Beyond Binary Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 7

Look, Mom, No Hands

30 min - Practice


Sometimes it's nice to just be dramatic. In this fun, creative hands-free class we focus on functional range of motion and mobility in the legs and hips as a complement to our yoga practice. We explore "body riddles", squat sequences, and untraditional transitions, moving in potentially unfamiliar ways, which creates new neuropathways in the brain and improves our moods. We close in deeper hip opening poses, leaving you feeling supple and sweet.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block

About This Video


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Hey everyone, welcome. I was thinking for today's practice that we would tend to areas of the body that sometimes if we have surgeries or any kind of procedures might need some love. So today's practice will have very little weight bearing on the hands and will also tend to our hips. We're going to work with some what I call coons which are body riddles and it might kind of knot your brain into knots but it will feel better in the end hopefully because those knots sometimes release neuropathways in space. So that's what I'm hoping will happen.

We'll see. You know it's a lab so all we can do is show up and see what happens. Let's get started. If you're someone who rounds in forward folds, grab a blanket and slide it underneath your booty. Otherwise, you're going to come into barakonasana, soles of the feet together, knees wide and then let your left fingertips trickle out to the left and you're going to lean out to the left and kind of press through the right thigh and just give it a little bit of movement.

You'll be on your left sit bone and the right sit bone might lift and it's okay if you kind of turn and kind of play with it. You can stay and please don't gauge off of my barakonasana. I'm pretty open in this direction so that may not be you. It may not resemble anywhere you might be up here. That's totally fine.

That's where you play. It's not about shape. I'm going to repeat that. It's not about shape. It's about space.

What we're looking for is space and what we're playing with is the space inside of our own bodies. Right hand out to the right, left hand on the top of your thigh. It matters not what it looks like on somebody else. Really the only thing that matters is what's happening in the relationship of you with your own person. That takes practice and that takes bravery.

It takes courage and it takes the practice of standing in your own backbone. Great. Now from here we're going to turn the left knee up toward the ceiling and bring the foot into more of an S shape. It's not just important to open the hips. It's important to strengthen the hips.

We're going to play with some mobility exercises. This is more from the functional movement arena. I like to include functional movement in my yoga practice. I find that it feeds the yoga practice. You're going to lift, put the block underneath your left foot.

I already feel a little hiccup there in my left outer seam of the leg. Up your fingertips, stand really tall. You're going to try to lift the left foot slightly up off of the block. It might just be a little bit and then press the foot down and then lift it and press the foot down. Lift it and press the foot down.

Now we're going to lift it one more notch. You're going to take the block, lift it to the medium level. It sucks, I'm sorry, but it does. Then from there, you're going to press down first and then lift and press down first and then lift, press down first. Just my lift an inch.

Lift and press down. All right. Take that block out, lift the left knee up and bring the foot back into barakonasana. If it's a little tight on the outer thigh, just wag it a little bit. Right knee up, turn.

Here we go. Second side. You're going to slip that block under your foot, getting it there sometimes is challenging, and then stand on your left sits bone. Kick the foot down and then lift it. Kick the foot down.

Try not to lean too much as you lift it. Kick the foot down and lift it. Then we're going to come into the second level, so at the medium level. Again, find your sits bone there on your left side. Kick the foot down and lift it.

Kick the foot down and lift it. I'm finding this side much harder. Kick the foot down and lift it and kick the foot down. Come there, turn the knee up, take the block out to the side, or slip it underneath you if you want to be a little bit more upright. I'm going to slide the harmonium.

Close your eyes. Settle into the breath. Notice what that little bit of work did for you. Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram, repeat after me, Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram, Sita Ram. Shri Ram D�RÄ쳌ma D�RÄ쳌ma.

Shri Ram D�RÄ쳌ma D�RÄ쳌ma. Shri Ram D�RÄ쳌ma D�RÄ쳌ma. Palms together, deep inhale, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum, aum. Aum. Aum.

Gently open your eyes. We will meet in bada konasana. All right, from here, from bada konasana, we're going to start to play with some riddles. Now, these might be super challenging. You might need your hands on the floor.

The idea is not to use your hands. Try as much as possible, but when you need to use your hands to press up, you can totally use your hands. So from here, the left knee is going to turn up, and you're going to come into that S shape. Press up onto your shins. And now from here, lean down.

Be shy of coming to the floor just an inch. Stay 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Lower all the way down. Lift the knees up and come back into bada konasana. Now we're going to do the other side.

Lift the right knee up. Turn the foot out. And then again, we're going to lift up onto the shins and lean back just shy an inch of the floor. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Lower your bum down.

Lift the right knee. Come back into bada konasana. OK, it's going to get a little harder now. Same, same start. Coming up and over, turning the left foot out.

From here, lifting up. Now we're going to lean into the right shin to step that left foot up and stand up. How did we get here? We have no idea. Now the tricky thing is reversing this whole thing.

So the right knee is going to come down, and then I lean, and I turn, and I turn, and I turn, and I sit back to bada konasana. Oh my goodness, let's try that to the other side. Lifting the right knee, turning. We're going to press up, and then that right foot has to come around to step up. And now can I do it on the reverse?

That left knee comes down. I lean my booty back as I turn, turn, turn, and I come into bada konasana. We're going to do that twice more just to play with it and see if we can figure it out, if it's still tough. I've done it a few times, so again, don't take it off of me. Your first time learning something, you have to really find that neuro pathway.

Pressing up, and then from there, step your left foot forward and turn around. You're facing away from me probably. And now the right knee is going to come back right where it came from. Tip the butt down to come back around. One more time on the second side.

Turning the right knee up, letting that turn out into the S shape, lifting up, stepping that right foot, and then coming all the way up, and then turning it around or reversing that. Left knee down, lean your butt, lean your butt, lean your butt. We should be able to see each other now. And then feet together. How is that?

OK, from there, we'll come to the top of your mat. It may be that you need to use your hands to get there, or it may be that you can step your feet a little bit wide and kind of play with rocking, leaning forward and back, coming all the way up to stand. They've made tests, and there's a big correlation with how well you can come up to stand and come down to the floor and the length of your life. So it behooves us to learn to come up and down. I don't know what the finessa or the fine points are, but they've found a correlation between that, which I always find fascinating.

From there, come up into, actually, not yet. You're going to separate your feet out a little bit wide, a little bit wider than your hips, and we're going to come into some squats. So on the inhale, bend your knees, reach the arms up. And as you exhale, stand up, arms down. Inhale, bend the knees, reach the arms up.

Exhale, arms down. Inhale, bend the knees, reach the arms up. Exhale, extend, arms down. A little different this time, but continuing. Inhale, bend the knees, reach the arms up.

Exhale, hands down. Come high up onto your tiptoes. Inhale, bend the knees, reach the arms up. Exhale, extend, extend, extend. High up onto the tiptoes.

Try to make the movement as seamless as possible. If you can't come all the way down, you come just as far as you can. It's totally fine. Whoop. And then one more time, one last time.

It's OK if you land on your feet and then extend. Come high up onto your tiptoes and soften the heels down, but get a little bit taller. Nice. Feet together, utkatasana. Lift your arms.

Breathe into your chest. Three breaths. One more. From there, stand into your right foot. Pick up your left knee.

Step your left foot way, way, way back. Spin your back heel down and open out into warrior two. As you inhale, extend your front leg, arms lift. On the exhale, bend the knee, arms out into a T. Inhale, extend, lift high. Exhale, bend.

Inhale, extend, lift high. Exhale, bend. Now inhale, extend, lift high. Flex the ball of your right toes. Turn your left heel in a little bit and sink down into a half squat toward the back of the mat.

Super nice. From here, you can keep your fingers off the floor and kind of breathe and lift your chest, or you can bring your fingers onto the floor. I like to bring my fingers onto the floor because they're not having weight here. And I can rock myself forward and back a little bit, massaging the inner right thigh and creating some space there. One more rock.

Try to keep the hips low. As you bend the front knee, turn the right toes forward. Grab your block, and from there, come into a half moon pose. Left hand onto your hip. Press down into that left hip to find the stability of your standing leg.

And then from there, maybe the left arm reaches up. Maybe you start to turn your gaze either forward or up. Breathe. Breathe. You got it.

One more. As you exhale, hug the left knee in and step the left foot down to the front of the mat. Inhale, lengthen your spine. Exhale, fold. Take the block off to the side.

Bend the knees. Come up into utkatasana, three breaths. Stand up into your left foot. Pick up your right knee. You're stepping back into a high lunge to begin.

And then spin the back heel down to open out into your warrior two. I like this because it's kind of a dramatic opening. Sometimes it's nice to just be dramatic. Extend your front leg. Reach the arms up.

On the exhale, bend the knee arms out into a T. Inhale, extend, lift high. Exhale, bend. Inhale, extend, lift high. Flex the ball of your left toes. Spin the right heel in and then sink down.

If you're not coming down as far as I am, it's totally fine. You can come halfway up and just reach your arms out or forward or you can cup your fingertips on the floor and then move, or what I like to call, moodle around a little bit. I'm a heavy moodler, meaning it's one of my favorite pastimes. I find it really helps find space. From here, stay low in your hips.

Bend the front knee. Reach for your block as you come forward. And once again, half moon, the block might be there underneath your left shoulder. Make sure your left toes aren't tipping to the right. Right hand on your right hip, press down.

That's going to help you find your standing leg. And then whatever you're doing with your head is whatever you're doing with your head. Reach the right arm up. Half moon. One more breath.

And then turn the right hip to step the right foot onto the ground. Inhale, lengthen your spine. And on the exhale, fold. Super nice, team. From here, we're going to do the exhale.

Super nice, team, from here. You're going to step the right foot back, lower the back knee down, step the left knee back, and then come to sit in Vajrasana. From Vajrasana, we're going to come onto our hands and knees and slide the right knee forward. And here, you might need some padding underneath your right sit bone, either a block or a blanket. Walk your left knee back.

Now, you can work with this one of two ways. If your outer hips are very tight, you can bring the heel a little closer to you and work that way. I'm going to slide the right shin and try to make it parallel toward the front of the mat. That's just going to be a bigger hip opening for me. But you can play with whatever you want to play with.

I like to widen my right seat out to the right, lift my chest, and exhale, ripple down. We're going to do a couple of these. Inhale, roll up, snake up, lift up, and exhale, ripple down. Inhale, roll up, snake up, lift up. And this time, we go down and we walk the hands forward and stay.

Try not to let the body fall completely asleep here. Keep kicking the left foot down just a tiny bit and eking your right hip back. Move the breath down into the hips. Two more breaths. Two more breaths.

From there, come all the way up. I'm going to slide my left leg forward. I'm going to give you a few options here. It's really nice to work with a belt. I'm going to loop my belt into a medium loop.

Boom, here we go. From there, if coming into ankle to knee is very challenging for you, you're just going to extend the left leg forward and let it be what it is and bring the right ankle over your left knee. If you have a little bit more space in the hips, then you're going to bend both knees and flex your feet. Now, the loop is going to belt around the knee and the foot and it's going to loop around the knee and the foot on the other side. The purpose of the belt is not to bully your hips into submission.

The purpose of the belt is just to offer a little bit of resistance. Tighten the belt enough that it feels like you're getting something back. You're not trying to lower this knee, the right knee. That's not the purpose. It's just to feel a little container.

From there, find the length of your sits bones. As you fold forward, you might find that there's more space for you to release forward. Now, here, once you're forward, if you have a deep forward fold, you can kind of rest with the forearms down. You can rest your head on a block. You can do sad ballerina, which is one of my personal favorites.

I don't know why. There's just something about it makes me feel like a glum teenager and there's something kind of satisfying about letting myself inhabit that because it's just not a way that I roll generally. One more breath. Inhale, lift up, loosen your belt a smidge, take the belt off to the side and then extend the legs out, give them a little shimmy. We'll come right into the second side.

So we're starting with pigeon. Sweep the right leg back this time. Bring the left leg forward and take a moment to find the good place for yourself. I like to walk my right knee back. That gives me some space and widen my left butt cheek out to the left.

Now, think about what your right toes are doing. Can you point them straight back? Take an inhale, cup your fingertips and on the exhale, bow. Let the inhale slide up the spine like you're snaking up your spine and then exhale, release down. One more, inhale, snake up and exhale, release down and this time we stay.

Keep a little, what's that called, like a little bit of an electric current there. So you're not overworking, but there is a sense that you're awake. Move the breath down into the hips. One more breath. Lift up, slide to your left sit bone or sits bone, extend the right leg forward and here we go.

You can just bring the left ankle over the right knee. If that's already a lot, stay where you are. If you want to bend both knees, then you bend both knees, find your trusty belt and you want the belt buckle somewhere where you can manipulate the length of the belt. This side might be very different from the other side. Be open to that.

Allow for that to be there. Being symmetrical is not all that it's carved out to be. And then tighten the belt just enough so where you can get a sense of being hugged or swaddled and then start to fold forward and as you fold forward you might find that there's more give or more that you can tighten the belt a little bit more and then take whatever situation you took. Last one. Inhale, lift up.

Loosen the belt. Give your legs a little shimmy. Heels of the hands to the roots of the thighs, just wag the thighs. And then from there reach your arms forward, curl your tailbone under and round yourself all the way onto your back. Inhale, lift up.

Inhale, lift up. Inhale, lift up. Deepen your breath. Wiggle your fingers and your toes. Roll up onto one side.

Use your hands to press up to sit. See how you feel. Palms to the heart, deep inhale. Love and light to all beings everywhere, no exceptions. Thanks so much everyone. Namaste.


Jenny S
2 people like this.
Loved this playful, experimental practice 🙌 I also enjoy using the strap because it allows me to go in a bit deeper and it feels so supportive and cozy. Also, I’m getting a kick out of the titles of these practices - adds a little brightness to the day! 🌞
1 person likes this.
Hahaha. thanks Jenny, I appreciate you so much. You are my biggest fan. Thank you for that. And yes, I also love the use of props, they can be such help in going deeper and harder or also in making things a little sweeter. 🤗
Lina S
1 person likes this.
I've enjoyed the sequence with Warrior 2, skandasana and ½ moon!
Lina S thanks! So glad! 
Jal C
1 person likes this.
thank you... I'm a new mom that experiencing wrist pain... so glad having this 
Congratulations! So glad. Not for your wrist pain, obvi, but that I could offer something for you. 🤗
Christel B
1 person likes this.
So good that you’ve incorporated getting up in such creative ways.  It’s so interesting as you said that they can base longevity on the ability to get up off the floor without using your hands to help. Another great class,
1 person likes this.
Christel B glad you enjoyed. I know! It’s fascinating. 

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