5-Day Yoga Challenge for Moms Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 4: Delving into Diagonals

20 min - Practice


Precision is power. In Day 4 we explore diagonals in order to focus the mind when the world pulls us in multiple directions. Moving dynamically through familiar poses, we play with coordination and pairs of opposites while strengthening and stabilizing the core, legs, shoulders, and back. You will feel steady and spacious.
What You'll Need: No props needed


Read Full Transcript

Welcome, I'm Baxx and this is a practice for coordinating your mind and your body and coming back to center. So we're going to start on our back. So as always, I like to look at my feet, make them parallel because precision is power and we're in a skillful practice. So slowly just let your whole spine drip down to the mat and the earth. And once you get there, if you're like me, I like to scooch my hips toward my heels.

We'll begin with that fundamental of the pelvis just rising with the pubic bone high and then letting it level out and letting the pubic bone lengthen toward the floor. So that's that moment where there's a little space under the back, a little rainbow, okay? We're going to repeat that a few more times. How you link your breath, you might want to exhale as the pubic bone rises, inhale as you lengthen and feel the navel higher than the pubic bone. And I love beginning this way because it just allows the slowness to bathe through the body.

So the pubic bone is level and then I'm flattening my back, that becomes my exhale. I'm relaxing my toes and then I'll inhale and lengthen the spine away. Now I'm coming back to neutral, I hope you're coming back to neutral. We're going to start with what some call knee folds or thigh folds. So you may want to watch if it's a little bit hard to understand, but all you do is fold your left thigh in, inhale to prepare, and then you're going to switch and lower your left foot and lift your right thigh.

So we'll do that just two more times so that the brain can get this movement of lowering one while the other is lifting. I know it seems elementary, lower both feet, we're going to add on. The hands are going to go over the head like paddles straight up. So when I inhale, my right arm is going to go over and then when I exhale, I'll bring it back. Inhale left arm over, exhale back.

Now I just want to say you can breathe any way you like as long as breathing is the beginning of the conversation with this coordination. So you guessed it, we're going to add on. So that left thigh is going to lift and the right arm is going to reach over. And then when it comes forward and down the left foot, the right arm comes forward. And then the left arm is going to reach and the right thigh is going to fold.

So if that's the level you're at in the diagonal, you just dance there. If you're ready to make it continuous, you'll lift the left leg and the right arm reaches and then we'll have this moment in time where everything is moving. Now this is not something to get obsessive about if your timing is a little wonky like mine seems to be right now. We just play with what we can. And so what I'm saying to you is you're feeling for that coordination and that steadiness in the core.

And I know we're over three. We're on four right now. And then pause. Just give yourself a moment. That was a lot.

Bring your thighs together. You can practice that one on your own time. Let's just tick tock our thighs side to side. So we bring it side to side. It's a gentle twist and it wakes up the body in that range.

Now you're going to fold those thighs into your chest, both of them, nothing complicated for now. All you have to do is rock yourself up, pause. If you need more support, your feet stay on the mat and your hands go behind your thighs. If you want less, you want to kind of play with arda, which means half navasana, or you want to hold those calves straight in the legs. Here's the trick though.

If you rock a little more forward, a little more forward, you start to get right on those sit bones. I can feel a little shake. Great. Fold the left shin bones in and cross the right calf in front and then bring your hands forward. The left leg goes back, the right leg goes back.

We're in a quadruped position. Now you'll have a moment of deja vu because we're going to do opposite arm to leg again. This time it'll seem easy, at least I think so. You'll slide your left leg back and your right arm forward and you will tap as you exhale elbow to knee and then inhale, reach two more, exhale, tap, inhale, reach. One more time, exhale and inhale.

You can linger here for a moment, lower right hand, left knee. Let's sneak in a cat cow. Exhale around your back. Really delve into that breath, shrink shoulders away from ears. Inhale articulate the spine the other way.

So we're washing that breath through the body. Now come through the center, lift the right leg and the left arm, tether that navel, exhale, scoop as you tap, inhale as you lengthen, two more, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, hold steady for a moment, left hand down, right shin bones down. Find your back with a deep exhale, slowly feeling that wonderful cat-like shape. And then sweetly rippling in the other direction, tone through the core. And then come through what is neutral.

So in neutral we steady our pelvis, so there's no dip in the belly or round in the back, right in the middle. I'm going to flex my feet here because I know what's coming. What is coming is adding on. So if it feels okay on your knees, you're going to float your knees up. Your knees float up, you're going to hold here for a moment.

And then if you think, if you feel, if you notice, I have more strength, you'll slide your right leg back and then you'll bring it forward. Slide your left leg back and then you'll bring it forward. Let's do two more. Inhale, right leg back. I'm still hovering on my left knee.

Come forward. That's why I could lower it down. Step back and then forward, a little surge of heat back. This is the ignition and then forward and then one more back. You got this friends, forward, lower the knees, round your back as you exhale, inhale, articulate your spine the other way.

And this just allows you to come back to that center and reground yourself, okay? So now let's take our body into downward facing dog. Here you are in down dog, pedal your feet. We've got something sweet coming. So we just allow ourself to really feel like we're pouring the breath through the body.

Inhale to the plank. Come onto your right forearm. I'm coming onto my right forearm, roll onto your right side. Now if you need to put your right knee down, go ahead. We're going to lift up the left arm.

This is another combination for your brain and your body. You'll start by diving your left arm through the space, exhale, inhale, reach the left arm up. Bonus is to lift the left leg, lower it and then lift it and fold the thigh in and extend the leg and lower. If you think you have two more in you, I believe in you. Exhale, round and dive, inhale, come up, lift and lower, lift and fold, extend.

We're not in a rush. You can skip a step or you can move through faster, exhale. I like to go slow. Come on up, lift left, lower, lift hips, lift left, fold, reach. Come on to that left forearm.

So now we just give ourself what I call the saw plank. You'll come forward and back. Forward as you inhale, back, forward and back. Lower your knees, your thighs, your pubic bone. Turn your forearms to parallel and guess what time it is?

It's time for a sphinx. So just slowly elevate your elbows, relax your shoulders, maybe shimmy out a little more space in the heart. We always remember this is a uniform backbend so there's no dumping in your lumbar and this preps us for our next glorious shape. So come down, you'll take your left hand, you'll put your forearm closest to your chest, you'll take your right hand and when I look down, my forearms are parallel to the top of the mat. This is about as complex as it's going to get.

You slide your left arm through to the right, your right arm through to the left. Now this might be your pause moment. I like to roll my thigh bones in here so I feel collected in the center of my body and then slowly you'll slide your left arm right, your right arm left, you'll get to this point where your shoulders go, hey, what's going on here? Oh, I'm just liberating your shoulders. Slide and then draw your chin to your chest, close your eyes.

Here's where I take a moment and I scan my body. Why do I scan my body here? I'll tell you why because sometimes there's a little clenching in the jaw, a little grip in the sit bones and what we really want to say to our body is, I am safe and I am crossing the midline. Oh, see, I had a moment where my arms could reach further apart, flossing those neurological pathways that say, no, thank you and shifting my framework for yes, please. Just breathe a little deeper.

Are you gripping in your low back? I don't know. It's a great practice. Now the best part might be coming out. So slowly slide your right elbow right and your left elbow left.

I just want you to note that your left arm is closest to you. Now here's the most exciting part. Take your right hand over to the right. So my right hand is all the way over to the right. I'm going to come onto my left hip and flip over onto my back.

I'll give myself a moment. Great job. Now that moment has passed. Slide your legs in, peel and lift for a bridge. The bridge really neutralizes the pelvis, funnel those ribs down, funnel them down, lift the hips.

It also allows you to recruit muscular energy in the back of your legs and it rinses your shoulders. So I puff my chest a bit here and then slowly we'll come down, hug your knees in, rock up. You can sit still here. You can sit still here. You can be an Ardha Navasana or you can lift right here, rock a little bit forward.

You know what that rock is for. This time we fold the right calf in, the left shin bones in front, pull it in as graceful as you can, come forward. We come on to our knees just for a moment of hover. Why not hover the knees, slide the right leg back and the left leg back, downward facing dog, pedal your feet, right? That time you got out of it easy.

We just had to do one hover because we're using it as a transition and then inhale to the plank. Come on to the left forearm and the left side, right? You can sense that enthusiasm. It's palpable. You reach up, you're grateful there's only two sides on your body.

We're going to dive through, exhale, inhale, reach up, lift the right leg, lower, lift, fold. Remember, you can skip any of these and then back and down. I'm going to rotate with an exhale. I feel like a little rinse there. Come on up, lift right leg, lift hips, lower, lift, fold, extend, down, dive on through, up, lift, lower, lift, fold, extend, lower, come on to your right forearm.

Hold yourself steady here. We go forward an inch, back, forward, back, streamline that energy, magnetize your inner thighs, lower the knees, thighs, pubic bone, tether that navel up, forearms parallel, a little spicy sphinx or a low sphinx. Nod your head yes and no, and that yes and no is what? It's there to just remind you, no tension, only engagement. Slowly come down.

You guessed it. We do the crisscross on this side. So now I fold my right arm close to me and my left forearm in front. And why do I do this? Because we already did the left side, okay?

So the left arm reaches right and the right arm reaches left. And when I look down, my right arm is closest, which last time it wasn't. Okay, again, I want to just remind you, let's relax our hips. Let's soften the tops of our feet and let's go into the space of the arms. And if it's a little shaky, if it's a little uncomfortable, this is where if you had a block handy, you could rest your forehead.

I just like to tuck my chin on that outer left shoulder, bicep, whatever you got. And we did take some time here on the other side to just sort of check in with our level of holding patterns and softening. And I noticed when I do that, I actually have more room to spread my arms further apart. So I'm really hoping you have a little more room for that too. And then slowly, right, if the best part is getting out of here, remember, you want to be a graceful departure.

So I slide my left elbow right, my right elbow left. Now on the other side, maybe you didn't see my hand, but my right hand is going to come to the outside of the mat. And then I just thread and flip. Okay. Yeah, we get to flip on this side too.

Let's give ourselves that momentary pause where we let it all saturate in and then slide your heels in. Now we slide our heels in, peel, peel, peel, peel, and lift, lift, lift. Activate your inner thighs, puff your chest, roll your shoulder blades toward the spine. I actually feel like my upper outer arms, they sort of pour toward the mat and I lift a little. Face is serene, breath is deep, and then slowly, gently come down.

Hmm. Guess what? We can have a moment to collect ourselves in our core and we're going to do that. Take your hands behind your head. Yeah.

You're going to curl your head and shoulders up and then come down. Curl up, exhale, and come down. Four more. You can go a little faster if you like. Last two for me, and then I am going to fold my legs and then twist.

Not for a full crisscross, just for those pedals like when we begin. So I fold my left thigh in, my right foot stays close, I'm going to cross to the left, come through the center as the left goes down and come across to the right. Come through the center, right arm, left thigh. Come through the center, left arm, right. Come through, twist.

If you want to get a couple more in, I'm going to do that. Twist. I'm just going to do three more, center, twist, center, twist. Last two rounds. I don't know if we count half rounds, it's six.

Final round. I love these because it really supports integration and the diagonal. So slowly release that, release your hands, bring your feet together and your knees wide for a bada konasana recline style supta. You might notice I just lifted my chest. I'm going to put a hand on a heart, a hand on a belly.

Let those thigh bones feel heavy, breathe. If this is uncomfortable for you, you have two options. One would be feet wide as mat, knees touching, cascading the thigh bones towards each other. And then obviously the other option is just to let your legs go straight. You can stay in supta bada konasana or you can just unravel everything, lift, palms face the ceiling, douse your body and your breath.

Feel how you've sort of flossed from the inside out, crossing that midline, twisting all the ingredients to bring you right back to your center to sharpen your single pointed attention. You can stay there as long as you like. I'm coming up to seated to see all my practice. You can stay. I always bring my hands to my heart.

Great reverence for this practice for this vessel. Thank you for being here. Namaste.


Robin J
2 people like this.
Rebecca Urban
Robin J yay, glad you are flowing and strengthening!

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