Renewal: A 7-Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 5: Slow Flow

30 min - Practice


In Day 5, we take a well-earned rest, slowing down and integrating the benefits of our challenge with a restorative flow. We warm the body gradually to prepare for deep hip opening and gentle replenishing poses that will leave you feeling relaxed, restored, and ready for more.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video

Mar 21, 2022
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Welcome to day five, one of my personal favorites. You've been working really hard through this challenge, and what we're aiming to do today is kind of slow things down a little bit and give the body an opportunity to integrate. One of the things I love so much about this practice are the still points where we absorb all of the benefits of our hard work. So we will move and we will strengthen and stretch and all those juicy things, but we'll do it a little bit differently. So let's begin with a really simple pranayama experience to set the tone for this more restorative flow.

Softening the gaze or closing the eyes, just letting the hands rest wherever they're comfortable, a tall, vibrant spine. We'll be working with a steady inhale, slight pause, steady exhale, slight pause. If my pacing doesn't feel quite right, trust your own. To begin, exhale just empty all the breath out and then together through the nose, inhaling. Pause.

And through the nose, exhaling. Pause. Again, inhale through the nose. Pause. Exhale through the nose.

Pause. One more cycle, inhaling. Pause. Exhaling. Pause.

Beautiful. Take a big inhale through the nose. Just a slight pause. And then go ahead and open the mouth and exhale. Let it go. Just another moment of stillness here.

Notice how you feel. You can work without breath at any time. One cycle, 10 to 20 cycles. Whatever you have the space and the energy for. And then we'll draw hands to prayer at heart center and open together with a gentle om.

Exhale, clear all the breath out. And then together through the nose we take a big inhale. Om. Dropping back into your intention for the whole journey of the challenge and adding to the specific practice and intention of restoring and replenishing in any way you need. Gently, as you're ready, let the eyes open and let's transition up onto the hands and the knees.

Grounding, especially through base of thumb and first finger. And then nice and easy with your inhale, lift the tailbone, the heart, the gaze. And as you exhale, let the back round, draw the belly to the spine and release the weight of your head. Really simple cat cow to begin. Again, we inhale, lift the tailbone, lift the heart and the gaze.

And with the exhale, round belly to spine, relax the neck, head heavy. And then stay with this general movement, but start to welcome in any variations you feel for, which means the head might circle, the hips might circle, creating a kind of spiral movement through the spine. You can also circle the entire torso. It's really about dropping in and tuning in and taking any opening movements that feel good in your body. Yeah, let the breath move with the body.

A couple more cycles. And also in these slow opening movements, you're checking in, you're tuning in what's present, whereas the energy flowing freely, whereas there are a little bit of stickiness or maybe soreness. And a reminder that we want to meet it all with really spacious, compassionate awareness. And let that be the undercurrent of your practice. Whatever arises, yeah, meet it with kindness.

All right, take a breath to stabilize on hands and knees. And then a big inhale to tuck the toes. And as you exhale, press up and back, downward facing dog. And we'll give this a full 10 breaths, right? Pedaling the feet, shifting the hips side to side.

Again, what's there? What's showing up in this moment in your body, physically, energetically, moving the awareness a little deeper in today's practice, creating some space to feel into the more subtle layers. A few more breaths here, whatever you feel for, and really trust the wisdom of your own body. It might be something I'm not necessarily suggesting, but the desire is there, follow that. And then a breath or two to stabilize to find stillness in your down dog.

Yeah, okay, and then with the next inhale, we'll ripple forward into plank pose together. And then just pause for a moment here, feeling into your strength, feeling into the energy of the center. Very slightly take the gaze forward so your neck is long. Stay for an inhale. And then with your exhale, knees first, easing all the way down to the earth.

And then inhale gently, lift the heart, just a really soft cobra touching in. And with the exhale, release back down, nice and easy. And then we inhale, press back to hands and knees, tuck the toes and exhale home to down dog. Yeah, just that. Slowly on the inhale, walking the feet forward to the front of your mat.

And we'll take an easy fold here, Uttanasana, feet, hips distance, gentle bend in the knees. Let the hands fall, let the head fall, neck relaxed. Letting it all release, few breaths. We stay in the fold and just begin to sway a little side to side. The soft bend in the knees, the head stays heavy.

Take this at your own pace and continue swaying as you begin to roll all the way to stand. Staying in the fluidity of the movement. And then gradually coming all the way up and letting the shoulders ease back and down. Shake that out a little bit. Step the feet together, take the hands to prayer at the heart center.

Together through the nose, a big inhale and steady exhale, synchronizing the breath. Good. Then inhale, just reach the arms out and up. And as you exhale, simply draw the hands home to the heart. We'll do two more like that.

Inhale to reach out and up. Exhale, hands to heart center. Again, inhale out and up. Exhale back to the heart. And then we inhale, reach out and up.

And with your exhale, bow out and down. Inhaling, just come halfway up. And with your exhale, just return to your fold. Lifting from your center, flat back, inhale all the way up. And exhale, hands to the heart.

Two more like that, inhale out and up. Exhaling, bow and fold. Inhale, lengthen just halfway. Exhale, release. From center, inhale all the way up.

Exhale, trace the midline back to heart center. Again like that, inhale, rise. Exhale, fold. Inhale, halfway. Exhale, release.

From center, inhale all the way up. Exhale, hands to heart center. Moving on, inhale, rise. Exhale, bow. With your inhale, lengthen halfway.

And this time with the exhale, plant the hands, step back into plank pose and pause. Engage the whole body. Building, generating a little heat. Stay for your inhale. Keep this gentle.

Exhale, lower the knees to the earth, elbows hug in, come all the way down. Inhale, lift the heart, cobra, as high as you feel for. And exhale, release, back to the earth. Inhale, press to hands and knees. Tuck the toes, exhale, downward facing dog.

Five breaths, roll the shoulders away from your ears. Send your heels to the earth and lift through your sit bones. Create space in your back body. Three. And two.

Yeah, at the bottom of your exhale, just a gentle step forward, back to the front of the mat. And with the inhale, we lengthen halfway. Exhale, return to your fold. Really strong through your center. Inhale, rise all the way up.

And with the exhale, hands to the heart. Good. Surinamaskar B. Bending the knees, inhale, reach out and up. And with your exhale, bow out and down. Inhaling just halfway.

Exhale, hop or step back. And this time, lower knees or chaturanga. Inhale into cobra or upward facing dog. And exhale, take it back, downward facing dog. Inhale, lift the right leg.

Exhale, step right foot forward, spin the back heel down to the earth. Rising on the inhale, warrior one. And exhale to release. Step back into plank. Lower knees or chaturanga.

Or maybe you skip the vinyasa. Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, down dog. Inhale, left leg to the sky. Exhale, step it forward, ground the back heel.

Inhale, warrior one, second side. Exhale, hands to the earth, step back. Your vinyasa or you let it go. Look for ways to rest and replenish today. Meeting in downward facing dog.

Long through the spine, breathing here for three. Two. Bottom of the exhale, soft bend in the knees. Hop or step front of the mat. Inhale, lengthen halfway.

Exhale to fold, bending the knees. Inhale, rise, utkatasana. Exhale, samastitihi. Yeah, just once again, bend the knees. Inhale, reaching out and up.

Exhale, bow out and down. Inhaling halfway. Root the hands, hop or step back. Exhale, lower knees or chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or up dog.

Exhale, down dog. Right leg reaches up, inhale. Exhale, step forward, root the back heel. Rise on the inhale, warrior one. Exhale, hands to the earth, step back.

And lower knees or chaturanga. Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, down dog. Left leg, inhale up. Exhale, float forward, root the back heel.

Rise on the inhale, warrior one. Exhale, release, hands to earth, step back. And lower. Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, down dog, three breaths.

One more breath here. And then we're going to keep the feet where they are. And with your next exhale, walk the hands to the back of the mat. And for a moment, just an easy fold, let it be soft, relax, head, neck, shoulders. And then take hold of the big toes with first two fingers and thumb for parangusthasana.

As you inhale, reach out through your heart. And as you exhale, just deepen into your fold. And if you'd prefer any other standing forward fold, by all means take it. Find it in your own body, breathing here for three. And two.

Tip weight into the front of the feet. One last breath. And then whatever grip you have, keep it. Inhale, halfway. And exhale, release, shake it out.

All right, then we start to open the feet a little wider than hips distance. Turn toes out, heels in, and drop the sit bones down to the earth for malasana, yogi squat. It can be helpful to kind of spin on the balls of the feet a little bit. Let the hips find some space. And then settle in.

You can always take support under the heels or even a block under the sit bones. Hands to prayer, heart center, spine really tall. Elbows encourage knees to open. And the hands at the heart encourage the lift of heart center. Moving it into the hips.

Another breath or two. And then we keep this, releasing hands to the earth. Let the background, let the head fall. And feel that beautiful stretch from the back of the skull all the way down the back to the top of the hips. That whole expanse open.

Kind of give over to it. And we're going to keep playing with this. From here, the left arm extends out, tenting the fingertips. And with your inhale, reach the right arm up to the sky. You're welcome to stay right there.

Or you can try wrapping the left arm around the left leg, reaching right arm back and finding the bind. Strap, towel, hold on to your clothing, whatever you've got. Roll the heart open, roll the right shoulder open and lift the gaze. Breathing three. Two.

Exhale, just release, draw it back to center and then reach the right arm out, tent fingertips. Inhale, take the left arm up. And again, you're welcome to stay here. Or take the left arm behind, wrap the right arm around and maybe find the bind. Heart opens, left shoulder opens.

Breathing three. Two. And again, with the exhale, just release, hands to the earth. Draw the hips back to the sky, big inhale. Exhale, draw the feet back to parallel, steady here.

Then inhale, we lengthen halfway up. And with the exhale, just walk it back to the front of the mat, returning to downward facing dog. Take a really big inhale through the nose. Open the mouth, let it go. Exhale.

And then a big inhale here. And with your exhale, release the knees to the earth, sink your hips to your heels, child's pose. And take your favorite child's, the knees can be together wide, the arms can reach out, or draw back alongside the body. And then release down onto the forehead. And let the whole body just soften and rest.

Five breaths. Moving the breath into the low back and the sacrum. And then gently with your inhale, lifting to the hands and the knees. And with your exhale, tuck the toes, go up and back into down dog, just for the transition into pigeon. So with the next inhale, lift the right leg a little.

And with the exhale, draw right knee, right shin through and down. Always, of course, take any support you like in pigeon. And then once you're rooted, press the hands or tent the fingertips. Inhale, lift the front body from the belly all the way up. That length will deepen the stretch.

So once you've found that, exhale, walk the upper body out and down. You can also take support under the torso, bolsters or blankets, can be really lovely. And then just release. Move your breath, move your awareness down into hip and glute muscles, the low back, the inner thighs, letting that whole region of the body open. It's been working hard for you.

Just resting here for five. Four, three, two. Yeah. And then the slow rise on the inhale, walk the upper body back in and up. And with the exhale, you're going to swing your left leg around for double pigeons.

So stacking left shin on top of the right, feet flexed to protect the knee joints. You can stay here and just hold that top knee, slide support between knee and ankle or release it. If that's enough, it's enough. Otherwise, inhale, reach arms up and exhale. Hold five breaths here, give over to it.

And then gently, as you're ready, inhaling, rise. Let's keep this simple. Just cross the ankles. Ease forward, step back into downward facing dog. Inhale, lift the left leg just a little.

And then exhale into pigeon second side. Again, support it if you'd like. Once you're rooted, inhale really tall. And then exhale, just ease out and down. Again, breath and awareness go down into hip and glute muscles.

Let them open, five, four, three, two. And then it's a slow rise on the inhale. Keep that weight on the left leg. Exhale, swing the right leg around for double pigeons, stacking the shins, flexing the feet. Again, you can hold right knee, take support or release it.

And you can stay here or inhale, rise and exhale, fold, continuing to deepen the hip opening. A few more breaths. Now with the next inhale, slowly rise, really simple transition. Unwind the legs and then just roll all the way down onto your back and make sure the block is close by as you land. Hug the knees into the chest, gently rock the body a little side to side.

And then plant the feet, hips distance, ground through all four corners of the feet, scoop the tailbone, lift the hips and take the block at any height, low, medium or high, under the sacrum. Feel that support. Find your sweet spot. And then just let the weight of the hips sink down into the block. Let the arms rest alongside the body.

And feel the restorative energy of a supported backbend. Breathing through heart, solar plexus, deep belly, the hip flexors, the quad muscles, and letting the whole front body open. Yeah, and you're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like if and when you feel for it, we'll make a really simple transition to a supported inversion so the legs rise. And again, let yourself relax into this. If you need to make any adjustments to the placement of the block, feel free.

Depending on all the benefits of the inversion and a really gentle variation. A few more breaths. Again, if you'd like to stay here, please do so. When you're ready, gently bending one knee foot to the earth and then the other. And once the feet are grounded, scoop the tailbone, lift the hips and just remove the block and release the spine back down to the earth.

And then we'll draw the knees in towards the chest again, a gentle rock. Keep the legs as is or wrap either leg on top and let the legs fall to the left. Reach the right arm out to the right. Really simple supine twist for one last cleansing clearing to help with that restorative replenishing energy. Another breath.

And then inhale, draw yourself back to center. Hips can move to the left a little. If the legs are crossed, take the other leg on top and legs fall to the right, left arm to the left. Breathe. Gently back to center.

If there's anything else your body needs, take it and just make your way into your final rest as you're ready. Arms rest, eyes soften or close. Take a big inhale through the nose. Open the mouth, exhale. Let it go.

And just rest. I highly encourage you to remain in your shavasana as long as you'd like. Really let the practice settle. And when you do feel ready, make your transition back to a comfortable seat. No rush.

You find it, rest the hands, soften the gaze, maybe remain in stillness in your seat for a while. And then simply draw hands to prayer at heart center. Returning to this practice, whenever you feel the need to slow it down a little, rest and replenish a little. Finding that deep, deep nourishment and renewal. Thank you for joining me.

See you on day six. Namaste.


Francesca Venturini
Good morning Rosemary! Thank you to remind me the importance to slow down and find the time to nourish,restore and integrate.....the only way to have the opportunity to go deeper and improve, get better in every single movement and action in our lives. Thank you!!
David G-
1 person likes this.
Rosemary, hope this finds you well. Thank you for five great days. This was restorative, though my adductors were on fire in the squats. Good information. See you tomorrow morning. 
Martha K
2 people like this.
I love this restorative practice with enough movement to keep my energy flowing. Fluid and lovely.
Hope H
1 person likes this.
My nervous system just did a 180. You are amazing. Thank you!
Samantha P
2 people like this.
This practice was lovely. I went on a hike today and was feeling kind of achy and tight after. I almost decided to lay down instead of doing today's practice, but I knew that yoga was really what my body needed. I feel so much better after this amazing slow flow. Much less achy and much more open. Thank you so much!
Rosemary Garrison
Yes, beautifully said, Francesca Venturini ! 
Rosemary Garrison
So glad you’re on this journey with us, David G- . I hear you on the adductors- I hope they’re feeling better today. 
Rosemary Garrison
Mmmhhh, beautiful, Martha K - exactly what we going for with this practice. 
Rosemary Garrison
That makes me supremely happy, Hope H . A shift in the nervous system is pure gold. 🙏
Rosemary Garrison
What elegant timing, Samantha P . So glad you got on the mat and the practice matched what your body most needed! 
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