Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 8

Full Body Release

25 min - Practice


This class will help you feel a sense of openness and receptivity in your entire being. After opening stretches, we take our time in supported wide-legged poses to find space in the side body, backs of the legs, pelvis, and groin. We then come to our bellies to open the shoulders, chest, and hips in Sphinx pose variations. You will feel open and easeful.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket (2)

About This Video


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Welcome, friends. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to join me on your mat. Today's practice, you're going to need a minimum of two blankets, possibly three. I'm starting seated on one and I have my second blanket available, but if your hips like a little bit more height, please feel free to sit up on two stacked blankets and have a third blanket available to you. So we'll get started just in Sukhasana. Letting those ankles tucked under the knees allow the heart and the spine to rise tall and just take a moment to land into your breath. Big deliberate inhale through the nose. Exhale everything to arrive into the here and now. Feel free to keep those eyes closed as that feels comfortable and just begin some really gentle side leans from left to right and just see what's showing up for you. Feel into the waist, feel into the ribs, start to take it over as deep as it feels yummy and comfortable for you.

And the next time we lean over to the right, we're going to go ahead and let that right hand come over to the yoga mat, root down so it feels supportive. Let the left arm extend out turning the palm open to the sky, broaden through the chest and with your next inhale lift up towards the sky and with an exhale gently lean over across the body to the left. And again just see what feels yummy, maybe turning the heart a little to the floor, turning the heart a little bit more open to the ceiling and then with your next exhale we're going to let this lifted left arm come all the way out in front of the face and just touch the floor gently with your fingertips. Feel into the back body, the back ribs with an in breath, reach back up to the sky, let the heart and the gaze rise, exhale come across and just gently touch. One more like that, inhale up and open and with this exhale I invite you to place that left hand onto your right knee and as we do so let the right hand start to slide around behind the back, sit up nice and tall now through your spinal column and with your next exhalation gently turn and twist to the right side. Feel free to bring the neck into play by bringing the chin a little bit closer to the shoulder, bringing the gaze behind the back. To unwind we're going to let the head come back around first, unwinding a corkscrew shoulders, upper back, mid back, low back to center and land. Take a full deep breath in here, exhale just allow yourself to observe. When you're ready we'll take that same experiment to the left side. So we're going to gently lean to the left, let that left hand come over to the earth, let it feel nice and solid, right arm extends out, palm flips up to the sky as we reach up over and across the body. You can play with turning the heart a little to the floor, play with turning the heart a little bit more open to the sky and then with our next exhale let that right arm reach all the way over and across the face, touch the floor and then inhale expand big and wide to the sky. Exhale coming across, feel that into the back shoulder blade, the back ribs, really yummy stretch for that ql at the lower back area. Next time we come across let that right hand just come to the left knee, let the left hand start to slide around and behind us as we sit up nice and tall and elongated.

When you're ready gently turn and twist to the left side, you're in charge of your body always see what feels good for you, steady breaths and we'll unwind from the head and neck first coming around, shoulders follow and the rest of the spine follows. Pause for a moment at center, tune back into your breath and feel the effects. When you're ready eyes are going to open and we're going to open our legs nice and wide towards a nice big v-shape that upavista and so I'll invite you to adjust your blanket again as you need. You may want to scooch the blanket back a little bit just so your heels can land on your yoga mat so a little bit of padding underneath the heels and we'll just take a moment to kind of shake out the ankles, wiggle the toes, let those feet just be floppy to start. We're just opening up through the groin and then we're just going to start to lean from side to side and as I lean from side to side I can use my hands as a little self-massage shul. Check in with the calves, give a little rub to the shins, the thighs, just notice if there's any tender spots, encouraging circulation down into the legs and then the next time we lean over to the right go ahead and take a hold wherever you land. There's no destination, we're not trying to get to the foot just wherever it's comfortable. Go ahead and give both of the feet a little bit more active dorsiflexion, toes to the sky and then again we're going to reach that left arm out, palm lifts to the ceiling, reach up over and across the body. Big breaths into that full expansive side waist and ribs and again you can kind of play with the chest, see what feels good. You can also play with the head. If it's straining for the head you can always look down towards the floor or perhaps turn your gaze up and open to the underbelly of that left arm. With an inhale this left arm is going to lift us almost like a little pulley bringing us up to the sky and back to center. Pause for a moment, take a breath in and exhale it out. Just waking things up, becoming spacious. Same experiment to the left side. Now remember this side may be totally different. Hold on wherever it works for you, right arm reaches out, palm turns up over and across the body. Open the heart, feel free to play with where that head and neck want to go. Maybe even shaking the head as if you're saying no. Full deliberate breaths into the side body stretch and then again like that lifted arm has a string pulling us up to the sky. Lift and rise, torso follows. Pause at center, take some inventory and then when you're ready we're going to start to gently bring our right heel in towards our groin. So I'm going to invite you to bring your hand under your kneecap just to help support that knee joint as you tuck that right heel in towards the groin. And as we tuck that right heel in towards the groin again adjust your seat whenever you need on your blanket stacks. Left foot is actively flexed and again we're going to start to extend over to the left side. So similar to what we just did and then let that right hand come to the rib cage and explore that opening. Can we widen the space between each individual rib? Those intercostal muscles becoming expansive and then we'll reach that right arm out. We'll bring it up over and across the head but this time we're going to let the arm dangle. So let the elbow bend, let it rest across the head, soften the jaw, feel into that space and then inhale we'll rise up, lifting again and exhale. That right hand's going to come behind that right knee. So it's rooting to the floor, feels nice and solid and we're going to rotate towards this right knee. So I'm going to press into the earth with my right hand, rotate the right knee to the floor. That left leg is going to come to the big toe side of the foot, the inner arch and then with a nice big in breath open that left arm to the sky, big and broad through that entire left side body, this gate pose variation. Take another in breath with our exhale, let the left arm start to lower and then you're just really gently lots of control. Lower that left hip and buttock back to the blanket, come back to center. We'll open up that right leg and switch sides. So give some support to the left knee, bring that heel into the groin and as we bring that heel into the groin, take your time getting set up flexing into that right foot. We're going to lean over to the right side, take a hold where it works for you, bring that left arm out, palm to the sky, up over and across the head and then again we're just going to bend the elbow, let it rest. This can be a yummy one that you want to stay in a little bit longer so feel free to pause the video at any point in time in the practice. Give yourself as much time as you need to come out. We're going to inhale that left arm up to the sky, rise up through the torso once again and now that left hand is going to come back behind onto the yoga mat. Feel that support, we're going to rotate to this left knee. So the hip and buttock rise up, we come to the knee and shin, that right foot rotates to the big toe side. Inhale big and expansive. Allow yourself to open up, take another in breath and then with our out breath slowly lower down bringing that hip and buttock back to the mat and the blanket come back up, pause. We're going to let that leg go long and then we're going to bring both of the legs together out in front of us and again just give yourself a moment to check in. How does that feel?

That spaciousness we've created. Give a little circling to your ankles, a little wiggle to your toes and then we're going to transition into a tabletop position and now is when you're going to need that second blanket. So as you flip your way into a tabletop position we're going to take two yoga blankets folded in thirds, these little rectangle shapes and you're going to place them on either side of your yoga mat going vertical right about halfway midway point on your mat. From here just come into a tabletop position and take a few rounds of cat cow just to feel into that spinal column moving that energy. We're now going to transition down onto our bellies so into a prone position. So as we come forward you can let those knees walk back slowly lower down onto the belly. Go ahead and stack your hands as that feels comfortable and allow your cheek to rest. Surrendering everything, release any grip through the hips and the buttocks and start to tune into your low belly diaphragmatic breath here. So with the inhalation my belly is going to press like a balloon into the floor and with an exhale everything softens as if that balloon is deflating. Again inhale big and wide into the belly. Exhale to deflate. As your spine has acclimated to this prone position no rush. When you're ready begin to peel the cheek up begin to peel the heart up and we're just going to walk those elbows right underneath our shoulders and as we walk our elbows under our shoulders forearms and palms come to the floor out in front of us and then I invite you just to play with spreading your feet a little bit wider.

So tops of the feet a little bit more towards the corners of your yoga mat. Give a little shimmy and hip sway, pelvic rock just to soften up through the glutes and the lower back. See how things are feeling and from here as we press into the floor with our forearms and elbows take a couple nice big shoulder loops up into the ears and back and down up into the ears and back and down and just feel into that release like we're broadening through the chest and then next time we roll the shoulders back so away from our earlobes broadening through the collarbones the front of the sternum rises bring the gaze forward towards the horizon take a big breath in here. Exhale it all. Finding just a little bit more awareness towards the front side of your hip points front side of the pubic bone connecting with the floor and then to stretch out that neck that cervical spine on our next exhale gently let that head start to drop forward head like a bowling ball so bringing the chin towards the chest shoulders still sliding down the back away from the ears and then gently give the head a little shake as if we're saying no and then give the head a little shake as if we're saying yes and then maybe even a little exploration of your jaw open and close the mouth wiggle around the cheeks and the nose and the lips really encouraging some relaxation and blood flow into the muscles of the face once that feels complete inhale lifting through the gaze and then with our exhale restacking the hands elbows wide and I'll invite you to bring your opposite cheek down to rest this time slide the legs back together inhale big balloon belly breath into the floor feel that gentle compression exhale to deflate begin to lift the cheek up lift the gaze up and now we're going to use those blankets on either side of us so I'm going to start off with my left knee and what I'm going to do is take this blanket I'm going to bring it in along my side and then I'm going to lift up my left hip and left knee and let it rest on the blanket now there's usually some adjustments that need to happen right feel into your joints feel into your body we're working towards ish a 90 degree angle with that knee and calf and shin and then we're just going to come back to rest right cheek onto the hand so I'm looking to the same direction as my knee and just allow everything to surrender see if you can soften any grip through your outer hip relax any holding through that left inner thigh I feel back into that low belly diaphragmatic breath now this can be a really yummy one that you want to stay in for a longer period of time so again feel free to pause the video maybe even set a little timer this can be a really therapeutic posture but when you're ready to join me to rise up we're going to start to lift the cheek we're keeping the knee where it is on the blanket walking the elbows back under the shoulders forearms back to the floor so that sphinx pose variation and preparation as we shrug the shoulders down the back and inhale open and broaden the heart take a couple breaths here see what's showing up and then with your exhale restacking the hands and we're just going to slide that knee back leg long and we'll turn the opposite cheek down to the hands to rest take a big breath in exhale with a when you're ready we're switching sides lifting the head bringing our gaze over to that right side blanket we'll place that right knee on that blanket adjust for your joints feel into that padding we'll come back down resting onto our belly resting onto our heart encouraging the release of any gripping stretching check in with your hip check in with your buttock check in with that right inner thigh and groin and again staying here as long as feels correct for you today and when you're ready to join me the hub begins to rise the elbows start to walk under forearms to the floor broaden the chest shoulder blades away from the earlobes take a couple nice big breaths here take another inhale and exhale lower back towards the mat that right knee slides off the blanket legs to long and this time i invite you as you stack your hands to bring your forehead onto your stacked hands so we have a nice straight neutral spinal column a little bit of space for you to breathe between your mat and the nose and mouth and then we'll give a bend into both knees lifting the feet up to the ceiling circle the ankles around a few times wiggle the toes get rid of any little rice crispy kinks and then just gentle windshield wipers here let those feet sway from right to left soften up through that low back once that feels complete for you let the legs drop long we'll bring the hands to the floor we're going to press up and back just briefly into any variation of child's pose your body's craving just to counter that prone work rising up and we're going to transition onto our backs to start to prepare for shavasana so you do have two blankets available to you so if you know you like some support under your head or some support underneath your knees feel free as always to use that and we'll just land with knees bent feet on the floor arms resting to the sides pausing here to feel into the effects on your body begin to gently drop knees to the right knees to the left just a few windshield wipers here next time knees fall with gravity to the right let that head gently turn to the left and without doing anything forceful we're not trying to arrive anywhere just allow gravity to hold you here into this gentle twist slow and deliberate breaths into the belly inhale back to center and exhale again let gravity just bring those knees as far to the left as feels comfortable head gently rotates to the right slowing things down inhale back to center head and knees and with our exhale coming into the shape of shavasana which really is infinite find the shape that your body's craving again feel free to use those blankets as a little padding as you'd like softening through the jaw as we find more spaciousness in our mouths a gentle parting of the lips as they become more kissable and please give yourself as much time here as you have available just to allow yourself to simply be when you're ready to return take another big breath in through the nose exhale with an audible as we start to wiggle the fingers and toes step those feet back onto the yoga mat gently roll to your side press into the earth and rise up take a moment just to feel into your spine feel into your hips hands together at the heart my hope is that this practice allows you to feel a little bit more open and receptive as you move out into your day and relationships namaste


Lina S
3 people like this.
A really feel-good practice!
Nina G
2 people like this.
Thank you - it was a fun practice. Namaste
Kari Sims Anthon
Lina S I am so glad you felt good! Thank you!

Kari Sims Anthon
Nina G Thank you for playing along! I hope to practice together again soon :)

Sandra Židan
Thanks, Kari, for this wonderful relaxing practice! Namaste! 💝💓💖
Beatriz O
1 person likes this.
Loved it!  Thank you, Kari!  
Kari Sims Anthon
Beatriz O thanks so much for practicing with me 🙏🏼
Erin C
1 person likes this.
I've done this one before, but man does it feel good at the end of an office day!!!
Kari Sims Anthon
Erin C I am so happy to hear that my friend. Thanks so much for taking some time to unwind with me :)
Laurie  P
2 people like this.
This is perfect to unwind after a day at work! Thank you! I feel so much better! :)
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