your block and you want it to do something to be helpful here to help you breathe better anchor into this moment sometimes they'll put the block on top of my belly it could also drape a blanket over your hips or legs whatever you sense might get cold and with the arms out to the sides I feel that weight of the block on the belly and it helps focus my mind my attention on that block on my belly so when I inhale I'm trying to move the block slightly towards the sky as you exhale keep inviting that block in the belly to settle back down towards the earth a helpful focal point again your navel or the block moves towards the sky on the inhale navel towards the earth on exhale okay so whether you're using a block or not see if you can orient your awareness into the center of your body notice how much effort it takes to stay with that awareness and then can we feel again as we get more comfortable settled with our breath more of the weight of the body willing to settle back towards the earth we feel our earth body here sitting on the earth you might continue to explore tracking the movement of the breath or let all that go entirely as we take a few minutes for our proper shavasana the time where everything is relaxed breath slow and deep and the mind clear and awake fine.

Thank you. Thank you. We can bring your awareness slowly back towards your navel center, perhaps where the block is. Create a little bit more movement in the center of the body as you take those fuller, deeper breaths. And your own slow, sweet time.

Start to bend one leg at a time. Just feel that foot touch the ground. The other foot touches the ground. And then pause. Your hands, if you've got a block on your belly, you might move that over to a side for a moment.

Turn over onto whatever side you like resting on for that moment for your fetal pose. Stay on the side for that moment. And those come all the way up to sit. So when you're back in the upright position, please recruit some of your props that might be helpful to support you. So I'm going to reclaim the blocks for under my legs in case you haven't done the seat together.

Fold the blanket under the hips to elevate me a little bit. And insert the blocks under my knees just to give me a little bit more support. Hands might again rest on your legs as a grounding gesture. Eyes looking to your horizon. And then if you're comfortable, let your eyes close.

Imagine you were still looking out to your horizon, balancing a block on top of your head. Be mindful of good posture. Let's see if you can go back to that awareness that you had breathing on your back of your navel moving away from your spine on inhale. Your navel moving in towards your back on exhale. And try to stay with that breath awareness as you sit.

Placing your attention, navel center, expanding away from spine on inhale. Navel moving in towards your back on exhale. And see if you can literally start to feel your body opening front to back, left to right. Giving our mind this one simple test to do to see if this helps to keep that vata energy low. A regular shallow breath at a minimum as we settle into deeper, slower, rhythmic breaths that we call prana.

Every time you exhale, see if you can feel like you're gathering the essence of the breath in towards the center of your spine. Just for one minute try to stay focused in this practice, adjusting the sound of the breath, the volume of the breath, whatever you need to to stay alert and awake for about one minute of pranayama. Expansion on inhale, moving in towards center on exhale. And then taking slightly fuller, deeper breaths where you are. Just folding back in a little bit of our practice from yesterday in gratitude.

And take a moment as you sit here to perhaps consider something that you're grateful for today. And taking a big breath, breathing that into your heart center. Perhaps remembering something that you're grateful that's been done for you. And taking that into the heart center. What does that feel like?

And then perhaps grateful for something that you might have been able to do for another person yesterday or perhaps even today. It just takes perhaps a moment or two to shift our heart center, our awareness, our mood by thinking about what we're grateful for. I hope you can feel that. And then closing this part of our practice, the hands might join together in front of the heart center. And I am so grateful that you are here with me today.

Thanks so much for practicing with us. All right, so as we've been doing in our practice this week is folding in a few tips that might help you expand your definition of yoga into the rest of your daily life. Little self-care Ayurveda tips. And today I wanted to introduce the idea of being creative as an actual ingredient that might help you feel more joyful, more complete, more balanced, more content. Creativity is one of the great ways to express ourselves.

So something that's useful to maybe tune into is the late afternoon, the transition time between the productive part of the day and the evening where we kind of shelter back in and start to eat and nourish ourselves is this transient time of day. Weird, gorgeous lights that might be fun to inspire your your muse to collaborate with you and to do something creative. And it could be just taking a walk in your neighborhood and taking a picture of some gorgeous flowers. It could be actually working on a song, a poem, whatever your medium might be, maybe sitting outside in that beautiful light dreaming up what you're going to make for dinner, if that's how you express your creativity. So if possible, consider celebrating creativity as a self-care practice and to notice again how you feel after you are creative.

For me, I feel satisfied the way I do after I have a well-balanced meal. There's that same feeling of contentment and peace that comes from maybe just doing a few minutes of creative work every day. And so that transition time of the day is when we try to explore that, if that works for you in your schedule. In addition to that, oftentimes we want to encourage a warm tea in the late afternoon to help balance the dry nature that happens at the end of the day when we've been busy and maybe not hydrating so well, if you've been productive all day. So the tea that we like to recommend in the autumn are things that are going to be warming without having caffeine.

And the probably most recommended tea that I could offer is ginger tea. Most people tend to find that pleasing to the taste. There's a special Ayurvedic tea called ashwagandha that's also really good for calming the nervous system. And that's starting to become more and more popular. You can find that in most grocery stores, ashwagandha, or something that also might have a little turmeric in it to help just decrease any inflammation.

And there's often blends of ginger, turmeric, and ashwagandha available depending on where you live. So you might explore expanding your tea pantry or your tea offerings at home to entice you into having a warm treat late afternoon that's not caffeinated to help you be more sleepy in the early evening so that you get an early night's sleep as we reviewed some of the things from our earlier sessions which include making sure you're hydrated in the morning, doing our joint mobilization practices maybe more than once a day. Perhaps we're excited about the boundary practice of saying no when an invitation doesn't feel like a yes. Going to bed by 10 or 10.30 to help keep our immune system nice and strong. Reading before bed to decrease electronic stimulation before bed. And those are just a few of the things we've introduced so far.

So I look forward to hopefully being with you one more day and I hope some of these have been helpful for you and inspire you to expand your self-care practice. And thank you so much for being with us today and yoga anytime and I'll look forward to seeing you next time. Namaste. Take good care of yourself today.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
The block work in this practice actually had me in a sweat - in fact at about the midpoint I swapped out my heavy cork blocks for some lighter, more gripping foam blocks and that made it much more doable 😌
Melina Meza
I hear ya! I now have three sets of blocks from light to heavy that I rotate depending on what kind of work I'm doing. I'm glad you had some back up blocks around!
Kate M
3 people like this.
Re. cultivating some kind of creativity: I found that creating something with my hands, using natural materials, really helped me with dealing with the first lockdown. I've been doing some twisted wire jewelry using natural mineral stones. It's fun, and they make nice little gifts : )
Rosanna S
4 people like this.
All I can say is I'm super grateful for you and these practices!
Sarah J
Awwwww this was such a wonderful practice, thank you so much for sharing with us your knowledge and experience, thanks for inspiring, off to have some ginger tea ☕️ 🙏👏🏻❤️
Lorraine Marek
I enjoyed using blocks in this unique practice. Thanks
David G-
1 person likes this.
Wow! That was super fun. I had to watch you do the squat to Bakasanam, but that was a wonderful brain-break and geez, that's really cool. "All in good time..." 

Every other move was challenging or fun, but rewarding. I love the frame element of the session (sitting in lotus), and I really savor the savasana, meditation and self-care reinforcement.

Purchasing the ginger tea this morning.

I can never predict what is coming next; the utilization of the blocks is a good example. Thanks Melina! 

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