30-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 8 - Episode 4

Strength for Balance

30 min - Practice


Open your heart and create a steady strong base for balancing postures in this dynamic flow leading to Dancer Pose. You will feel focused and confident.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block

About This Video


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Happy day, happy day, thanks for joining me. Today we're working on our quads and glute strengthening muscles that will really help us in our balancing postures and then we'll have a nice sweet little restorative posture to open up the front of the body and the quads. So come and grab a seat on your heels with me. Most people like to sit on their heels with a block underneath their seat, so you can put the block between your heels. If you need two blocks, use two, just make sure your knees feel comfortable in this space.

And then right when you find you're settling in, you can bring the palms to prayer and then start to draw your elbows together. Lift your elbows the height of your shoulders, I'm going to peek this way a little bit so you can see me, and just let the head and neck softly roll back left and right. Move the thumbs away from your face, keep lifting the elbows until you feel that little sweet spot of resistance and then enjoy that opportunity to dissolve some of that tension by the neck rotation, wonderful. On your next exhale, engage your core, draw the elbows up and back, round the spine for your cat tilt, and then as you inhale, lift the elbows until they separate. Separate the palms, cactus field goal, the arms, cow tilt.

Exhale, reverse it, palms, forearms, engage the core, round the spine, draw the navel up and back, inhale, lift the elbows, maybe a little higher so you feel a little bit more resistance on your way back to your cow tilt. Reverse it as you exhale, round the spine, and then inhale, lift it up, pause when you get to your cactus field goal arms, reach out with the right fingertips, take the left arm up and over the ear, enjoy the side stretch, breathe into that left side body if you want to feel more, walk the fingertips out a little farther or bend the right elbow, inflate through the left side body and the ribs. Place the left hand on top of the right knee, walk your fingertips behind you, lift and lengthen the spine, you can bring your hand to the sacrum if you need to for the rotation. Lengthen and softly twist to the right, let your right ear drop towards your right tricep to release some of that tension in the left side of the shoulder. Great, come on back to center, cactus field goal the arms, round the spine, engage the core cat, tilt as you exhale, inhale, lift the elbows, separate the palms, cow tilt, cactus field goal arms, one more round, really finding space in the back body with the exhale and opening up the front body with the inhale.

Reach out with your left fingertips and then take the right arm up and over the ear, breathe into that right side body, really inflate with the breath. If you're going deeper, either bend the left elbow or walk the hand out a little bit farther. One more big inhalation and then the exhale, place the right hand on top of the left thigh, walk the left fingertips behind you or bring the left hand to your sacrum, wherever you're at, lift and lengthen and then softly rotate, twist to your left, letting the left ear drop towards your left shoulder, feeling that trapezius stretch on the right side. Great, as you come back to center, tuck the toes under to release the front of the shins and the ankles and we'll sit in broken toe pose just for a moment to stretch the arches. You'll probably feel that, right?

If you don't feel it, just lean back like you're doing the limbo. All right, come on back to your table pose, palms under the shoulders, knees under the hips, stretch out that right leg. Press the toe pads into the earth, push forward with both hands, feeling the hamstring and calf, giving that little knee area a break. For those of you that want a little core strengthening, draw the left knee up into the chest, push down strongly with your hands, draw the navel up to the spine for three, for two, for one. Lower the left knee under your hip, right knee joins it, come up to your fingertips for your cat and cow tilts and table.

Slide to heart, sternum, chin and chest forward, inhale, exhale, round the spine, tailbone down, round the spine, pull the navel up, two more pulses, following the breath. One more. Great, come to your neutral spine, lower the palms to the earth, stretch the left leg, press into the toe pads, feeling that hamstring calf stretch on that side, option of strengthening the arms and chest, add the core, draw the knee up, heel up and hold for five. Keep breathing, four, three, two, last one. Lower the knees to the earth, flip the right palm, give yourself a little wrist stretch for the right palm, right thumb turning out, back up the seat just enough so that you can feel and then shake out that right wrist and we'll do the same to the left.

Flip the left palm, thumb turning out, forearm facing forward, back up your seat. Shake out the left wrist and we'll set up for our first down dog, walk your hands a palm print forward, tuck your toes under, lift the hips to the sky, pedal the legs out one at a time. Feel it out, draw the navel up and back, ear by the biceps, push strongly forward with each finger like you're stretching the mat away from your toes. Lengthen forward to plank pose, engage the core, bend the elbows, lower all the way down. Untuck the toes, replace your palms with your elbows, easy sphinx pose, glide the heart, the sternum, the chest forward, press into the tops of the feet, engage the quads.

Stay here if you're comfortable and you're ready to move into low cobra, replace your elbows with your palms, soften the shoulder blades back and slowly lift up. Feel your way around, any little movement side to side or shoulder shrugs that help you find more ease, find your way there. Lower back down, either press through table or plank on the way back to your down dog. Chest to the sky, chest to the thighs, spinal twisting down dog, bend the left leg, push so strongly forward with the left hand that you can slide your right hand to the center of the mat and look underneath your left underarm. Stay here or reach for the outer left calf ankle or heel with your right hand, furthering the twist, straighten the left leg.

Slide that right hand forward plank pose, pivot your heels to the right side plank on the right leg, feel free to lower that knee to the floor if you need to. We're stepping the left foot to the front of the mat, with or without the help of your left hand, draw the left knee up, step it forward to the front of the mat, lower the right knee to the floor, great. Come up to your fingertips so that you give that little wrist a stretch. This is where our core strengthening starts. Feel free to use a block under your right hand if that's going to help you.

Low lunge, lift the right knee off the floor, bring the left hand to your left hip, hug the left inner thigh to the midline, tap your right knee to your left calf and step it straight back. Good. So we're getting some good quad glute strengtheners, tap and send it back. If you're not feeling enough, come up to your fingertips, less weight on the hands, more weight, more strengthening for the legs. If you can't get enough, keep the left hand here, bring the right hand into prayer, tap and step it back.

You'll feel that tap and step it back, lower the palms to the earth, lower the right knee to the floor, straighten the left leg, pull the toes back and then point the toes to the earth. Dorsey flex the toes, plantar flex, feeling the hamstring in the calf. This will be a nice release after some of that strong work on your quads. The next time you point the toes, bend the left leg, bring the left hand on top of the left thigh, right hand to the sacrum, a little low lunge pulse to release the back hip flexor. Pulsing to open up the front of the hip, tailbone's lengthening down.

Give it one more round of breath. The next time you pulse forward, pause, interlace the hands behind the back, move the wrists away from your seat and then open up the front of the chest. Keep lifting your sternum, keep lifting the chest. You're going to finish up with a little deeper psoas stretch, bring your palms to the floor or the block, right toes untucked, press down into the shin, see if you can lift the right knee off the floor. Be really careful of your ankle on this one.

If you need to feel more, left hand to the left thigh or right hand to the sacrum. Toes untuck, you'll feel the hip flexor and the shin on that one. Lower the hands to the floor, lower the knee to the floor, left leg to the sky. Send it up for your one-legged dog or let's call it a three-legged dog. Lift the left heel to the sky, lift the right heel away from the floor, send that left heel a little higher and then carefully melt that heel down to the earth.

Keep the left leg off the floor as you move to plank pose. Simply lower the left knee with the left leg, right knee with the left leg off the floor. Glide your heart forward, cow tilt the spine and bend your left leg into that scorpion tail. Keep the scorpion tail, bring your forearms to the floor. Glide your heart forward a little softer on the back bend.

Left hand stays if you're reaching back, right hand reaches back for the left foot, lengthen the spine forward and then lift the left knee away from the earth. Keep guiding the heart sternum chest forward for this one and then carefully lower that left knee to the floor, right palm joins the left palm. Stay right here with knees and hips stacked. Walk your hands forward to release the shoulders for puppy pose. Head to the floor, settle in.

Lower the elbows to the floor, slide forward for sphinx pose, untuck the toes. Remember you can stay in sphinx, we're going to do some low back pulses, palms next to the ribs, low cobra pulses. Lift with the inhale, lower with the exhale. Exhale lift, shoulders back, heart forward, exhale lower. Less weight on the palms, come up to your fingertips, back strengthening in cobra pose.

Last two, last one. Tuck the toes under, press through table or plank on the way back to your down dog. Pedal out the legs one at a time. The next time you bend your right leg, keep the right leg bent, push strongly forward with the right hand, spinal twisting dog. Bring the left hand underneath your chest, middle of the mat, peak underneath the right underarm for the twist.

Stay here or left hand reaches for the outer right calf, ankle or heel for a deeper twist. Option of straightening the right leg to really feel here. Excellent, meet you in plank pose, pivot your heels to the left for side plank. Feel free to bring that left knee to the earth, push actively forward and down with your left hand. Stepping the right foot to the front of the mat with or without the help of the right hand.

Lower the right hand, lower the left knee, come up to the fingertips and just lengthen the spine here for a moment. Setting up for the strengthening variation on side two, feel free to use your block underneath your left palm. Put the left toes under, release the left knee, bring the right hand to your outer hip, hug to the midline, tap the left knee to your right calf as you exhale, inhale, extend it back. Pulse with your breath, exhale, hug to the midline, squeeze, adduct, send it back. Less weight on the palm, more weight on the right quad, feel it out.

If you can't get enough, play with bringing the left hand into prayer as you step forward and back. Last one, great. Step it all the way back, lower the palms to the floor, lower the knee to the floor and straighten the right leg. Feel free to use your blocks here. Point and flex the foot, feel out the hamstring and calf connection.

Enjoy that release there in the calf and hamstring as you release the quad. Extend the right leg, right hand on top of the right thigh, left hand to your sacrum, low lunge pulses, opening up the front of your left hip, great. The next time you pulse forward, hang out for a moment, take the non-habitual interlace of the hands behind the back, move the wrists away from your sacrum, lift the sternum and chest in opposition so you don't feel anything on the lower back. Looking forward or start to look up. Starting off with that psoas stretch, bring your palms to the floor or the blocks, untuck the back toes, push down into the top of your foot, lift the knee off the floor.

This is great for most people. Hang out right here, if you need more, right hand right thigh or left hand to the sacrum. Feel the opening of the front of the hip after all those taps that we just did, nice everybody. Lower the palms to the earth, untuck the left toes, lift that right leg to the sky, three-legged dog. Keep the right leg up as you move to plank pose.

Keep the right leg off the floor as you carefully lower the left knee down to the earth. Scorpion tail the right leg and lower your forearms down to the earth. Elbows are lined up underneath the shoulders. Slide your heart forward, stay here or reach back with your left hand for the right foot. Keep moving your sternum forward to keep that lower back safe as you move the right knee away from the floor.

Two more breaths. One more. Lower the right knee to meet the left, lower the left hand to the floor, stay here or walk your hands forward for that second opportunity in puppy pose. Head to the floor or chin and chest. Sliding forward from here to your Sphinx pose, engaging the quads to help you lower down.

We're going to go right into a chest opener. So lower all the way to the earth, bring the left palm to your sacrum. Make sure the palm is down, elbow is up, roll to that left bent elbow and this will open up the front of the chest on the left side. The closer you get your right glute to the floor, the more you'll feel. If you want to bend the right leg or even the left leg, knees dropping to the right will help you feel more in the front of your left pec muscle.

Good. Creating more space for the back bends today, heart openers. Come on back to center, sitting up for side two, bring the right palm to your sacrum, palm facing down, elbow to the sky, press with your left palm and roll to the right. Same opportunity, the closer you get your left glute to the floor, the more you'll feel in the front of your right pectoral muscle. Squeeze the right inner thigh to the midline if you want to feel more.

This is going to set us up for a nice cobra pulse here. Come on back to center, palms next to the ribs, inhale glide forward. Really stretch the front of your body, press down into the tops of your feet, squeeze to the midline, lower down. As you pulse up, less weight in the palms, more weight in the fingers. We've been here once before.

If you're ready for a little bit more back strengthening, lower the arms by the side. You won't lift as much, but inhale lift, exhale lower, heart forward, shoulders back for three. Last two, last one. Arms next to the ribs, inhale for your cobra or maybe even up dog now that you're feeling a little bit more space in the back and press back to the down dog. Taking our journey forward to the front of the mat, bend the knees, look to the hands, walk or float your feet to the front of the mat.

Lengthen the spine for your flat back and just take a nice soft fold. Relax the muscles of the face, relax the jaw. Setting up for supported chair pose, bring the palms just above the knees, lengthen the spine for a flat back. Try to get your back parallel to the floor, engage your core, interlace your hands behind the back and move your wrists away from the seat. Straighten just your left leg and move your wrists over to the right as you turn and open to the right, move the wrists away from you to open up the front of your chest.

Bend the left leg and straighten the right leg. Try to keep the flat back, wrists moving away from the sacrum. Bend both knees, release the arms, rise all the way up, interlace your hands behind the base of the head and enjoy just a soft little back bend here. Any intuitive movements as you lift the chest, the sternum and the heart, great. Coming back into prayer, pause for a second, find your feet grounding into the earth.

We're going to play with a little bit of balancing movement here, shifting your weight to your left leg, extend your right leg the height of your hip, find your focal point, bring your hands to the hips and just start to lift that right leg up, squeezing to the midline option one, stay here, option two, reach for hamstring, calf or sides of the feet. You got three more breaths, keep lengthening the spine. Two more, keep the leg off of the floor, bring your hands to your hips, step the right leg all the way back to your high lunge, feet hip distance. Bring the arms by the side, biceps facing forward and then take a bicep curl as you straighten the legs, so flex the bicep and then straighten, flex the tricep, bend both knees, bend your back leg as well, flex the bicep as you straighten the legs, pull it up to the midline and then bend both legs, flex the tricep by pushing the wrist back. You got three more, this would be a good one to grab a couple of cans from the kitchen and add a little bit more weight, two more, finishing with that last one.

As you bend the back leg, interlace your hands behind the back, move the wrists away from your waist, lengthen forward, bow over the left leg, step your right foot forward a foot, stay here or play with lifting the right leg off the floor for a warrior three interlace. Keep the interlace, bend your left leg and step your right foot forward for interlace chair pose. Keep the interlace, rise all the way up, bring the knuckles to your sacrum, squeeze to the midline and enjoy a little back bend, opening up the front of the chest, great. Go ahead and release. We're going to set up for dancer pose on that same leg that was stepping back, so shake out that left leg if you need to, grab a strap if you need to, find your focal point, bend the right leg, reach for the top of your shin, your ankle on the right foot, pinky toe side of the foot is easier, flipping the palm bicep facing out big toe a little bit more challenging.

Bring the left hand to your heart, take a tiny bow forward like a quarter of a bow forward and then start to move your heel away from your seat and then extend the left palm in opposition from your right foot. If you're lifting up, the right heel lifts at the same time as your left palm for your dancer pose and like all dancer poses, shake out the legs when you're done. Okay, let's get ready and set up for side two. Palms into prayer. Find your focal point, your dristi, shift your weight to your right foot, look in front of you, draw the left knee up into the chest, slowly extend the left leg, you can bring the hands to the hamstring, the calf or the sides of the feet.

If you're feeling the balance, keep extending the spine. Hands to the hips, step back to your high lunge with the left leg, feet hip distance makes this a lot easier, arms by the side, palms facing forward. You got some more work for the biceps, straighten the right leg, curl the bicep, flex the bicep, straighten the arms, bend both legs, flex the tricep. We got four more, pulse with your breath, straightening as you rise, bending both legs as you flex the tricep, move your wrist back in space. You got two more, pulse with your breath, one more.

The next time you straighten the arms, interlace your hands the non-habitual way behind the back, move the wrists away from your sacrum, lengthen forward, step your left foot forward, stay here or play with the balance, shift your weight to the right leg, warrior three with the interlace. For two, for one, bend the right leg, step the left foot forward for chair pose and then rise up, knuckles to the sacrum, little back bend, squeeze to the midline as you lift your heart. Release the arms, shake out the legs, you made it to dancer pose on the second side, our focus balance pose, bend into that right leg softly, so it's a micro bend, so you feel the muscles in the right leg, find your focal point, if you're using a strap, set it up, grabbing the pinky toe side of the left foot with the left hand or flipping the palm, big toe side of the foot bicep, facing out, bring the right hand to the heart, hug the knees to the midline, a little bow forward, just a quarter of a bow, lengthen the heart forward as you lift the left knee away from you and then start to extend your right palm. Left heel and right palm lift together, keep squeezing to the midline with your right thigh so you find your balance, give it two more breaths if you got it, one more and then great, everybody dance it out, shake out those legs, you should be feeling the legs, okay, palms under prayer, close the eyes for a moment, we're going to float back to plank and lie on our stomach for our finishing posture today, keep your blanket handy nearby, inhale the palms to the sky, exhale forward fold, palms to the shins, lengthen the spine, flat back, exhale walk or float back to plank pose, engage the core, lower all the way down, test the back bend, low medium high cobra or maybe even up dog, perfect, come into table pose, palms underneath the shoulders, so from our table pose we're going to grab the blanket and set the blanket up for supported bow pose, now when you lie on your blanket we've got a nice rolled blanket so that we can bring the blanket right to where this just below the sternum is on the body, so as you set this up you may have to wiggle around a little bit to find that space where the sternum is and make sure the sternum is just above the blanket, this is going to support us in our back bend here, bring your elbows underneath your shoulders and then start by bending the knees and just seeing how this feels right here, glide your heart, your sternum, your chest forward, if you're not feeling any pressure in the lower back and you're still finding that lengthened space you can reach back with one hand at a time, once you grab the foot softly push away, lengthen the spine this will give you a little bit more height so that you can grab the other foot and then you've got this beautiful support here, did I tell you this was our hold? Try to find some ease in this posture as you move the heels away the heart, sternum, chin and chest lift, breathe full inhales into the upper chest and heart area, don't worry about inhaling to the belly, breathe into it, take some time, we're going to be here for five more breaths if you need to come out of it at any time feel free, if you're really enjoying this flip your palms so the biceps are turning out grabbing the big toe sides of the feet and then squeeze to the oh yes squeeze to the midline and lift your heart and you really feel this in the front of your hip flexors, all right I think we've done five breaths go ahead and lower it all the way down, come to your elbows move the blanket out of your way and just slide your elbows forward in front of you give those knees a little bend and a little wind chill wiper left and right, we're going to flip over to our back and release the glutes and the lower back just as a safety precaution so walk your hands back to table swing the legs around and carefully lie on your back make sure you're engaging your core as you come on back down once you get comfortable lying on the back take your feet hip distance place the right ankle on top of the left knee and give yourself a little hip opening figure four posture little wind chill wiper left and right to massage the glutes and the side body we did a lot of hip closing and strengthening today so our counter balance posture is opening the hip the next time the knee comes back to center press the navel to the spine engage the core sacrum presses down draw the left knee into the chest this could be a great spot to reach through and hang out right here make sure the knees feeling okay if you want to go deeper into reclining pigeon grab the right foot with the left hand cradle the right knee with the right hand and lower the foot wait till your hip starts to release try not to force anything on this one because we just did a lot of hip closing so it might take a while to release the outer hip if you are cradling the leg make sure that the head stays on the floor as you straighten the left leg relax the face relax the jaw it sends a message to the rest of the body to relax and find ease excellent bend your right leg again lower it to the floor place the left ankle on top of the right knee cactus feel go the arms give yourself a little rock left and right to release the glutes we did some nice glute strengthening today so these are our glute releasers next time you come to the midline with that right knee navel down engage your core sacrum presses to the earth and then maybe reach through for reclining figure four this is a wonderful place to hang out and stop if you are modifying stay here if you're moving into a deeper expression hold on to the left leg keeping the right leg bent so your head stays on the floor as that glute outer hip starts to release you might slowly sink a little bit deeper into the posture relax the muscles in the face and the jaw remember even that little smile helps send a wave of relaxation to the muscles that we are trying to release wonderful slowly release the left leg straighten both legs if there's any other posture you need to release before shavasana mindfully do it give yourself a little wiggle enjoy the feeling in the body as you opened up the front and backs of the hips close the eyes and just settle in to the rise and fall of your breath thank yourself for creating this time and space for your journey today feel free to hang out here a little bit longer and really savor all the effects of the practice if you'd like to join me in a comfortable seat take the arms over the head and hug the knees into the chest give yourself a little rock left and right massaging the muscles along the spine rock over to your right or left and help yourself up to your comfortable seat that was a nice full flow today I hope you feel more open in the heart space and you feel that strength that helps you with your future balancing postures thanks for joining me today happy day


Kare H
2 people like this.
Refreshing class! Afterward I read your bio and said, Well, of course! Thank you for teaching here.
Hi Kare H it's great to hear from you and so glad you resonated with this one! Lucky to be a part of this platform! Happy you are here as well!
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Wow! another wonderful brief flowing journey opening up and strengthening. Thank you Wade.
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Wade, for this excellent yoga practice! Namaste! 🌞
1 person likes this.
Thank you Sandra Židan for joining me on this one!!
1 person likes this.
Christel B I'm so glad you are feeling the 30 min flows! This is my first time doing them and I couldn't help but pack a lot into them....it's like a power half hour -hahah
Kate M
Happy Day to you too my friend! Lovely practice! : )
Lina S
1 person likes this.
A wonderful class. I really appreciate your cueing - precise and timely. The tip you gave in dancer's pose (hand and foot lift together) helped me get further in the pose. I've enjoyed the cat/cow variation with cactus arms. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
YES! happy Day Kate M thanks for flowing with me!
Great to hear from you Lina S and thanks for the feed back - it's always great to hear what is helping different bodies!! Glad yours is a happier one!
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