On the Verge 10-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 5: Balance

30 min - Practice


In our balance practice, we are cultivating a sense of inner stability that can be accessed at any time. In Day 5, Sadia guides a class to find mental and physical balance and a solid foundation. We warm and open the feet and legs, move through a challenging standing sequence leading to Revolved Padangustasana and Eagle Pose, and explore Revolved Crow. We close in some core work before our final resting pose. You will feel focused and centered.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block

About This Video


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Friends, guess what? You've made it to the midpoint of our 10-day challenge together. How are you holding up out there? Well, I imagine. But today is day five. We're going to explore this thing called balance. Balance. What does balance require? Well, in my estimation, it requires a nice strong footing, so good foundation, and then just this quality of inner stability. So we're going to do some stuff with a body that helps us access that in the mind. Hopefully what we do here will translate for you out there in the world. For props, you are going to need one block and one blanket. And your blanket, my friend, always make a little roll for yourself. So you make a blanket roll. Roll it up nice and tightly like a sushi roll. Make sure it's nice and smooth. And then you'll set that off to the side. We'll use that in a little bit. You can pause the tape if you need to go grab your blanket and roll it up. And then you're going to meet me in this thing that a lot of teachers call toe breaker pose. So to enter, you'll come to a tabletop position. Let's grab a block. Have a block handy. You come to tabletop position. You'll tuck your toes. And then you're going to try to spread your toes. I'm touching my big toes. And then I'm drawing the inner edges of my feet together and pressing the balls of my feet down into the floor and trying to spread the toes as much as possible. I'm going to walk my hands back towards me. Keep drawing those inner edges of the feet towards each other. You'll lengthen your tailbone. And maybe this is it, and you'll be here. Or option two, kind of I hate to use the word intensify, but intensify your experience or add some interest to your experience, let's say that, by adding a block underneath your knees, letting the knees rather rest on the block, drawing those inner edges of the feet together, lengthening your tailbone and releasing. Roll your shoulders back and down. We'll pause here for a few breaths. Your work while you're here is to find balance in the face of all of this sensation. Release your arms by your sides. Inhale to sweep your arms around and up. Interlace your hands.

Flip your palms up. Reach the heels of your hands up towards the ceiling, stretching long through the side body, drawing your front ribs in, broadening your back body. Lengthen your tailbone more. Take one more breath in there. As you exhale, you'll release your hands. If you're using a block, you will move your block off to the side. And then let's untuck the toes. Let's do the reverse now. Draw the inner thighs together. Draw the inner edges of the feet together. This time the outer ankles will hug in. You'll try to keep hugging the outer ankles in as you descend your seat onto your heels. If this is challenging for you, too intense for the ankles or for the knees, you can pad the knees. You can place a blanket behind the knees as you do this. That feels good for the knees, actually. It creates a little space. And then from here, you can stay here. This is plenty. Option to walk your hands back, palms to the floor. Option to lift your knees away from the floor. If you're able to do that, God bless you. So you'll press your hands into the floor. Open the chest. Spread the chest. Keep hugging the outer ankles in. Keep hugging the inner edges of the feet in towards each other, lengthening through the inseams of the, no, inner edges of the feet. That's better. Big toes lengthening back. Draw the shoulder heads apart. Slide the shoulders down the back so it may help to soften the knees, which brings a little sensation and openness to the fronts of the shoulders. And then walk your hands forward. Walk your hands forward. Come to a tabletop position. Tuck the toes under again. Interesting sensation. Hover your knees away from the floor. In a little bear crawl, you can walk the hands back so that the wrists are under the shoulders. And then lift your hips up and back to down dog. It's a shorter down dog. That's all right. Pedal through your feet. Press one heel down and then the other. And just sort of working the feet this way, letting your attention be on the feet. As you press the balls of the feet down, lift the heels up and then press the heels down. And then come to a neutral position in down dog. Lower your knees to the floor. Feel that release of the forefoot. Lift your chest up and pause there. And then exhale. Lift your hips up and back. Let's do that three more times at your own speed. But, you know, mindfully. And doing it in a way that allows you to just witness, you know, sensation that arises in the body. Responses that arise in the mind.

Twice more. Lowering the knees. Lifting the hips up and back. And then lower the knees and hover and pause there. And then lower the knees all the way to the floor. And then walk your hands back. Before you do anything else, you're going to grab your blanket roll and place it there at the center near the middle of your mat. And then you're going to walk your hands back and come onto the soles of your feet. Press into your heels and come up to a stand. And magically you're standing behind your blanket roll. Bring your hands to your hips. Step your right foot up the roll. Follow the foot can touch the top of the roll. And then you will step your, lower your heel onto the floor. Make sure the heel is making contact with the floor. And then we're going to step the left foot up the roll. Follow the foot. Heel to the floor. And we'll pause here. You may feel some release for the backs of your calves. If not, you can step your arch onto the roll so you're deepening that, that angle of, it's called dorsiflexion for the anatomy nerds out there. Draw your elbows back towards you. Soften your knees. Heels down, resting into the floor. As you inhale, lift your chest. As you exhale, soften your knees and start to hinge forward. Start to hinge forward. You can keep the hands on the hips. You might feel called to bring your hands to the floor if you've got your blocks handy. That's also an option. But keeping the pelvis spilling forward and keeping the spine long. Inner, inner heels releasing and driving down into the floor. With every inhale, you lift your chest as you exhale. Little more forward fold. So release for the, the backs of the calves in particular, but also the hamstring. Soften the neck. Relax the head. Take one full breath in here and as you exhale, really descend the heels. Let the crown of the head release towards the floor. Then bring your hands to your hips. Draw the elbows together. So we'll reverse this. Look forward, lengthen the spine, reach the chest towards the top of the mat and come all the way up to standing. Great. You'll release your arms by your sides. You'll step off of the blanket roll. Maybe step a little bit from left to right. Whenever I do that calf stretch, I feel really springy in the soles of my feet. So maybe you feel that too. Enjoy that sensation. And then when you're ready, you'll move your blanket roll off to the side and you'll come to stand in tadasana at the top of your mat, finding that balance in, you know, this classic mountain pose, balance between left and right, between front and back, plumb line from the crown of the head all the way down the spine to the center of the earth. Pause, turn your palms forward. Start to inhale, sweep your arms around and up to receive that breath in. Exhale, soften your knees and hinge forward with a long spine. As you inhale, prepare pose, lift the center of your chest and then exhale, hands to the floor, bend your knees, step yourself back to plank pose and pause. Peel the toes back. So find that clarity in the feet that we worked on. So foundation, nice and sort of activated and alive. Take an inhale here in plank and as you exhale, downward facing dog, inner heels descending towards the floor. Start to inhale and come forward to plank pose. This time as you exhale, chaturanga dandasana. So you'll lower halfway down. You can modify by lowering your knees as you inhale plank pose and then exhale downward facing dog. Let's do that twice more because I feel like you probably enjoy that. Come forward to plank pose. Inhale, exhale, lower yourself halfway down. Pause, inhale to plank pose, exhale to downward facing dog. Once more like that, you're going to inhale, respond by unfurling your spine, respond to the power of your exhale by expressing through this beautiful pose, chaturanga dandasana. Inhale to plank pose and then exhale downward facing dog. Let's look up between the hands, soften your knees. You can walk or step or levitate yourself forward. Inhale to prepare pose. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, sweep the arms around and up. This time as you exhale, you'll hinge right back forward, softening your knees. Inhale to prepare pose, lift the center of the chest. Exhale, plant the palms, bend the knees, step back to plank pose. Take a breath in and plank. This time as you exhale, you're going to lift your hips up and back to down dog. Then right hand will tap the outer left ankle and we'll do that alternating sides. Come forward, inhale to plank. Exhale, twisting in the opposite direction. Left hand to right ankle. Inhale, coming forward to plank. Exhale, twisting in dog pose. Plank pose as you inhale. Exhale, left hand to outer right ankle. Once more each side, inhale to plank pose. Exhale, right hand, left ankle. Inhale, plank pose. So much fun. Exhale, left hand to outer right ankle. Inhale, plank pose and pause there. Take a breath in there. As you exhale, lower yourself either all the way or halfway down.

As you inhale either baby cobra or upward facing dog and then exhale to downward facing dog. Pause in dog pose, inner thighs being sent back behind you. Press the hands down and forward as you lengthen the sides of the body, sending breath into the sides of your body. Look up between the hands, soften your knees, either walk or step or float forward. Inhale, once you're there to prepare pose, exhale, forward fold. Inhale, sweep your arms around and up. Right, exhale, draw your hands down the center line of your body. Just pausing for a few moments here, just registering your experience, allowing body, mind, breath to come a little more deeply integrated. Release your hands. As you inhale this time, my friends, forward katasana, sit low, extend your arms. Pause here, sit even lower, lift your chest, broaden across the chest. You can widen your arms if you like, sit a little lower still. Breathe in. As you exhale, you'll forward fold. Inhale to prepare pose, plant your palms, bend your knees, you can float, you can step back. Let's meet in a downward facing dog. So perhaps exhaling and lowering halfway or all the way. Inhaling to baby cobra or upward facing dog and then exhaling to downward facing dog. Let's take a couple of breaths here in down dog. Great, walk your hands and your feet towards each other so you're at the center of your mat. Pause there for a moment and utanasana. Great, inhale, look forward, sweep the arms around and up, turn your palms forward, turn them up, look up, touch your palms and once more draw your hands down the center line of your body. Release your arms. You can turn to face the long edge of your mat and then once you're facing the long edge of your mat you find some expression of tadasana. Feet are about sitting bone distance apart, just reviewing what you already know, finding balance, establishing footing and then as you're ready you're going to inhale and sit into chair pose, utasana and let's deliberately enter. So bending through the knees, sending the seat back, reaching the arms forward and then extending them alongside your ears and sitting nice and low palms are facing each other and then my friends you are going to twist to your right, you're going to bring the back of your left hand to the outside of your right knee, you're going to turn the right palm in that direction, so entering this twisted chair in a really kind of deconstructed way. You pause here for a few breaths, letting the body curiously explore what experience you're putting it through and then you pause here, you can stay here or you might like to slide that left arm down the outside of the right leg and then bring the palms to prayer.

So you're in this expression of twisted chair, you'll pause here for a few breaths just like this, palms pressing together in prayer, every inhale long spine, every exhale little more revolution from the inside, inner inner revolution. You can stay with the palms pressing or you might return to arms extending. Soften, where can you soften? If the arms are extended bring them back to prayer, stay low and come on to the balls of your feet. Great, let's come to center and recalibrate for a moment before making our way to revolved crow. So you're going to bring your torso to an upright position, you're going to find some balance on the the four feet, so heels are lifted and just feel, you can shift the weight a little bit and sort of play there and then my friends you're going to bring your palms to prayer at the center of your chest, you'll inhale to lengthen your spine through the crown of your head, then you're going to exhale and twist to the right, you'll place your hands down on the floor so that left arm is making contact with the left, with the right thigh bone rather, hands are shoulder width apart, the palms are spreading, roll your biceps forward and away from the body, you'll lift your chest up and maybe you stay here, this is interesting enough, so maybe you stay here or maybe you start to look forward and you play with hinging at the elbows, you play with shifting the weight into the hands, maybe you find a little bit of air time, you hinge at your elbows, you float your feet away from the floor, you enjoy whatever your experience is, bracing the palms down, broad across the collarbones, take a breath in wherever you are and if you found air time you'll slowly float your feet down to the floor, come to center, lift your seat up, separate your feet, let's take a little standing forward fold, let's shift a little bit from left to right, you can widen the feet, so let this be pretty organic, let your body speak to you and let the body move in a way that is helpful and feels good, that's what's helpful, what feels good is what's helpful and then hands to your hips, soften your knees, reach your heart forward, come all the way up to standing and pause, give yourself a little shake and then make your way back to this place of center of balance, tadasana, feet are sitting bone distance apart, inhale utkatasana, so bending the knees, reaching the arms forward, lifting the chest and really deliberately entering, right, so balance doesn't happen once you're, you know, once you need it, you have to build it on the way there, so sitting low, reaching the arms forward, extending the arms alongside your ears and playing here, so we're on two feet but can you cultivate a sense of balance, take a twist to the left, bring the back of your right hand to the outside of your left knee, pause here and you know the knees don't have to be exactly in line with each other but we do want to find some balance in the pelvis so that this revolution is happening in the spine, you can stay here, you might like to slide your hand and arm down the outside of that left leg, you might like to bring your palms to prayer at the center of the chest and you take a couple of breaths there, so long inhales, long exhales that maybe invite you to express in a new way with every, every breath, you can begin to lower your seat as you lift your heels up, great, let's come to center while we find balance on the balls of the feet in this little squatting position, come upright palms together at the center of the chest, so balancing here, lengthening through the midline of the body, beginning to revolve ourselves over to the left, placing the palms on the floor shoulder-width apart, this right upper arm is making contact with my, with your left thigh bone, so you'll flatten your palms as in plank, as in chaturanga, you'll roll your biceps towards that end of your mat now and maybe you stay here, this is an interesting place to be, you're in a squatted position, you are twisted, there's lots happening, so let it happen, where can you soften and then from that place of softness and balance in the body and in the mind, then you play, so we don't want to play from a place of tension, so you play by shifting the weight, lifting the heels and maybe that's the extent of the play and that's plenty, maybe you feel called to experiment with shifting the weight a little more forward, maybe you're able to float the feet away from the floor, keep the spine long, keep looking forward, balancing on hands, take one more breath in, if you found air time take your time and floating your feet to the floor, come to center, lift your seat, separate your feet wide apart, wider than hips width even, grab opposite elbows, soften your knees, spill your pelvis forward, great, heel toe your feet so they're a little closer together and then let's roll up this time, let's roll and sway up this time and once you are upright roll your shoulders back and down, human movement and then from here let's come to stand at the top of the mat again, let's do a little standing sun breath just to cleanse the the palate, so inhale sweep your arms around and up, exhale soften your knees, hinge forward, great, inhale prepare pose, exhale to forward fold and then inhale sweep the arms around and up, really receive that breath in, exhale descend the hands as the breath descends, let's rest the hands on the body for a moment, you can soften your gaze or close your eyes, great, release, soften, balance, easy, hands to your hips, step your left foot back about a legs distance, lower your back heel, reach your left fingertips forward, let the left ribs follow you, reach the right arms forward and then sweep your arms around and up, from here friends you'll bend your right elbow and then send those fingertips to that space between the shoulder blades and maybe this is plenty, little opening for the shoulders, little release for the triceps, reach the left arm out to the side, we're going to turn that palm so that it faces back behind us, it's called internal rotation and then we'll send that hand back behind us and maybe the fingertips clasp, if they don't, no worries, you can use a strap or keep the left hand drawing that right elbow towards the midline, so take your time in finding an expression that works for you, less about what it looks like and more about how it feels, lean your head into your top arm, can you find a little quality of balance inside of whatever sensation is starting to rise in your body, as you inhale you'll stay here, as you exhale you'll hinge forward but keep lifting your head up into your top arm, from here lift your back heel up, free your arms, free your arms, extend your arms out to the side, shift your weight forward and then you'll slowly straighten your standing leg as you lift your top leg up and reach your arms back behind you, it's a little it's a little warrior three, balancing on that standing leg, there can be some softness in the knee, send the crown of your head forward, take a breath in there and then as you exhale slowly start to come up, draw that left knee forward and then grab a hold of the knee, you can bring your left hand to your hip, see if you can find balance in the pelvis, so lower that left hip, you can stay here my friends or you might using a strap or just holding the outer edge of your left foot you will begin to reach your left heel forward, as you reach your left heel forward you'll lift up through the crown of your head, maybe you'll stay here maybe you'll extend your left arm back behind you, maybe you'll stay gazing forward as I am or you'll begin to turn in the direction of that left hand, take one more breath in here to release this, we're going to stay balancing so don't snap out of it, bend the knee, the extended knee slowly, come to center keep lifting the knee up, revolve the chest forward, start to sit low as you cross your left foot, your left leg over the right, wrap your left arm underneath the right, garudasana, lift your elbows up, send your hands forward, can you sit a little lower into the seat and take one more breath in here, no I lied, we'll take two more breaths here, take a nice full inhale, as you exhale press into that heel, release the arms hands, human movement, human transition, and we pause here, a little moment of integration, just observe, be sensitized to your experience, sometimes we hop from experience to sensation to sensation, looking for something but the thing is is there already, nothing to look for, oh balance is hard work, it's hard to sustain balance, bring your hands to your hips, step your right foot back, lowering your back heel, making your way to your expression of warrior one, I like to reach the right arm forward, let the ribs follow, anchor the outer edge of the back foot down, lift the arms up, descend that front thigh a little more, bend your left elbow, draw that elbow towards the midline of your body, draw your ribs in, reach the right arm out to the side, if you're coming along for the train ride, you can stay with the hand on the elbow, but you can reach the right arm out to the side, turn the thumb to point down towards the floor, reach the hand back behind you, maybe the fingertips clasp, maybe not, you can use a strap, but stay balanced as you, you know, determine what expression of this works for you in this moment and it will change from moment to moment, from day to day, practice to practice, lean your head into your top arm, take a full inhale there, as you exhale you'll hinge yourself forward while lifting your head up into your top arm, some pretty complex stuff happening mechanically, watch what the mind wants to do in the face of all this sensation, chaos, utter chaos, stay balanced, breath is the pathway to that, lift your back heel up, good, free your arms like a human, reach your arms out to the side, shift your weight forward, slowly straighten your bottom leg as you lift your top leg up and sweep those arms back behind you, reaching them far back and just rooting that standing foot into the floor, a little softness in that knee, take a breath in, exhale to draw your right knee forward and maybe some chaos happens as you do that and that's great, you stay balanced and focus, hands to the hips, balance the pelvis from left to right, either keep hold of the knee, grab a strap, loop the foot or grab a hold of the outer edge of your right foot, stay balanced in the pelvis and then start to reach that heel forward, reach the heel forward, lower the right hip, reach the right arm back behind you if you like and whatever your expression is, no matter what we're after here, what we're cultivating here is that sense of inner stability, that sense of inner stability that can be accessed at any time, longer in the spine, lift the crown of the head up, take a breath in, as you exhale you can soften that knee, keep it lifted, revolve your ribs forward, cross your right leg over the left, wrap your right arm underneath the left arm, bring the palms to touch or backs of palms, lift the elbows up, hands go forward, you take a few breaths here in Garudasana, the eagle pose, take one more breath in there, great, as you exhale, press into the heel, release yourself, roll the shoulders back and down, little human movement, undulating the spine, the arms, inhale to reach your arms up, receive that breath in, exhale to hinge yourself forward, great, step yourself back to downward facing dog and pause, my friends, lower your elbows to the floor, just like that, lower your elbows to the floor, you can walk your feet a little in towards your elbows, soften your knees, spill your pelvis forward, press down into the floor, lift up out of your shoulders, dolphin pose, take a breath in there, use an exhale to lower your knees to the floor, keep the thighs together in this variation, bring your arms next to your body, child's pose, taking a couple of nourishing breaths in your child's pose, letting the shoulders soften, giving the weight of the head to the floor and breathing, breathing, breathing, softening, slowly roll yourself up to an upright position, you'll roll your legs out in front of you, swing them out in front of you, whatever verb you like, do that, and then come to sit down bottom of your pelvis, reach your arms forward, slowly lower yourself, not all the way down, I want you to hover about three quarters of the way, maybe, I'm not good at math, extend your legs straight forward and pause here, my friends, do you like that? Stay here, bring your hands behind your head, slowly lower your head or upper back rather onto the floor, keep the head hovering and then let's do a couple of extended leg bicycles, so left leg draws towards you, right elbow taps the knee or moves towards the knee and we alternate sides, twisting as you do this, keep the legs extended, keep the upper back hovering, moving at your pace, moving at your pace, so a couple more like this, keep going, keep breathing, keep maintaining that sense of balance in the face of whatever sensation is arising, the next time you come to that left knee, come to center, bend both of your knees, hug your knees towards your chest, lift your head and upper back off of the floor, a little active Apanasana, take a full breath in, full breath in, lift up more and then exhale, release, extend your legs, extend your arms, the final resting pose, Shavasana, separate the feet, turn the palms to face up, organize your body so you feel well supported by the floor and there's no bracing or holding, organize the body so the breath and this life force energy we call prana can move through you, unobstructed. My friends, you're welcome to stay in Shavasana for as long as you'd like. If you want to come up and have a little sit with me, start to wiggle your fingers and toes, take nice enriched breaths in, reach long for your arms, draw knees into your chest and with tremendous care you'll roll onto your side, maybe pausing there for a beat and carefully coming to an upright position, finding a seat that works for you, that supports your maintenance of this quality of balance that you've cultivated, sit well, lift the chest, lengthen the spine, bring your palms together at the center of your chest, bow your head to your hands, thanking yourself for your commitment to balance and to wholeness. Namaste.


3 people like this.
great class, thanks. like the level 2/3 interface. lots of interesting novelty. regards my revolved padangustasana and revolved crow - needs more work! :)
Martha K
3 people like this.
A nice practice for the whole body. Feels wonderful
Lina S
3 people like this.
One of my favorite class of this series. I love balance work. I"ve enjoyed the twisted chair to revolved crow pose sequence.
Sadia Bruce
Matthew Excellent! Remember: caress don't command. I see you levitating in 2022. Keep us updated ;)
Sadia Bruce
So glad you enjoyed, Lina S! I, too, really enjoy that juxtapositioning!
Jenny S
4 people like this.
Level 2/3 has become quite challenging for me as I inch closer to my 60s…so props were my friend here and I happily watched you enjoying revolved crow 😍 With the modifications I was able to enjoy my version of the postures and i’m feeling pretty darn great! Love your creative transitions 👏
Lillian M
2 people like this.
Wow! This is good because I have no balance hut I did it with some help with a bed.
Rachel S
2 people like this.
Man, that felt good! Lots of mods, but I just feel proud that I showed up knowing side crow was happening. Lol! So delicious to wring everything out. Great practice!
Sadia Bruce
1 person likes this.
Lillian M That's the spirit! Tailor the practice to your needs, rather than trying to fit your body— perfect as it is— to the practice!
Sadia Bruce
Rachel S I'm also proud of you! You took a risk and surprised yourself— BTW, "delicious" is my favorite descriptor for anything that isn't food :)
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