Renewal: A 7-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Day 4: Strong Hearted Flow

30 min - Practice
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Strong and clear from the first 3 days of your challenge, you'll be ready for Day 4's deep-heart opening flow. This creative and strengthening class will help us build progressively into Natarajasana (Dancer pose), before we close with grounding seated postures to help integrate. You will feel open and balanced.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

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Welcome to day four. We're going to move progressively into some deeper backbends with a little standing balance play as well. So let's begin with the hands actually resting on heart center. Left hand on the heart, right hand on top of the left. Let head bow to heart, soften the gaze or close the eyes and begin by drawing awareness down into that energy center. Noticing your breath, noticing the quality of your body four days in. Noticing anything you notice. And we'll take an om here together with the hands resting on the heart, feeling the vibration of the sound. Exhale, empty it all out. And then together through the nose, we take a big inhale. Dropping into your intention, maybe there's an extra special heart-based intention for today's practice. Maybe you're staying with your intention for the whole journey. Anything that resonates, let it root. And then go ahead and open the eyes and let's meet on the hands and the knees facing the front of the mat. Press down through the hands, feel that slight engagement of deep low belly. Then inhale, lifting tailbone, heart gaze. Exhaling round, just kind of checking in with the spine, with the central channel. Again we inhale, lift, tailbone, heart gaze. Exhale to round, belly to spine, soft through the neck. And then just once again, big inhale, offer the heart up and then exhale around. Good. Then we inhale, come back to a neutral spine, keep the engagement of the deep belly. With your next inhale, extend the right leg straight back about the height of the hip and make it active. Press through that heel and then with the next inhale, we reach the left arm out to keep the shoulder blade down the back. Feel that long line of energy between the two. Stay for your inhale and then exhale rounding, draw elbow to knee, knee to elbow, belly to spine. Inhale, reach it out. Exhale, draw it in. Inhale, extend. Exhale in. This time inhale, extend and with your exhale, left hand goes back for the right foot and then gradually start to open by lifting the leg, expanding through chest, through left shoulder, giving another full breath. Yeah. Then with your inhale, extend the leg back and the arm out and with your exhale, release, hand and knee go back to the earth, just kind of soft through the neck, come back to neutral. Re-engage through the belly and with the next inhale, reach the left leg straight back. Press through the heel, keep it active. On your next inhale, reach right arm out, shoulder blade down the back. Feel that expanse, that length. Stay for an inhale. Exhale, draw it in, knee to elbow, elbow to knee. Inhale, reach it out. Exhale, draw it in. Inhale, reach. Exhale in.

Then inhale, reach and with your exhale, take the right hand back for that left foot, strong center, open through the chest, through the right shoulder, let the leg rise, breathing into it. Yeah. On your next inhale, extend the leg back and the arm out and with your exhale, release, hand and knee to the earth, soft through the neck and then just draw it back to a neutral spine. Rooting through the hands, take a big inhale, tuck the toes and exhale, go up and back, downward facing dog. Let's give this about five breaths. Paddle the feet, let the hips shift from side to side, warming it all up. Good. One more breath and then steady yourself, find stillness in your down dog and with the next inhale, just slowly start to walk the feet forward to the front of your mat. Easy fold, let it all unwind for a breath and keep that soft bend in the knees. Slowly inhale, rolling up and as you arrive, exhale, soften shoulders back and down and ease into samastitihi. Through the nose, breathe it in and through the nose, breathe it out. With your inhale, reach the arms out and up, with the exhale, bow out and down, inhaling just halfway. With your exhale, step back into your plank pose and let's just pause here for a moment, engage the whole body. Stay for an inhale and with your exhale, come all the way to the earth, knees first or chaturanga style and then let's slide the hands forward and out a little bit, tenting the fingertips to really explore the movement into back bending. Press the legs into the earth, reach the tailbone energetically towards the heels and then with your inhale, lift the heart into cobra as high as you feel for no strain and then exhale, melt back to the earth. Again we inhale, maybe a little higher and maybe not. Exhale, release back to the earth and then just once again inhale, we rise as high as the body wants to go. Keep belly lifting, legs pressing down and then exhale, melt to the earth, hands outside rib cage, inhale to hands and knees, tucking the toes and exhale downward facing dog. Good, couple breaths here, continue to warm the back body to land in the body and then bottom of the exhale, soft bend in the knees, hop or step front of your mat, inhale halfway and exhale fold. Strong center, inhale rise all the way up, exhale hands to the heart. Good, then inhale, reach out and up. Exhale to bow out and down, inhale halfway, exhale hop or step back, you choose and lower knees or chaturanga, inhale lift the heart and exhale downward facing dog. Good, ground for a breath, feel your center and then with your next inhale lift the right leg to the sky, exhale open the hip and the knee, inhale back up, with your exhale float the right foot forward, spin the back heel down to the earth, left arm opens you on your inhale warrior two and then exhale just settle in, deep full breath three, two, stay for your inhale and with your exhale reverse slide left hand down left leg reach right arm up and over breathe into side body three, two. We're gonna keep this slowly on the inhale lengthen the right leg, press foot into earth, reach away through fingertips breathe here three, two, good and then from here we're gonna inhale come back into your warrior two and then right away on the exhale release hands to earth, step into plank, lower knees or chaturanga, inhale to cobra, up dog, feel the backbend and exhale take it back downward facing one breath here, inhaling left leg to sky, exhale open the hip and the knee, inhale to reach, exhale float the left foot forward spin back heel to the earth, right arm opens you inhale warrior two, second side settle in, strong and steady three, two, stay for your inhale and with your exhale reverse reaching it back opening waist ribcage shoulder yeah and then slowly on the inhale lengthen that left leg press the foot into the earth, reach reach reach for three, two, inhale rise warrior two and then right away on the exhale release hands to earth, step back lower knees or chaturanga, inhale lift the heart, exhale take it up and back downward facing dog, right then just pausing here for a few breaths gathering your energy, in a moment we link that all together building the pace building the heat, stay with it if it resonates slow it down or simply rest if you'd prefer listening to your body, here we go inhale right leg up, exhale open the hip, inhale reach, exhale float right foot forward spin back heel to the earth, inhale open warrior two, exhale reverse reach it back, inhale to lengthen the right leg exhale just ground here and reach inhale warrior two exhale hands to the earth step back and lower inhale lift the heart exhale downward facing dog inhale left leg up, exhale open the hip, inhale back up exhale float left foot forward spin back heel down right arm opens you inhale warrior two exhale reverse reach it back inhale lengthen the left leg exhale stay here and expand inhale warrior two exhale hands to the earth step to plank lower inhale upward facing exhale downward facing one more full cycle inhale right leg exhale open the hip and the knee inhale back up exhale float right foot forward spin back heel down left arm opens you inhale warrior two exhale reverse inhale lengthen that right leg exhale expand a little bit more inhale warrior two exhale hands to earth step back and lower inhale lift the heart exhale downward left leg inhale up exhale open inhale reach exhale left foot forward spin the back heel down right arm opens you inhale warrior two exhale reverse reach it back inhale lengthen left leg exhale extend a little more inhale warrior two and exhale hands to the earth step to plank and lower inhale heart rising and exhale downward facing dog excellent work just stay here back to center back to breath good okay so as you're ready with your next exhale you're simply gonna release the knees down to the earth and then rise to stand on the knees and I'll turn towards you so from here you're gonna tuck the toes and just sit back on your heels stretching the soles of the feet that's too intense untucked the toes no big deal hands rest and then interlacing the fingers as you inhale press the palms up as you rise and exhale just sit back and release the arms two more times inhale rising exhale releasing last one inhale and exhale yeah stay here interlace the hands behind the back draw the hands away from the body and feel that opening through chest and front of shoulders soft gaze to earth for three and two good all right let that go shake it out a little bit and let's move it into paragasana so rising up onto the knees keep that left leg really strong and steady and then take the right leg out nice and rooted okay we inhale reach arms up and then with the exhale right hand goes down the right leg left arm reaches up and over take the gaze up and under left arm feel that expanse good then we're gonna inhale come back to center stay with me here as you exhale release your left hand down to the earth and then lift the right leg straight up right arm to sky balancing balancing balancing and then right hand to right foot engage the center open through the chest steady your gaze another breath mm-hmm and then extend the right leg straight back reach the arm up again release the right foot down to the earth we're gonna keep exploring from here we shift into side plank if you want to support yourself you can release left forearm elbow down to the earth otherwise as is and then extend left leg straight out expand and open three two if you love a variation here go for it one more breath then with your exhale come into plank towards the back of the mat here we are strong and steady belly in and up stay for the inhale exhale to lower inhale lift the heart and exhale downward facing dog give it a breath or two yeah take one more breath to reconnect and then with your exhale release knees to the earth and we'll take that on the second side so just standing on the knees extend the left leg straight out plant that foot and then inhale take both arms up and with your exhale release the left hand down the left leg and reach right arm up and over more and more space three two inhale come back to center and then with the exhale let the right hand come down to the earth left arm reaching up and then inhale reach that left leg up really strong reach out in all directions and then take left hand to left foot use strength of center as you move into the back bend heart opening leg drawing back steady gaze another breath mmm-hmm and then reach the leg back the arm up slowly with control release that left foot back to the earth and then again if you want to release on to form an elbow before side plank go for it then reach right leg straight back stack the feet and reach reach reach strong center shining out in all directions three variations if you want them to and then a big inhale and with your exhale plank pose facing the front of the mat pause here engage belly inhale exhale lower inhale lift the heart and exhale take it back downward facing dog excellent steady the breath here come back to your intention yeah and then just gently on the inhale walk the feet forward to the front of the mat soft bend in the knees exhale it out and then inhale a slow roll all the way to stand exhale release okay little standing balance with back bending steady gaze root down through the right foot then take a bend in that left knee and reach back with the left hand take hold we want awareness through center whenever we backbend so drop that tailbone and lift deep belly in and up and keep that strength and support throughout then slowly left leg reaches back right arm reaches out and just kind of explore it don't need to max out definitely no need to strain kind of feel into it maybe it deepens maybe not a couple more breaths stay with it through transition keep hold of the foot inhale back to center and exhale let it go good clean slate second side root that left foot steady the gaze and then bend the right knee reach back take hold reengage that deep belly draw it in and then reaching out and up hurt wide open rise rise rise three two yeah slowly on the inhale keep the bind as you draw back to center and exhale release yeah excellent work we're gonna do it again and this time we're gonna play with a strap right so basically you just want the strap folded in half maybe twice depending on how long your strap is you're gonna root down through your right foot and then loop the top of the foot in the strap holding the other end with the left hand okay ground reconnect with your gaze engage deep belly and then same thing reach the leg reach the arm and then right hand goes back for the strap sure it gets really interesting you start to walk the hand down towards the foot when you find your edge you stay there and maybe after two three four or five breaths the hands walk a little closer to the foot and you breathe into it and expand into it then maybe the hands walk a little closer to the foot few more breaths your edge three two slowly just let the strap slide through the hands to release the leg unravel shake it all out feel that flow through the shoulders and try the second side ground left foot steady gaze take the top of the right foot through the loop of the strap spin it around and then engaging through center lift lift lift through the leg and you got it from here feel into it fall out of it whatever arises just keep exploring be curious about sensations in the body and when you find your edges just breathe into it for a moment resting in the stillness three two slowly strap slides through the hands to release unravel unwind shake it out release the strap come to stand samasthiti he steady your gaze and just notice how you feel it's a really powerful back bend draw energy back to center reconnect and then nice and easy inhale arms out and up exhale we bow forward inhale halfway gently as you exhale just step back into downward-facing dog keep this simple pause breath or two here and together let's take a big inhale and then with your exhale release the knees to the earth the hips to the heels child's pose mm-hmm deep grounding find the earth again just rest three breaths and remaining here as long as you'd like gently in your own time inhale lift to hands and knees and let's stay low exhale just swing the feet to the side and ease into dandasana okay root through sit bones take support under sit bones if you'd like then ground the hands outside of the hips lengthen up through the spine shoulders melt back and down and breathe stabilizing after all that deep opening and balancing draw it all back into your center now then inhale reach arms out and up and with your exhale fold into Paschimottanasana feet ankle shins or strap inhale reach again once you found your bind and then exhale release the important after deep back bending to counter pose are there with a seated forward fold or with twisting on the back and then everything's settle and balance out a few more breaths yeah keeping the grip inhale just come halfway up and then exhale to release and let's go ahead and lie down all the way onto the back just gently hug the knees in rock a little side to side let that low back release a bit more if there's anything you need or desire before Shavasana take it and then make your way all the way out and down arms at rest entire body at rest integrating the deep deep heart opening the deep movement of the whole flow gently inhale through the nose and open the mouth exhale let it all go and just rest remaining here as long as you'd like a lot to integrate and just deepening the breath bringing movement into the body reaching rolling to either side and making your way up to a comfortable seat and again let's take the left hand on the heart the right hand on the left a soft bow of head to heart noticing how you feel noticing how that energy center is humming after the flow let your awareness settle there you have the space and the desire may be remaining here for a few more moments of stillness namaste beautiful work and see you on day five

Comments

Sue
Sue
3 people like this.
Great flow in Day 4! Just what my mind and body needed to get away from my "to do list" and overthinking everything at the start of a work day. Thank you Rosemary, I love doing this practice in the morning. I am grateful for your calm and grounding presence.
Rosemary Garrison
Thank you, Sue D ! Such wise words. Sometimes it's so hard to step away from the to do list. Always so wonderful when we can start the day on the mat and let the rest from from there. So grateful to be sharing this challenge with you. Enjoy!
Francesca Venturini
Thank You Rosemary! I'm so, so happy to have the opportunity to practice with you every day. Today I integrated the Reiki practice at the and of your sweet practice.....my heart is open and calm. Thank you again!!!
David G-
2 people like this.
Thanks to Sue D for sharing her wishlist. I focused on much better behavior yesterday. The biggest takeaway from this morning was the heart opening into our upward dogs. It was much more yin. Your cues are becoming more three-dimensional in my body. 
Rosemary Garrison
That sounds so dreamy and heart opening, Francesca Venturini . I adore Reiki. Thank you for sharing. Namaste. 
Rosemary Garrison
Oh, that's wonderful, David G- . I love the idea of it feeling more three dimensional! I hope you continue to enjoy. 
Lina S
2 people like this.
I've enjoyed the backbend variations in the quadruped position and in the gate pose. It prepared well for dancer pose. Thank you!
Matthew
3 people like this.
loved the way you guided us through dancer pose - it really helped me to see it as a space for dynamic exploration and learning rather than mindlessly straining and making an imperfect copy! thanks. 🙏 
Rosemary Garrison
Lovely to hear, Lina S ! So good to feel prepared for such a deep backbend. Enjoy! 
Rosemary Garrison
“A space for dynamic exploration and learning…” I love that, Matthew ! So happy to hear that was your experience.  When we can feel the practice from the inside out, rather than aiming for that imperfect copy, everything changes. 
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