Joyful Flow Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Key to Balance

60 min - Practice


Keep breathing, keep smiling, keep playing in this challenging and fun practice focused on balancing. We begin with opening seated postures and breathing exercises, then bring the energy up the spine, and activate the core and leg muscles for stability during Side Planks, Warrior 3, and Dancer Pose. You will feel joyful and centered.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Happy Thursday to you all wherever you are. I'm right here in my little bungalow in Chicago. Thanks for returning to Joyful Flow. If this is your first time joining us, I promise that we try to keep it light. We try to keep it free from any of that outside stuff that's going on in the world so that you can have a little vacation from your mind and recharge your batteries. We're going to start today in a nice comfortable cross legged seat and we'll be working a lot with balance today. So don't be afraid to use the wall. Your wall could be your best friend, especially if you have any ankle or knee issues. So find yourself in your comfortable seat and let's get ready to move. Little cross legged seat. Before we do our breathing exercises, let's move through the spine a little bit. So slide your palms right down to your shins and we'll just hang out here connecting with the breath and once we get connected with the breath, we're going to invite some movements in. So close your eyes for a moment. Check in to the rise and fall of your breath. Invite that four part breath to be present. The inhalations, the pauses, the exhalations and those short pauses before you start that all over again. Finish with one more round of your four part breath. Inhaling, lengthening the breath, holding a little longer than you normally would. Exhaling, letting go of some tension and taking a short pause. We're going to do some movements to the breath. So as you open your eyes, so you can see me, inhale, press your knees to the floor, lift the sternum, lift the heart, lift the chest, take the drishti up, your focus up and then as you exhale, round the spine, lean back, pull the navel up and back to your core. Inhale, lifting the heart, chin and chest, cow tilting the spine, pressing the knees down to the floor. Exhale, rounding the spine, creating a little space between the vertebrae and the back body. So we're just playing with the extension and flexion of the spine, getting the spine ready to move, ready to explore our Thursday, bringing some energy up the spine. You can think of the spine as you're scaffolding for the energy body. Good. Then the next time you find your tall spine, come to a neutral position, balancing on your seat, and we'll do a little bit of nadi shodhana, which is alternate nostril breathing. So we bring a little bit balance to our energy body. So take the index and middle finger of your right hand and bring it right to your brow here. This is where we'll keep our focus, our attention. We'll be using our thumb and either the ring or pinky to close the nostrils. So take a nice round of normal breath without doing anything with your thumbs. Inhale through the nose. Hold the breath. Exhale through the nose. This time close. Inhale through the nose. Right thumb closes the right nostril. Hold. Exhale through the left nostril. Keep the right thumb closing. Inhale through the left. Close with the ring or the pinky. Open the right. Exhale through the right. We'll take a couple of rounds just like this. Inhaling through the right. Covering and holding. Exhaling through the left. Think about that sense of what balance means to you today. Whether it's that physical balance that you're looking for, really grounded into your earthly experience or whether you're looking for a little balance and how you're experiencing the world in your mind. Exhale through the right. Give yourself three more rounds of breath just like this with the alternate nostril breathing. Maybe it's a little bit of emotional balance that you're seeking today. Finding a little peace, a little harmony and how you're experiencing the world in your mind. When you finish the last one, make sure you exhale out your left nostril. Good. And then when you release your palms, just take one round of clearing breath. Inhale through the nose. Cleanse, clear, purify your mind. Hold the breath in the heart space and then exhale in. Are you ready to flow? Let's do this. So we're going to extend the right leg. You're going to keep your left leg bent right into the right hip. Place the left hand on top of the left thigh. Bring the right fingertips behind you for a nice soft tip opening twist. Lift and lengthen the spine. As you turn to the right, make sure that right leg's really active, pulling the toes back. Lift and lengthen. Get a little taller through the spine. Exhale, turn and rotate to the right. In your finale here, keep the twist. Let your right ear drop towards your right shoulder so you feel a little trapezius stretch on the left side. Good. As you turn back to center, draw the left knee towards the midline, right into the chest, wrap the right arm around, bring the left palm behind, push down into the palm, lift the sternum, lift the chest and rotate to your left. Big inhale, lift, lengthen, lift the rib cage and rotate. Two more rounds of breath, just like that. Big inhale, bringing out the spine. Nice exhale. Last round. Good. As you turn back to center, walk your left foot about a foot away from your sit bones and then go ahead and bend the right leg. Come as high up on your sit bones as you can. Really lift the sternum chest and engage your core. Think of this as a preparation for Navasana Boat Pose, but we're just going to do Boat Pose with the left leg. So bring your hands behind the left hamstring, draw the knee in towards the chest, lift and lengthen. Stay right here.

This is a perfect spot. If you're going deeper, bring your hands to your hamstrings, slowly start to extend the leg. If this happens, make sure to rebend the left leg. If you're going for the toes, make sure that you can keep the spine nice and tall. If you want to feel a little bit more work happening, come up to the very tops of your right toes or maybe straighten the right leg. Remember, be playful, have fun with it and extend your right leg to the sky. Lowering it and lifting it, lowering it and lifting it. You'll feel the muscles in the hip flexors working. Remember this last part's optional. If you're feeling this in the lower back, back off immediately. Good. I'll wear the left leg. Perfect. Bend your right leg. Take your feet a little bit wider, separate the knees, lift the heart portion and just cow tilt the spine. Exhale, round the spine, pull the navel up and back. Three more pulses just like that. Inhale, lifting, exhale, rounding. Really getting our spine ready for those forward folds and those nice juicy backbends. Nice little heart openers. Good. The next time you open the hips, stay here, extend your left leg, flex your left foot, draw the right foot right into the inner thigh or knee, whatever works for you. Left hand behind you for a hip opening twist. Right hand rests on the right thigh. Lengthen and lift, turn to your left, lengthen and lift, turn to your left. Oh, I got a nice little adjustment right there in the middle of the back. Hopefully you get some nice movement there too. Lengthen and lift and maybe let that left ear drop towards the left shoulder so you feel the trapezius stretch in the right side. Good guys. As you turn back to center, draw the right knee towards the midline, wrap the left hand around, right hand behind, push down into the fingers of the palm, whatever helps you get more length. Keep your left leg active, turn to the right, tall with the spine, pull the navel up and back, turn to the right, two more rounds of breath, just like that. And exhale, come on back to center. Move your right heel a little farther away from you, about a foot, foot and a half, rebend your left leg, come up and sit bones and get that chest really lengthening using your core muscles, lifting the right leg into our boat pose variation. This is much safer for the lower back than extending, so make sure that as you move deeper, you're being safe on the lower back. Feel free to stay there or bring your hands to the calf muscles. If you've got nice open hamstrings today and they're ready to play, go for it. If they're not, keep that leg bent, keep lifting the sternum and chest. If you're feeling it, come up to the left toes. Yeah, that could be your spot or extend the left leg and play with that lift and lower. This is a balance pose right here. If you squeeze to the midline with your inner thighs, you'll be able to feel this a little bit more and you'll use that adducting muscles to help you keep your back safe. One more round, good. Bend both legs, take your feet a little bit wider, hold on to the front of the knees, step, lift the heart, and just exhale around the spot. You've got five more. You can do the hands-free version if this is okay for your lower back. Separate the knees, lift the heart, palms to the sky, exhale, bring them right back into prayer. Last four, wake up the core. Last two, engage. Last two. We're turning on our little higher centers today. Last one. All right. I'll meet you in table pose. You can swing your legs around or you can cross the legs, plant the palms in front of your knees and float the feet back to your table pose. Knees under the hips, palms under the shoulders. Same thing we were doing with the spine. Guide the heart, chin and chest forward. Inhale, look forward and possibly up. Let the belly drop. Exhale, push down, round the spine, tuck the chin to the chest. Two more rounds, just like that. A little more downward, forward pressure as you round the spine. Really push into your arms, push into your palms like you're really trying to lift away from the floor. Last cow tilt.

Come to your neutral spine, neutral table pose. Extend your left leg back, press to the back of your mat with your toe pads so you get a nice calf stretch. This might be perfect for you or if you want to create some more heat, draw the right knee and right heel into the chest, but push back into that left heel. Feel the calf stretch on that left leg. Lower the right knee, right back, right under the hip, side plank on your right hand. Push forward and down. Pivot your left heel. Easy side plank. Stay right here. Work for that right arm. Slide your right foot underneath your left. Squeeze and stack the right shoulder right over the wrist. Push forward and down so you're not sinking into the right wrist. We'll meet you in plank pose. Lower the knees to the floor. Guide the heart, chin and chest forward. Engage the muscles of your arms. Pull the belly up as you lower all the way down. Sphinx pose. Replace your elbows with your palms. Replace your, yeah, replace your palms with your elbows. Sphinx pose. Props to the feet. Guide your ribs forward. Roll the shoulder blades back. So you're really moving your ribs towards your thumbs so you feel the front of your body. Really stretching a nice safe first back bend today. Exhale, lower down. Replace your elbows with your palms. Meet you in table pose. Press up and back. Slide your hands back. Fingertips only on your cat and cow tilts. This helps us remind our muscles and our hands that those fingers need to work when we're doing some of our down dogs and planks so we don't sink into the wrist. Guiding the heart forward with the inhale. Exhale rounding the spine. Great guys. One more round of breath. Neutral spine. Palms to the floor. Extend your right leg so you're pressing into the toe pads of the right foot and just push forward with a hand so you're really feeling the calf hamstring stretch on that right side. Same opportunity. A little bit more work if you need more work today. Draw the knee into the chest and lift your heel up and then press back into your right heel. Feeling that calf stretch while you're firing up the muscles in your arms. Good. Lower the left knee right back under your left hip. Pivot your right foot. Side plank up on the left hand. Stay right here with the knee under the hip or slide beneath the right. Squeeze the inner thighs together. Lift your left hip. Push forward and down with your left palm. Side plank. Your version. Playing with balance. Not only on our feet but on our arms today too. Move to your plank pose. Knees an option to lower down. Then the elbows. Come on all the way down. Sphinx pose number two with an arm variation. If you feel like taking it pressing to the tops of the feet, guiding your ribs forward. If you're feeling a lot of space in the lower back, push into your palms. Lift the elbows off the floor and guide your ribs forward towards your thumbs. A little inner thigh rotation for the legs.

I'll meet you in our first down dog. Let's go there. Lower those elbows. Lower the palms. Release the elbows. Press up to table or plank. And hips to the sky. Down dog. Chest towards the thighs. Pedal the legs out one at a time. Take a little inventory of how your hamstrings are feeling today. Actively push forward with the palms. Draw the navel up and back. Great guys. One more big inhale. And exhale. Walk your hands back towards your feet. So you're in a little forward fold at the back of your mat. Start with your knees bent and just let gravity do the work. Let the head relax. Let the neck, the arms, the shoulders just melt to the floor for this little inversion here. Head below the heart. Great. Palms to the shins. Lengthen the spine. Flat back. As you exhale, bend both knees. Slide your hands above the knees. Take chair pose with the cow tilt. Nice and low. Lift the heart and chest. Last round of your cat and cows. Can't get enough of those for the spine. Rounding the spine as you exhale. Guiding the heart, tune your chest forward as you inhale. Two more rounds of breath. Flow with the breath. One more. The next time you round the spine there, just roll all the way up to a stand. Inhale the palms to the sky. Exhale your palms right to the heart center. Give yourself a moment. Check in. If there's a dedication, an offering for your practice today, always a great opportunity to make this practice about something much bigger than the self. Great. As we bow to the floor, if you'd like to join me for an home, it's as we hinge at the hips and bow to the floor. Inhale the palms to the sky. Lift the heart, tune and chest. Exhale, hinge at the hips. Palms to the shins. Lengthen the spine. Flat back. Exhale, a little bend in the knees. Walk your hands all the way forward to plank pose. Take a nice slow vinyasa. Remember your back bend of your choice. Stay in a low sphinx pose or straighten the arms and sphinx or come up into cobra pose. Your call for that first back bend, heart moves forward, shoulder blades down and away from the ears. Exhale, meet your back and down dog. Hips to the sky. Playing with a little balance in our down dog. So bend your right leg. Push as strongly forward as you can with your right hand and walk your left hand towards your left foot. Got it? Perfect. Now send your right leg to the sky as you bow towards your left shin. Stay here or come up to your left fingertips. For those of you that really want to play, lift your left arm by the side or drape it around the waist. See? It's fun to fall out of balance. Take pulse, nai vinyasa. I'll meet you in your back bend. Sphinx pose was the first one cobra elbows bent or you might be opening up to a little deeper back bend. Make sure the lower back is nice and happy in your back bends. Exhale, press back to your down dog. All right. This time we're bending the left leg with the focus being on the right hamstring and calf. Push strongly forward with a left hand. Walk your right hand halfway to your right foot. Keep pushing with that left hand to get that left heel to the sky. Little forward fold towards the right shin. Activate the muscles in your left hand. Become up to your right fingertips or right arm by the side. Be careful but have fun at the same time.

Left pose. Lower all the way down. Guide yourself into cobra or up dog. A little child's pose twists. Knees a little wider than the hips. Thread the right arm under, across, and through. Left palm to the floor for a little rotation or left palm on top of the press. That right elbow into the floor. Maybe lift and twist. So many beautiful benefits of our twists. If you were here for detox flow last week, you may have felt that. Lower on, back down. Child's pose. Thread the left arm under, across, and through. Push the floor away with the right hand. Stay there or bring the palms into prayer. Lengthen the spine and rotate. Lengthen and rotate. Great, guys. Replace your palms. We'll meet in plank pose. Tuck your toes under. Lower all the way down. Cobra or up dog. Send it back to your down dog.

Great. Walk your hands halfway to your feet. So not all the way to the feet. So you're in a real little mini dog here. Mini dogs are all the rage in the big city in Chicago. Lift your weight to your left foot. Take a little standing split. So we're not as deep as we normally would be with the hands closer to the left foot. Keep the hands a little farther away. Bend the left leg. Tap your right knee to the left calf. Straighten the left leg. Straighten the right. Send it to the sky. Take a couple of pulses just like this. We're going to play with a fun little transition into wobbly chair. Place the right knee on top of the left calf. Both legs are bent. Lower the right toe to the floor behind the left heel. Walk your hands back. Bend the knees. Squeeze to the midline. Bring your hands to the hips and lift your torso. Good. So we're in a little wobbly chair like we're on a tightrope. Palms to the sky. Great. We're going to do this a couple of times. First one really safe for everybody. Round two and three a little bit more. A little bit more exploratory. Bring your hands to your hips. Keep the knees bent. Forward fold. Slide the hands forward. Right leg back to the sky. Great. Bend the left leg. Wobbly chair. Lower the right toes down. Even up the same way or you can rise right on up. This is where the balance comes in. Squeeze to the midline. And if you did, lift the right toes off of the floor. Reach forward about two feet. Right leg to the sky. You guys are getting the idea now, aren't you? Exhale. Bend the left leg. Tap the right knee. Lower the right foot to the floor. Squeeze to the midline. Reach the palms up. Keep that right foot down or hover it up. Finale here. As you reach forward, if you want to pause until warrior three, turn your palms right into prayer as you extend the right leg back. Lower the palms to the floor. Walk your hands forward to one leg of dog. Keep that right leg up there. There you go. Take a nice big inhale. Exhale. Step the right foot to the front of your mat. Lower the left knee to the floor. Right hand to your right quad. Left hand to your sacrum. How did that go? That's why we have two sides. We can always master it on the second side. Then we're taking a little pulse here, opening up the front of the hip. Little hip flexor release on the front left leg. Give yourself two more rounds of breath. One more. One of our peak postures today is dancer pose. So let's take a little interlace of the hands. Move the wrists away from the waistband in our low lunge. This will help us for our dancer pose later on. Lifting the heart sternum, lifting the chest. Excellent everybody. Lower the palms to the floor. Tuck your left toes under. Lift your left knee off the floor. Bring your right hand inside of the right leg. Kickstand side plank. We're stepping the right foot behind the left. Pivoting the left foot. Right foot stays bent. Right leg stays bent. Inhale the right palm to the sky. We got a couple rounds. Feel free to use the right hand to begin with. Right hand to the floor. Draw the wrap up towards the armpit. Step it forward.

All right. If that was easy for you, let's try just fingertips on the right hand. Bend the knee. Draw it into the chest. Pivot the foot. Step back. Release the arm. Try with just fingertips. Fingertips forward. Good. Maybe the last one. No arms. Maybe use those fingertips or the palms. Draw that right heel up into the chest. Step it back. And then same thing. Draw that right knee up into the chest. Step it forward. Lower the right hand. Lower the left knee. Straighten the right leg. Half split. We did it. Pull the toes back. If you need to walk those hands back, walk the hands back. Be kind to your hamstring. Pull the toes back. Guide the heart, chin, and chest forward. That was a lot of work on the left wrist. We're going to do a little wrist stretch and a twist at the same time. Little combo platter. Bend your left leg. Flip your left palm so your left wrist is facing forward. Left thumb out. Bring the right hand on top of the right thigh. Lengthen the spine and turn to the right. Most of us, this is plenty of weight. Opening up the forearm and wrists. If you can't get enough, lift your knee off the floor and extend your palm to the sky. Two more rounds of breath. One more. Lower the right hand. Lower the left hand. Shake out your wrist. Right leg back to the sky. One-legged dog. Lengthen forward to plank pose. Guide yourself through a vinyasa. Three breaths in the back bend of your choice. Press to the tops of the feet. Move the heart, chin, and chest forward. Shoulder blades move down the spine. Heart lifts and extends forward. I'll meet you in down dog.

Walk your hands halfway to the feet. We're going back to our little mini dog now. Shift your weight over to your right leg. Send your left leg to the sky. Good. Tap your left knee on top of your right calf. Bend your right leg. Send the left leg back to the sky as you straighten the right leg. Maybe come up on your fingertips a little bit more weight on the legs. Bend and tap and extend. Last round. Bend. Keep the left knee on top of the right calf. Lower the left toes so it's like you're on a tight rope. Walk your hands back towards bent legs. Squeeze your inner thighs to the midline. Come up to your wobbly chair. Bring your hands to your hips. Focus forward. Inhale those palms up. Good. We're returning safely and you can do this every time. Hands to the hips. Squeeze to the midline. Bow forward. Reach forward. Left leg to the sky. Tap the left knee to the left. You can come up with your hands at the hips or as you sit back and squeeze, come all the way up to your wobbly chair. Stay here or pull the left heel up into your seat. As you bow forward, keep the knees bent. Extend the left leg to the sky. This is the last round. Left knee, right calf, wobbly chair, hands to the hips or straight up to the sky. You're going to feel the muscles in your legs firing up. Maybe toes off the floor. This is your opportunity. Arms in prayer. Warrior three or bring them straight to the floor. Lower the palms down. Walk to your one legged dog. Hands forward. Left leg nice and high. Yay. Exhale, step the left foot to the front of your mat. Lower the right knee to the floor. Left hand, left quad, right hand to the sacrum. A little pulse here. Those are little challenging postures, challenging transitions, but they should help us as we build up to some of those deeper standing postures. Those movements, those transitions will help us with our balance. Don't be frustrated if they're not happening right now. Sink into that right front hip.

When you interlace your hands behind the back, do the non habitual interlace, that weird index finger, lift the heart sternum, lift the chin, lift the chest. Awesome. Go more big inhale and then exhale the right palm to the floor. Transitions from low lunge to kickstand side plank. Bring the left hand inside, tuck the right toes under. Use the full left hand for helping that slide that left leg back, step and pivot. And then use the left hand to help you guide that left foot all the way forward for your little twist. Maybe fingertips round two, draw the heel all the way up to your seat, push forward and down with your right hand. So you're not using as much of your left hand and then back to fingertips. Last round, palm fingertips are hand free. Little up into the chest, push with the right hand, step the left foot back, lift your hips. Take a big inhale, look forward, with or without your left hand. Good. Lower the left hand to the floor, lower the right knee to the floor, straighten the left leg. Remember, you can walk your hands back, back off the hamstring, or you can guide the heart, chin and chest forward to feel a little bit more depth in that variation. Two more rounds of breath, invite the toes back, feeling that hamstring and calf stretch. Last round, you got it guys. And then rebend your left leg, wrist stretch with the right hand. So turn the right palm, right thumb facing out, forearm facing forward, left hand on top of the quad, lift and lengthen as you rotate. This is a perfect spot to stay. If you know you have a little bit more strength with the wrist facing away from you, then you can lift the right knee off of the floor, stack the left arm over the right for this real nice wrist stretch and spinal twist. Lower the right knee if it's off the floor, lower the left hand, shake out the right wrist. And we'll finish with our one legged dog Vinyasa. Palms to the floor, wrapping around that left leg, tuck the right toes under, left leg to the sky, celebrate, and then move to your plank pose. Then the elbows lowered all the way down, cobra up dog. Great guy. Meet you and down dog. Press the hips back, chest towards the thighs, rise to the very tops of the toes. And we'll take a little walk forward towards the wrists, you pressing the chest towards the thighs. At any time, if you need to bend those knees, bend the knees. Lower the heels, palms to the shins, fine. And lean forward just a little bit. There it is right there. You feel the muscles in your toes working, head forward. Relax the muscles of the face. Relax the jaw. A little balancing fun. Arms out to the side like wings. Look straight down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pull the navel up and see what it feels like to lift your heels off of the floor. Pull the navel up. Two more rounds of breath. You got it. Lower the heels, forward fold. Last round. Lengthen the spine, flat back, palms to the sacrum. So as you bring the palms to your sacrum, squeeze to the midline. Slowly rise all the way up. Guide the heart, chin, and chest. Lift your sternum. Lift the ribs.

And then squeeze and lift. One more round of breath. And then come and pause. Palms right into prayer. Okay. So we're going to play with that same wobbly chair pose, but with a little twist here. So find your focal point, shift your weight to your left leg, and slide your right foot behind into the left for a little curtsy. Left leg's bent, right leg straight. Follow your right ankle all the way up and take a side stretch through your left. I'm just going to pivot a little bit and show you what it looks like from the back so that you get a different angle here. Big side stretch. You can grab the right wrist with the left hand or bend the arm, lean the head back, and take both elbows over to your left. So we're in our little side stretch, really opening the side body. Keep squeezing to the midline. Release the arms. Flat back. Bring your palms to your hips, your fingers to your hips. Flat back. Fold. Right hand. Outer left calf. Ankle or heel. Left hand to your sacrum. Get long with the spine and rotate. Get long and rotate. Two options here. Stay here or hook your right elbow outside of the left knee. Above the left knee, the IT bend, left palm on top of the right. Twist it out. Now the fun part comes, obviously the balancing part, when we step the right foot back. So let's try the easier version first. Left hand to your sacrum. Right hand to the floor inside of your left foot. Shift your weight to the left foot. Slide your right foot back. Not bad, right? Let's come back to that same position. Take the curtsy. Maybe the twist. If you're looking forward and this isn't working for your leg, please do the first version. Shift your weight into your left foot. Slide the right foot back. Oh, even for me, it's challenging. Hook that right elbow outside of the left knee in whichever version you're doing. Lengthen the spine and rotate. Get long. Lengthen the spine and rotate. Lower the palms around the left leg. Lower the right knee to the floor. Straighten the left leg for your half split. We're giving that little quad a break. We've done a couple of half splits already. So if you're sliding that heel forward a little bit, feel free. You're moving into your deeper split. Do so really mindfully. Slow the breath down. Two more rounds of breath wherever you're settling into your hamstring stretch. One more round of breath. Rebend your left leg. Lower the left foot to the floor. Tuck the right toes under. Lift the right knee off the floor. Make sure your feet are hip distance. So you've got nice balance here. Lengthen the spine. Bring your hands to the hips. Rise up to your high lunge. Tailbone lengthening down. Heart lifting up in opposition. Straighten the left leg. We're going back to our interlace of the hands. Interlace your hands behind the back. Move your wrists away from the sacrum. Keep the wrists here. And then as you bend the left leg, keep moving the wrists away from your waist. You'll feel the resistance right there. Good. One more round of breath.

And then straighten the left leg again. Perfect. Now is your opportunity. Either keep interlace, bend the left leg and fold or celebrate with a warrior three. Step your right foot forward halfway. Move your wrists away from the sacrum. Shift your weight to your left leg. Right leg to the sky. Move the heart forward. Lift your right heel. Two more rounds of breath. One more. Lower your hands around the left foot. Step your right foot forward to join the left. Bring the palms to your shins. Lengthen the spine. Flat back. Bend both knees. Round up. Inhale the palms to the sky. Exhale into prayer. Shake out that left leg. Shake out the right leg. Dance around just a little bit because we're going to dance or pose. I don't know. You got to dance every once in a while, right? It's almost Friday. Okay. We did a lot of work on that left leg. The left leg is going to be our standing leg. Feel free to use a wall. If you're using the wall, left hand to the wall. Right hand grabs the right ankle. Focus your feet forward. Shift your weight into your left leg. Bend the right leg up into your seat. Right hand reaches for the outer right ankle or flip the palm. Big toe side of the foot. Turn the bicep and palm out. Bring the left hand to your heart. Extend the left palm straight forward and then flip the palm up. Start to kick the right heel slowly back, keeping your focus and your drishy. When you're feeling that right heel about the height of your left hand, start to lift both up at the same time.

Keep breathing. Keep smiling. Keep playing. One more round of breath. Good. Lower the right leg. Shake it out. Move it around. All right. Side one is done. We still have one more side. So let's come to the front of our mat. We're doing the curtsy balancing on the right leg this time. So I'm going to shift just a little bit this way so you can see. Shift your weight over to the right leg. Slide your left foot behind and over to the right. Left leg's bent, right leg straight. Following the line of the left leg all the way up and over to the right helps you feel that deep side stretch of the left side body. Maybe bending the elbow, leaning the head back, breathing fully into the left side body as you find some more space. Cool. Keep that side stretch. One more big breath and then release the arms. Hinge at your hips. Bring your hands to the hip. Left hand, right shin. Right hand, waistband. Lengthen the spine. Turn to your right. Lengthen and turn. Remember option two, hook the left elbow outside of the right thigh and bring your palms into prayer. So we're playing with a transition here. Stepping the left leg back. Let's try the easy one first. Left hand inside of the right. Right hand to the sacrum. Slide your left foot back. Take the twist. Right palm to the sky. Bring your right hand back to the sacrum. Look forward. Slide the left foot back to that curtsy over to the right. Right leg stays bent. Left leg straight. Same version. Left hand to the floor. Or try the variation. Left elbow outside of the right knee. Take the twist. Look forward. Shift the weight towards the big toe side of your right foot and then slide that left leg back. It's a challenging transition but hopefully you have fun with it. Whichever variation you're taking in the twist, lengthen the spine and press. Lengthen and press for your twist. Lower the palms around the right foot. Lower the left knee to the floor. Celebrate and straighten that right leg. You made it. Awesome guys. So you can take that softer half split or if you're finding a little bit more space, slide your right foot forward. Half, three-quarter, whatever variation of Hanuman you're feeling. That great leap of faith that we need when we're playing with balance. Because most of us don't want to be out of balance, right?

The only time we know we're in balance is when we've experienced life out of balance and then we can come back. Whether it's physically, mentally, or emotionally. All right. I'll start talk. I'll stop talk and let's start flowing. Right foot slides back. We're setting up for our high lunge. Both hands around the left foot. Tuck your left toes under. Feet are hip distance. Lengthen and engage. Lengthen the spine and then pull the muscles up in your core. Rise up for your high lunge. Interlace your hands behind the back the non-habitual way. Straighten the right leg. Move the wrists away from your sacrum. Lift the heart. As you move the wrists away, start to bend your right leg and you'll feel that resistance. Remember, this is setting us up for success in our dancer pose. Good. Straighten the right leg. Good. And this time as we bend the right leg, you have the option of bowing over the right leg, moving the wrists away from the sacrum, or sliding your left foot forward, hugging the right to the midline. Warrior three. Gives you the opportunity to take a little backbend. Move your ribs forward, your heart forward. Lift your left heel. Two more rounds of breath. One more. Lower the hands. Bend your right leg. Step your left foot forward to meet the right. Flat back, palms to the shins. Lengthen the spine. Soft hold. Bend on the knees. Roll it all the way up. The right leg out. We're balancing on that right leg again. You know, lots of good work for the legs today, huh? We might feel this one tomorrow. Okay. Focusing our attention on one spot. Somewhere in front of us. Shifting our weight to our right foot. Bend into that right foot. A little bend in the knee. Reach for your left ankle. Inside, outside, your call. If you're reaching for the inside that opens up the chest a little bit more, make sure your bicep and your palm and your wrist is facing out. Hand to your heart. As you stand your right palm forward, lift your palm to the sky. Slowly kick your left heel back. Remember, you can use the wall. Your wall can be the best friend in this posture. As you find your heel the height of the palm, start to lift them both. They'll be in opposition, but hopefully a good opposition. Two more rounds of breath. One more. Yes. Release that left leg. Shake it out. Prat is almost here. Okay. Let's finish this off. I'll meet you on the stomach. Choose whether you want to take a full sun salutation A or just come on down to table pose and lie on your belly depending on your energy level. Inhale it up. Injure the hips. Lengthen the spine. Walk or float back. Lower down. Cobra. Up dog. Let's meet in Sphinx pose. Lowering on to the elbows. Bend the left leg. Switch your weight over to your right forearm. Reach back for the left ankle. Draw the heel down towards the seat. So we did a lot of work on those quads. We're getting a nice quad stretch. It should feel safe on your knee. If you want to feel more, you can flip your palm so that your wrist is turning forward and your elbows lifting to the sky. Just a little bit more leverage for that left leg, that left quad. Setting up for bridge pose for bow pose is similar to what we did in our dancer pose. So grabbing the pinky toe, the big toe, big toe side of your left foot and then moving the heel away just like you would in dancer pose. This might be it for you. Or you might press into the palm and lift a little higher as you kick the heel away. Or if you're feeling a big expression of the back then lower down, replace your elbow with your palm. Push forward and down and then kick the heel away and you'll feel that set up for bow pose. Guide the ribs forward towards your right thumb, wherever that is. Awesome guys. Go ahead and release that left leg. Bring your forearms back to the floor, bend both knees, just let them rock for the first time. You're in an 85 degree day in Chicago today. I'm feeling it already.

Lower the left leg. Keep the right leg bent. Shift your weight over to your left forearm. Reach back with the right hand. Draw the heel towards your outer glute. Remember, soft expression or you can flip the palm, elbow to the sky, giving you a little bit more leverage and then move your ribs forward towards your left thumb. Keep pressing down into the top of the left foot. Nice quad stretch for all that work you did on those transitions. Thank yourself. Take the legs, grabbing the big toe side of your left foot, your right foot. Today's Thursday, right? Okay. Grabbing the big toe side of your right foot, guiding the heel away from you just like you did in dancer pose or lifting the elbow off the floor or up lower all the way down. Replace your left elbow with your left palm and rise up. Guide the heart forward as you kick the heel away in opposition. It's going to be a nice setup for bow pose. Great. Release the right leg. Bring your forearms to the floor. Let your legs out from side to side. So if you're not going into full bow pose, we've got plenty of options. Just bending the knees, moving your elbows forward, and then dragging your ridge towards your elbows to really lengthen the front body will be a nice setup for bow pose. This could be it right here, or you could bring the palms to the floor and lift your ribs off of the floor. Draw your ribs towards your thumbs. If you're feeling the deeper expression, this setup is perfect for the deeper expression because we want the ribs moving forward towards the elbows deep, deep stretch of the front body before we reach back for pinky toe or big toe side of the foot. Lengthen with the inhale. Soften with the exhale. Rise with the inhale. Lift the heels. Lift the heels away from the hips. Kick the front of your ankles into your palms. Lengthen the spine. Two more rounds of breath. Keep drawing the knees towards each other. They're going to want to slay out a little bit. One more, and then lower down. Good. Turn your right ear to the floor. Just let those knees rock from side to side. So we've got one more. Palms by the ribs. Let's take a little back bend first with the knees bent. Guide the heart, chin, and chest forward. Think of this as your preparatory four bow pose. This could be your belly bow pose. Or guide your ribs forward pinky toe. Or maybe this is the big toe opportunity. Side of the foot. Squeeze to the midline. Lift with the inhale. See if you can breathe into the heart center. Don't worry about breathing all the way to the belly for this one. This is a rib cage lifter as you breathe. So lift the ribs and kick the heel away. Great, guys. Lower down.

Let those legs rock from side to side. Turn your left ear to the floor. Lower the feet. Press up to your finale back bend. Cobra. Up dog. You should feel easy right now, huh? And then come into your table pose. Palms under the shoulders. Knees under the hips. So for our finale dolphin, because we're playing with balance, I want to give you two options. Dolphin pose with your forearms on the floor. One leg to the sky. Five breaths for each leg. Or remember we talked about that wall. If you'd like to use your wall, table pose.

Always touching the baseboards. Forearms replace the palms. Dolphin pose with the option of stepping your right foot into the wall. Sending your left leg to the sky for forearm balance. Now if this is brand new to you, maybe do this another time. But if you have a forearm balance, go for it. Maybe we can do a little tutorial in the future. I just want to have you give you the option to take this into a balanced pose if you'd like to. So forearm dolphin, right leg to the sky. Five breaths on each side. Or table step your foot into the wall. Yogi's choice. If neither sound good to you, enjoy child's pose before we move into our finishing postures. I'll give you another five breaths to explore the forearm balance of your choice. Make sure you're reconnecting with the breath. Clearing the mind with the inhale. Enjoying the pauses. Letting go with the exhales. Start to finish up your version of your forearm balance. And then we'll go ahead and meet. Slide your seat to the floor. Bring your legs around. And we'll meet. Line on the back. Oh, that part's gonna feel good. Line on the back. Take your feet as wide as the mat. I hope you had fun with the forearm balance or whatever inversion you chose. Let the arms drop out to the side leg wing. So cactus field goal the arms. Let the knees just rock from side to side. Little release for that connection between the lower and upper body. Lower back, the glutes, piriformis. The next time you drop your knees to the right, hang out. Place your right ankle on top of your left IT band if you want to feel a little bit more resistance. Keep the knees dropping over to the right. Let's take a side stretch to the left. Arms over the head. Left hand grabs the right wrist. Pull it over to your left. Encourage the breath to fully experience the body. So really, I want you to feel it in the ribs. I want you to feel it in the belly. I want you to feel it in the heart. Let the breath start to be your focal point up here. This connects us and helps us really steal the mind. Settle it. Back to the arms.

Cactus field goal. Walk your left foot to the center of your mouth. Easy figure four. Lift the left heel off the floor. Press your navel to the spine. Press the sacrum to look here. If it's an easy reach for you, reach through. Grab onto your hamstring. If you want to feel a little bit more resistance, lift your left heel a little higher than your knee at this downward angle. As you draw the knee into the chest, you'll feel a little bit more of the outer piriformis, the outer glute. For those of you that like reclining, pigeon pose. Left hand grabs the pinky toe side of the right foot. Right hand cradles the knee. Lower the left leg to the floor. Keep it bent. And then just draw the right inner calf muscle towards the chest. If you're going deeper, you can cradle the leg with both hands. Make sure the head's relaxing on the floor. If you feel like you want to go to full reclining pigeon, start to extend your left leg, but try to keep the head on the back of the floor. As we slow our practice down, we start to enjoy those spaces after we inhale, hold them a little bit longer, enjoy the pause, enjoy the stillness when nothing's happening. That's the space that we like to feel that retreat space into the mind that silence. Obviously exhale when you're ready to. Good. Rebend your left leg if it's off the floor. Place the right ankle on top of the left thigh. If it's not there, slide your right leg on top of the left. Lift your hips slightly to the right and take a soft twist to your left. Enjoy the breath from the soft, nice reclining twist. Journey those legs back to center, feet about as wide as the mat. Let the knees drop to the right and then over to the left. Good. Keep the knees dropping to the left. If you need more resistance, place the left ankle on top of the right eye T-bend. Soft stretch, arms over the head, side stretch to your right. Right hand can pull the left wrist over to the right. Return to the fullness of the breath. These last finishing poses, we're preparing our mind for Shavasana. We're letting go of those thought patterns that aren't important right now. Inviting ourself to experience more space without thinking. This is our retreat space. Good. Keep the left ankle on top of the right knee. Release the arms by the side. Feel your right foot to the center of your mat. Lift that right knee towards the chest, right heel off the floor. If this is an easy reach, reach through, grab onto the hamstring. If you're going deeper, right heel a little higher than the knee and then draw that right knee into the chest. You'll feel this a little bit more on your outer left hip. Always the option of reclining. Pigeon pose, wrapping the arms around or even extending the leg. Relax the muscles of the face. Relax the jaw. Sometimes contracting the left glute and releasing it helps you move a little deeper into that variation of the hip opener. Great. Re-bend your right leg if it's off. If it's straight, place the left ankle on top of the right knee. Lower the right foot to the floor. Cross the left leg. Lift your hips to the left a little bit. Let the knees drop to the right. Your little finale. Twist here. Should feel soft. A little releasing of the spine. When you're ready to unwind, channel your best corpse pose. Shavasana.

Straighten one leg at a time. Corpse pose is the wonderful of how we want to experience the body in this posture. We've used the body to our advantage to help us move out physical mental emotional tension. Now we just let it go. Let go of the attachment to your physical shape and form. Let yourself melt and dissolve into the floor. It's like you're becoming bodyless. You can feel your energy. The energy that expands beyond the borders of the physical body. Expanding with the inhales and hugging back to the midline with the excess. Let go of controlling your breath. If you'd like to stay in your shavasana a little longer, treat yourself. You'd like to join me slowly. Bring the energy back to the physical body. Stretch to the arms over the head. Pointing the toes. Giving ourselves a nice big hug. Knees wrapping into the chest. Rolling to the right side for a moment. And then using the left hand to help you slowly up to your seat. Find a nice little cross legged seat with your eyes closed where you can just receive, absorb all the effects of your journey today. Notice your breath. Notice the lightness of being. See if you can carry this lightness with you throughout the day and hopefully you can share it with other people along the path. Thank you so much for sharing your journey today with me. Let's bring our palms into prayer. The light in me is so happy, so joyful, and really acknowledges and celebrates the light in your namaste.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
Yes! An hour of twisting and balancing really helps one to feel aligned and think clearly. Perfect for this humid summer day šŸ’„
1 person likes this.
HiĀ Jenny! Humid here too, we are on the same page! So glad you felt the balance and clarity!!
Kate M
2 people like this.
The first photos of our FIRST GRAND BABY came through during this practice!!!!! Joy, Light, overflowing Abundance ---- LOVE!!! (And it was a really great sequence!)
Lina S
1 person likes this.
Thank you! I've loved some variations of poses like the twisted child pose, the low lunge to side plank and warrior 3 with interlaced fingers. Not the same old balance poses and it's great!
Tonia T
1 person likes this.
This was fun and challenging a little with the full splits! Iā€™m 57 and havenā€™t done full splits s for many years (still didnā€™t todayšŸ˜‚). You are an awesome instructor. Thank you.ā¤ļø
Fabian H
1 person likes this.
enjoyed this practice!
1 person likes this.
HiĀ ToniaĀ so glad you were going for it and its never to late for those of us that are AARP applicants we still keep rocking it right? I'm with you!! just had a bday :@Ā 
HiĀ LinaĀ that was a journey wasn't it! so glad you have an adventurous spirit and were going for it...Covid has inspired my creative juices and hope it's not scary people ahahah!
FabianĀ thanks for joining me and the YA crew!
1 person likes this.
Wow congratulationsĀ KateĀ this is great news!!!
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