Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 7

Kind Scorpion Flow

30 min - Practice


May we create ahimsa in our bodies, in our actions, and in the world. Melina leads a floor focused practice to discover safe back bending variations, channeling the fluid movements of a kind scorpion. We move through dynamic sequences to strengthen the back, hips, and core, challenge the balance and shoulder stability in forearm Down Dog, and open the chest and front body in Dhanurasana, shedding tension, gripping, and bitterness. You will feel soft, energized, and joyful.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video


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Hello, everyone. Welcome back for another adventure in reaching new heights. For our practice today, I think you'll enjoy having a blanket, two blocks, and a bolster. And we're going to start sitting today. So you want to open up a blanket for patting for your knees.

Let's take one block or two, if you know that's better for your knees in Virasana, I'm turning my block into the medium position, put my knees towards the front of the blanket and place that block between the ankles or feet. Let's drape the bolster on top of your thighs, and then see if that's a good position for you to land. We'll have the bolster over your thighs as a place to ground your legs, but also let your arms and your hands rest. Perhaps you can feel a little more ease in your shoulder area as we support the hands and the forearms. And then when you feel your legs are in a good spot, see if you might take a moment and let your pelvis rock a little bit back and forth.

We'll be bringing lots of attention to your pelvis and your spine today in our practice. So can we let the spine in some way loosen up here by just letting it tip back and forth as you rock from your pelvis? Now imagine you just simply start to slow down that tilting in your pelvis, the movement in your spine. And we're still going to keep a little trace of that movement as we move towards stillness. And then let your eyes perhaps look out to your horizon, or if you feel comfortable in your space, maybe you let your eyes close and feel just the subtlest movement in your spine, the subtle swaying that we were just doing when the pelvis was rocking while we keep the pelvis more still.

And then from this stillness in the pelvis, invite a little bit more awareness into the curves of your spine and see if we can elongate through the center of the spine in a way that encourages our breath, our life energy to move in and down on inhale and up and out on exhale. Let's see if we can keep track as we move into backbends today, how our lower back feels in your attempt to elongate through the curves of your spine. And we notice that the eyes stay relaxed in the face. And I'll remind you about that throughout the class. Are your eyes feeling relaxed in your face as we move into backbends?

Let's take maybe three more breaths, just encouraging those long, full breaths. With each exhale, getting a little bit more presence, a little bit more calm, at ease, kind. Let's go ahead now and begin our practice, the moving part as we open the eyes slowly. Let's make sure we have the bolster now in front of your blanket. And let's transfer that block that was underneath you and set that to the side.

If it's possible to sit back now on your heels, the knees have warmed up or maybe you still need the block between your feet. I'm going to invite you to pull that bolster a little towards your knees, make fists with your hands and place your fist right on top of your upper thighs. Lift your chest towards the ceiling and let your fist settle into the soft part of your belly as we rest the forehead on the bolster. So we want to try to soften this outer layer of the back, the arms, the shoulders. And as we soften through our back, the torso sink into those fists.

And I know it's not, it was maybe the favorite pose, but see if you can feel a little bit more energy, space, softness around the muscles of your back as we squeeze the muscles in the front. Let's take one or two more breaths as you are here. And then as we lift the head up and lift our torso up, let's perhaps slide that bolster a little closer to your knees. So you've got a little more real estate here at the front of your bolster where you can place your hands. So you might need to move if you're not quite in the right spot, but from here we're going to tip our torso forward so your thighs end up meeting the bolster and your chest can start to reach forward.

Here's our first little backbend. See what that support of the bolster that keeps your lower back, lower ribs soft, eyes relaxed in the face. And then we're going to send the hips back, walk your hands a little towards your bolster so you can come into a supported child's pose with your forehead on the bolster. And then walk your hands forward, let's again, let your thighs meet the bolster and tip into more of a supported upward dog. And hips swing back as we bring the hips towards the heels, forehead to the bolster.

So more calming and the backbends tend to be a little more energizing. So see if you can feel as you swing your chest forward, a little bit more wakeful energy in that backbend. One more time going to your extended child's pose, forehead on the bolster. And now let's bring your hands forward and stay in that forward position, thighs meet your bolster. And now let's tip your torso forward so it's like you're doing a little chaturanga.

And bring your chest now to touch the floor, elbows hugging at your waist and we're going to push up now to straight arms, bend your elbows, tilt yourself forward, let your chest meet the ground. And then push back up to straight arms, slowly lengthening through the curves of your spine. Tip forward, again, keep track of your eyes that the eyes are soft and relaxed in the face as we come up, so we're not meeting any bitterness in the pose, but we're just bringing in some kind movement for the spine. One more time, pressing up. And then go ahead and move your hips back now.

So let's have the bolster on top of the hips. Bring your blocks to the top of your mat. And when they're in place, we're going to put your knees onto the bolster, so your knees get a bit of cushion. Let's swing your right foot forward now in front of your bolster. Go ahead and grab those tall blocks with your hands.

As you inch your right foot forward, come into that low lunge with your chest reaching through your arms and we meet the back bend again. So now as you're doing a little bit of that lunge, look straight ahead and soften through the eyes, can we feel that that back body is still pretty wide towards the ceiling? So we're kind of opening our back body towards the ceiling, even when we're lunging forward. And now let's go ahead and take a little twist with your right hand transferring to your sacrum and open that right chest as you turn your gaze to the right towards the long end of your mat. Just one moment there and then bring your right hand back to the block.

Lean back all the way so you're standing on the left knee, swing your right knee to the bolster, take your left foot forward. Just meet the lunge on your second side and inch your left foot forward until you feel that low lunge. Eyes look straight ahead and see if you can feel here as you find some expansion in the back kidneys, the back ribs, so you feel your back is wide as you also lift the front chest and look forward. So maybe some of those front corset muscles stay engaged. Eyes soft in the face.

Take a little twist with your left hand transferring to your sacrum, turn the left chest towards the long end of your mat, take a breath in and out here. And let's go ahead and turn back to face the floor. Set your blocks to the side, curl your back toes under and now slide the left leg back over the bolster and come into your plank pose for a moment. Pulling the front legs, front belly and spread the shoulder blades. Lift your back ribs towards the ceiling.

Now put the knees down behind that bolster, as you walk your hands towards your bolster we're going to slide your knees now to the front of your blanket and put the bolster on top of the calves. When your bolster is on top of your calves, see if you can reach your fingertips back and actually press your fingertips down into your soft bolster. Work straight ahead and swing just your right arm up by your ear and lift that right side of your chest up with the fingertips moving towards the ceiling. Take your right fingertips down and squish your fingertips into the bolster as your right arm stretches up towards the ceiling. Focus on elongation.

Left hand back to the bolster and now maybe we take your right arm further up, maybe take your gaze further up towards the ceiling. Notice that we're lifting through the spine not just dropping back with the head. Look forward, right fingertips push into the bolster and maybe we incline a little bit more toward back bending. And then take your left arm down. Let's go ahead and move your bolster now out of your way.

So as we take the bolster out of the way, blocks to the side, please come down to your elbows. Put your elbows on the floor under your shoulder line and bring your knees almost touching. Relax the feet and start to swing your left leg up into the air while you keep your left leg bent. Imagine it's a little scorpion and you're lifting the tail towards the back of your head. Now let's bring your left knee towards your nose and round your back and lifting your left leg again.

Go towards your wrist or fingertips, noticing the neck is elongating in the back bend. Knee to nose, left leg one more time comes up, knee to nose and then keep your left leg up and let's do a little pump up and down with your left heel. So as your left heel moves up and down towards the ceiling, notice that your left knee always stays about the height of your pelvis or that left glute. So it just moves up and down a couple of inches. Let's wake up, the muscles on the back of that left leg.

Let's lower your left knee now to the floor and let's swing the right leg up into the air. Keep that leg about 90 degrees. Imagine this is now your new scorpion like tail. Bring your left knee towards your nose and swing that right leg up and we know scorpions don't have bone. So imagine the center of your body is moving in a way like there's no bones, just kind of soft outer flexible shell as we're moving our right leg back and forth like a scorpion lifting its tail.

Let's keep your right leg up and do now that little pumping action where your right heel just goes a few inches up and down to warm up that right leg in case we need to lift our right foot further overhead to sting our prey but we're going to be kind today so we're just doing little kicks up and down. We're going to bend our back rather than bite our prey so to speak. So let's bring your right knee down. Now please stretch both legs back to come into forearm plank. So in between some of the back bend let's engage our core muscles as we firm the thighs up to the hamstrings, navel up into your back and maybe take one more moment holding your forearm plank.

Let's lower the knees now pelvis to the blanket and as you bring your chest down grab one block and turn it to the flat position so that we could rest our forehead on this flat block. When that's in place take your hands back by your thighs palms on the floor and please bend your knees so your toes point towards the ceiling. Now from here keep your legs bent and we're going to start to send your hands a little more back towards your knees float your palms off the floor send your hands towards your knees and see if you can lift your face and chest a little bit off the floor and then lower your hands down and your forehead down. Again let's try to lift your forehead up and send your hands back towards your knees and then we lower down. One more time with a little warm up action reach your hands towards your knees palms are up forehead off the block lower down so if we tip our feet a little bit more towards our hands some of you will grab your feet and see if we can slide your hands to the front of your ankles and come up into that Dhanurasana.

As you lift your head up chest up you're pressing your ankles into your hands to keep a little more of that back bend or we're holding without grabbing the ankles we're reaching back towards the ankles in this way. Which one allows you to have softer eyes less tension in your back so the pose feels kind and you're not feeling any bitterness in the pose. Let's go ahead and release release your legs and let your hands come around to feel for that block as you lift your forehead up and come into a little bit of that sphinx like pose for a moment where we set the elbows down and stay in that back bend move your elbows further away from your chest if it doesn't feel good in your back and see if we can pause here for a moment elongate through the curves of your spine and pay attention to how much we can soften the belly here so there's no bitterness no bite in your lower back explore here for a few more moments. Let's go ahead and start to draw the elbows out to the sides of your mat so your chest comes in contact with the floor slide your block just forward up an inch stack your hands and with your forehead on your stacked hands just for a moment let your pelvis rock side to side and jiggle out any tension along the spine lower back big full breath in full breath out when that area feels comfortable lift your head up again now grab your block in that flat wide position and we're going to frame the block with your index finger and your thumb so your palms are flat on the floor curl your toes under let's come back into that forearm plank where you float your knees up off the floor and engage your legs your abdomen spread the shoulder blades as we look down so after that back bending can we engage a little more the core muscles and be here in a way where our back body feels wide open towards the sky those full breath so we're noticing again that we're not tasting any bitterness in this posture and then from here let's go ahead and walk your feet now towards your blanket and drop your head down as you lift your hips come up to the ball of your foot so you're looking back and just getting that first hit of what it feels like to look back in our partial inversion at the back end of your yoga mat let's put your knees down for a moment and if you like swing your hands back by your ankles and come into the full child's pose for a moment or a version that works for you with your forehead towards the floor or on the floor shoulders soft rounding towards your ears and then over the next moment let's swing your hands again forward frame the block with your thumb and your index finger and now when we put the elbows down let's send your legs back knees lift so we come into your downward dog or forearm downward dog and let's take a step towards the blanket with your feet let's bring your feet side by side now from here as we look maybe a little bit towards the ground in front by your thumbs without crunching up your neck swing your left leg up towards the ceiling and as we now lift your left leg towards the ceiling see if you have a little more room to look towards your fingers your thumbs without sinking the chest towards the floor lower left leg look back again towards your feet now swing just your right leg up in the air and take your time as you lift your pelvis lift the right leg that you might look a little more towards your thumbs feet down knees down come back into that resting pose might be child's pose for you with shoulders rounding forward or a version that does help you rest your shoulders we'll do one more if you have it in you today let's go ahead and frame that block with your thumb and index finger now perhaps bring your feet a little closer to your blankets so when we have the feet side by side heels are up look a little bit towards your thumbs without crunching up your neck swing that left leg up towards the ceiling imagine that left leg is your tail that's going to swing up towards the ceiling and overhead eventually lower your gaze look at your feet as you drop your left foot and now right leg swings up look a little forward towards your thumbs keep spreading your shoulders and imagine that left right foot reaching towards the sky or overhead knees to the floor and then last time swing your hands back by your feet if you like full child's pose or a version that does rest your shoulders and as we lift ahead we'll reach our hands forward and send your left knee as you walk your hands forward send your left knee straight ahead I'm going to slide the blanket under my left knee as I slide my knee forward curl the back right toes under so it's kind of like you're in a lunge on your left knee and this is for some of us where we'll keep our left knee pointing forward others slide your left foot over to the right for more of a pigeon like position and then put maybe your right knee down on the floor right so from here if it's too much to be on your hands you can put your elbow down on the block as you're coming a little bit closer to the floor and let's see if we might bend your back right leg so now again that idea of the tail lifting towards the back of the head as the head slightly floats towards your right foot so maybe we're looking straight ahead we can stay here or reach back and grab your right foot for some of you with your right hand and squeeze that right heel towards your pelvis see if you can move your pelvis an inch further back towards your right foot so your back body gets wide open towards the ceiling okay so front body engages let's release your right foot curl those toes under we'll go back the way we started hands on the floor and send your hips up and back as you transfer left leg back bring your left knee forward so left knee points at the I'm sorry right knee forward so right knee faces the right wrist left knee is up maybe you swing your right foot to the left and let's consider bringing that left knee down to the floor many of you might appreciate your forearms elbows on that flat block as you lean forward with your palms together now from here consider bending your left leg and point your toes maybe a little towards the ceiling and can we imagine here now that as we look maybe a little more forward in front of you in that backbend that our back body gets wider and more spacious more open towards the ceiling notice how you're recruiting those muscles in the front of your body the left hand for some of you might reach back grab your foot and you might squeeze your heel towards that left buttock at the same time that will move the pelvis towards your left heel maybe just an inch you're just feeling again a little bit engagement of the pelvic floor lower abdomen and then let's go ahead and release put your left toes down reverse the same way lift your back left knee and transfer into your downward dog after opening the back of the knees let's go ahead and bring the feet down knees down to the floor swing your hips over to any side and let's come around to sit you can move your props out of your way and as we come down to sit let's face the short end of your mat and perhaps have that padding underneath you as we'll hold on to the back of the knees and slowly slowly bring yourself down to the floor slowly slowly come down as soon as you meet the floor let's go ahead and bring your left knee and towards your chest and stretch your right leg down to the floor let's put your right hand on your right knee left foot on your right thigh and as you open your left arm let's do a little twist after our back bending little twist to the right perhaps turn your gaze towards the left come back around to center and switch and grab your right knee and stretch your left leg to the floor set your right foot on your left thigh right arm out to the side and gently twist your right leg over to the left at some point if it feels good look out to the right come back to center tip both knees into your chest with your hands on your knees make a few little circles and let's try to release out any tension or bitterness from doing backbends out of that lower back out of the body so maybe we just feel a little bit more energized joyful from doing our back bends hopefully today you know if we settle to neutral i like to use a bolster under my knees after i do backbends and i slide the bolster right up to my hamstrings so then when i bring myself down to the floor my hamstrings are really supported by the bolster arms out to your side in a way that allows lots of contact with the ground under your shoulders arms and eventually sensing that lower back rib cage area dropping towards the earth which often means the front abdominal muscles are going to be a bit soft which often means that our eyes will be sinking more back into the face and may we feel in this way a really soft open back body resting on the coolness of the earth here as we encourage again a little bit more movement into our belly space and maybe those exhales the next two or three perhaps her even audible size to help really be aware of releasing tension or gripping excess heat that might come from back bends take a few more moments to cool down to slow down to rest in the energy of our practice Any other questions? Keeping your body as soft and relaxed as possible, take a few deeper, fuller breaths.

Slide your arms back by your ears when you're ready, engage your legs and stretch your heels off the floor and take a full big body stretch here on your back. And then bring our arms and legs back down as we turn to any sides and we're going to get ready to turn onto your side, curl into that little ball, take a moment to tap into the sweetness of that pose on your sides. And without being any particular hurry, but over the next few moments, let's come up to our same position and since most of you will have your bolster handy, perhaps we slide that towards us and then let's sit on our bolster. If you're someone who can cross, come into cross-legged seat, please come into a cross-legged seat. Again, let's establish a little ahimsa in our posture and perhaps that will be carried over into our day today, now thinking of this concept of non-harm, may we bring it into our body, our mind, our thoughts and perhaps into our actions today and then maybe resting in your eyes one last time as we gather the hands in front of the heart center and may others continue to benefit from our dedication to practice, namaste and thanks so much for being here for the adventure today, look forward to being with you next time, namaste.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
Wow! This had me feeling sensations in new places in my legs and back 👍 My big old round bolster got some love today as well, plucked from its lonely spot in a corner of my room as I realized it would be a nice fit for this practice vs my square bolster. I’m just loving everything about this season 🦂❤️ Thank You!
Christel B
2 people like this.
What a good workout for the glutes. Thank you for this lovely practice and ahimsa focus.
Sandra Židan
Beautiful practice! Thanks, Melina!
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
Lovely to see your messages here and that you're enjoying Season 5. We've got a few more to go... I hope your body, mind, and spirit all  continue to find joy within your practice.
Ellen B
2 people like this.
Lovely practice, Melina.  Deep gratitude.  
Diane C
I loved the opening pose with pelvic rocks while sitting on the block. It really felt relaxing on my spine. 
Elizabeth C
Thank you so much, Melina.  Each adventure in season 5 is such a revelation, both physical and mental.  I really like the idea of a "kind scorpion."  It is a sweetly accurate depiction of the sequence.
Kelly Sunrose
Melina, thank you! I am grateful each time we get to practice *together* here! This practice felt amazing, especially across the front hip creases. Your cueing around broadening the back-body was exquisite! Kindly, Kelly
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
Kelly! What an honor to see you here and thank you for making my day with your thoughtful reply! I'm glad the cueing was interesting to you and hope to keep evolving that side of my practice for the seasons ahead. Wishing you much health and sweetness.
David G-
Melina: such a relaxing and challenging class (the dolphin with the block). Ahimsa. Thank you for reinforcing that word. So important in my life. The scorpion extended metaphors were obviously enjoyable for me. No bitterness in the poses. Great line. Best, David 

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