Aligned and Awake Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 2

Actions of Strength

45 min - Practice


The Principles of Alignment help build the structure and scaffolding of our poses so that strength can grow, and health and healing can emerge. Nathan introduces the first alignment principle, Action and Support, focusing on the muscles of the legs and arms. We begin heating and opening the body in easy warmups, and then move into a sequence of familiar standing poses to feel the support created by fully engaging the action of the quads, calves, and upper arms. You will feel strong, spacious, and supported.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

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Welcome, everyone. Great to be here with you. We are going to start our journey into the alignment principles by talking about the principles of support and action, action and support. These two principles help create the structure, the scaffolding of the asana that really bring forward our deep strength and even the healing powers of yoga. We're going to start things out, but first I want to make sure that you've got at least one folded blanket, a block and a strap, and that will help us out with our poses. So let's take the blanket off to the side. I'm going to start in hands and knees and work into an easy child's pose. To start out our session today, we're just going to get things moving. Hands and knees, knees the width of the mat, feet together, glide back into an easy child's pose. If your head will come down to the floor, go ahead and take it there. If not, just hover. Lift back up to your hands and knees position. And again, gliding back. Hips towards heels, head toward the floor. One more time, lifting up. And again, gently back into your child's pose. Nice, light, easy breathing in our session today. Come back up. Let's do a little bit of cat and cow, pressing the spine up towards the ceiling and spine down towards the floor. And again, our breathing pattern is going to be just light, soft, easy breaths and always through the nose. Spine goes up and spine goes down. A few more here in cat and cow. And then come to a level spine. Cross ankle on ankle. We're going to work for the hips just a little bit here as we push our hips to one side, toward the side edge of your yoga mat, and then the opposite side. And my hope is you get a little feeling of stretch on the outer edges of your hips. Back and forth a few times. If you want to stay a little longer in one side, you go for it. I'm going to go back and forth a few more times. And then let's change the cross of the ankle. Other ankle on top. Same idea, pushing the hips left and right as we get the body ready for the alignment principles of today. A couple more times. And then come off with the hands, shins, knees, feet all in parallel lines.

We're going to bring the arms up level with the shoulders and start bringing a little bit of heat into our quadriceps by leaning back just slightly. Four or five inches is fine. And then back up to vertical. Again, you're going to lean back nice and easy. And then come on back up to vertical. It doesn't take many times here of leaning back and coming forward before you start to feel the heat in the fronts of your thighs, your quadriceps, an area that we're really going to be focusing on in our action and support principle today. Couple more times. Leaning back and vertical. Last two. Lean back, vertical, and one more time. Lean back and coming up to vertical. Once again, we'll take the hands onto the mat. We're in cat and cow shape. We're going to work the hips a little bit by tucking the right foot under and then raising the heels straight up to the ceiling. This is what I call a donkey kick. You can bring the knee up into the chest and then again, heel to the ceiling. Let's do four more. Knee to the chest and heel to the ceiling. Three, easy light breathing through the nose. Four, sorry, two, and the last one. Take that knee down, tuck the other foot under, and let's do donkey kicks on the other side. Heel to the ceiling, coming up the hips, tucking knee to chest, and heel to ceiling. Couple more. Two, and last one. And then let that go. Now, if you want a little blanket cushion for your knees, you can bring that blanket in. I'm going to go ahead and do that. And we're going to take a kneeling lunge. Right foot forward, left shin back. Hands on the front knee. As we continue warming up the body, we're going to drop in, opening up the fronts of the hips, and then gliding back, hands toward the floor, and you may need to adjust your front foot a little forward to get into a light hamstring stretch. As we're doing these forward and back actions, when you go back, you don't need to take your hips all the way to the heels. In fact, it's much better up here. Let's do the forward position again. Hands on knees, little groin stretch, and again, back towards the hamstring stretch. Hips are high, and I'm raising the front of the foot to get a little bit more depth. One more time. And then gliding back, hamstring stretch. Let's change sides. Right knee and shin down. Left foot forward. Hands on the forward knee. Easy glide forward into your groin stretch. And then gliding back, hands toward the floor. Foot forward a little if you need it. Toes up and hips a little back away from vertical. And kneeling groin stretch. Coming back again.

Hamstring stretch, and we'll do one more. Once again, that light, easy, soft breathing in and out through the nose. Very, very helpful with our asana practice. Good. Then let that go. We can put the blanket off to the side. If you need a little extra support, you can keep it. And we'll take cross legs sitting. Left hand on the floor, warming up the spine a little bit. Arm over the top. And then come back. And as you do this, if I point right here to my solar plexus, we want to keep that spot right over the top of the pelvis, and then bend from that center hub. Again, other side. We're going to do three total each side. Number two. And second side. And last one. Keeping the solar plexus right over the top of the spine. Final side. Coming to center. And then folding forward from our cross-legged position. Try to keep the back of the hips, back of the buttocks, heavy toward the floor. Come back up. Change the cross of the legs. And we'll do the same stretch. Reaching forward. Helping to open the spine. Open the hips. Getting ready for the deeper parts of today's lesson. And then come back up. Final little warm up. Hands behind. Lift your heart. Lift your chest. Little grip of the back muscles. Release. Change the legs. Other cross. And one more time. Lift the back. Lift the chest. You can look up. And release. Alright, we've got some heat in the body. We're now going to take our first look at action and support. To do this, we'll start in dandasana. Legs out straight. And I'm going to bring that blanket back into the play because it just helps me lift up a little bit more. Alright.

We're starting out learning about the quadriceps to teach action and support of the muscles. Quadriceps start at the knees and then go all the way up to the hips. So to feel this action, in your dandasana, squeeze your knees. Squeeze the quadriceps. And if your ankles come up off the floor, let them do that. Let the heels come up just a little bit and you feel the work of the quads. And then let that go. Let's do it again. Squeeze the knees. Squeeze the quads and feel the heels come up. And as we do it one more time, I want you to feel and sense inside where do you feel the quadricep working. For me and most folks, it tends to be around the lower half of the quadricep and the knee. We're going to build on that. This time, don't let the heels come up. Hands on the blanket or floor behind you. And again, squeeze your quads, but heels down on the floor. Heels down on the floor. And you may start to feel that there's more to your quad than just the knees. Coming up, I can feel almost two-thirds of the way up of my quad squeezing nicely. Let that go. One more time. Squeeze the quads. Heels on the floor for this version. And see if you can get that feeling of the energy of the quad coming up a little bit higher. And then now last one. Squeeze the quads. Heels on the floor. And using your hands, using the strength of your hips, lift or roll your pelvis a little forward toward the knees.

I now feel the entire length of the quadricep. And that's what we want for today's lesson for action and support. And we'll be building on this. Let it go. Last time. Quad squeezing. Heels on the mat. Use your hands. Lift and roll the pelvis a little forward. And see if you can feel that, yes, that quad is squeezing all the way from knees to the hips. Let that go. Lean back. Bend your knees. You can come forward off the blanket and wobble your knees. Just to kind of get a little refresh. Now, using that experience of the whole quad muscle that we just learned, we're going to take a few new poses. We can get rid of the blanket. Push that off to the side. And we're going to start in a downward facing dog. Start with the toes tucked under. Raise the legs up off the ground. And let's just get a lovely little pedal of the legs here. Pressing one heel down to the floor at a time. And this is just to kind of get used to our downward dog position. A couple more times. Pedaling, opening up, picking up the legs. And then come to a parallel, balanced position. Let's see if we can find that leg work that you found in Dandasana here in dog pose. How to do it. Raise the heels up as high as humanly possible. And you can feel the quadriceps want to squeeze. This helps us create the support, the structure, the action that helps downward dog become so lovely and supported. Now keeping the quads engaged, can you lower your heels and at what point do you start to lose the feeling of the entire quadricep? Right about there is my edge right now. So I'll pause. Feel that for a moment. Then lift up the heels, come forward toward the hands, and right foot between your hands. We're going to go with that support and action of the left quadricep. First, I want you to feel if you drop and droop your hips toward the floor. Yes, you do feel a stretch in the front hip flexor sort of area, but it's an unsupported stretch. So let's do this. Press the ball of the left foot on the ground and raise up that thigh a little bit. And you're hunting for that knee to hip support in this lunging pose. See how much of that support, that action of the quad, you can feel. Then step back, dog pose, little recovery, and then second side. Right foot, oops, left foot through. There we go. Left foot through. And once again, I want you to feel by letting the hip down, just dropping into the pose. Very common to do in a yoga class, but again, that's an unsupported stretch, and we can actually overstretch the hip that way. So we want to bring that support to the joint. We take the action of the quad by lifting, press the ball of the foot down and lifting the line of the right leg. Holding there, feeling support. You have to come up just high enough that you feel, yes, from the knee all the way to the hip. I can feel the support. Then step back, dog pose. Let's get those heels up and see if we can feel the legs again. I can definitely feel the heat in those legs already starting. Good. From there, come forward to a plank and see if we can do it with both legs here. The hips have to come up just high enough where you can feel the complete support of the thigh muscles. Then lower the knees down. We deserve a little rest. Knees the width of the mat, feet together, and child's pose time. Let the elbows drop, sink into your pose, and I'm going to fold my hands to rest my head. Just reviewing while we're resting, we've got the action and support of the quadricep muscles helping to keep the hips happy, building strength, and the knees happy. And then, come once again to your dog pose. Lift the knees. Let's just get a little bit of pedal just because it's fun and helps to open things up a little. And then parallel feet. Look forward and step to the front of your mat. Let's take a half uttanasana, hands on the knees just above or just below, whatever works for you. And yes, we're going to work on those thigh muscles again. Now if you need a block for this next one, you can grab so that you can touch something solid, either the block or the floor. I'm going to try to do the dog pose element of lifting heels here.

Raise your heels up as high as you can and see again if you can feel how that inspires the action of the quads. And then lower the heels, hands on hips, come all the way up to standing. Let's take mountain pose, tadasana. And we're going to continue this theme of action and support through all of our standing poses. First, to get that feeling in the legs, raise your toes up high. Feel how that pushes you backward. And then drop your toes and you'll feel a little sway forward. It's very natural for that to happen. Let's try here with the body swayed a little forward. Do this with me. Body swayed a little forward and try to engage the quads. You'll likely feel only around the knees. But now let's raise the toes up, draw the thighs and hips back in space a little, just so the tailbone comes out the back a little tiny bit. Now I feel that support just like the lunge, just like dog pose, all the way up. I'll keep that support there from the action of the quads. Let's do this. Take the arms all the way up without losing the support of the leg. Now, just for fun, let's see what happens. Keep the arms, feel the lift in your body. If you let go of the quads, let them drop, let them ungrip. You just feel the whole pose start to sink toward the floor. So let's reset it one more time. Toes up, thighs back until you can feel the whole quad all the way up to the top of the femur. Good. Lower the toes and let's take the arms. Now feel, feel the scaffolding that you're creating in your pose. And then arms down. Take a little break as we step out to wide leg pose. We do the same thing. Toes up, helps to draw the thighs back. Quads up. But here you may notice a little bit more easily, we can hyperextend the knees. We need one more muscle, the calves. We need the calves to press and support behind the shin. So we push the heel bones down, press the back of the heels into the floor and feel the support of the calf come and press into the shin. Quads are strong. You can feel the work in the legs. And in the beginning, this kind of work, it feels almost like I call it grunt work, where you're just like this. It goes from gripping in the beginning, but as you progress and it doesn't take long, maybe a week, week and a half, you feel like hugging. Muscles are hugging the bones. Arms out to the sides, hold your pose, toes on the mat. Take a couple easy, light breaths through the nose. And then arms down, heel toe, feet together. We'll take mountain pose for just a moment. And then an easy tree pose. First, toes up, thighs back, feel the support. We're going to turn the left foot out, but can you do that without disturbing the right leg support? See how I've connected my heel to the inner ankle. Okay, so this is kind of a half tree pose. Thigh back on the right leg, quad supporting, calf supporting behind that leg. Now the action. We're going to take this foot up, left foot up, palms. So yes, there's much deeper tree poses, but we're here working on learning the support that we can then take into those deeper poses. And then release the pose, mountain pose, thighs back, full support of the quads and calves so we don't hyperextend. Turn out the right foot. Press the heel against the inner left ankle. We've got thigh back, quad support, calf support, raise the right toes. This is my wobbly side, so I have to be a little extra careful there to stay steady, and then palms together. Your focus is just holding that support so you have the scaffolding to be able to lift up and out of your pose. And then release mountain pose. Widen the legs. We're going to take warrior two using what we've learned so far. Turn the left toes in and the right foot out for your warrior two pose. We'll start by, just like mountain pose, taking the back leg hip, the left hip back just a little bit. There it is. I can feel that entire support there. Calf of the left leg supporting as well. Okay, there is our meditation. Action of the quad. Action of the calf. Stretch the arms and bend your right knee. Let's take the pose. And you could feel, if you play with this a little bit, if you let your left hip kind of fall forward, you lose the support of the pose. Press that back, get the support of the quad, the hugging of the quad and calf, and you're holding. Let's look over the right hand and complete the pose. Mind and awareness on the left leg. Good. Come up, rest your hands, turn to the other side. Again, I draw the right thigh back, quad support from knee to hip, calf support also hugging into the bone. Stretch the arms, warrior two. We'll turn and look right over the left hand. Hold your pose. Mind and awareness, feeling the back leg support of quad and calf. And come to center, feet towards front. Relax your arms. We're going to take side angle pose next using the same technology. Left toes in, right foot out.

Stretch your arms. How do we do it? Hip back, quad support, calf hugging the back leg. Bend your knee. And we can take the right forearm on the thigh, left arm straight up. Or you could take it further if it's easily available. You can take your hand to the floor or even capture a block. We'll be here for just a few breaths if you need to grab one. We'll hold now with the left arm over your ear. Take your awareness to your left leg and do the things we've been doing. Quad support, calf. And inhale and come up. Rest your arms as you turn your feet to the other side. Right toes in, left leg out. Hip back, feel the support, the grip of the quad and the hugging of the calf muscle. Stretch your arms. Keeping the support of the back leg, bending your left knee. Side angle pose. Left forearm to your thigh or if you have your block, bringing it over here and we can take the hand to the floor if that's available to you. No need to go there if that's not available to you. The main most important thing is your understanding of the back leg. Holding there. A few easy soft breaths through the nose and then coming out. Feet to center. Heel toe all the way in. Mountain pose. Good. Feeling the energy in the legs. They've been working hard for us. We've got a few more standing poses. We'll start once again. Wide leg pose. Left toes in, right leg out. We're at triangle pose. And now we really get to see the gift of the action support of these muscles. We'll leave the arms down for just a minute first. The squeeze and lift of the right quadricep. We're focusing on the front leg now. And pressing the front foot of the right foot into the floor, the support of the calf muscle. Why do we do that? Because if we don't, boom. Hyper extension. Look. No love for my quadricep. So I'll bend a little and once again squeezing to get the leg line supporting so I don't hyper extend. Now arms out. And the mind stays in that right leg. Feels the action of the muscles hugging the bones. And I go slow. Making sure I never lose the support. Hand on shin. Good. You can look straight ahead. You can look at the floor. You can look at the ceiling. I'm just gonna look straight ahead out there at you. And we're gonna focus on maintaining the lift of the quadricep from knee to hip and support of the calf. Then inhale, come up. Other side. Let's take the arms down. Right foot in, left leg out. We're focusing on the left leg. We grip and lift the left quadricep and support from the left calf. How do we do the calf? You push the ball of the foot into the mat. Now stretch the arms. And the focus as we go. You might even look at your quad and you might find, hey, why did it go soft? So you have to regrip the whole time. Brain's gotta be there. What does this teach? Deep concentration. Helps us counteract all of those things out in the world today that want to take our concentration everywhere else but within. This helps bring our concentration, focus, all back inside. Physical health, mental health, all there for us through these alignment principles. Then inhale and come all the way up. Feet to center. Walk the legs in. This is just a refresh in mountain pose. And then a similar pose, parsvottanasana, pyramid pose, will widen the legs and turn fully to the right side. Similar because we have a straight front leg and we're doing the same thing. Quadricep lifting all the way up to your hip. Calf supporting to prevent the hyperextension. Let's just take hands to hips. Take your time. Look down at your leg. Is that quad holding strong for you? And maybe you stop here and that's as far as you can go before that scaffolding drops. Then you stay here. If you've got more and you still feel the lift and support of your quad, hands to your shin. This gives you a little something for that calf to push up against. Take advantage of that so you can feel the support and hugging of the muscles to the bone. Then inhale and come up. Turn to the opposite side. And folding. Same thing. Look down at your quad. Keep that support there. Take the hands to the shin. Give you a minute and quiet just to feel. And then coming up. Feet together. Heel toe yourself together. And then all the way to the front edge of your mat. Let's move a little. Arms up. Let the brain go a little bit. Just movement. Bend your knees and fold forward. Hands down.

Plank pose. Bend your elbows. Chest to the mat. Point your toes. Chest up just a little. We'll call it a baby cobra. Release the chest down. Tuck your toes. Hands and knees. Find your downward dog. Pedal your legs just a little bit. Again, brain is relaxed now. It's not focusing on the principles. Just moving. One more time. Plank. Bend the elbows. Chest to floor. Point your toes. Lift your chest. Release your chest and tuck the toes. Dog pose. Now one more of those, but we're going to bring the alignment principle of support and action. Come forward into your plank. What do we know? Strong quad from knee to hip. Now as you go down toward the floor, as you bend the elbows, keep the quads. Mind on the quads. Mind on the quads as you descend. Come on down. Then let it all go. Point the toes. Little baby cobra. And then tuck the toes. This time lifting up. Stay on the knees. Knees wide. Feet together. And easy child's pose. Fold your arms and rest your head on your hands. Light, soft breaths in and out through the nose. Then coming back to hands and knees. Tuck your toes. Lift your legs. Lift your knees. We've got one more standing pose to do here to feel the principle of action and support. Raise your heels up and look forward to the hands. Step your right foot forward into the lunge. We go back to what we know. We're going to squeeze the quadricep to support the front of the left leg from knee to hip. Holding there. Keep that support here. We're coming up into a crescent warrior now. The tendency is to roll the bottom, the tailbone down so much that we feel quite a stretch on the front of the left hip, but that can turn into an over stretch very easily. So what we do, tilt the pelvis a little bit forward, just a little, and find that support. Now I can feel the quad coming all the way up to the hip joint. I'm ready to go. With that support in place, I can lower into the pose and stretch the arms. Slow, soft, easy breaths as you focus on the support and action of the quadricep. Hands down. Step back to your plank and right into downward dog. Pedal out your legs a little bit to refresh. And left leg forward. Set up your support. Quadricep action. And then slowly up into crescent warrior.

Again, noticing the tendency to almost go right into the front of the hip stretch on the right leg. Let's do it a little differently. Tip the pelvis a little bit forward. And now there it is. I feel that quadricep support all the way to the front of the hip. Then I can come a little deeper into the pose without overdoing the front of the hip. And I raise my arms. And again, you know, this action here, it will bring a little bit more back bend to this pose. And that's totally fine. This is part of a back bend series. Now you understand where that comes from. And then releasing the hands down. Step back, plank, down right into your dog pose. A little knee bending foot pedaling to refresh the legs. And then coming down with both knees. Knees wide. Feet together. Easy child's pose again. Fold the arms. Rest your head. Try to return to soft, easy breaths through the nose as soon as you can. Then from here, we're going to come back into cat and cow position. We've talked a lot about the legs. And I'm sure your legs are feeling it. Mine sure are. I want to bring a little awareness to the arms with action and support. In this pose, we're going to talk about the tricep. That's this muscle out here. And of course, you've got your bicep on the inside. To develop your action and support of the tricep, press, where I'm touching here on my arm, I'm going to call it the underside of the arm, right into the base of the palm in both hands. And you feel what that does is inspires the contraction, the support, the hugging of your tricep muscles. As soon as you stop pressing with your hands, you feel that there's sort of an outward bend to the elbows and they want to collapse. Let's redo pressing the base of the palm into the mat. The triceps do their thing. But what about the other side so we don't hyperextend? Bicep has to press into the upper arm bone as well. Both of them together. What a lovely little hug for the arm bones. All right. Pressing and holding that strength on the right arm, we're going to take the left hand off, sweep it forward and up. Your focus is the standing right arm. Tricep is alive. Bicep hugging into the same arm bone there so you have total support. Left hand down. Let's practice the other side. We've got good support through the left arm. Sweep the right hand. There we go. I'll get it there. Just up as high as you comfortably can, but the focus is on the standing left arm. Tricep from elbow to shoulder. Bicep from elbow to shoulder. And then rest. Then we'll turn on to our right side and we'll practice the support in a new pose. Stack knee on knee. We're going for a side plank with bent knees. Push the right arm into the ground and right away the first thing I notice, and I do have pretty bendy joints, is that I go right into hyper extension in the arm. My solution, I have to hug the bicep also against the bone. So I'm super safe and I create a great structure and scaffolding for this pose. Push the hand in the floor. We're going to lift the hips. Press your hips forward toward me or forward toward the front edge of your mat that I'm facing. Holding there. Tricep is alive. Bicep hugging into the arm bone as well. Let's complete it with the arm. And then soften and let down. Sweep the legs to the other side. Bent knees. I push my left arm into the floor. First thing I notice, tricep is there to help support me, but I need the bicep to support as well. Pushing down with the hugging of both those muscles, creating a nice lovely line. I lift up, bring my knees back a little, but hips forward as you see me doing there. This way. Keeping the support of the left arm, let's take the right arm to the top. Easy soft breaths if you can, in and out through the nose. Come down and rest. Let's take it a little bit deeper. More powerful pose this time. Look at my right leg. Nice and straight. Left leg bent. And this is the left heel. I want that left heel to stay very well connected to the floor. Arm support. Tricep, bicep. Push and lift the hips off the ground. Left arm to the ceiling. Brain and awareness. Feeling the support of the right tricep, bicep. Lining up those bones for maximum support, strength, and health of the shoulder and arm. Come down and rest. Second side. We do the flip. My left leg is straight. Toes alive. Right foot down on the ground. Heel heavy on the floor. Support left arm. Lift up. Action of the tricep. Action of the bicep are all set. I will raise the top arm up. Holding here. Soft, easy breaths if you can. And then coming down. Good. From here we're going to take a tabletop pose. Hands on the mat. And we'll turn the fingers out to the sides. Easier on the wrists that way. And I'm going to take my hands almost off the mat so I've got a lot of room between my arms for shoulders to move. Feet hip width. Now both arms. Two triceps. Action in support of the biceps. I can already feel my chest lifting because of that support. Then raise your hips. Don't worry about how high you come. Just build the support of the tricep bicep for now. Come down, take a rest. Let's add a little spice to it. Feet together. Same beginning. Ready? Arms are supporting. Hips come up. Now how about right foot stretches. Right leg stretches long. Heel on the ground.

Hold there. Come down, take a rest. Soften the arms for just a minute. Let the blood flow back into those muscles. And we do it one more time. Ready? Tricep. Support and the hugging of the bicep. Lift your hips. And then slowly out with the left leg. Heel on the ground. You've got your support through the arms. Support through your legs. The body can open now. And then come down. And come off the arms just a little bit. Relax your arms. Let them go. Let the blood back in. Wobble the legs a little left side, right side, left side, and right side. And then let's just do an easy, relaxed, not much thinking twist. We've done a lot of that here as we build our new awareness into these alignment principles. Legs swept off to the left, turning the trunk to the right. Diaphragm soft. Shoulders twist. You don't need to take this one super deep. Just here holding. You can close your eyes if you like. Feel the work in the muscles that we've used today. Come back to center. Legs reach forward. Legs around to the right side. Again, easy twist. Easy does it. Diaphragm soft. Tops of the shoulders are soft. Eyes and facial features soft. And then let that go. We'll take a final bit of work here. Tummy down. And I'm going to give a little love to those muscles that supported us today in our poses. Right forearm on the mat, cutting across the mat. Left leg bends. Grab hold of your ankle there. This is just meant to be a light quadricep stretch. We've learned a lot today and really built in a new alignment principle into our practice. That being of action support. These principles of action support help to build the structure and scaffolding of the poses so that strength can grow and health and healing can emerge. Release. Second side. And I ask for your patience as you grow into these principles. It takes some time to really get the depth of feeling to go, oh, there it is. Now I see what's going on. But once you do, I can say without question, your poses will feel so spacious and supported and quiet and relaxed. I'm going to do a lot in these lessons to learn more and more about that. Feel how amazing they can be. And then please release your foot. If you would like a blanket, which I do for my head, please grab yours. Set it up. And we're going to take an easy shavasana here. Start by lying down spine on the mat. Start with knees bent. Gently tuck your shoulders under. We're really going to let go now. No more mind, no more work with the shoulders tucked under. Right legs slowly down. Keep it just a little bit of energy so it doesn't flop out just yet. And left leg slowly down. And now gently unwind the energy of the legs so that they fall side to side. Relax the fingers and palms so that the fingers fall in toward the center of your body. Release the groins, release the legs, release the hips. The space behind the kidney area in your middle back, let that be relaxed, calm, descending. And then your diaphragm, your breathing muscle. Let that be soft, wide, untensed. And now to absorb all of the work we've done, we're going to simply focus on slow, soft, easy inhales and exhales through the nose. And as your breathing becomes calmer and calmer, see that you smooth out or soften the air coming in and out of the nose more and more so that even the fine hairs within the nostril don't get disturbed by the flow of air. And breath continuing to soften. And slowing down the breath even more. Making it so smooth, so quiet. You might slow it down so much that there's just this ever so slight hint of wanting to take a deeper breath, ever so slight hint of wanting to take a deeper breath. We're going to keep it here, slow, soft, gentle, in and out through the nose. So, we're going to keep it here, in and out through the nose, in and out through the nose.

So, we're going to keep it here, in and out through the nose, in and out through the nose. Okay, let's come to that time that we move out of Shavasana. If you'd like to stay here longer, please do and enjoy that slow, soft breathing. If you're ready to come out, we can start by wiggling the toes, draw the hands in towards your center, and then stretch your arms overhead. Nice, wake up stretch. And then bring the arms down one by one, bend your knees, roll to your right side, and support your head on a blanket or your hand. You can start to open the eyes, and then let's come up to sitting. I'm going to use my blanket for a little added support. Thank you so much for joining me on our first alignment principles lesson, and I'm so excited to share with you more. We're going to build on this lesson and see how deep we can take the practice. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the next lesson. Take care.


Jenny S
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Great class! I always learn something new from you, Nathan. Today I was really feeling my biceps working TOGETHER with my triceps, something I admittedly don’t always focus on. What a difference this makes! 💪❤️🙏🏻
4 people like this.
very useful class - will bear with the hard work and concentration! interestingly, I had the most wonderful relaxing savasana afterwards. many thanks.
Peggy L
4 people like this.
Great class, looking forward to the next one🙏
Kare H
2 people like this.
Excellent class! So glad I discovered you....
Nathan Briner
Jenny S great to hear from you again! This is exciting stuff for me to finally teach. The changes that I have been seeing in my practice and my students has been fantastic so to be able to share it here is a treat. I’d love to hear how you do with the next classes and what you’re  discovering (and even what isn’t coming across clearly). 
Until then ☺️🙏

Nathan Briner
Hi Matthew! Yes, in the beginning this particular principle can feel like grunt work and it takes a lot of concentration. But if you keep with it, the muscular actions and strength become second nature and the support that emerges is amazing. The support is the pathway that takes you right into meditation in action! 
Nathan Briner
Peggy L! Thank you 🙏 If anything is unclear or if you have any questions, I’d love to help and talk through it with you. 
Nathan Briner
Hi Kare H! Thank you very much! If you need any help with the ideas in these lessons please don’t hesitate to reach out. See you in the next lesson :)
Kate M
3 people like this.
A beautiful and informative combination of alignment and yogic principles! Super clear explanations. Really helpful!
Nathan Briner
Thank you, Kate M :) did anything in particular stand out for you? 
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