Guided by Breath Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Bending Towards Breath

60 min - Practice


The arc of existence bends towards freedom and self-expression. Sadia guides us in gentle side and back bending to open space for the breath, a thoughtful standing sequence to activate the legs and hips, and sweet forward folds where we may practice quieting the senses in Pratyahara. You will feel engaged and soft.
What You'll Need: Strap, Block (2)

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My friends, my friends, I cannot see you, but I'm still happy to see you. Thank you for joining me. This is Guided by Breath. I'm Sadia. How's everything on your end? I hope it's going well, that you're coping skillfully and sometimes very unskillfully because that is always a learning experience. Today's practice is called bending towards breath, bending towards breath. So we're going to do a little opening of the side body so we can breathe and receive a little more breath.

When I came up with the name, this wasn't intentional, but it reminded me of the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, like the moral arc is long and it bends towards justice. So just before every class, you know, I'm sort of in my head just going through the sequence and just like, will I get everything in? It's a little like throwing a dinner party, but somehow you feel like you've never thrown one before every time. So you're just like very stressed out. I wasn't stressed, but I was approaching, approaching a state that one might describe as stressful. But anyway, I pause and I thought to myself, so the arc of morality bends towards justice. I was thinking to myself, well, the arc of existence bends towards freedom and self-expression and all this other stuff.

So calm down, self. The arc of existence bends towards freedom and expression. So I can't mess this up. You can't mess this up. Let's be perfect together, okay? So for props, you'll need two blocks. You'll need a blanket, if you like, for Shavasana. And you'll also need a strap or something that you can use as a yoga strap. And I like you before setting the strap to the side to make a loop with the strap that contains your arms at shoulder width. So you can bend your elbows to test that out. You can test that below your elbow creases for our purposes.

And then once you have that set up, you can use a regular belt or whatever kind of tie you have, you will fold that and place that off to the side. And let's come to a reclining position. So you'll lie down. You come to a reclining position. Let's actually come for a moment to constructive rest. So feet are wider, they're resting into each other. Feet are positioned so that, you know, there's no stress in the hips. It's constructive because it's generative. It's a little nourishing to be in this shape because no work required.

Heads of the thigh bones are descending and resting in the hip sockets. Bring your hands to ribs while you're here. Fingertips can wrap forward, thumbs can wrap behind, and just experience. Breathe in. And then breathe out. A few more times, just like that. So the work of no work, just observation. Breathing in. Feeling that expansion of the ribs is quite a lot of expansion actually. And then breathing out.

And feeling that complementary contraction. So just sort of having this tactile information that's reminding us the heart and the brain of just how deeply connected the breath and the body are. We know this intellectually, but it can be good to have these really simple and easy and beautiful tactile experiences, real experiences. I'll take a few more breaths here. I want to see if you can allow the breath, receive the breath in its fullness. So not gasping for air, but just letting the breath expand naturally.

There's a pause at the top of the inhale, and as you exhale, you feel that descending quality of the breath as the ribs contract, as the intercostal muscles between the ribs contract. Another breath cycle there. And release. So drawing your knees in towards your chest, reaching your legs up to the ceiling and shaking them, reaching your arms up to the ceiling and shaking those two. Excellent. And then pause in stillness in this shape. And then step your feet to the floor, extend your legs.

For a moment there and a little Supta Tadasana, not Shavasana, see if you can flex the feet. Toes are pointing up to the ceiling, you're lengthening your tailbone, but not scooping or touching, lengthening in space in your lumbar spine. And you take a few breaths here in this Tadasana that's now in quite a different relationship to gravity, and you just experience that. And can you find that sweet spot between, you know, incredible clarity and kind of precision in your body position with just a softness of intention so receive the weight of your front body. And let gravity draw you into that sense of softness.

And then please grab your strap you made a loop in it but I just want you to you can fold it in in half or or into fourths, and then just hold the strap shoulder with and you'll bring it to your thighs, and then begin to inhale and extend your arms up to the ceiling and pause. Scoot down here. And then lengthen the tailbone again and begin to inhale and extend your arms alongside your ears. Maybe feeling as though the you're pulling the strap apart but not so much that it becomes the focus of your experience, you just want to feel a tautness so there's some isometric activity in your arms. Knit your front ribs together so broaden your back body, and we'll take a few breaths here it's really interesting I think you know we're doing this activity that that we, you may have done standing.

But we're reclined so providing an unusual experience for the brain for the body, begin to inhale and lengthen your back body so receive your front body, and just take a little side bend to the right, so you walk your, your feet over to the right. You reach the arms over to the right and it's not, it's not a tremendous side bend but it's something he'll feel I'm certainly feeling things. It's work. So we're reclined but but there is work involved. We take a few breaths here just like this allowing that breath to facilitate that release for the left side of your body. We're getting out of this so we'll come back to center on pause for a moment. Take an inhale as you exhale release the strap back down to your thighs and you can relax the elbows and take a few moments there just pausing soften the body.

And let's go back in so Tadasana in the feet and in the legs, reach the strap forward so the elbows extend begin to inhale and reach the arms up towards the ceiling and pause, wrap your triceps towards your feet biceps towards your face, and then begin with your inhale to extend the arms alongside your ears, lengthen the back of your body. Take an inhale there, and then use your exhale to side bend a little bit to the left so you walk your feet over to the left little side bend to the left, trying to keep hip points facing the ceiling, trying to keep the torso in a relationship to the floor. So not allowing that right side of your rib cage to lift up or to torque. Receive another breath in there, and then come back to center and inhale and as you exhale, draw the strap down pause, relax your arms let your palms be face up, let your feet relax and now you're in a sort of approximation of Shavasana. And then strap can come off to the side draw your knees into your chest. And then you can rock and roll yourself up to an upright position. And then come on to hands and knees for tabletop position, and then you pause here.

Take note of your, your experience. Begin to inhale talk your toes under release your belly, open the chest, spread your collarbones, and then start to exhale and reverse. And you'll keep going like that so inhaling to open the front of your body, keep the back of the neck long and then exhale reverse. And then playing here with becoming interested in the spectrum of movement that exists between these two shapes of cow and cat. Rather than thinking of them and performing them as these two discrete shapes can you find the movement and the shapes that are in between, maybe half cat and half, half cow. Can you find little freedom and undulation of your, your spine.

After your next exhale you can pause there and cat, keep lifting your navel up towards your spine curve your spine, and then release come to a neutral tabletop position. And my neck is calling for a little bit of movement maybe yours is too so I'll cue that so you can take that opportunity to move your head in some way that that works for you. Come back please to tabletop position, step your right foot back, spread the toes you can press the heel towards the floor so you get a little release for your calf, and then shift forward so you're more towards a plank foot. And then let's release the calf a little bit. And then come to neutral so shoulders over wrists hips over her left hip is over the left knee, step your right foot over to the left, and you can gaze over your left shoulder at your foot so the toes are are peeled back I'm reaching out through my heel you're reaching out to your heel, and take a few moments here just like this. So you can feel, you know, the left side of the body engaging and the right side releasing option here to walk your right hand forward, and maybe come to fingertips on that right hand.

And if that feels okay and interesting you might also be interested in walking the right hand a little bit over to the left. We'll take a few breaths there, and just letting yourself find some expression that is interesting, but not so dramatic or it doesn't prevent you from breathing, so just make a shape that allows you to breathe. Take a big breath into the right side of your body and then come back. Release, come back to center and pause, and let's make circles with the rib cage so release your rib cage towards the floor, send your rib cage towards the left, and then up towards the ceiling flex your spine, send your rib cage towards the right. And then down to the floor and pause, and they keep going like that. And I don't know about for you but I'm assuming that because this is crazy interesting for me that it's possible that it's interesting for you as well requires actually a lot of work of the intercostals, and you can sense the work. And these are the muscles that must release and contract to assist in in in breathing, right, change direction of your circle so moving in the opposite direction.

And you can try the shoulders, you might try just isolating the movement to the spine so you stay lifted out of the shoulders, or you might allow yourself to kind of sink into the shoulders, whatever feels interesting and valuable to you. And then come back to center and pause. That's a lot of work. And then step your left foot back. Let's release the calf and release the forefoot the front of the foot. And then come to neutral position right hip stacked over right knee step your foot over to the right. If you like you stay here you can gaze over your right shoulder, you can crawl your left hand forward if that feels interesting. And that that has the effect of brightening that release for the left side of your body. If you like you can walk the left foot over to the right. And you take a few breaths there and now that release is happening in the shoulder.

But no matter what shape you're in right now the breath is moving. The breath is exploring the shape that you've made with your body. And then as you next exhale, you can come back to center. And let's move around with the elbows and the spine as we do. Finding whatever works for you. I'm getting some interesting messages from my well from various parts of my body. But listen, take a do a little deep body listening as you do this inquiry here this movement inquiry and then come back to the center and pause. And then let's find child's pose so big toes touch knees wide apart release your head to the floor. Feel the movement of breath through your body, particularly through the side body, and then start to crawl your hands as far forward as you can extended child's polls.

Maybe the palms are flat it might feel interesting to come to fingertips so be a little exploratory, and then start to crawl the hands a little farther forward, and then over to the right so you're just doing little side then in child's post try to keep the left ribs wrapping towards the floor. Breathe into the left side of your body. I don't know I have the sensation that I'm like getting an internal massage. Not to be too suggestive of what you should be feeling, but definitely have a listen, do a little deep body listening drop into your, your physical experience. Let the breath speak to your body and then let the body speak to you.

Release to the center and then over to the opposite side and we find a side bend here right ribs wrapping towards the floor, drawing your right hip back and down. And then the breath speaks. The body speaks. Crawl your hands to center, flatten your palms actually pause for a moment this feels like a good opportunity just to receive your, your experience. Turn your palms to face down flatten your, your hands, and then begin to inhale come forward to cow pose and as you exhale downward facing dog.

This is the first one of our practice you can go ahead and pedal your feet and let your down dog be as wide and as spacious as you like, so you might step your feet a little wider apart or hands wider apart. And just give yourself the pleasure if it feels right of just the spacious expression of this shape. Come to stillness and pause, lengthening through the side body so drawing your attention in this down dog to the side body, directing the breath there travels there naturally but can you follow it. Great and then look up between your hands, and you can weirdly walk yourself to the top of your, your mat is going to grab my blocks and you can do the same if they're not near the top of your mat, they can be on the medium height, and then pause there and a standing forward fold, release the crown of your head towards the floor, arms can be in whatever variation you like, but the knees are soft enough so you can spill the bowl of your pelvis for the spine is pouring out of the pelvis. And see your hips draw your elbows towards each other. Begin to inhale and lift your chest up and release your, your arms by your sides.

Fix your wardrobe, release your arms by your sides, and then just pause. So now we're upright. Deep body listening. You can crack your eyes open if they're closed begin to inhale, sweep your arms around and up. Great as you exhale side bend to the right, you can float your right hand down to the right leg, and then try to keep firming the outer hips in your points are facing forwards we're doing a lot of this bending towards breath right now take a few breaths here, allow yourself to go to an expression of this that is maybe so incredibly subtle that you have to listen very very deeply. So give yourself that start to cultivate that if that's not part of your, your practice already that really deep close quiet listening. And maybe the breath invites you to change your physical form in some way.

As you next inhale come to center lift both arms up and pause and then as you exhale you side bend to the left, the left hand will float down. Everything's facing forward. So it would be as though you were leaning against the wall and your entire body is making contact with the wall. And you go to a place that allows you to breathe freely and fully. And you let that fullness of breath to draw you deeper and deeper into your experience. And by that I mean, internal depth right although the physical depth of the posture might change to as you inhale come back to center lift your arms up. And then exhale release your arms, inhale, receive the breath reach the arms up as though you're doing that so you can breathe, start to exhale, soften your knees and hinge forward.

Inhale to prepare pose lift your chest, and then exhale forward fold. Let's do that twice more sun breaths and I'll stop speaking. If you feel called to make up some sequence of shapes you can definitely do that but move as breath right that's what we've been doing. That's what we're cultivating is, you know, instead of moving with breath. We're moving for breath that's stage two and then stage three is to move as breath. The shapes the movements are just expressing the qualities of breath that are already there. So that inhale brings it rises up in us so we sweep the arms up the side body lengthens as we do that soften the knees, and we hinge forward we forward for releasing the head and the exhale finishes. Inhale comes and we lift our chest so we can receive the breath in, and then exhale we forward fold again. Inhale, reach the arms around and up look up and touch your palms, exhale draw your hands down the center line of your body, and you pause rest your hands on your body and take a few breaths there.

Feel the movement of breath. Feel the quality of connection between breath and body. Great release your arms. Inhale this time to chair pose Utkatasana sitting into chair, grab opposite elbows if that's accessible for your body if not you can hook your thumbs. So you draw your elbows away from your hips, and you sit your seat as low as you can no no need to be extreme although if you're feeling like there is a need to be extreme by all means do that, draw your elbows away from your body breathe into the sides of your body, draw your front ribs in. Great, reach your arms up and then switch the crossing of your forearms to the opposite arm is in front, draw your elbows away from your body, as you inhale, come up to stand as you exhale release your arms by your sides.

Inhale to chair pose, exhale to forward fold, inhale to prepare pose, exhale plant your palms bend your knees step back to a plank pose maybe it's modified, you can pause there take a breath in there. As you exhale lower yourself down with a full length of your breath. As you inhale, baby cobra lifting the center of your chest the back of your skull exhale lower down and press back. Let's press back to child's pose let's do a little bit of movement here. Inhale, cow pose come forward release your belly, exhale to down dog. Inhale to cow pose receive the breath.

Exhale child's pose. Once more and I'll stop talking. I'll let you see if you can breathe first, and then let the movement be an offering to your breath. If you do that for me practice becomes really prayerful almost. Let's do that once more. And by that I mean, you know, not, not. How can I, what can I, I say how can I put this.

It becomes really devotional in an incredibly personal way. That's, that's what I'm trying to say. And downward facing dog. Look up between your hands, please step your right foot forward and maybe that's one step maybe it's several steps until your ankle is underneath your knee. Grab your two blocks, blocks can be under your hands and just have this experience of a spacious lunge, your stance can be as wide as you like so maybe walking the right foot a little over to the right so feet are our hips width apart. And then lower your back knee to the floor and you pause there. You can pad your knee if you need to. We take a couple of breaths like this.

The back toes tucked, it creates a little brightness in the hip and some stability, actually so feel there's release happening but it's like boundary release. Always good to have boundaries and be soft at the same time. Maybe I'm revealing a little too much of my personal journey here, but that's what I'm that's what I'm working with these days. Postural practice has some really wild. What is it analogs to emotional issues or phenomena. Bring your hands up to your front knee and pause there.

Take a few breaths there press down into your front heel, I could scoot back a bit, press down into your front heel and draw your right hip back release your arms by your sides as you inhale sweep your arms up to the ceiling. And then as you exhale, let's bend towards press to the right, you've got a block you can grab the block the block can support your right hand. Number two, just bending to a degree that makes sense for your body that allows you to breathe and to be soft, not to back off for the sake of backing off, but backing off for the purpose of listening very closely to your body. And you might find that the breath and the body together invite you to express in some different way. Block can come beneath your right hand again. Let's do a low lunge lift your back knee up, get long in your spine really long in your spine.

Bring your right hand to your hip and inhale as you exhale, start to twist to the right, and we take a few breaths here so intercostal muscles. Feel as they, they are still there they exist so other muscles are being engaged to allow us to find find the twist but can you get a little more granular than that the hand can stay on the hip. Like you can reach your arm up to the ceiling requires a little more effort still and you take one more breath in. And as you exhale you can bring your hand to the block, the blocks can come off to the side step back to down dog, soften your knees pedal through your feet. Step now the left foot forward step step or one step whatever works for your body blocks under hands, pause in the lunge, scissoring the legs together and feeling you know stability in the hips already maintaining that stability as you lower your back knee to the floor the back toes stay tough the back knee can be padded if you need me pause for a moment. And here it is for me and possibly for you an opportunity, hands to your knee to feel and experience, you know this release this opening really on the for the front of your right hip, but contained contained. Take a few another another breath cycle, then release your arms by your sides as you inhale, sweep your arms up. As you exhale side bend to the left.

Keeping your hip points facing forward. Receiving breaths, letting the breath talk to the body letting the body talk to you. And you responding or not, actually, or just witnessing. As you inhale, come back to center lift your arms up and exhale your hands to the blocks lift your back knee up and pause, lengthen. To your hip, breathe in to lengthen, use your exhale to begin to twist and maybe it's several breaths that bring you to your expression of a twist.

Maybe you keep the hand on the hip, or maybe you're called to reach the left arm up to the ceiling, but you take a few breaths wherever you are softness in the neck. Whatever you're doing, whether it's arm extended hand on the hip. Breath, of course, always write our primary focus, our reason actually for even doing the shape at all. But take one more breath in. And as you exhale, bring your hand to the block. Let's move the blocks off to the side. And this time let's step back to plank poles. Let's lower the knees to the floor and breathe in.

Lift the chest up, breathe in, the spine extends, including the cervical spine, your neck. And as you breathe out, you'll lower yourself down to the floor. Let's bend your knees and windshield wiper your feet a little bit. I don't know. Usually we do that after backbends, but for some reason, I feel intuitively called to do that. Do this rather now. And then let's release the head, the forehead to the floor.

You've got your strap and it's in that shoulder-width loop. So I'd like you to loop your arms into the strap. Make sure if you've got a D-ring there that it's not touching your skin. So you just have the ring in the center. And arms are on either side of your body with the palms facing towards each other. Anchor the tops of your feet down. Lift your shoulder heads up. Lift the strap away from your body. And maybe you stay here. This, to me, feels like plenty of work.

Or you inhale and lift your chest some amount. Feel as though you were pulling the strap apart with your arms. Release the shoulder blades down the back. Reach the crown of your head forward. And we'll take a few breaths here, just like this. And take one more breath in. Great. And you can release. Let the strap go off to the side.

Turn your face to one side and pause. Relax the shoulders. Let them round forward. Let the heels splay outward. And breathe. Turn your face towards the mat. Hands next to your low ribs. Tuck your toes under. Press back to a child's pose.

And pause at the bottom of the exhale. As you inhale, come back forward to baby cobra, lifting the center of the chest. Exhale, lower down, and press back to child's pose. Let's do that again. So moving four breaths, if not moving as breath. Again, like that.

The next time you're in child's pose, you can stay there. Relax your head and your neck. If you're used to doing child's pose with your palms facing down, you can do that, but maybe experiment with turning your palms to face up and see. See how that lands in your body. Great. Extend your arms, crawl them forward. Inhale to drag yourself forward to tabletop and then exhale, downward facing dog.

Let's walk the hands and the feet towards each other. Let's soften the knees and let's weirdly come up. Please keep your knees pretty soft, really bent as you roll yourself up. If you're working with some spinal stuff, you can come up to stand with an extended spine. And once you're up, be weird. There's this Instagram video of a little girl. She must be about this high, so I'm guessing she's like two years old.

And please join me in this. And she's got her eyes closed, and she's doing this like she knows. She knows because they do know children. So just let your body move. There's some, for me, some interesting information I'm receiving from my hips. All right. Let's step the feet so that their hips width apart and pause for a moment. Hand on the heart, hand on the belly. Great. Release. Step your feet wide apart, maybe a leg's length or so. And let's turn your toes towards the right. You're right.

And then bend your right knee, extend your arms, and pause. So surprise, Warrior II. As you inhale, straighten your front leg, lift up, and then exhale, re-bend your knee, lower your arms. Again, inhale, lift up, exhale, release. Inhale, lift up, and then exhale, release. Let's turn the palms up towards the ceiling this time we've done this before. And you just pause.

I don't know. Palms up, it's a little, like, little supplication gesture, like receiving. And there is certainly that energy even here, and what I'm receiving is, like, information from my breath and my body. So you check in with yourself and you see what's happening for you. Let's, though, now bring your right forearm to your thigh without sinking into the shoulder. Lift up so it's almost as though the forearm is just grazing the thigh. Reach the right arm up to the ceiling.

Broad across the chest, slide the shoulder plates down the back. And you take a few breaths here, just like this, getting broad, pressing into the front heel. Take a breath in there. As you exhale, sweep that arm down and alongside your ear. And you can stay this way if it's not working well for your body, keep the arm reaching up to the ceiling. I'm going to take a couple of breaths here, just like this.

Take one more breath in, and as you exhale, use the exhale to come back up as elegantly as possible. Great, straighten your leg. Parallel your feet. We'll pause for a moment. Let's pause in goddess pose. Why not? We're passing through. We can stop in the store and say hi. Turn your toes out, bend your knees.

Let the knees draw outward. Feel as your glutes engage. For you to do that, place your hands on the insides of your thighs. Lengthen your tailbone. We'll take a couple of breaths here. Arm variations, totally, probably a useful thing to do here, although you can stay just like this, just stay broad in the chest. Can you lengthen and broaden your back body? Maybe you reach your arms up, maybe you do the palms facing up. Goalpost arms, also an option. We'll take one more breath cycle here, and then we'll release.

And parallel the feet and pause for a moment. Let's step together for a moment, actually. And then a little weird, weird movement, right? Maybe knowing child. This is what we can call this. So from the next couple of shows, I'll call knowing child's pose, and you'll know that it's this. Knowing child, come back to center and pause. Separate your feet wide apart to the left toes. Bend the knee.

Pause. Extend the arms. Inhale to straighten the front leg, lift up. Exhale to re-bend your knee and lower your arms. Inhale, lift up. Exhale, re-bend. Once more, inhale. And then exhale, pause. Deep listening. There's a responsiveness. Forearm grazes the thigh, left arm reaches up to the ceiling.

You breathe in to get really broad across your chest. Breathe in. As you breathe out, sweep the arm down and alongside your ear, revolving the chest open. So another side bend, reaching through the fingertips. If not, just reaching up. Still reaching through the fingertips, but up towards the ceiling. Whatever you can express clearly and still breathe freely. Take one more breath in. As you exhale, come all the way back up.

Warrior two and pause. Let's take a breath in here and as you exhale, cartwheel your hands to the floor. The back heel lifts up and let's step back to downward facing dog. Let's step back to a wide down dog, hands wide apart. Turn your middle fingertips towards the front corners of your mat. So you're just wide in the hands, wide in the feet.

Enjoy the spaciousness. Lower your knees to the floor and come to some variation of child's pose that feels right for you now in this moment. And slowly make your way to an upright position. And then you'll come to stand on the knees. I'm going to turn to face you. So standing on the knees. Stand on your knees. Bring your hands to your hips and then let's start with the right side.

So you step your right foot out to the side. Let's for a moment have your... So let's try to get the heel in line with the knee. So the right heel in line with the left knee. And just feel with the toes facing forward what that feels like for your body. And then feel also what it feels like to have the toes turned up. You may have to move your heel forward so the heel is in line with the knee.

And let's keep the toes pointing up towards the ceiling. Place your right hand on the inside of your leg. As you inhale, lift up. As you exhale, side bend a little to the right. Inhale to lift up again. And then exhale to side bend. Inhale, lift up. And then exhale, side bend to whatever degree works for your body.

Keep pressing into that hand to keep the chest revolving forward. And then take a few breaths here. So side bending with this leg extended. Letting yourself be in an expression that allows you to keep breathing. The breath speaks to the body. The body speaks to you. You answer it. You coo back at your body as the breath coos to the body.

The body is being loved now. And then as you inhale, come back to center. Lift up. Hands to your hips. Turn your toes to face forward so you can bring that knee to the floor. And of course, knees can be padded if you need. And then opposite sides. So stepping the left foot out to the side.

Heel is in line with the knee. Turn the toes to face up. Flex the toes. If you're a hyper extender, you want to have a little softness in the knee. Hip points facing forward. Hand to the inside of the leg. Reach up. Inhale. Exhale and side bend some amount. Inhale, lifting up. Exhale, side bend.

Inhale, lift up. And exhale, side bend. Stay in the side bend. Use the hand gently, lovingly, curiously. Press into the hand to encourage the chest to revolve forward. And let the breath speak. Let the body speak. Finding that sweet spot where effort and just openness and witnessing where they collide. As you next inhale, come back to center.

Hands to your hips. Wow. And then turn your toes to face forward and come back onto the knees. No pause. Extend your arms. Just doing some stuff. Whatever you like with your arms. Little shoulder flossing. Let's shake a little too.

And then we're going to stay on the knees. So if they're sensitive and you haven't padded them, pad them. And then I'd like you to grab one of your blocks. I'm going to turn away from you so you get the profile view here. But you're going to place one of your blocks between your ankles on its lowest height. Hug your outer ankles in. Lengthen your tailbone. Hug the outer ankles in. Lengthen your tailbone. And just experience that.

And then grab your strap now. Bring it behind your back and loop your wrists into the strap just as you did when you were in that version of Shalavasana. Fingertips are reaching down. My wrists are pressing into the strap. My collarbones are broadening. Draw your ribs in. And as you inhale, you lift your chest any amount at all. Lift your chest, you can draw the strap away from your body. So we're doing a modified camel pose, but modified is a euphemism for, I don't know, there's lots going on here.

And it's, you know, often in these really subtle expressions, these quieter expressions of poses that provide like the very deep experiences. So maybe that's true for you, but I'll quiet down now. Pipe down so you can have your own experience. Lifting your chest, drawing the strap back. We'll take one more breath in and then exhale. I'll come back to center and we'll pause. I'm going to raise the height of this block. It's on the second highest height, still hugging with my ankles.

And I'm going to lower my pelvis down onto the block and rest my hands on my thighs. So I'm in a version of Virasana. I'm also going to turn my palms up. Great. Open the eyes, float your hands to your sides, and as you inhale, sweep the arms up. As you exhale, you can twist to the right as you lower your arms. And gaze forward as you twist. Gaze forward for the first few moments as you twist.

And every inhale lengthening through the crown of your head as you exhale, finding a little brightness in the twist, a little more clarity in the twist. As you next inhale, you'll come back to center, releasing and lifting up. And then you'll exhale, stay gazing forward as you rotate along the axis of your body and lower your arms. And as you inhale, you'll lengthen through the crown of your head as you exhale, a little more clarity in the twist. I'm going to take a few breaths here.

I've been focusing, you know, on the side body, on the torso, the ribs. Just looking forward allows us actually to continue that focus. As you next inhale, come back to center, lift your arms up. Great. And as you exhale, release your arms by your sides. And then you'll come off of your block and swing your legs out in front of you. And come to a reclining position. I'm just doing a little housekeeping. Sautja, cleanliness. Swing your legs out in front of you. Flex your feet, please, and then draw your, bring the sole of your right foot to the inside of your left thigh.

Flex your left toes, revolve your chest so you're facing your left foot. As you inhale, lift your arms up. As you exhale, you hinge forward. You're going to move a little bit. So inhale, lifting up. Exhale, folding forward. Inhale, lifting up. Exhale, folding forward. And once more like that, you'll inhale to lift up and exhale to hinge forward.

You can soften your knee. If your strap is nearby, you can use the strap to draw the foot towards you so you have a little leverage to lengthen your spine. And keep the spine long for a bit as you hinge forward from your pelvis, spilling your pelvis forward. And then maybe at some point you're called to release your head, relax your head and your neck, and just let the spine round. Eyes can be closed and just allowing yourself to have this experience of pratyahara, right? So, often translated as withdrawal of the senses, but I've also heard a translation that is going to the source of the senses. That one speaks to me. Maybe it speaks to you too.

Slowly begin to walk yourself to an upright position. I'm going to revolve now the chest towards the right thigh, but not facing the right thighs towards place your forearm on top of your calf or on the floor, whatever feels better for your body. And then as you inhale, you're going to open your chest, reach your arm, right arm up to the ceiling, and you can stay there, or you might feel called to sweep the arm alongside your ear and find little. I said find a little side bend. It's not little. Find a tremendous side bend. And again, you know, going to an expression that works for your body. It's not ever about like depth of that depth that meets the eye.

The depth that we're talking about and that we're pursuing in yoga is depth that cannot be seen, right? It's internal. So you go to a physical expression that allows you to access that interior experience and take one more breath in and use your exhale to come back upright. Wow. And then to revolve yourself forward, draw your right knee and extend your right leg along the floor, and then bring the soul of your left foot to the inside of your right thigh, revolve your chest towards the foot, refining Tadasana in the legs so the pelvis can be balanced. We're in Shri Pose, actually, never occurred to me, but we are in Shri Pose in the legs. As you inhale, lift your chest and your arms up. As you exhale, hinge forward. A couple more times like that, just moving as breath. You can't mess this up. And when I say you can, that wasn't a command. That was a statement of fact. It's not possible for you to mess this up. Inhale, lifting up.

And then exhale, hinging forward, maybe using the help of your strap to draw your toes back towards you. It's interesting. If you place it towards the arch, I'm drawing my thigh bone into my hip socket, which is fascinating, and then tilting my pelvis forward. And as I inhale, I'm lifting the chest, and then exhale, you can hinge forward with a long spine to whatever degree works for your body. And then at some point, you release, relax your head, relax your neck. Begin to walk your hands towards you. Forearm will come to the leg. Pardon my turning away from you.

It's only in the body, never in the heart. Forearm to your leg. Revolve your chest open. I'm laughing, but I'm actually serious. Reach your arm up to the ceiling, breathe in, and as you exhale, you reach forward through those fingertips, and letting the body approach an expression of this shape that feels interesting and sustainable, and let the breath move. Take one more breath in, and then come all the way to an upright position, and revolve yourself towards your legs. Draw your left knee in, extend both legs forward as you inhale, and you can sit on top of a blanket if you've got trouble keeping the pelvis upright. So you want to keep the back of your pelvis upright, sitting bones rooted. You can bend your knees to do that, and you feel.

So try that, dragging your knees back, and feeling how that drag back this way allows you to create some lift this way. And these little mechanical things, they're not, sometimes they can be overlooked because we want to bypass them to get to that depth of spiritual experience, but this is it. You know, finding clarity in the body, taking interest in the mechanics of these various shapes. It's a gateway drug to depth of experience. Inhale and lift your arms up, and then as you exhale, please hinge forward to Paschimottanasana. You can hold the outer edges of your feet. You can draw your toes back towards you, whatever works for you and allows you for the first few breath cycles to keep finding that extension of your spine.

And then at some point you can allow your spine to round. As the forward folds, again, you know this portal to Pratyahara, to this interior experience, going to the source of the senses. Slowly roll yourself up, step your feet to the floor, and mindfully recline. Draw your knees into your chest once you're there. You can rock along your sacrum from left to right, maybe making circles with your knees. And you can do anything you like to do before making your way to Shavasana, final resting pose. Legs can be wide apart, palms up, face away from your body.

Head position so that you're maintaining that beautiful, natural curve of your cervical spine, your neck. And relax the face, relax the eyes and the jaw, the cheeks. And just feeling and, you know, enjoying. This is a key. Actually taking pleasure in practice and taking time to really feel into these effects of practice, this echo of your practice. That's not just inside of your body, but it's a little bit around the perimeter of your body. And finding this energy, this very, this stillness that is dynamic, this dynamicism that is incredibly still at its center.

You know, we create the imprint of this sensation so that when we are operating in the world, we can operate actually from this place. Where we are reminded of our capacity for receiving and giving and being soft in times of stress, being engaged and directed and intentional in times of rest. So just rest for a few moments. You can begin to deepen your breath. If you'd like to continue resting, please do that.

If you'd like to have a little sit with me, you can start to wiggle the fingers and toes, extend through your arms, reaching long, drawing your knees into your chest. And then gently rolling onto one side, pausing for a moment and then slowly making your way up to an upright position, to a seat that you like that works for you. Palms can come to prayer at the center of your chest, bow your head to your hands, thank yourself for practicing, for showing up today, for not for me, but for you. And remember, the arc of existence, it bends towards freedom and self expression. You can't mess this up. You can't mess this up and that's not a command, it's a statement of fact. Okay.


2 people like this.
I find that translation of pratyahara as ‘going to the source’ of the senses, rather than withdrawing the senses, much more meaningful and intuitive. Sadia, your warmth and wisdom is so engaging and radiates outwards. Thank you for sharing these qualities with us.
Michelle F
2 people like this.
Hi Sadia,
"you can´t mess this up!"- such a timely reminder at the start of the week to just be present and do the best I can - thankyou ! I´m really appreciating these sessions with you
Lea M
1 person likes this.
Dear Sadia, I love all your videos!  Thank you for sharing your wonderful practice.
2 people like this.
Dear Sadia, I am experiencing this series for the third time, I think, and it is sublime. I just wanted to share that with you. With love and deepest appreciation, Ali
Joan G
1 person likes this.
Hi Sadia - Thank you for this beautiful practice! 
David G-
1 person likes this.
Thank you! This kind of practice really helps my joints. My right knee was very cranky (arthritic), but by the end it was if I took some Advil or had a cortisone shot. Loved the frame wisdom—“the arc …self expression..” Totally agree! Thanks for the laughs too. Namaste 

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