Winter Ayurveda Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 5: Earth & Water Balancing

55 min - Practice


Balance your Earth and Water elements to drop into the flow of your life with ease and grace. In Day 5, work into the legs and hips to loosen stiffness in supine shapes, challenge the balance in side poses, warm into Sun Salutes, and strengthen in a fun standing sequence. We sink into a hip opening Yin pose, before slipping into stillness and quiet together. You will feel soft and refreshed.

Your Self Care Homework Challenge for Day 5:

Melina encourages us to do a “refresh” by focusing on what we are eating, emphasizing a vegetarian diet and warm foods to improve digestion, increase mental clarity, and boost energy.

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

About This Video


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Hi, everybody. Welcome to Day 5. Congratulations for making it to Day 5 in the Ayurveda Winter Challenge here. We're blessed with the presence of Mingus the Cat for a few moments, I suspect, as we start our practice today on our back. And we'll do a little bit of our pranayama core work. We'll go to our side to do some fun balance poses and work our way up to, of course, some sun salutations today. You can check that off our list. And a fun standing sequence we haven't done before, as well as working our way down then to some cool seated moves that are both a little bit invigorating and get the water moving down a little bit more towards our hips as we soften some of those big outer muscles. So we'll need two blocks and a blanket. And if you're ready with those props, let's go ahead and start on our back as we did one day before, with a taller block towards the top of your mat and a flat block. So if you look down, it looks like a T shape. And if you sit down the flat block, once you prop your elbows down will be where your shoulder blades more or less go. And then lean back onto that while you adjust the narrow block for underneath the occipital ridge. Rather than the neck, it's holding the base of your skull and arms somewhere down towards your sides. And once you have the blocks in the right place, at some point, it should feel like, Oh, I know why she's asking me to put these blocks here, because it feels so good when it presses into the right spot. So you can wiggle around and find where that is today. Even if you've done this pose before, where does it feel good today? And then when you sense that's right, it probably is. So let's decide now, do you keep your legs bent? Do you let your legs be straight? Or do you like that hip opening where the bottoms of the feet join together? So depending on your preferences, please choose one of those maybe three spots. And as you let yourself then drop in whether your eyes are slightly closed and you let in some light, if that's been a helpful practice this week, to let your eyes stay a little bit open as you recline or meditate. Still choosing one focal point we hold our attention on or we close the eyes and take that focal point somewhere inside. And then just take a moment again to soften and receive the support. Soften over the blocks so you can soften into the ground underneath you and imagining even to some degree that you're dropping into the earth beneath the foundation of your house. And tap into that sense of firmness and stability, which will hopefully make it a little easier to encourage the water element to move in your body to feel that ripple flow of movement from your chest to your hips as you're breathing in. And maybe feeling that little ripple of movement from the belly up towards your chest as you're exhaling. Just a few more moments in that way. Delighting and that movement of awareness down the front line of your spine. As if water were flowing down the front of your spine, front of your body towards the bowl of your hips and legs heavy, connected to the earth as we exhale and soften through our back, digestive organs, diaphragm, chest. Feel the presence of gravity taking the arms back, the shoulders back. A little bit more towards your props or towards the floor. Two more full breath cycles here.

When you're ready, let's bring your legs now a little bit closer together. Perhaps join them together like they would in Tadasana and then lift your arms up and lace your fingers together right above your chest. So my fingers are laced, they're squeezing together. I'm going to float my elbows out to the sides and just let my hands hover above my chest. And as I look towards the ceiling, I'm here to pull my elbows a little wider without unlacing my fingers to try to feel a little broader stretch across my collarbones out into my arms. And now might we keep that broadness across your collarbones as we take the arms up towards the ceiling and now slowly back towards your ears. Maybe they end up beside your ears. And can you imagine even if it means bending your elbows that we create some broadness across the top of your chest and collarbones. And some of you might find that with your arms straight squeezed in towards your head. Take one more moment here. And as you unlace your fingers, move your arms out to the side in goal post arms. So from the ceiling view looking down, your arms are at 90 degrees and slightly dropping back towards the floor. Maybe they touch. Now imagine you're pushing against some really thick air and maybe take four seconds to slowly squeeze your elbows and forearms and palms to touch and let them drop back out in those 90 degree angles.

Maybe your arms get closer to the floor and then squeeze again some invisible resistance until your elbows touch. Let's try a couple more elbows drop out wide and see if we can feel how you're connecting to those pectoral muscles and chest muscles as we squeeze in. One more time go wide with those arms, goal post arms. Slowly squeeze in getting some thick air. And then let your arms come down to your side. Let's bend your legs and get ready to turn over to any sides. Slowly lift off those blocks. We'll send the blocks to the side for a little bit as we come down onto the floor. So just do the yoga mat underneath you. Legs stretch down to the floor. Again find tadas in the legs as you sweep your arms back by your ears. Thumbs connected. Take a big full body stretch from your fingertips to your heels. Inhale belly moves towards the sky. Let's do audible exhale through the mouth. The end of your exhale take that pause and let your belly hug in deeper towards the organs or back before you inhale belly back up towards the ceiling. Let's do a couple again. Audible exhale. So one audible exhale here. Take a pause. Udi rana bandha. Belly squeeze in. Another breath in. As you exhale big audible breath out. Center yourself. Hug belly in towards your back. We'll keep track of that area now as you slide your right heel to the right corner of your mat. Cross your left ankle over your right and see if you might scoot your upper body a little bit to the right side of your yoga mat. So you're making your crescent moon shape with your elbows bent. See if you can drop your arms back to the floor. Shoulders might eventually get closer to the ground if they're not both touching and notice what's happening down that left side of your body and as you scan down to your left side can you bring slightly deeper fuller breaths or attention to the places that feel a little bit tight or stiff or maybe frozen as the case might be if it's cool in your space. Just let this left side unfold a little bit. Let's wiggle back around to center with your torso and then swing your left heel to the left side of your mat. Right ankle on top of left and then the upper body moves second. So we move your upper body more to the left. Elbows bent so it's easier to put your shoulders on the floor or close to the floor. Elbows forearms hands resting on the ground and when you're settled in a place where you can start feeling right side receiving this stretch just pause here and feel maybe with those fuller breaths that stretch happening from deep within your body. And as we're taking those breaths and we stretch from the spine out towards the surface if you can feel those muscles between your ribs opening up a little bit and that sense of settling in towards your center on exhale. All right let's go ahead and uncross your legs so bring them back to neutral and then we're going to shift back to neutral all together and let your arms be parallel. Let your legs come out to the floor straight and parallel and we're going to lift your arms and your heels and inch off the floor look towards your feet and then drop back down. Again a little float heels and arms maybe look towards your toes come back down that's not good for your back bend your knees a lot and tip up and then come back down. So you can kind of almost like you're coming up towards boat pose on your back which we did earlier this week but it's okay just float straight legs and arms squeeze and release. Feel that little squeeze as you curl up and release. One more do a little squeeze lift the body up and release and let's bring your right knee in towards your chest give that a squeeze towards the belly. If you rest your right foot on top of your left thigh hold your right knee with your left hand and open your right arm out to your right and just start to peel that right buttock away from the floor. Just enough to potentially initiate a stretch further down from your waist to your outer right hip. Take one more moment now let's slide that right arm a little higher up towards your ear and feel as you slide your arm up towards your ear that gives you a fuller stretch from your right hand now all the way down to your right hip. Let's take the right arm down to your side and switch out hold on to your left knee right leg to the floor. Take a little twist with your left foot resting on your right thigh or knee. Can we tip that left leg to the left and open your left arm straight out from your collarbone line and just sense do we get a stretch out or left hip maybe down that leg slightly as we're peeling left buttock off the floor.

Then we'll slide your left arm up toward the direction of your ear and try to find some place where you kind of feel a solid line of energy from your left hand to your left hip and then send a little bit more energy through that left side. All right when you're ready let's go ahead and come down to your back and let's bring both knees in and raise your legs up in the air and your arms up in the air. We're going to do as we've been doing in each class or most of the class a little shakeout and kind of a vigorous shaking of arms and legs which could be nice when it's cool. Let's bring some energy and liveness by shaking it's nice to do that on the back. I hope you enjoy that too so now let's pause and now without the shaking bend your legs 90 degrees let's stretch your right leg and right arm away from each other float your leg and arm off the floor bring yourself back to neutral knees parallel fingertips point up now left leg and left arm stretch away from each other and then we come back to neutral right leg and right arm stretch away from each other float the arm and leg off the floor back to center left leg and left arm stretch away from each other pause float those limbs back to center right leg right arm long line of energy back to center left leg left arm long line of energy and now back to center now we're going to do opposite so we're going to do left leg and right arm reach into that diagonal come back to neutral right leg and left arm find your diagonal line come back to neutral left leg right arm find your diagonal back through center right leg left arm find your diagonal back to center we'll do one more left leg and right arm feel that diagonal line back through center and I think left arm right leg will finish that set come back to center drop your arms now down to the long edge of your mat right beside you and start to stretch your legs up towards the ceiling keep your legs together as they drop down towards the floor in front of you and then tip your knees back and towards your chest before that bothers your lower back legs go up and legs come down anytime you want to tip your knees back and towards your chest legs back up the arms could be closer to you or hands tucked under your buttocks if that little lift is beneficial to stabilize your back let's do a few more cycles legs down legs tip in and let's do maybe two more finding that rhythm that works for you next time that your legs are bent let's put your feet on the floor and maybe separate your feet about as wide as your yoga mat then leave a little bit of room for your arms to come out to your sides so we're going to set it for bridge pose with your feet really wide so right on the edge of your yoga mat from here do a little test to see if you lift your pelvis does that feel safe in your back can we get a lift of the side chest away from your arm bones if everything feels good if everything feels good come on back down now let's try together be more conscious of pressing your feet into the ground as you lift your pelvis and then lower kind of warm up this move press your feet down feel the squishiness of your yoga mat as your feet comes up pelvis comes up sorry come back down still thinking about the feet so press your feet deep into your mat as you raise your pelvis see if you can keep your feet pressed into the mat as your pelvis and spine come back down so you're coming down actually slowly press your feet into your back try to really make a strong impression with your foot try to keep that impression in your mat as you lower your spine let's do one more in that way that lift as you press your feet down feet are still pressing into the mat as we lower maybe you get to feel your hamstrings work a little more that way let's go ahead and turn over to your right side and as you turn onto your side have your legs bent i'm going to bend the right arm below as my pillow and as you have that in place scoot your legs up 90 degree angles right we did this earlier in the week we're going to take your top leg and stretch it straight and flex the left ankle in this case point your left toes and swing it back flex and kick that left leg forward and then point and stretch your toes back so you feel that stretch through low belly front of the hip when you flex the ankle see if you feel that little more in your hamstring area toes point back kick back and then flex the ankle kick forward now this last time when the leg goes back let's keep your leg back bend your left leg and see if your left hand can swing around and catch your foot we do a little quadriceps stretch roll open the left chest towards the ceiling the lighting and that opening you're making in your front body if you don't catch the foot just rest your hand for a moment on the hip and press that heel back to keep that left glute on all right so our little series end as we bring the knees back together now let's stretch your legs straight and flex your ankles okay so now if you lift your head up a little bit and prop your head into your hand our little slumber party pose take your top left foot and slide it in to your upper thigh for our tree pose leg position then we're going to tilt your left knee towards your shoulder stretch that left leg towards the sky keep your balance and turn your toes forward as you lower the leg to the right leg left foot slides into your upper leg like tree pose tilt your left knee towards your shoulder take your left leg up work with your balance turn your left toes forward and drop the leg down to the right right to the right leg come back to tree pose left leg left knee towards left shoulder kick your left leg towards the sky turn your toes to face the long end of your mat as you bring your left leg down last one slide your left foot into tree pose tilt your left knee towards your chest left leg towards the ceiling turn those left toes forward and then take your leg down we're going to turn now onto your belly and as you face that short end of your mat stretch your arms straight out in front of you and like we did on our back where we floated the hands and the heels we're going to lift the feet and the hands and float for a moment off the floor a little back bend and then lower back down float off the floor lift your legs and your hands and then come back down float up on the inhale lifting legs and arms come down two more float and lower this last time maybe lift half the amount so that we can stay here holds the floating position and try to keep reorienting yourself if you feel like some parts need to come back closer to the floor to hold in a safe way please do noticing if you're getting cramps in the legs lower your feet just a tiny bit and see if that can eliminate some of that crampiness so sometimes we in the pop of balancing classes will do things where we're holding ourselves away from the ground building some core strength and maybe heat let's go ahead and lower down all right now let's slide your right hand towards your chest and tip over onto your left side i'm going to turn the other direction so i can stay in touch with you a little bit better so if the left arm is bent knees 90 degree angles find your balance here and the top right leg would kick forwards flex that ankle point your right foot and swing it back behind you flex the ankle swing that leg forward point your toes and find that fuller stretch from the psoas or lower belly flex left ankle feel the hamstring area point kick back and flex ankle kick forward this last time as we pull the foot back bend your right knee if you have access catch your foot squeeze your heel towards your buttock and then stretch that right knee away from your chest as you roll open the right corner of your chest if you don't grab that foot easily hold your hip with your hand and flex your right ankle kick that heel back i think one of those ideas might feel good all right last moment where you are there and we'll bring your legs together now stretch your legs straight and flex the ankles lift your head up so we're in that slumber party pose keep the balance on the edge of your body here as we bring your right foot into inner left leg like tree tilt your right knee towards your shoulder right leg up in the air maybe in front of you turn your right toes forward lower right leg to left leg right foot comes back to tree pose tilt right knee to right shoulder kick your right leg up in the air and then turn your toes forward right leg drops the left leg tree pose right foot in right knee to right shoulder right leg up toes turn forward drop that leg down let's do one more slide the right foot in tree pose tilt your knee towards your chest kick your right leg of the air turn your toes forward and go ahead and lower all the way down okay wonderful now as we bend the knees we're going to roll up away from the ground and turn to face the floor in tabletop so i'm going to grab my blanket for some extra padding under the knees which as many of you probably know by now i always use just so i'm not distracted by the hard floor and we'll actually use this for several things today so with your knees about hip distance apart when the knees are about hip distance apart let's take your left leg to the back of your mat stretch that leg straight and then take your right arm up towards your ear lift your belly lift your chest and see if we can float the left toes up to hunting dog pose take left knee right arm down stretch that right leg back firm the front of your right thigh left arm up towards your ear lift belly and chest away from the ground swing your right leg up we've got our diagonal reach hunting dog now we're going to go faster left leg and right arm diagonal back to tabletop left arm diagonal back to tabletop right leg left arm diagonal back to tabletop left leg right arm tabletop right leg left arm tabletop left leg right arm and then tabletop now pause put your elbows down put your palms together so elbows are as wide as your shoulders and then something core engaging we're going to slide those legs back so you end up in forearm plank take a moment wiggling your weight right left forward and back to see if there's even a better spot than when where you first landed to feel better flow of energy awareness from your head actually back down towards your feet and take one more moment trying to kind of find that's correct alignment that creates actual good space body and mind of course maybe warms us up a little bit here we'll take one more moment doing that longer hold on purpose knees come down and as you slide your knees to the blanket again come up to straight arms now when we're in straight arm tabletop i'm going to start to mirror you if you'll kick your left leg back an inch or two and stretch your right leg towards that far end of your mat rest on the inner pinky edge of that foot take your right arm up towards the ceiling try to create more space in your lower left wrist and shoulder by engaging your left waist let's kick that top right leg up off the floor and then take your right arm down towards your ear as you lower your right foot back to the floor and then we're going to lift your arm back up as you lift your right leg up it almost feels like half moon on one knee lower your right foot to the floor as your your arm comes down parallel to your ear again float that leg up and one more time lower your foot stretch your arm down towards your ear and let's turn towards the mat and then we'll turn around to the other side so as you kick your right foot kick your right foot out stretch your left leg towards the far end of your mat and then start to swing your left arm up towards the ceiling float your left leg up like you're doing half moon here on the ground lower your left arm and your left foot and then inhale float that left leg up as high as your hip more or less arm right above your shoulder lower your foot and your arm parallel to the floor come again up find that half moon like shape release all right last one as you come up find that half moon like shape pause all right let's go ahead and turn towards the floor as you're finishing and as we're turning towards the floor face the front of your mat and we'll drop the elbows back down bring your palms together toes curled under and look towards your wrist now as we inhale toes are curled under so we can more easily lift your knees up off the blanket maybe bring your feet a little closer together so we can stretch your left leg up towards the sky as we look towards the rest next bring both feet down bring your knees down to touch and make sure you're in a good spot with your feet lift your knees swing your right leg up look towards your wrist drop your head down as your feet come together and you can either touch down with your knees or keep your knees floating we did this the other day in our challenge left leg up look towards your wrist look towards your feet that come together right leg kicks up look towards your wrist without crunching up the neck do one more maybe we don't even look all the way to the wrist to keep the neck long left leg down right leg up and the right leg down let's put your knees on the blanket walk your hands towards your knees to stretch the feet peel the knees up and slowly roll up or lengthen your spine as you come up to stand we're going to take a step in front of your blankets keep the blanket down you'll probably appreciate it and sensations i promise will be part of all the all the winter classes cup of balancing so please press your feet into the ground to make a strong impression stretch your arms up when you're ready up above your shoulders or above your head and then exhale with bent knees let's flow forward and down touch the earth step back with your left leg into a lunge that brings us into a low lunge park your back foot swing your arms in front of you lift up towards the ceiling and then drop your arms down and back on exhale we'll transfer back to lunge lift up your back knee right leg back for your push up a plank lower down knees belly chest and we'll curl into cobra belly on the floor chest curls up and then back into your downward dog exhale let's step that left foot in front of the blanket one or two steps forward right knee to the ground relax your back foot swing your arms in front of you come all the way up with your torso drop your arms down and back and then we'll step to the front of your mat with your right foot feet are apart bend your knees fold over your legs and then press into your feet circle all the way back up to standing hands in front of the heart exhale again inhale arms sweep all the way up this part's meant to be a little bit more aerobic fold forward and down and step back with your left leg we'll come to that lunge with your knee on the blanket relax your back foot swing your arms up inhale arms drop down and back come back to the lunge with your back left knee lifted plank pose knees belly chest to the floor and then come through cobra or moving to your up dog if you prefer downward dog on exhale and then step forward with your left foot right knee to the blanket relax your back foot as your arms come up and circle arms down and back step that back right foot to the top of your mat with bent knees fold over the legs press your feet down as you circle back up and hands in front of the chest we're going to keep going inhaling arms up lift the waist bend the knees as you fold forward and down step back with your left leg lower your left knee relax your foot inhale sweep the arms up arms down and back exhale come through that lunge to lift your back knee make it easier to transfer right leg back plank knees belly chest down and then with feet down curl your chest up cobra downward dog on exhale keep it fluid right foot forward by your wrist left knee to the floor relax the back foot arms come up and arms down at your side step the back leg forwards and i just realized we did that one incorrectly so let's step back with your right leg it's all right to do it again drop your right knee let's inhale take your arms up we'll go with the flow arms down at your sides lift your back knee and step right foot forward that's better forward fold exhale inhale all the way up to standing let's end on a more complete round let's do one more cycle together inhale ground your feet as your arms come up exhale fold over the legs as you lengthen your spine forward left leg goes back to our low lunge sweep your arms in front of you lift up arms drop down and back come through the lunge lift your left knee right leg back plank lower knees belly chest cobra as you inhale back to your downward dog exhale and this time bringing your left foot forward right knee on the blanket bring your arms up exhale arms down and back let's lift your back knees step your right foot forward forward fold on exhale and then inhale all the way up to standing arms down in front of your chest please step back and maybe noticing the heart rate's going now which is great let's move the blanket out of the way and grab one block as we come on up to the top of the mat again okay please with your feet parallel take a moment step back with your left leg so right leg bends will have warrior one with a wide block between your hands or a strap if you didn't have a block you can also do without the block just imagine squeeze the block as you bend your front knee take your arms up and look a little above your horizon line bring your arms down as you straight in your right leg bend your right knee look a little bit up as you raise your block straight in your front leg lower your arms look straight ahead look up when the block lifts and then look straight ahead as the block comes down i'm going to transfer the block behind you squeeze it as best as you can with your wrist and go towards straight arms now we might bend your right knee a little bit we're going to try to tip forward from the hips and it could be a just a quarter angle we tilt forward and we come back up for the squeeze with your palms move the block away from the buttocks as maybe you come maybe halfway or parallel to the floor come back up back heels grounded remember the practice we did where your back heel was touching a block imagine your back heel was on a block spend your front knee and transfer the block down to the floor underneath the face line grab the block with your hands step into your right foot and lift your left leg up into a little warrior three variation kick strongly through the back leg see if you can sense that your hips are getting a little more squared as you rotate left toes to point down at the floor now look down the tip of your nose step your left foot up to the top of your mat bend your knees come up to standing with that block in your hands reach up towards the sky hold the block above your head and then lower the arms with that block in front of you now go to the other side step back with your right leg bend your left knee and now as we inhale stretch your arms up in the air as we sink into the lunge with your left leg bent straighten left leg arms down in front of you bend your left leg arms come up maybe look a little higher up come out look forward bend your left knee swing the arms up look slightly up look forward the arms down in front of you you know transfer that block behind your back squeeze with your hands and move that block away from your buttocks it's okay to bend your front knee we might work towards a straight or left leg as you tilt forward and come back up block moving away from the buttocks squeeze between your shoulder blades come maybe parallel to the floor come back up and get a little sense again tip forward block moving away from the buttocks and now let's bend your front knee transfer your block down under the line of your chest or face grab that block firmly and raise your back right leg for a variation of warrior three let's see if we might just finesse that back leg so the toes turn to face the floor as you kick back a little more actively through that back leg send more energy like you're pushing that leg into a wall all right now let's go ahead and bring that right foot forward we're at the top of the mat bend your legs grab that block and swing the block in the air come up to stand and then lower your arms down in front of you let's turn and face the the long end of your mat as you wiggle your feet just for a little bit of energy here bend your knees and come into that highest squat shape as you come to that squat shape we're going to do a little breath work here big inhale up and then a big audible exhale as you swing the block through the legs look back inhaling come up this meant just to be a little invigorating exhale swing back inhale up legs stay bent exhale big breath out come up and big breath out let's come all the way up straighten that leg and as we lower our arms down let your feet adjust so they turn to the left bend your left knee and take your right arm out to the side as we reach down and put the block down out in front of your left toes let's look down to that block in the hand and begin to shift your right foot in a step and take your block further out to the left and raise your right leg now let's try half moon with a straight left leg it's easier when you're looking down towards your left wrist see if you can look down and raise that right leg press strongly through that top leg reach up towards the ceiling and as we bend your left leg come back through warrior two put your right foot down warrior two holding the block straighten your left leg and turn your left toes forward we'll spin around to the right toes turn out let's bend your right leg put your block down left arm is out there which will help you balance step in with your left foot and slide forward with your right hand and block step into your right foot for better or worse here as we swing the left leg up keep looking down and then try to feel more energy go into your top leg like you're pushing your left foot into a wall try to feel the ground under your whole right foot doing our dynamic kind of balancing poses which can be nice in the winter time for a little more playfulness and energy bend your right leg come back through warrior two all the way back up turn both feet forward and then with your hands holding that block let's bend your knees and slide that block back behind you and then come back up okay clever sequencing with your props let's bring your legs towards each other hands on your thighs and as you slide your hands towards your knees you can sense we're heading a little bit towards a squat so you might angle your feet a little bit closer together hands come together as we lower elbows to inner knees and maybe feet come together as we lower a little bit closer to the floor in that sense of squatting from that sense of squatting now we're going to raise your hips up as high as your knees and then let your hips come down a little bit lower again so really working those hips this is to bring more fluid energy to your hips lift them up and back a little more strength come down and feel that deeper stretch maybe even into your lower back one more time going up to the lift and then working your way down and let's go ahead and have a seat and as you have a seat stretch your legs straight out in front of you take a moment to have your hands beside your hips and just kind of feel for a moment the ground underneath your legs and the length in your spine as you sit tall when you're ready now we'll let that right knee come towards your chest and then pick up that right foot and take it to the outside of your left thigh and then perhaps as we have that right foot to the outside of left thigh let's lift the spine a little bit more towards the sky without uprooting your base and then from here if we think about moving toward our twist where we use your right hand to press your right knee towards your chest and take your left arm straight up towards the ceiling as you're pressing your right knee towards your chest maybe so much that your left big toe presses into the floor sorry your right big toe presses into the floor unless from here either hook your left elbow around the front of your right knee and we squeeze that right leg deeper in towards your chest at that point see if it's helpful and possible to widen through your collarbones as we lift and widen collarbones might we turn the head the neck just maybe one inch not being in any hurry and maybe turning your nose and your head enough to feel some areas of your spine that you haven't really tuned into yet today press down to lift up into your spine let's go ahead and release back to face forward with your hands behind you we can have the legs bent do our little vinyasa a back bend where we come up to straight arms or float the pelvis up as you look straight up and then back down okay legs out in front of you okay so second side as we take your left foot to the outside of your right leg hold on to your left knee with your hands and bring yourself closer to that left leg we'll use the left hand to push your left knee towards your chest as you take your right arm up in the air and can you feel that your left big toe is pressing into the floor now let's either hook your left elbow around the front of your left knee sorry right elbow hooks around the front of your knee or maybe you hook your right elbow outside of left knee i'm going to go just for the hugging of the knee with my elbow crease hold on to my uh right wrist with my left hand and as i sit up nice and tall give myself a moment to merge my ribs with my thigh and then turn the nose as i open up the chest and as i start to turn my nose a little bit more to the side it could just feel into different places in my spine down below so you can tune into that all right then as you're ready we'll come back to center and one last time with your hands behind you you can have straight legs and do this or bent legs and do our lift let's point your toes and maybe with straight legs lift your pelvis up look up and then go ahead and come on down let's hug your knees and towards your chest and we're going to take a roll onto your floor and if you'd like you might rock and roll one or two times up and down rock and roll okay and then eventually we'll stay down on the floor and as we stay down on the floor you might use a block underneath the side of a leg or both legs to give you a little support so we can do a little bit of that hip opening at the end now and with support like you're tapping into a little bit of a yin posture for this last pose instead of shavasana just a little bit of a yin hip opening pose you move your arms at whatever angle feels comfortable enough that your shoulders might drop back towards the floor and that your heels are in the right place in relationship to your pelvis that we decrease gripping in the hip creases low belly the back and whether your eyes are open or the eyes are closed just trying to bring some sense of light and lightness into the center of your body and as your awareness moves down into your body can you feel that subtle wave of movement from your chest your belly to your hips hopefully we've done enough movement to get some better flow in your system and then let's settle each breath just a little bit more into stillness and quiet for a few moments together and if we've settled into that space now and feeling a slightly deeper flow and calm into your center if you want to keep your right leg as it is and start to tip just your left leg away from the block so your left leg comes back to neutral we're going to tilt your left knee towards your chest reach forward catch that knee with your hand and tilt that left knee towards your chest and if we do a little external rotation of your left leg and see if you might have access to reach forward and catch your left heel or left ankle with both hands and start to lift that left foot towards the ceiling so your left foot can then float a little bit more above the line of your navel or maybe the foot floats more over your chest and we can find a different place in our hip to awaken as we hold the left foot bend your elbows wide and tilt your foot towards your face maybe the foot's above the belly but the intention is we're kind of pointing the foot towards the direction of your head and elbows are wide and see if you can find that width across the top of your collarbones that we found earlier in class again and trying to then relax the back of the shoulders towards the floor back body towards the floor and let's go ahead and release that left leg down so we're meeting the legs back in that recline cobbler's pose with support under your legs now if you'll tilt just your right knee away from your block slowly slowly slowly tip your right knee towards your chest and squeeze that right knee towards your chest left leg is resting out to the side now if we do a little external rotation of your right leg see if that one moves a little bit better or is that one tight reach up for ankle and heel perhaps of your right foot and maybe we encourage again a little more that external rotation when we're on our back reach your hands up towards your foot float your right foot towards the ceiling for a moment and see if that foot can float a little bit more above your belly button line or chest line and then that right knee bends or deeply out to the side perhaps an external rotation elbows bend wide so that we try to recreate that width across the front of your collarbones and chest it's almost like you're holding a really big ball here right and sending again some attention to maybe some new part of the hip we didn't get to earlier a pose here prep that might help us for a little sitting meditation let's go ahead and release that right foot back down so when both legs are on the blocks both legs meet the blocks for a moment now in slow motion please start to tip your knees towards each other in little tiny one-inch increments and maybe by doing a few of those deeper slower stretches we eliminate some tension in those areas so always slide the blocks out of the way can tip your knees towards your chest and exhale here relaxing your eyes jaw shoulders okay we can tip to the side or rock forward and back and try to come up toward a seat of meditation where you might put your blocks in a in a line to have to sit on or maybe you like them underneath your knees i'm going to put mine in a line so i've got something to sit on that then allows me for my knees to tip down and then come into an upright meditation seat upright meditation seat with your hands face down on your legs as a grounding gesture to begin with so legs are moving towards the earth spine is lengthening towards the sky can we slide your hands in now a little bit more up to the tops of your thighs and turn your palms open towards the ceiling a little bit more of receiving gesture and then maybe the eyes look down the tip of the nose and you choose a focal point as if you were looking into the candle flame taking in a little bit of light through your eyes or perhaps eyes are closed and we take the sense of light or image of light down towards the heart or belly or belly and take a few moments again to acknowledge all the efforts you've put into your practice over the last four days now this fifth day all the things that you've said no to in order to have some time for yourself and just acknowledge the steps you're taking this week for your self-care hopefully feeling this sense again of some benefit from some or many of the practices that you're doing and holding those in your heart mind as we gather the hands together in front of the heart imagining we gather a little bit of light into the hands in front of the heart and may we remember how our practice again is such a wonderful guide to bring us into good space healthy space and may others once we are well and healthy may others benefit from our practice namaste all right so thanks for getting to day five here with the asana part and i hope you kind of have felt into what dynamic movement feels like and what some more restorative poses feel like eyes open or eyes closed and different pieces that you might weave into your practice not just this time of the year but throughout the year you know what to grab when you need a strong vigorous practice and now you have some new ones to maybe use to unwind so in addition to things i've mentioned to grow your self-care practices something that's quite common to do when we meet different phases of the seasons or potentially at the end of a week is to do a bit of a refresh and to start to focus on whole food diet that emphasizes eating vegetarian meals because they often are easy for people to digest to focus on warm foods which are also easier to digest so when we think about cool times of the day or cool seasons we go towards what's seasonal as much as possible we're going towards what's warming when it's cold outside and when we're thinking about when it's cold outside and nature isn't producing all those juicy sweet fruits that our need for sugar tends to change which usually gives us those quick bursts of energy in the summer and as we need less of that this time of the year and the sugar that we get is more from our sweet potatoes and our squashes and our pears and our apples that we use those foods for our sweet treats and perhaps bake them with a little bit of ghee or coconut oil with lots of cinnamon and things that make them even easier to digest so right now what we would do at the end of the season or at a important time of the year like an equinox or a solstice is to just look at again our health practices our wellness practices including what we eat and as best as possible clear out the things that alter us in a way that creates more clouding versus clarity and to keep choosing those things that keep you clear and bright so that you again have more energy throughout your days and can do what you're here to do in this life so that's a little bit of Ayurveda and how to wrap up a sequence of doing self-care steps with some sort of like reboot is one way to think of it or a cleanse if we're looking at it more with traditional language in order to clear away what we don't need anymore and focus more on what we want so i hope that's helpful for you and and i'll hope to have you join me again when we meet the spring challenge that will come up late in the new year and you know have the summer practices when you need some cooling sequences you have the autumn challenge when you need more grounding nourishing practices and i hope you found some things in the winter here to create a little bit more heat and flow in your body and we'll get ready for the spring one to do some deeper cleansing all right thank you so much i appreciate you being here i appreciate yoga anytime for hosting these challenges and i hope it serves you and your community well in the days ahead thank you so much namaste


Jenny S
3 people like this.
This class is my new favorite of yours Melina, and that’s saying a lot! Wonderful well-rounded practice that hit all the spots. Thank you for this holiday gift and looking forward to the spring session 🎁🎄🌟 Merry Christmas!
3 people like this.
I have really enjoyed and appreciated these classes in Christmas week; they have been a real treat. I love practising with blocks; they make me feel grounded and stable and I feel postures in a whole new way. Thank you too for the wider advice to work with the seasons. I always appreciate your wisdom and insights.
Melina Meza
I appreciate you both keeping your practice alive during the holidays! Now you'll have these practices to keep you inspired, grounded, and healthy as we move deeper into the winter season. Happy holidays to you! M
Janet R
3 people like this.
Melina, your classes continue to inspire me and my practice. Thank  you.  Hoping you are having a joyous Christmas Holiday.  Janet Rosoff
Pat Pao
3 people like this.
Thank you Melina - loved all the practices!!!! All the best for the Holiday Season xoxox
Tracy S
3 people like this.
Thank you Melina! I appreciate the time and detail you took to present a very comprehensive and inspiring chaalenge. I will definately come back to these practices for healing and grounding for this long winter up ahead. Peace and Light!
Amy P
3 people like this.
Thank you for all the self-care tips.  I love shifting down to the floor for yoga core, seems to meet my needs. Thank you and have a healthy winter. 
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
Hello Friends ~ Its such a gift knowing you're all dropping into the winter challenge! Wishing you all much health in the seasons ahead. 
Ellen B
3 people like this.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Beautiful and restorative winter challenge.

Sandra Židan
Great practice and a great challenge! I've really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing it with us, Melina! Kind regards!
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