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Season 2 - Episode 7

Grounded and Supple

45 min - Practice


Just say “Yes” to gravity. Arturo leads a practice to help us root into our center. After grounding in a standing meditation, we taking our time exploring familiar poses, enjoy a psoas stretch, and loosen and twist in supine poses. We enjoy an extended Savasana, then return to standing to reground with the earth. You will feel centered, supple, and relaxed.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Square Bolster, Blanket (2)

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Welcome to today's practice. We're going to start off with standing meditation. So feel your way into your feet comfortably and that might mean finding the position the right width where it feels really good in your hips and into your back. You can let your knees soften just slightly, just the slightest tiniest bend in the knees. Lift your heart so it's right over your hata, your center, and then bring your head over your heart. The shoulders relax down, the hands heavy, and bring your awareness into your footprints. Sometimes it can be helpful to wake up the feet, maybe stretching the toes and then relax them. Let the weight sink into the feet, into the earth, and as your weight and intention sink down, use that support below to help your heart lift, the crown of your head lift. It's almost like the more you drop into the support of the earth, the more you can float above the earth. Like there's an echo that goes down through your feet and back up through your heart to the crown. Notice where your weight is in your feet. Try shifting your weight slightly towards the balls of the feet, towards the toes, and then slowly shifting back towards the heels, not so far back that you fall back. Find a place in between those two where the toes can stay relaxed, the shoulders can stay relaxed. Your heart can stay open and your breath is easy. Three more breaths here, floating in your stance. And you'll probably notice that when you're standing still, you're not really still. There's always this process of finding balance, slight shifts to stay somewhat over center. And then you can open your eyes. And step your feet a little wider than hip width. And bend into the knees. We're going to come into what we call horse stance in martial arts. So I want to look and make sure that my knees are about over my ankles. And that might mean changing the rotation of the feet a little bit, depending on your individual anatomy. And then you drop the center straight down without tucking the tailbone forward. Have a little slight arch in the low back. And again, the center is right underneath the heart. The head is on top of the heart, which is on top of your center. Let the shoulders relax. Then inhale, floating the arms out to shoulder height. If your shoulders are feeling sensitive, you can float the elbows out to shoulder height, whichever works best for you. Inhale, exhale, straighten through the legs. Extend through the elbows or through the fingers. Then turn the right toes straight out to the right side and sink into warrior two.

You can keep your gaze straight forward or you can turn and look out over the right fingers. Three breaths here. If the arms get tired, let them rest or go to elbows extending. Inhale. As you exhale, lower the arms, straighten that right leg and pivot it forward. Turn the left leg out and sink into that left leg, coming into your warrior two. Whatever your arm preference is, it may even be keeping the arms lower. Don't suffer through anything.

A few deep breaths here. Feel the legs working, especially the quads are really working here. Left leg. One more. Inhale. And as you exhale, straighten that front leg, pivot the toes in, release the arms down and take a little pause. Maybe give your thighs a little thank you shake. And we're going to turn the right toes out again.

Inhale. Float the arms up. Exhale. Sink into the pose. From here, the legs are going to stay super steady. Inhale. As you exhale, tipping forward, bringing the hand or elbow to the thigh. Some of you may even want to bring that hand down to the floor and take this left hand and reach it to a place that feels really good for you. It may be straight towards the ceiling or up close to your ear. Still breathing easily. Next, inhale. Reach with that left hand and let that help bring you back up through warrior two. And then exhale into reverse warrior. Left hand coming down to the thigh. Right knee staying bent and lengthening up with the hand or the elbow. Always checking in with your breath. One more. Inhale. Lengthen out. Exhale. Coming back to warrior two. Inhale. Expand wide. Exhale. Lowering the hand. Straightening the front knee. Pivoting the right foot in.

Pivot the left foot out. Inhale. Exhale. The arms out. Bend into the front knee. Coming into your version of warrior two. Nose can be straight in the same direction your belly button is facing or you can turn and look over the front knee. Wherever you are, breathe. It's a lot of work in the legs. If your arms get tired, you can let them rest. If your legs get tired, that's really good. Inhale. Expanding. Exhale tipping forward. Hand or elbow to the front leg. Find that place for your right arm for that back arm.

And also for where your gaze goes. You might want to look straight forward. The weight of my hair makes me want to look up. And that feels a lot easier on my neck. A few breaths here. Next inhale. Sweeping the right hand up. Left leg stays steady. And as you exhale, tipping back to reverse warrior.

Finding the position for the left arm. A few breaths here. Left knee is staying bent, is working. Left thigh is really getting a lot of heat generating here. Next inhale coming up. Settling into warrior two. Just for a breath. Expand a little wider. As you exhale, lower the arms, straighten the front leg. Pivot the toes in and taking a pause here for a breath or two.

We're going to heel toe the feet in. And you have a couple of choices here. We're going to get into a really yummy psoas stretch. The choices are to do it standing. I'm turning to my right foot. I'm going to shift my weight onto my right leg and bring my left leg towards my chest. But I'm going to resist it with my left hand. So my knee is pressing into my hand. My psoas is working. So you can do it standing like that. Or you can come down to a seat and bring your left knee up towards your hand. Again, I'm resisting that motion. My left knee is lifting up. I'm going to hold that for 10 seconds. And on my next exhale, I'm going to release the leg, slide it back and find a high lunge either on the chair. So I have my left leg in front of the edge of the chair. Or you can do this in standing, whichever one feels best for you. You want to feel a gentle stretch into the psoas on the front side of the left hip. We're going to hold this for another two breaths. And slowly bring the knee back forward.

I'm going to repeat that, drawing the knee up towards the chest. But my hand is resisting with a straight arm, holding that contraction for about 10 seconds. And then releasing it, releasing the leg back into a high lunge and really pressing back through that left heel to get this to lengthen. I also want to keep my spine vertical here. If I tilt it, if I tilt forward, I get rid of the psoas stretch. Keeping lifted here, we're going to hold this for about three more breaths. And then slowly letting that left knee come in. And we're going to turn over to the other side. So if you're standing, you're going to shift your weight into your left foot. Draw your right knee into the chest and press the right knee into the right palm. About 10 seconds. And then extending that right leg back into a high lunge, either standing or seated on the chair. Keeping the spine vertical, gentle stretch here.

And breathing. Your next exhale, you can bring that knee forward again and pressing the right knee into the right palm, holding that for about 10 seconds. You may feel your psoas working a little bit here. It's a very deep muscle on the front side of the spine. And then releasing that, extending the leg back into a high lunge, standing or using the support of the chair, pressing back through the back heel to get this length happening here. Keeping the heart lifted, the spine vertical.

Exhale. And breathe. And your next exhale, slowly releasing that right leg forward. Take a pause, either standing or seated in the chair. Here, check in with your footprints again. This may have changed the way that your weight settles into your feet.

Now we're going to slowly come on down to the mat. I'm going to take my head pillow. I'm not going to place it on the mat, but I'm going to bring it where I can easily reach it when it's time to drop into the pose. And then I'm also going to take my bolster or you can just use a pillow. I'm going to bring that right down close to my hip and come on to my back. Bring my feet in close to my hips.

Inhale. As I exhale, I'm going to press down with my feet, lift my hips just a little bit, just enough to slide this underneath my sacrum. So it's not coming into my low back, just into my sacrum. And there, we're going to do the contract, relax movement that we were doing standing. I'm just going to lift my knees a little bit towards my chest. They're not actually going to move. I'm just making my footprints a little lighter and I can feel my psoas on both sides contracting. I'm going to hold that contraction for 10 seconds and then release it slowly and as I release it, I'm going to slowly, slowly walk my legs out towards straight. You may keep your heels on the ground or you may feel comfortable on the ground. You may feel comfortable on the ground. You may keep your heels on the ground or you may feel comfortable straightening the legs out. Coming into this very, very gentle bridge pose to help lengthen our iliopsoas muscles, our main hip flexors.

And that little action of contracting the muscles before relaxing them helps them relax more. They work a little bit and then as you relax, it helps reset our typical stretch response. It helps the muscle get a little longer. We're going to hang out here and breathe for five slow, deep belly breaths. It's letting those deep core muscles soften and melt. If the low back starts feeling pinchy at all, you can try just wiggling and shifting to see if you can create more space or you might bend the knees slightly and place the soles of the feet on the ground.

Take a deeper breath. And then as you're ready, slowly bending one knee at a time, placing the soles of the feet on the ground. Your next exhale, press down and lift your hips and slide that pillow or bolster out from underneath your sacrum. Slide it all the way so that your tailbone can come all the way to the ground. And this is where you can slide your head pillow in if you like it. Adjusting it just right so that you can completely relax the weight of your head. And then bring your feet up onto the bolster. Inhale. As you exhale, press down with both feet, lift your hips just a tiny bit and then scooch from a few inches off to the left and set your hips down. Inhale again.

And as you exhale, lower both knees over to the right. You can keep the feet on the bolster or you can slide the right foot and the left foot or just one of them off the bolster. This is a little bit deeper twist. And then your nose can stay towards the ceiling or you can roll your head so your nose is going the opposite direction of your knees. It's whichever one feels best for you today. And we'll take five slow belly breaths. Letting the twist gently wring out all of your layers.

Wringing out the physical layers, the muscles, the fascia. Bringing out your circulatory layers. Wringing out your digestive tract. Also wringing out your energetic pathways. Your meridians, chakras, nadis. One more breath here.

And then your next big inhale. Start to inhale. Left knee, the right knee, the nose back to center. When you're centered, press down with your feet. Lift and center your hips and take a pause at center for a breath. And then your next exhale, pressing down with the feet, lifting the hips just a little bit, scooching them to the right a couple inches and setting them down. Inhale, exhale your knees to the left. Feet can stay on the bolster or slide off. Your nose can stay towards the ceiling or rock away from your knees, whichever feels best for your body. And a few, we'll do about five slow, deep breaths on the second side of the twist. And with the second twist, we're wringing out our layers again, wringing out deeper layers of stuck fascia, stuck blood, circulatory system. Wringing out the digestive system a little more deeply.

And wringing, squeezing out the energetic pathway. One more big breath in and out. And as you inhale again, inhaling the right knee, nose, left knee back to center. When you're centered, press down, lift your hips, bring your hips to center and set them down. And then slowly drawing your knees in towards your chest, bringing the hands to the backs of the knees or the shins.

And let the knees open wide as you draw the knees into towards your armpits a little bit and rock a little side to side. If you're holding the backs of the knees, you can come into happy baby pose. Come back to the center and release the feet down to the cushion or bolster and sliding one leg out at a time. You may need to slide that down so the support is right underneath your knees. Let the legs shake a little to relax into the support of the bolster. Check in with your head support. Maybe it needs a little fine tuning so that your head can completely relax.

And I'm going to bring one hand to my belly right around my navel, one hand to my heart. And I'm just going to use my hands to monitor the movement of my breath. I inhale into my belly and then my heart and exhale completely. Inhale belly and then heart and exhale. You may want to do the three-part breath where you inhale to the belly then to the low ribs then to the heart and exhale completely. Okay, two more breaths. Belly, heart, exhale.

Belly, heart, exhale. Then you can let your hands rest wherever is comfortable. One, take a few slow deep breaths and with each exhale, rest a little more into the support of the floor. Eventually letting go of any effort with your breath. And just resting into the support of the floor of the earth.

Surrendering into the support below. Surrendering the effort of striving against gravity. Just say yes to gravity. And breath flowing across your body in and out at its own rhythm like the tide flowing in and out across the beach. Just breaths. Just breaths.

Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.

Slowly, gently start to deepen your breath again. And as you expand your breathing, feel the energy of the breath, the prana, expanding. And breathe some of that energy out into the fingers, waking the fingers up with some movement. Breathe some of that energy and awareness down into the toes and feet. Moving the ankles and the wrists.

And you can lengthen your body. And then as you're ready, bending one knee at a time and placing the feet on the mat, on the mat or on the pillow. And then as you're ready, rolling your way onto whichever side feels comfortable for you. You may want to fold the head pillow up a little bit as you pause on your side with your knees up towards your chest and taking a few deep breaths here. From your side, let your head stay heavy, roll a little forward and slowly roll up, one vertebrae at a time. Your head's the last thing to come up.

And pause in a seated position for a few breaths. We are eventually going to come back up to standing, but we're in no rush to get there. If standing feels like too much for right now, you're welcome to stay on your side. And as you're ready, slowly coming up and finding a standing pose, coming back to where we started our practice. Feel your way into a comfortable position for your feet, and it may be different than it was at the start of the practice. Feel your weight towards the front of the foot, towards the heels, and find that place where the earth supports you as you drop your weight down.

Your heart can lift over your center. Your head can float above your heart. Ah Shoulders relaxed. Open your eyes gently and bring your palms together in front of your heart. Thank you.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
A deeply restful practice bookended with very cool standing meditations. The opening one dropped me into a relaxed and grounded state, while the closing meditation felt refreshing. Loved this!
David G-
1 person likes this.
Totally agree with Jenny S. This was very grounding and restorative on an active rest day.  
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn
Such a lovely practice, thank you.  Very calming energy.  Perfect for the end of the day:)

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