Guided by Breath Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 2

Strength in Receptivity

60 min - Practice


Opening the front body is a show of receptivity and vulnerability requiring tremendous strength and clarity of engagement. Sadia leads a mindful class to connect to breath, find spaciousness in the chest, and strengthen the upper back. We move fluidly through Sun Breaths, gentle floor sequences, and standing flows, pausing to deepen into the shoulders and upper body, and play into variations of supported Ustrasana (Camel Pose). You will feel soft, supple, and clear.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block (2)

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Hello again. Welcome. Welcome to Guided by Breath season two. I'm thrilled. If you are joining us again, after having practice with us previously, welcome back. If this is your first time, thank you so much. It's my honor to guide you through practice today. You will need two blocks and a strap, which you have probably already gathered. Your strap, you can go ahead and get that out. Unroll it. If it is rolled, I'm assuming everyone has a bit of obsession, prop obsession, like Kiera and I do. But you will unroll it if it's rolled. And then go ahead and make a loop in your strap. And that loop should be shoulder width apart. So I'll show you how you will measure that. You can, of course, just first approximate what that might be for yourself. And then to measure, you'll place the strap above your elbows. And wow, I did that pretty well today. Pretty spot on above your elbows. And you'll see that your elbows can come to either side of your body. So upper arm bones about the width of your, your two clavicle bones, your shoulders. And then once you have done that, you will tidy the strap again. Why? Because it feels good to practice in a harmonious environment. You'll place your strap off to the side. We will use that. In fact, place it towards the top of your mat. So you may use that for something else. So you place it there and then grab one of your blocks, friends. And we're going to begin in Virasana, it will have a block between the ankles. And how, how will that work? What will that look like? So you'll place the block on its lowest height to start. If you know, you've got sensitive ankles, if you've done this before, you go ahead and raise the height of the block to its second highest height. The widest setting is what you will place between your ankles. So I'll go ahead and demonstrate that for you on a profile view. So you'll come to table top position, block between your ankles, you will hug. So you don't want the feet to sickle. You're going to hug the outer ankles in and moving back, hug the outer ankles in, press all 10 toenails down into the floor, walk your knees together and then drag your calf flesh back and then out to the sides. You walk the knees a little closer together and then you'll slowly lower your pelvis down onto the block. Once you lower the pelvis down, it's quite likely that you will need to root your sitting bones a little bit more into the block. So you need to, it will feel like you are scooping your tailbone, but really you're just neutralizing your pelvis. And then you will pause, you can do a little cat and cow with your pelvis. And what neutral is, is just you doing both cat and cow simultaneously. So you go ahead and find balance in your pelvis. Great. And let's sit for a moment. So rest your hands on your knees or your thighs, close your eyes and I will turn to face you right now. But with your eyes closed, you know, removing all the visual stimulation, using the mind's eye to just do a tour of the landscape of your body from feet to head. So outer ankles hugging in, right? All 10 toenails pressing down. Heavy the tailbone so that you can feel your sitting bones being supported by whatever is underneath it. Draw, friends, your upper arm bones back and feel as that encourages a little more uprightness. Heavy your arms.

Lengthen the crown of your head up to the ceiling. Soften your brow, relax your eyes, your cheeks, your jaw, drop the jaw. Drop the jaw and feel with that dropping of the jaw, that sort of cascade of softening that happens in the body. And it's like the set, set point, this softness, that's not kind of lethargic and inactive, but it's very bright. It's very, there's an attentiveness there. Travel with your mind's eye to the very inside of your skull, the roof of your mouth, lift the roof of your mouth up towards the crown of your head. Feel that lift of the inside of your skull and then meet it with a softening of your face. And let each of those qualities deepen one another. That lift, that spaciousness with the quieting of the flesh of your face, your skin, kind of descending quality of skin softening. Bring your palms together at the center of your heart into Anjali Mudra and just pause there. Pretty symbolic location on the body where above meets below and left meets right. Let's chant the sound of a single om together. You can also just listen, but you'll inhale your breath, exhale your breath, and then inhale for om. Great, and then bow your head to your hands. Maybe you set an intention for your practice or the rest of your day, your week, eternity, and release your hands down to your thighs.

Float your eyes open, lift your head up, lead with the back of your skull so your neck stays long. Hello, welcome. And then stay as you are in Virasana. If you're starting to get a little sensitive in the ankles and your block is on its lowest height, go ahead and raise the height of your block. I'll turn into a profile view again so that you've got a little bit more space there. If that still doesn't work, you can go ahead and stack two blocks on that widest and lowest setting so you get even more height. So just take a moment to find a version of this that works for you. We're going to be in it for a few more moments. So just check in with yourself and it's okay. If it's not comfortable, make it as comfortable as it can be. It can also feel good to have a blanket beneath your shins. Ah, so comfort is key. We want to begin there. And then from that place of ease and spaciousness and comfort, you know, you start to explore that way. But if we are beginning from a place of discomfort, you can be pretty sure that the experience that follows is not going to be all that pleasant. You'll find comfort in your seat. Great. And then as you inhale, just reach your arms forward and up, receiving the breath and moving the arms with the full length of your breath. And as you exhale, just lowering your arms and you'll go again like that, breathing in, reaching the arms forward and up. I will face you pausing at the top of your inhale and then riding the wave of that exhale all the way down. A couple more like that. Begin to breathe in, reach the arms up. Do this movement as though the purpose is for you to receive the breath and then you'll exhale and lower. This time as you inhale, sweep your arms around and up. Different energetic feeling. It's different mechanically, right? But feel maybe a little more subtle difference between now reaching the arms around and up. So beginning to breathe in, reaching the arms up as though the purpose is to receive that breath in. Feel the lift of your chest. Feel the pause at the top of the breath in. And then the exhale comes and you respond by lowering your arms. So once more like that, begin to breathe in, sweep your arms around and up, receive the full breath in. Exhale, release your arms.

Great. Pause, interlace your hands behind your head. Hmm. Place my bun kind of in the, not the best place today, but you will interlace your hands directly behind your head, widen your elbows and pause for a moment. Use your hands to sort of guide or to coax rather more length out of your neck and feel. And first I want you to find neutral in your rib cage. So knit those front ribs together, broaden your back body. Whoa. And feel how there's a little more activity in the shoulders as a result of neutralizing the rib cage. Neutralize, not a great word, but finding more balance in your rib cage as you begin to breathe in. Lift the chest, widen the elbows. So now we introduce a little bit of extension of your upper spine. As you exhale, round the spine, draw the elbows towards each other, chin to chest and keep going like that. Begin to inhale, elbows widen, chest lifts, begin to exhale reverse. And you keep going like that. Why is this show called guided by breath? Because we want to be guided by breath. What does that mean? It means the breath is the centerpiece to everything we do in this practice. So I want you friends to see if rather than doing these movements that I'm telling you to do and kind of breathing on the side, maybe sort of kind of synchronizing the movements to the breath. Can you really attune to the actual movement of your breath and let the movements be like little offerings to your breath? And maybe even that's just a little too like, woo woo, not, not specific enough or not, not literal enough. How can I say this better? Get very soft, feel the breath rise and fall and then open and close your body as the breath opens and closes. So you feel that inhale arise. Naturally the breath expands, the ribs expand, the chest lifts. You encourage that. So the movement and the shapes facilitate the breath movement. You begin to exhale and then you reverse. You feel the chest fall. You feel the ribs contract or the muscles between them contract. The belly contracts and you make a shape that honors that full body contraction that honors that descent of the breath. Inhale again and start to open. And I will stop talking for the next few breaths and few movements so you're going to have that experience for yourself. And it's really subtle. You know, you may have to move with a little less effort actually to find this breath, body poetry. And that's actually, that's the, that's the challenge to do less rather than to do more. Breathing in and out through the nose. Maybe finding your ujjayi breath, right? It's like constriction at the back of your throat as you inhale and exhale. The best soundtrack there is. And you don't have to pay anyone for the rights to the sound of your own breath. Exhale. After your next inhale, please pause there with elbows wide, chest lifted and take a few moments there in this, it's like a seated cow. And notice, you know, are your eyes gazing up at the ceiling?

Are you lifting your chin? Is there any muscular effort in your neck? Soften it. Let your head be heavy. Let your hands hold your head and let your gaze just naturally go to, I don't know, maybe it's slightly forward and slightly up, but soften your brow. And you'll find the gaze and you'll know you found it when the face does soften, but you can also soften the face to find the gaze. Great. Release that. And then pause for a moment. Rest the backs of your hands on your sides. Wow. I feel illuminated. I feel like I could stop practice here and be fine with it, but let's continue. Pause for a moment. Close the eyes and feel. Hmm. And just witnessing whatever is there. Whether it's, you know, sort of physical sensation, energetic sensation, breath movement. Great. Open your eyes. This time, bend your right arm up alongside your ear and then turn the back of the palm, turn the palm back behind you. So that movement of a hand will, there's a chain, kinetic chain. So when the hand rotates that way, the upper arm bone follows. Bend your elbow. Use your left hand to draw that elbow towards the midline of your body. And you pause there. Use your hand to draw that elbow towards the midline of your body. Lean your head into that arm and you can pause there. Or you might take that left hand, turn that palm to face back behind you and feel as the upper arm bone rotates along with it. And you can reach that hand for that space between your shoulder blades. And maybe you can grasp the fingers. Maybe not. If not, and you would like to have, I don't know, another experience apart from reaching between the shoulder blades, you can go ahead and grab ahold of that strap and hold the strap. But whatever you're doing is fine so long as, you know, you're fully attentive. Lean your head into your top arm. Keep doing that. Broaden across your collar bones. And then as before, knit those front ribs together. Broaden your back body. Root your sitting bones down into the block and breathe. And can you maintain like this, this interesting architecture, so Gomukhasana arms, right? Can you maintain the architecture but lessen the effort a little bit? Lessen the effort so much that the breath, it's easy to make the breath the centerpiece of your experience. Take one more breath in whenever it arises for you. And then when the exhale comes, you can go ahead and release that and roll your arm bones around in the sockets. Be kind to your shoulders. And you pause for a moment. You register your experience. Great. And then when you're ready, other side. So you reach that left arm up, turn the palm towards that wall that's back behind you and bend your elbow. If there is a wall, use your opposite hand to draw that elbow towards the midline of your body. Lean your head into your top arm. Ribs draw together, back body broadens. And as the back body broadens, you may feel as the sitting bones root themselves into the block a little bit more. You can stay here. This is great. Another option, reaching that opposite arm out. This is called internally rotating that arm. You turn the palm to face back behind you. You reach for that space between the shoulder blades. Maybe the fingertips touch. Maybe they can clasp. Maybe not. Broaden your collar bones either way. And again, recalibrate. So knit the front ribs together, broaden your back body. This thing I've been saying lately is ABC. So they say it, what is it? Death of the salesman. It's like always be closing, but always be calibrating. Always be calibrating. So for my part, I feel that when I've made the shape with my arms, my ribs now want to fan open. So ABC, always be calibrating. Draw those ribs in, broaden your back body, root the sitting bones down, lean your head into your top arm and breathe. And you know when you make jokes in this format, you just have to assume that they're landing, which it feels nice if you just, you know, everyone's laughing at your jokes. It's very encouraging. Take a couple more breaths. Broad collar bones. Top elbow reaches up, bottom elbow reaches down as the collar bones broaden. This is two almost opposing actions. One more breath in. Great. With the exhale, a gentle release. A gentle release and inside of the gentle release, you can rest the hands on the thighs, pausing and feeling whatever is there to be felt after releasing that. Great. Good. Shake yourself out a little bit. Extend your arms. Do a little, little, I don't know what this is, little, little wavy arm action, moving like a human rather than a yoga machine. And then you'll face the front of your mat and find a child's pose. So big toes touching, knees wide apart. Rest your head on the floor.

Relax your elbows. Rest your head. Rest your head in a way that allows the back of that neck to be long. And you can keep experimenting and keep experimenting. Someone told me that it took him, you know, I don't know, a year or something to find the ideal child's pose is we just assume the position, right? And there's just a rigidity around making a shape that we're so familiar with, but body's changing from moment to moment. So go ahead and treat this child's pose as if it is the first you've ever done. And if it is the first you've ever done, I am honored that you're practicing with me today. Start to crawl your hands as far forward as you can, gathering length on the sides of your body. This time broaden your palms. So the hands were relaxed before broaden your palms, press your index and thumb knuckles into the floor as you wrap those triceps towards the floor and feel whatever that does. And then you can come up onto your fingertips, pads of your fingers like they're apples under your hands. I was trying to think of a different fruit for today. We see apples press the pads of your fingers into the floor, seat reaches towards your heels. But again, it's like a coaxing rather than a forcing. And then start to crawl your hands over to the right side. So walking your hands over to the right, picking your torso up, draping it over the side, breathing into the left side of your body. And then walking your hands to the center and to the opposite side, draping the torso. So it's a nice clean side bend. It's called a lateral flexion of your spine, just making a C curve from your tailbone through the crown of your head, breathe into the side of your body. So we make the shape and then the breath does the work of creating, you know, what we call release for those muscles between the ribs. If you feel something happening in the arm and in the shoulder. And then please walk your hands back to center, flatten your palms, begin to inhale, drag yourself forward to a cow pose, tuck the toes, spread the collarbones, exhale to downward facing dog, lift your hips up and back and inhale, lower your knees to the floor, release your belly, open the chest, start to exhale, child's pose. Keep going, begin to breathe in. So remember, doing shapes and movements to facilitate the qualities of breath, use the power of your exhale to lift your hips up and back. Inhale, knees to the floor, receiving the breath and spreading the collarbones, opening the chest, exhaling, bowing to that exhale. Inhale, come forward again. Exhale, down dog. One more time, begin to inhale, ride the full wave of the inhale down to that cow pose, breathing in. And then exhaling to child's pose, breathing out. Inhale, come forward again. And then you'll exhale to downward facing dog, lift the hips up and back. And once you're there, you can pedal through your feet, press one heel down and then the other. Moving your head, yes and no, whatever makes sense for you and your body and let it, let it be organic, right? Maybe you want to bend through the elbows or find some other, I don't know, weird things you can do with your body while you're in downward facing dog, you know, always reminding yourself, your, your brain and your body that you are a human animal, right? These linear shapes that we make are actually pretty unnatural, if I'm being honest. And I try to be, walk your hands and your feet towards each other and you pause at the center of your mat. So feet are about hips width apart. You soften your knees, spill your pelvis forward so that the head can, can relax, let the head be heavy, relax the neck. And maybe at first you can find some, some gentle swaying from left to right that can feel quite nice. And then in fact, go ahead and sway if you're not. And sway a lot, sway in multiple directions. So left, right, maybe use the help of your hands if you're making some pretty big shapes there while you're swaying. Great. And then my friends please make these little swaying movements smaller and smaller and smaller until you're in, you know, this, this illusory thing called stillness. And you pause there and inside of this outer body stillness, tremendous movement of breath and life in your body. As you breathe in, feel the ribs expand, the belly expand. And as you breathe out, feel the head heavy, the arms heavy, the whole upper body seems to get heavier and just feel there as you breathe. So nothing to it, but so powerful. Interlace your hands behind your lower back to the webbing, draw your bent elbows together, soften your knees, begin to inhale, lift your chest, draw your hands back, lift your chest up, lift your toes up and spread them. Look down and forward so you can lengthen the back of your neck and then let that breath expand the upper chest. Let that breath expand the upper chest, receive the breath and just, you know, energetically with the, with the mind directed to the upper chest, it's going there with feel as the, the fronts of the shoulders release because you're in the shape and because the breath is moving the way it moves. You take one more breath in and as you exhale, you can release that, release your hands and then slowly walk your hands up your legs to come up to stand. And then once you're standing, you can walk nice and mindfully to the top of your mat and you can pause there, rest your hands on your body actually and feel movement of breath, beating of heart. Great, release your arms, begin to inhale with a full length of your breath and sweep your arms up, begin to exhale, soften your knees and forward fold with a full length of your breath up. Begin to inhale hands to your shins, lift your chest, exhale, forward fold, inhale, sweep your arms around and up, reach your heart forward, look up and touch your palms and as you exhale, draw your hands down the center line of your body, pausing there. Let's do one more, standing sun breast like that. So you begin to breathe in, sweep your arms around and up as though the purpose of this movement is for you to breathe in, start to exhale, bow forward with a full length of that exhale, so moving as breath. Inhale to prepare pose, lift your chest, exhale, forward fold. Inhale, sweep your arms around and up, look up, palms together, exhale as the breath descends, the hands descend and you pause there, hands at the center of the chest, gaze is soft or the eyes are closed. Okay, begin to inhale again, reach your arms up, begin to exhale, hinge forward, inhale to prepare pose or half lift, exhale, plant your palms, bend your knees and step your left foot all the way back and if you've got two blocks, you can go ahead and place the blocks underneath your hands and pause for a moment there in that lunge, so blocks are under the hands which are under the shoulders, peel your back toes all the way back, so foot is articulated, the leg is bright, lift your chest, roll the biceps forward and feel as that brings some spaciousness to your chest, collarbones, breathe in and then breathe out and actually let's lower the back knee to the floor, keep your back toes tucked under as you breathe in, lift your torso up, lift your arms up and pause, let your palms face each other. As you inhale, let the upper chest lift and you take a few breaths here just like that and see if, not see if, look forward, do not lift your chin, I want you to lift your chest rather than your chin, in fact tuck your chin slightly and we'll be here for just a couple of breaths and you are witnessing whatever sensations are there to be witnessed in your body as you breathe and you're in a version of this lunge, Anjanaasana, that allows you to breathe fully and freely, great, interlace your hands behind your head, same spot as before, widen your elbows, lift your chest a little bit more, widen the elbows and now with the hands behind the head, we can encourage that neck to lengthen a little bit more, great, take one more breath in, with your breath out, release that hands to your blocks, lift your back knee up, as you inhale, reach your right arm up to the ceiling and you take a couple of breaths there and try in this low lunge twist to look directly forward, look directly forward, draw that right hip back, look directly forward for another breath cycle and then maybe slowly turning your gaze up towards your top arm, your top hand, now take one more breath in there and as you exhale, release your hand to the block, move the blocks a little off to the side, hands to the floor, plank poles, pause and plank, palms are pressing down, feet, toes are peeled back and feet are articulated and then you take a breath in here and see if you can ride the wave of your exhale all the way down to the floor and once you're there, inhale to baby cobra and stay here, little tuck of the chin, long neck, take one more breath in there, as you exhale lower down, press up through tabletop position, tuck your toes, lift your hips up and back to downward facing dog and pause, soften your knees a lot, draw your chest towards your thighs a lot and let's do a little experiment actually, so eyes open, look forward, begin to look towards your hands but please do it really slowly and feel what you feel, do you feel a little compression in the neck, do you feel the brows starting to lift, look a little more forward still, interesting and then very very slowly begin to return that gaze to that space between your feet but do it very slowly, feel as the neck softens, feel as the brow softens and pause and once more just look forward, do it nice and slowly, observe and then slowly release that, observe. Look up between your hands, soften your knees, you can either walk or float or levitate forward whatever you like and once you're there inhale to prepare pose, you'll exhale and forward fold and then inhale sweep your arms around and up, look up touch your palms, exhale draw your hands down the center line of your body, you'll pause, relax your arms and pause again. Great, inhale reach the arms up, exhale soften your knees and hinge forward, once more inhaling to prepare pose, exhale hands to the floor, step your right foot back, grab your two blocks, under your hands, hands under your shoulders, roll the biceps forward, broaden your collarbones, peel your back toes all the way back, you can play with a little shifting of the heel, pressing the heel forwards and backwards and find that spot where you press the heel forwards, heel is stacking above the ball of the back foot and the back foot feels really articulated and you can feel that brightness of the foot travel up the leg, lower your back knee to the floor, inhale and lift your torso up, lift your arms up and you'll pause there, slight tuck of the chin, lifting the chest as you breathe in and initially you know just allowing the front of that right hip to release, maybe you feel a little release in the quad on that side, as you next inhale lift the chest a little more while keeping the chin tucked, interlace your hands the awkward way behind your head, widen your elbows, lift your chest up, now take a few breaths here just like that, letting the head be heavy in the hands so that the neck can stay long as you lift the chest, so what I'm trying to get us to do is to feel you know the power but also the subtlety of this thoracic back bend, this back bend that's occurring at the mid part of your spine, so oftentimes we're leading with the chin or the eyes, so can we tap into the lift of the chest, great take one more breath in and as you exhale release that, bring your hands to the blocks, lift your back knee up again and as you next inhale reach your left arm up to the ceiling, your gaze can be forward to start, draw the left hip back, gazing forward or maybe you're looking up at your top hand, making sure that you're not bracing or becoming rigid, let there be a softness about your expression of this shape, take one more breath in and then exhale bring your hand to the block blocks off to the sides, plank pull step back and pause, take a breath in there as you exhale you lower yourself all the way down to the floor, once you're there once more baby cobra lift the center of your chest the back of your skull, you can keep the hands on the floor you might hover them or come up onto the pads of your fingers, but let there be a slight tuck of the chin, crown of the head reaching up and here too with every breath in can you feel the chest expand and can you imagine that your scapula your shoulder blades are like little hands pressing the chest forward, I'm going to take a another breath in here as you exhale you can release, press back to child's pose and pause and just observing whatever is there letting go of whatever efforts you used moments ago and just leaning into like the echo of that work. Great crawl your hands forward downward facing down so you come forward maybe you take a nice breath in maybe you find a little bit of a cow pose and you use the power that exhale feel the low belly firm to lift your hips up and back to downward facing dog with soft knees with an extended spine and and a face that is relaxed eyes that are soft sway a little bit in your downward facing dog and then slowly walk your hands up towards your feet as weirdly as possible nice and slowly as well maybe making little I don't know shapes with your tailbone yes be strange and subtly strange it doesn't take a lot and then once you're at the top of your mat feet hips width apart soften spill the pelvis forward relax your head and your neck completely the more you can soften the knees you can probably spill the pelvis forward a little bit more so you get a little bit more softening for the neck and then look forward look slightly forward stay forward folded place your hands down onto the floor roll your biceps forward it's going to do a little I don't know a little called it on paper like a crow prep but let's divorce whatever we're doing from any ideas of shapes so look forward wedge your knees into your upper arms lift your heels up and just be here for a few breaths if this reminds you of a shape that you want to do you can go ahead and do that but otherwise pressing the hands down drawing your navel back towards your spine maybe this feels like a like a stretch of your back for you you can lean into that sensation the palms are spreading maybe you shift your weight slightly forward but I want you to feel that work of the abdomen especially on the exhale you can feel the body really participating on the exhale you can play with shifting your weight around in the hands and in the balls of the feet that's pretty fun and interesting and then as you're ready you can release that completely relax your head and your neck once more interlace your hands behind your little back draw your elbows together inhale to lift your chest and straighten your elbows little tuck of your chin and you take a few breaths here and find that tuck of the chin so we've been doing this a lot I'm trying to get you to find that that upper slash mid back bend trying to wean us all off of the habit we sometimes have of leading with the chin and the eyes and you can hear now how my voice doesn't sound great and this certainly doesn't feel great but you know as I lower the chin to the chest lengthen my neck still getting probably getting a little bit more of the upper back bend as a result of just looking down rather than forward take one more breath in and then an exhale and then without snapping your hands apart release your hands on your next inhale sweep your arms around and up look up and touch your palms as you exhale you ride the wave of that exhale down with your hands with your arms and then pause for a moment separate your feet a little wider apart soften your knees you can rest your hands on your body and just feel this is the work and the challenge of doing less rather than more more more more more and what's great is that less actually feels amazing more more more it doesn't always feel great we can be you know sort of deluded into thinking that it feels great because it becomes what we're used to feet a little closer together sitting bone distance apart and with an inhale utkatasana fierce pose extend your arms sit nice and low little tuck of the chin arms reaching up fingertips reaching up hands activated we take a breath in there and as you exhale you can hinge forward begin to inhale lift the center of your chest little tuck of the chin so here it is again even in the prepare pose let's be here for a little while blocks underneath your hands on the highest height press down lift up so you can go ahead and extend your elbows little tuck of the chin can you feel a little quality of baby cobra in this prepare pose can you feel those little tiny hands that are your shoulder blades pressing the chest gently forward and let's experiment look forward with your chin with your eyes compress the back of your neck without hurting yourself and feel feel that but also feel what's happening in the upper back keep that baby cobra sensation and then my sweet friends keep the baby cobra sensation hands of the shoulder blades pressing the chest forward and slowly begin to turn your gaze down towards the floor as you maintain that baby cobra sensation and suddenly maybe it's a little bit more profound what it is that we're doing when we're doing prepare pose take one more breath in and then exhale release one more time inhale to that prepare pose lift the center of your chest long neck just already to start slight tuck of the chin feel that work of the baby cobra one more time for the last time ever in your life when you're doing back bends look forward lift your chin up compress the back of the neck this is it love it love doing this for now because you will never do this again look forward do it even more reach your chin forward and then slowly lower your chin towards your chest as you maintain that extension of your upper spine it's like poetry now and then slowly release that blocks can come off to the sides sway yourself and your forward folds from left to right human movement you can i don't know i'm like waving my myself yeah it feels neat and then you know easing your way into that illusion of stillness as you forward fold and then hands to the floor step back to a plank pose and pause there pause there feet active legs bright downward facing dog lift your hips up breathe in use your exhale or several breath cycles to either one step or step step step your right foot forward and fingertips are fine we won't be here for long as you inhale you're going to lift your torso up and lift your arms up and pause soften your back knee soften your back knee and feel that softening allows you to lengthen your tailbone there's space in your low back feel that space in your low back maintain that space as you may be experiment with extending your back knee some amount that may require that you peel your back toes back a little bit more draw those front ribs together broaden your back body and you take a breath here so take a few breaths here breathe in as you breathe out feel your low belly engage and as it does that encourage that tailbone to lengthen more which may require that you soften the back knee more take a breath in as you exhale hands to the floor plank poles and then do whatever movements you like to make your way back to down dog fura like to do a vinyasa of some sort go ahead otherwise we'll meet in down dog and you pause soft knees and you know i say soft knees which may mean like a pretty deep bend it may mean what looks to the eye like no bend but what internally is there's a there's a there's space in the in the knee joint so it's anywhere along that spectrum is great just don't lock the knees out take a breath in use your exhale to step step step or step your left foot forward inhale to come up to stand soften your back knee lengthen your tailbone draw your front ribs together broaden your back body as you breathe in feel the upper chest lift as you breathe out encourage that tailbone to lengthen as your belly firms to expel that air out of your body lengthen your tailbone more soften your back knee feel as though you're almost scooping your tailbone forward and feel whatever that is but notice this spaciousness in your low back maintain it as you maybe extend through that back knee some some amount any amount take a couple more breaths just like that front knee is bent to whatever degree works for your body you're going to take one more breath in there and then you'll exhale your hands to the floor step back to plank pose use your exhale to lower yourself all the way down to the floor once you're there just relax your arms for a moment turn your face to one side for a moment and then before you fall asleep i'll have you turn your face to the or maybe i was speaking for myself turn turn the face to the floor grab those straps that you made the shoulder width loop with and then you're going to unroll it if it was rolled make sure that loop is accessible and then my friends i would like you to loop your wrists into the strap but make sure that the the the ring of the strap whether it's plastic or metal it's not touching your skin so the wrists are just touching the fabric part of the strap you will lower your forehead back onto the floor noticing first that your ten toenails are pressed into the floor lift your knees away from the floor spin your inner thighs up and lengthen your tailbone already that's plenty of work you can actually stay there if that's interesting to be there and it's quite interesting it's a lot of a lot of work work not that something has to be a lot of work to be interesting but feel feel all of that feet pressing down knees lifted inner thighs lift up tailbone as you inhale my friends i want you to lift your chest off of the floor keep your chin tucked lift those arms up press your wrists into the strap press your wrists into the strap and let's i lied i said that was the last time you would look forward in a back bend or lead with your chin but do it again here lift your reach your chin forward look forward with your eyes oh my gosh and then maintain everything slowly slowly turn your gaze back towards the floor tuck of the chin keep pressing the feet into the floor lifting the knees inner thighs lift up hands arms wrists that's the part wrists pressing into the strap collarbones broadening beautiful upper back and thoracic back bend take one more breath in and as you exhale you can release that free yourself from your self-induced bondage there turn your face to the opposite side let the shoulders round forward let the let the heels sort of splay great forehead to the floor bend your knees and let's windshield wiper your your feet from left to right and then release the feet and press back to a child's pose for a moment and then friend slowly roll yourself up so you're in an upright position and then come to stand on your knees you can tuck your toes under and let's for this version hmm let's have you grab one of your blocks and place the block on its narrow setting between your thighs it doesn't matter if the front of the block is flush with your legs or using it as a spacer if you need padding for your knees if the knees are sensitive use a blanket or fold up your mat to give yourself a little more support there and then first to start so have your strap handy to start hands on your lower back hands encouraging what will feel like a scoop of your tailbone but i want you to feel like you're going to spin that block or you're going to eject that block back behind you as you encourage that lengthening of the tailbone toes tucked under draw your elbows together as you inhale lift your chest slightly without lifting your chin without looking up at the ceiling just draw the elbows towards each other use your hands to continue to lengthen your tailbone towards your knees maybe you feel that you're leaning back slightly but let the breath lift and expand your chest great take a breath in release on the breath out free the block free the block send the block over to wherever you send it so that you have a nice harmonious practice space there and i'm going to keep my toes tucked under and just sit on my heels for a bit if that works for your body go ahead and do that if not maybe sit on a block you can place the block between the angles of the way we did at the start of class and just pause a b c pause great one more variation of this camel pose surprise it's ustrasana camel pose so you will tuck your toes under and in fact we'll do it probably we'll do it once more after this variation so this time toes are untucked you're going to grab a hold of your strap this time and just as you did moments ago strap will be around the wrist making sure that the the d-ring or whatever situation you have there is not in contact with your skin toes tucked under hug your outer ankles in lengthen your tailbone press your wrists into the strap widen your collarbones draw your hands slightly back keep lengthening your tailbone a b c lift your chest more as you next breathe in can you lift your chest even more still as you keep pressing the wrists into the strap as you keep reaching your hands back and down we take one more a couple more breaths hard to talk and do this at the same time keep breathing keep lifting the chest just use your exhale to come back up to free your wrists to sit on your heels or on a block or in a cross-legged position to observe great once more this time i'll give you the option to not use the strap if ustrasana is a part of your practice you can go ahead and express it however you express it but see if today and this is for everyone you can focus on that lengthening of your neck as you allow the inhalation to lift your chest so really finding that thoracic extension that upper back extension that is quite it's funny because it's subtle but it's also deeply powerful so i wanna i'm trying to express and have us feel and discover that odd combination so coming to stand on the knees again supporting the knees if you like using the strap around the wrists again if you like but setting yourself up with intention ankles draw in tailbone lengthen imaginary block being ejected back behind us tailbone keeps lengthening and as you breathe in i'm going to speak before i demonstrate but you're going to allow the chest to lift as you breathe in and i'll meet you back on the other side inhale let me say a few things lift the chest as you exhale let the low lower abdomen the belly participate in the exhale but you keep lifting the chest lifting the chest maybe reaching for the heels if that's part of your practice but being in this variation find a tuck of the chin so the next day's long you take one more breath in and as you exhale use whoo the power of that exhale so lift your torso up and then my friends please lie down onto your backs draw your knees into your chest a little apanasana keep your right knee hugging into your chest extend your left leg along the floor cross that knee over your body reach your arm out to the side take a couple of breaths there doesn't matter what the twist is like soften into it completely let that knee be heavy leg comes to center switch sides hug the left knee in cross that knee over your body extend the opposite arm arm either straight out or in a cactus shape soften soften soften come to center knees into your chest recenter your hips inhale extend your legs and your arms arms alongside the ears and feet up to the ceiling exhale knees into your chest lift your head and upper back off of the floor and then slowly lower yourself down on to the to your mat for shavasana legs wide apart palms face up and away from your body you breathe and you let go of of all efforts let go of all efforts and just resting in the the echo of of the work that you've done and letting your body and your mind just be completely absorbed by this very unique energy that's generated through practice you can keep resting for as long as you like i am going to extend my arms as i deepen my breath wiggle my fingers and toes and roll onto my side if you'd like to join me at the top for a sit you can go ahead and begin to emerge from your rest and if you're on your side keeping your eyes closed as you slowly come up to an upright position finding any seat that works for you sitting well resting the hands on the knees or the thighs heavy the arms eyes closed bring your palms together at the center of your chest lower your head to your hands thanking yourself for practicing honoring your body and your breath and the beautiful intimacy that exists between them and between you and your breathing body thank you for joining me have a wonderful day thank you for joining me have a wonderful day i will talk to you soon see you next time take care namaste


3 people like this.
Dear Sadia, it is lovely to be practising with you again (we chatted on Instagram this week about the effect your wisdom has had in my practice). Yes, your jokes do land, even several days later! I will use this feeling of my shoulder blades being baby hands pressing the thoracic spine forwards. For the first time ever in ustrasana, I naturally brought both hands onto my feet simultaneously (usually I have to do one hand at a time, which throws out my hips) so I will also keep the belt!
Jenny S
3 people like this.
Hi Sadia, it’s so lovely to see you back with a 2nd season of your show! This work is subtle but the results are quite amazing. I loved the experimentation of raising and lowering the gaze while in forward-facing back bends. Thank you 🙏🏻 🌞

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