On the Verge 10-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 2

Day 1: Ground

30 min - Practice


This is homebase. We begin our challenge with a grounding practice to help you find center, develop a sense of sure-footedness, and establish conditions for takeoff and readiness for the wild terrain ahead. We move through modified Sun Salutes to find space in the body and connect to the breath, ground into the hips and legs in squats, Goddess Pose, and Skandasana, connect to the core in seated poses, and rest in a restorative posture to open the front body. You will discover a sense of presence and rootedness.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video


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My friends, hello, hello, welcome to On the Verge, the 10-day yoga challenge. I'm Sadia and I am incredibly stoked to be here with you. I hope you're excited too. This is day one, ground. So day one is very radical, I should say.

It's a foundational practice. The intention is to get us rooted, feet planted on the earth, mind settled, body settled, preparing us for this wild ride that we're about to go on together. It's also intended to remind you that you have everything you need. So as we travel through these 10 days of practice, we begin here with clarity, with ease, with steadiness. Let's begin.

So we're going to begin in Tadasana. So feet about hips width apart, soften your knees, bounce through them. I like to bounce through the knees, helps me find really that connection to the earth. Let the arms and the shoulders go, roll the shoulders back and down a few times, let your spine move with you. And then as you're ready, you can do that for the next 30 minutes if you like.

But at some point, please come to this thing that we call stillness. Cross your hands on your body, close your eyes, soften everything from your feet to your head. Stillness is something that you ease into. It's not about rigidity or bracing. It's about softening the body, allowing the breath to expand and softening the mind so that you're receptive to the movement of life within your body, dynamic movement of life in your body.

Can you feel that? And then a nice long breath out. Couple more full and complete breaths like that on your own as you inhale, drawing the breath way down into the lower lungs so you feel your belly expand, feel your ribs expand, your chest expand, feel that beautiful pause of the top of the inhale and then exhale release. And then again like that nice full breath in, receiving the breath in its entirety rather than gasping for air, just receiving. And as you exhale, soften, soften, soften, soften everything, settling, feeling the feet really resting into the earth.

When you lift your toes up and spread them and then relax them back down. Settled, clear, easy, grounded, right, true. Release your arms by your sides. You can open your eyes if you like. Start to inhale, sweep your arms around and up.

And then exhale, just release your arms. Release your arms, relax your shoulders again like that. Breathe in, sweep your arms around and up. Try to do it like a human rather than a machine. And then exhale, release your arms by your sides.

You can soften the elbows as you do that. One more time, start to breathe in. Let this movement be in service to breath. So feel the breath rise, let the arms rise as you do that. This time as you exhale, draw your hands down the center line of your body and just pausing here and center, then release the arms again.

Now sweep your arms around and up, this time hook your thumbs, reach your fingertips up to the ceiling. Try to draw your ribs in, knit the front ribs in so you're broadening across your back body. Root the heels down, reach the fingertips up. As you inhale, reach up, up, up. And as you exhale, a little side bend over to your right.

As you inhale, you'll come back to center and then exhale, side bending to your left. Down to center, side bend to your right and pause there. We'll take a few breaths here. Feel no pressure, friend, to find some photogenic side bend. Find a side bend that serves you, side bend just a little bit.

We'll be here for another couple of breath cycles. So let the side body sort of awaken, let those muscles between the ribs release. And then as you next inhale, you'll come up through center, lengthening and then exhaling, side bending to your left, keeping ribs facing forward, hip points facing forward. Breath expansive, expressing the shape in a way that is less about the look and more about the feel. Let those intercostal muscles on the right side, your right side, release.

And as you next inhale, you'll come to center. Take another breath in, just let it arise when it does. And then as you exhale, you'll release your arms by your sides, great. Soften your knees. And then stand at the top of your mat, my friends, tadasana again in just a moment just to register whatever shift has occurred already.

And then as you're ready, you'll inhale, sweep your arms around and up. Start to exhale, soften your knees, hinge forward, reach your heart forward, feel your navel lift in and up. Inhale to prepare, pose hands to your shins or blocks of the floor. And then exhale, forward fold. Inhale, sweep the arms around and up as you reach the heart forward.

Doing this movement as though the purpose is for you to receive the breath and as the breath descends, the hands descend to heart center, to anjali mudra. And one more time like that, inhale, sweep your arms around and up. Begin to exhale, bowing to the breath, so moving at the speed of breath. Inhale, prepare, pose hands to your shins, lift your chest up. Great, exhale, forward fold.

Inhale, sweep the arms around and up, the heart reaches. We look up, we exhale, we descend the hands, the breath descends. Beautiful synchronization. Inhale, sweep your arms around and up. Start to exhale, bow to your breath, bowing to the breath, with the breath, for the breath.

Inhale, prepare, pose, lift your chest up. And then friends, plant your palms, step back to downward facing dog, so you lift your hips up and back, you spread the palms, and once you're there, you'll pedal through your feet, bending one knee and then the other. And then let's come to some quality of stillness, descending the inner heel, softening the knees as much as you need, spilling your pelvis forward. Start to inhale, lower your knees so the floor release your belly, spread your collarbones, reach your heart forward. Start to exhale, pass through cat and make your way to child's pose.

Inhale and drag yourself forward with the full length of that breath, and as you exhale, downward facing dog, we'll do that twice more at this little vinyasa. Begin to inhale, the knees will lower, you'll spread the collarbones, reach your heart forward. You'll exhale, pass through cat, make your way to child's pose. Inhale, coming forward so you can receive that breath and its fullness, so you use the power of your exhale to press back to down dog. Once more, inhale, knees to the floor, exhale, child's pose.

Inhale coming forward to cow, and then exhale, downward facing dog, pausing in dog pose, spreading the knuckles of the fingers, pressing index and thumb knuckles down as you wrap those outer upper arms towards the floor, inner thighs, send them back. Can you get the sits bones to turn up towards the sky or the ceiling? And then as you inhale, my friends, please lift your right leg up, hip height, and then take another breath in there, reach to the heel, as you exhale, draw that knee forward and step your foot forward, and as you inhale, come to high lunge. Lift your torso up, lift your arms up and pause. Turn your palms towards each other, peel your back toes all the way back, feel that articulation through your back foot, lengthen your tailbone towards the floor.

It may help bring some space to your lower back if you micro bend your back knee, and you'll take a few breaths here. Feeling that tremendous movement of breath in your body, front heel pressing down as you draw that front hip back, we'll take one more breath in there. As you exhale, bring your hands to the floor, to blocks, and as you inhale, reach your right arm up to the ceiling for low lunge twist, reach back through your back heel, forward through the crown of your head, breathe in, and then as you exhale, a little more revolution. I'm going to take one more breath in, and then exhale your hand to the floor, my friend. Inhale to plank pose and pause and plank.

As you exhale, lower yourself all the way down to the floor this time. Start to inhale, bhujangasana, untuck the toes, lift the center of your chest, exhale, lower yourself down, press up to tabletop, and then all the way back to down dog and pause. Little brief moment of integration so you can actually feel sort of the shift that occurs as you return your body to your breath and return your mind to your breathing body. And then inhale comes, and it will, you're going to lift your left leg straight up, hip height, reach through the heel, feel that you're balanced in those, in both palms. Take another breath in there, use an exhale to step that foot forward, and as you inhale, high lunge on this side, lift your arms up, turn the palms to face each other, bringing some space to your shoulders.

You can widen your arms if you like, peel the back toes back, little, maybe it's an energetic micro bend in your back knee, or maybe it's quite an obvious bend in the back knee to help bring space to your lower back, lengthen your tailbone. Take a couple of breaths here, seeing if you can find, you know, that beautiful intersection of effort and just exploratory ease, let's call it that. Take one more breath in, and then as you exhale, hands to the floor or blocks, reach your left arm up to the ceiling, get long through your spine from your back heel all the way through the crown of your head as you breathe in, let the breath bring length and space. As you exhale, maybe a little clarity in that rotation along the axis of your body, take one more breath in, as you exhale, bring your hand to the floor, step back to plank poles, take a breath in there, use your exhale, the full length of your exhale to lower yourself all the way down to the floor. Inhale to bhujangasana, exhale, lower down, press back to downward facing dog, lift your hips up and back, this time friends, walk your hands back towards your feet, separate your feet so they're mat distance apart, turn your toes out and lower your seat towards the floor, let your tailbone descend and be heavy, bring your palms together at the center of your chest, if you need to sit on top of a block or prop your heels with a blanket please do that, but lift the center of the chest up, let the arches of the feet lift up, lift up through the crown of your head, close your eyes or soften your gaze and you take a few breaths here in malasana, the squatting pose.

With every breath in you feeling that quality of expansion, as you exhale that sort of descending quality of the exhale, let the feet rest as the arches lift up, you take one more breath in here, as you exhale you'll float your hands to the floor, lift your seat up, heel toe your feet so that they are sitting bone distance apart, spill your pelvis forward, just touch utanasana for a moment, I say touch because I'll get stuck there and come all the way up to standing friends, good and then like a human you're going to stand at the center of your mat, you're going to separate your feet a little wider this time than hips width apart, you're going to bend your knees so toes are pointing forward, seat is on the level of your knees, you're going to bring your palms together at the center of your chest, press the fingertips into each other, lift the center of your chest towards your thumbs and you take a couple of breaths here just like this, if you'd like to gaze into my eyes, please do, otherwise close your eyes, drive the heels down, it's a little more active this squat is than malasana, stay as you are and then reach your arms up to the ceiling, notice if the seat sort of wants to descend towards the floor, press into the heels, lift the seat up just a little bit higher, take a couple of breaths here just like that, take one more breath in, great, as you exhale you'll release that and then separate your feet a little wider still, turn your toes out and then bend your knees, you have to separate as wide as it is comfortable for you so you can find a nice bend in the knees for a goddess stance but then friend lengthen your tailbone towards the floor so lift those frontal hip points up, press your hands so my fingertips are wrapping towards my outer thighs, I'm going to press my hands down into my thigh bones and lengthen the sides of my body and maybe a little shifting from left to right and then from here we're just going to take some twists in goddess pose and just twisting as you like, not overthinking this, sending one shoulder forward and then the other, perhaps finding some way to synchronize your breath with your movement, great, take one more twist and whatever direction you're twisting it and then come to center, lift your chest up, extend your arms out to the sides, get broad across your collar bones and we're going to do something fun so you'll get really broad, really lengthen your tailbone, pelvis is going to stay pretty neutral, it's going to stay stationary but neutral and stationary as you do this, so you're going to lift up long in the spine, you're going to turn to your right, pivot on your left foot and you're going to hinge at the elbows as you come into a little lunge on the side, I don't know what to call this, you come to center, inhale and then as you exhale you're going to pivot on the right foot, bend the knee, hinge at the elbows, going to do that one more time each side, inhale lengthen, broaden, exhale pivot lunge, inhale comes to center, good, exhale pivot lunge, inhale center, great, pause, sit a little lower, lift the chest a little more, breathe in and then as you exhale, straighten your legs, parallel your feet and then find that the feet are in fact parallel, so look down, have a look at that, feet rather about a leg's distance apart, hands will come to your hips, you'll inhale, draw your elbows back, lift your chest up and then ride the exhale down towards the floor, once you're halfway you'll float your hands to the floor and then walk them forward, walk them forward while maintaining, keeping weight in your feet and in your legs, so rather than leaning on the hands come up onto fingertips and sort of drag back, depending on what type of floor surface you have underneath you, you may be able to traction the skin of your fingertips on the floor, hands can come a little wee wider than shoulder width, now take a couple of breaths there, so legs are wide, upper body is essentially doing downward facing dog, so you find that broadness in that length coiling the upper spine into the chest as the outer hips firm in and the pelvis spills forward and then friends walk your hands over to your left, with your right hand you'll hold the outer left ankle or calf and you'll reach your left arm up to the ceiling finding a twist in the standing wide angle, you take one more breath in there, as you exhale float the hand down, walk the hands through center staying long in the spine over to the opposite side and finding your expression on that side reaching your right arm up to the ceiling, staying long in the spine as long as you can and it's from that length and space in the spine that we're able to find nice rotation, take another couple of breaths there just like that, one more breath in and as you exhale my friend comes to center, hands underneath your shoulders, take a breath in there long spine and then hinge at your elbows as you draw your elbows, your hands, heels of your hands back so they're in line with the heels of your feet, walk your hands forward, lift the chest up about half way and then my friend shift yourself over to the right, we're going to just do like a really fluid little skandhasana so maybe hands are supporting you and again not so much about what it looks like but how it feels so maybe as you're on one side you turn the toes of that extended leg up to the ceiling but just moving pretty fluidly and seeing if you can drop into the feeling rather than you know sort of being a prisoner to yoga performance and you shift from left to right like that and then you can continue doing that or you might feel called to bring your palms to prayer, stay very low to the ground and see if you can shift from left to right without the support of your hands and while staying pretty low, this requires a lot of work of the hips and of the thighs, keep your spine long, your chest lifted. Once you're on one side you'll pause there, extend your arms, take a breath in, get broad, long spine, make one more breath in, use your exhale to elegantly transition to the opposite side and broaden your arms. Take one more breath in there, great and then comes the center and then walk your hands towards the top of your mat, turn your toes in that direction, come to downward facing dog, pressing through your palms, press the hands down and forward with soft knees, spill the pelvis forward, you take a few breaths here as you draw your chest towards your thighs, every breath in that quality, that reality of expansion as you breathe in, as you breathe out, notice. You take one more breath in here, as you exhale lower your knees to the floor and come to a child's pose, pausing in child's pose, relaxing your arms and shoulders, relax your head and your neck and just for a moment, you know, quiet, simple communion with breath and then as you're ready, you'll slowly come to an upright position and then find dandasana staff pose. So you'll sit, root your sitting bones down if it's helpful to have a blanket underneath your pelvis, you go ahead and do that. Knees can be as soft as you need, back of the pelvis shifts forward, send the inner edges of your feet forward and we'll take a moment here in dandasana, just a beat to find balance and then step your feet to the floor, my friends, step your feet to the floor, hold the backs of your thighs, find that same quality that you just found in dandasana, lift your chest up, coil the upper spine forward and maintain that extension of your spine as you tip yourself forward and then lift your feet away from the floor. Try to draw your chest towards your thighs, you can keep holding the backs of the thighs or you reach the arms forward. If you like, you can extend your legs but keep lifting your chest up. We'll take a breath in here, let that breath in help you find more lift of the chest and then an exhale and as you next inhale you'll lower yourself down and hover and use the power of your exhale to lift yourself back up, inhaling to lower down, exhaling to lift back up, lift your chest up a little more, inhale lower and hover and pause there, pause, take one more breath in and then lower yourself all the way down to the floor, releasing completely and then my friend, step your feet to the floor. If you have your block handy, you can go ahead and grab your block and place it on its lowest height just underneath your sacrum so it should support your pelvis. We're going to do a restorative bridge here. So placing the block oh so carefully underneath your pelvis just to make sure that you're well supported. You can float your feet away from the floor and see if you feel well supported and if you do you have arrived, congratulations, extend your arms alongside your body. You may like to roll the shoulders just slightly underneath you so upper back is flush with the floor. Feet can stay on the floor just like this or you might like to find this extended leg variation so you'll extend your knees, let the pelvis be completely supported by the block. If you extend the knees and you find that you don't like it or you don't feel well supported, either adjust the block or just step the feet to the floor and we'll take a few breaths here. Noticing, you know if there's a tendency, not even a tendency but if your body is bracing and what can you do to invite the body to soften. Sometimes it's just literally inviting the body to soften, other times we need to make some adjustments in the body to find and create conditions that allow us just to rest. So a couple of breaths here, long, full breaths in and nice, gorgeous breaths out going all the way to the bottom of the breath giving a little bit more of the weight of your body to the floor to the block beneath it. And then as you're ready you'll step your feet to the floor, draw your knees towards you seeing that pelvis is well supported so you can extend your legs up to the ceiling and no need to find, you know, super straight legs. In fact, let the knees be soft and let the feet be positioned so you can enjoy the sensation of, you know, the heads of your thigh bones resting in the hip sockets. So you position yourself and let gravity, let gravity do the rest. And it may take a few moments for you to arrive, you know, in that place where it's just so, just so. As you're ready you'll slowly bend your knees and exit this really mindfully. Feet to the floor, press into both feet to lift your pelvis up to slide that block out from underneath you, lower your pelvis down to the floor, knees in towards your chest, place the block in between the knees and placing the block so that the long edge is sort of parallel with my thigh bones so I have maximum contact. And then extend your arms either into a T shape or a cactus shape, shift your hips a little over to your left, so knees are bent to 90 degrees, and then let the knees fall over to the right side and you'll take a couple of breaths there. Letting that top thigh bone be completely supported by the block underneath it. Take one more breath cycle and then with your next inhale you'll center your body so you can receive that breath in, you'll re-center your hips and then hips a little over to the right, let the knees fall over to the left and soften into the twist. Breath expansive and body positioned just so you can receive that breath and accommodate that movement of breath. On your next inhale you'll come to center, re-center your body, you'll remove the block, place the block off to the side, draw your knees into your chest, lift your head and upper back off of the floor for a little active alpanasana. Take a breath in there and as you exhale extending one leg and then the other coming to shavasana, final resting pose. Let the feet be as wide apart as you like, palms up and arms away from the body. Establish conditions so you can drop into this moment of deep integration. You can, friends, continue resting in shavasana for as long as you like, otherwise begin to make small movements with the hands and the feet and extend your arms alongside your ears, reaching long through one side and then the other. And then draw your knees into your chest and roll onto one side, just taking a beat there and a breath there in that fetal position. And then with incredible care, keeping your eyes closed, if you can and if you like, coming up to a seated position, any seat that works for you, any seat that works for you. And then once you are seated you'll rest your hands on your knees or your thighs and close your eyes. Bring your palms together at the center of your chest. Bow your head to your hands thanking yourself for practicing and honoring your body, your breath and the gorgeous intimacy that exists between them. The light in me sees and honors the light that's also in you. Namaste.


Kelly B
4 people like this.
Fell in love with your teaching during the lockdown live sessions last year and super excited to do this challenge with you to close out ‘21 and start ‘22 fresh!
Rachel S
4 people like this.
Oh, that was lovely, Sadia! Thank you! I am looking forward to the rest of this challenge with you! Happy New Year!
Joy D
3 people like this.
Nice way to start the New Year! I look forward to the rest of the challenge!
Sadia Bruce
Dear Kelly, am so touched to know we were together during lockdown! And THRILLED to know you're back for more of my (loving) antics! Am wishing you a new year that is nothing short of miraculous! 
Sadia Bruce
Thanks for joining me, Rachel S! Am wishing you a thrilling new year and am delighted to be a part of it! 
Sadia Bruce
Happy New Year, Joy D! Thanks so much for joining me! Am excited for you to experience the other practices in the series— drop a note to let me know how they land!
Jenny S
4 people like this.
After a period which found my body and soul craving restorative and yin practice (too much holiday hustle and bustle, too much overwhelm in the news) I finally awoke today sensing it was time for me to join in this much-anticipated challenge. Sadia, your bright personality and enthusiasm carried me along with you on this creative wave…totally worth the wait! So looking forward to the rest of this season ❤️🙏🏻
Beth C
3 people like this.
Excellent class.  I ate so much sugar at the last month and gained 4 pounds that I can feel how out of shape I am.  I will probably do this one several times before moving on.  Sadia has such elegance in her moves! 
David G-
2 people like this.
Sadia, this was so much fun, but I the first season didn't move with this kind of tempo, so I was pleasantly shocked. The early flow felt amazing and then boom: squats and goddess poses... Great leg workout! I should add I rode a nice tempo on an indoor cycling route, so legs had already fired. I stopped a few times to get the moves more exact. On-demand rocks! Definitely wanted a longer Savasana. 
Sadia Bruce
David Goldstein Hee— yes, this series is quite a bit different from Guided by Breath!  But as you can see, it's still undergirded by the same desire to touch a little freedom, and delivered with the same far-out flavor. (How do I get Ben & Jerry's to create a limited edition pint of On the Verge?)

How did the 30-minute format feel? About savasana— I hear you; try muting me and resting for as long as you like... 
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