Yoga for Mobility Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Opposites Balance

30 min - Practice


This dynamic flow moves through asymmetrical shapes to attune your mind to the right and left side of your body, increasing your confidence with coordination and balance. You will feel stable and alert.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block

About This Video


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Hello everyone, I'm glad you're here to practice today and I look forward to sharing a practice with you that focuses on concentration and balance. So for class we'll appreciate having a block and a blanket at some point and we're going to begin on our back with no props and I invite you to come onto your back with bent legs and make yourself comfortable on the floor with your feet as wide as you like. Some of you might enjoy your knees falling in towards each other, others might keep their knees hip distance apart or a little bit wider. I invite you to bring your hands up towards the upper corners of your chest and if you can here let your elbows rest on the floor out to your sides as you relax your gaze. Some of you might even close your eyes and start to feel the ground underneath you.

Different places you're feeling contact from your head down to your feet and then as you're settling maybe taking a little bit more time to really scan down through the right side of your body and get familiar with where your shoulder blade is, where the back of the right rib cage is, where you feel contact with the pelvis on your right side and even for a moment can you feel your whole right foot on the ground and scan back up towards your left side and kind of sense and feel where your left shoulder blade is in relationship to the ground. Is it higher or lower than your right sides and sensing where your rib cage is on the left which ribs are floating which ones might be on the ground sensing that left side of the pelvis feel lighter or heavier than your right side and then the left foot we feel the whole foot for a moment pressing into the floor. And then from the outer scan now let's see if we tuned a little bit more inward and just take a moment as you breathe in through your left nostril can you notice maybe a little bit more fullness in the left side of your lung where your hand is even though we're filling up both lungs can we just pay a little more attention to contact on your left side. And then when you're ready to breathe into that right side just pay attention to that right lung how it's filling up into your right hand and that slide your hands down towards the base of your ribs abdominal area and just for a moment now see if you can breathe in through your left nostril and let your awareness travel towards your right hand as you breathe in through your left nostril then you exhale from your right hand up to your left nostril and then imagine as you breathe in through your right nostril that you're breathing down towards your left hand exhaling from your left hand up to your right nostril so we'll keep playing again with opposites now as we stretch our arms down to your sides let's take a moment to stretch your left leg down to the floor send some energy into that left leg and then reach your right arm all the way back by your ear let's kind of feel into that long diagonal line from your right hand to your left leg just feel that opposite for a moment range of motion and then bring your left leg back and your right hand back to your side now try your right leg to the floor and your left arm back by your ear take a moment send a little bit of energy into that reach keeping neutral pelvis and then right leg bends left arm at your side let's go a little faster so you go left leg and right arm stretch back to neutral right leg left arm stretch back to neutral one more time left leg and right arm neutral and then right leg left arm and then neutral now tip your knees towards your chest so your shins are more parallel to the floor now from here take just your left leg down as your right arm goes back by your ear come back to your neutral now take your right leg down as your left arm reaches back by your ear and back to neutral now a little faster and then back to neutral now a little faster left leg right arm neutral right leg left arm neutral last one left leg right arm neutral right leg left arm and neutral okay last piece here legs up in the air as straight as you can and they might be slightly bent our knees might be slightly bent now try your left leg and right arm drop them to the floor come back up right leg and left arm reach into that diagonal back to our neutral now a little faster left leg right arm neutral right leg left arm neutral one more time left leg and right arm neutral and then left arm right leg neutral how's everybody's brain doing shake up your legs and your arms here right now let's go ahead and put your feet down on the floor and just get oriented back into our neutral position right now from here lift your head up please take your hands under the back of your head now tip your knees one more time here towards your chest now let's stretch your right leg parallel to the floor without it touching the ground lift your head and shoulders and we're twisting right elbow toward left knee come back to center with your maybe head shoulders floating left leg forward twist towards your right leg back to neutral right leg forward twist to the left back to center left leg forward to twist to the right and back to center and try to find your rhythm maybe just a couple more times twisting towards your opposite leg and you don't need to curl up all that much to make this effective to turn on these front abdominal muscles maybe getting a little bit of stretch through the back of your neck as you're twisting to one side okay last one put your head down please bring your arms down to the side of your body and let's have your feet just a little bit wider than hip distance apart for our bridge where we're going to lift your pelvis and your arms and send your arms all the way back by your ears okay make sure your feet feel wide enough and far enough forward that you feel spacious in your lower back right now we're going to lower just your left arm down as you lower your spine and buttocks and right at the end turn your nose a little bit to the left then you look straight up as you're lifting your hips and your left arm look up towards the ceiling as you lower your hips and spine take just your right arm down and turn your nose to the right lift your hips look straight up right arm back by your ear and both arms come back down and we'll find our neutral let's do that one more time lift your hips and both arms go all the way back towards your ears now just your left arm comes down as you lower your spine turn your nose to the left lift your hips your left arm goes back by your ear look straight up and just your right arm comes down as you lower your spine and turn your nose to the right lift your hips and your right arm goes all the way back by your ears stay lifted and then both arms come down as you lower your spine Both arms come down as you lower your spine. All right, now let's take your left foot and hang your left foot ankle over that right knee area, just in front of the knee or lower thigh.

And from here, we're gonna do a little, what I call figure four tip. If you open your arms a little bit wider to the side and start to tip your legs over to the right. So this is a place where your right left foot might like to end up on a block so that your left hip is just starting to leave the ground and your foot can rest on a block or you can rest your left foot on the floor if you feel like you like tipping over more. Let your right hand grab your left knee. And so you might be pressing your left knee forward away from your chest.

Now let's flip your left arm and maybe your right arm into goal post arm position. Once your left knee feels like it's in a good spot, look straight up towards the ceiling. Just like gravity, take your arms back towards the floor and letting your breath travel again down that left side of your body. Take one more full breath as you are here. Let's tip on back to center, maybe arms straight.

Put that left foot down and if it was helpful to have a block on your first side, you might put a block over on your left side as you hang your right foot over that left knee area. And then we're gonna tip our torso a bit over to the left and I'll show my foot on the block. Left hand might be pushing that right knee a little bit forward or maybe you slide your hand further down towards your ankle. So somewhere along the way, your right buttock is off the floor and maybe we tune into that early stretch through the outer right side of your body. If your right foot feels stable now, let's flip our arms back to goal post.

Almost feel like you're trying to belt your shoulders back into the floor. Gravity, take the weight of that right hip down away from your right rib cage. And take one more breath here. Let's go ahead and tip over onto your back. Both feet on the floor.

And let's get rid of that block. Right, so maybe in transition as we grab your legs and get ready to bring yourself all the way up into that upright position. And now if we turn sideways, we're gonna tip over to actually face the ground. And this is where you might want a blanket for some padding for underneath your knees. So I'd like to put the blanket about the center of the mat as you get situated with your knees on the blanket and bring your hands forward under your shoulders.

Right, when you're in your tabletop position, we start to move into a child's pose where you move your hips back in space and bring your head down, but maybe not to the floor. If you feel like it's a little vulnerable to have your head floating here, I wanna show the option where you could also have a block where you might rest your forehead on a block if you don't like your head floating. I'll show the floating version right now. So we're in almost extended child's pose. Your hips are somewhat above the knees or a little further back.

Now keep your left hand where it is and swing your right hand way back by your right ankle or right foot. And see if you can let your fingers and your hands start to wander away from each other. And maybe for some of you, the forehead comes down to the floor. So we're finding that long diagonal stretch from your left hand at the top of your mat to your right hand reaching back by your ankle. Take a big breath into maybe the back of the rib cage, back of the lungs, and try to float them a little bit towards the sky.

Flip your head and swing your right hand forward to the top of the mat. Then then take your left hand back as you lower your forehead down to your block or to the floor. And take a moment to really energize that reach between your right hand and your left. The left hand is walking back towards your left foot. Can we fill up the back of that right lung a little bit more here?

Lift your head and come back now to your tabletop and maybe bring your knees a little closer together. So we're gonna balance as we swing the left leg up in the air behind you and then right arm up by your ear. Now, as we round the back, make a fist with your right hand and bring your elbow towards your knee. Left leg kicks back, right arm reaches forward. And find your rhythm, make that fist and bring your elbow toward knee.

Left leg back, right arm forward. Elbow to knee. Reach out long. And one more time, elbow to knee. And then put left knee down and right hand down.

All right, stabilize yourself, respread your hands as you swing your right leg straight back. Left arm up by your ear. And then bring your left elbow to your right knee. Kick back the right leg, reach forward through the left arm. Round as you bring elbow toward knee.

Kick back. Elbow to knee. Kick back. And one last time, elbow to knee. And then reach back and then come back to neutral tabletop.

And maybe curl your toes under just to get a little stretch as you walk your hands towards your knees and then we'll come up to standing on the knees. And just give the toes just a little wake up for a second. And then maybe put the tops of the toes back down on the floor. So from here, I'm gonna invite you to raise your arms up towards your ears. Start to drop your right arm down to your side.

And at the same time, we're gonna hinge from the hips and reach out through that left hand as you reach back with your right. Swing the right arm back up, look forward. Drop your left arm down to your side and swing it further back as you hinge from your hips and come forward. Left arm up, lift up to neutral. Let's again, swing right arm back, hinge forward, look down.

Swing right arm forward, lift up. Left arm swings back as you reach forward through that right arm. Swing all the way back up. Let's do one more cycle. Right arm back, left arm forward.

Swing back up, left arm swings back, right arm reaches forward. And then come all the way back up, arms in the air and let your arms rest down at your side for a second. Right now, let's step your right foot forward and have your right hand on your right leg and curl your back toes under this time. As you're standing here for just a moment, let your left toes press into the floor, right foot presses into the floor. And let's try now to swing your left arm up by your ear.

As you press into your lower leg, you're gonna lift your left knee off the blanket. Now swing your right arm back more behind you. As you lower your left knee and arm, raise your right arm up by your ear. So we can always push into our right leg or we can press into the feet and try to launch up. As your left arm goes up, your right leg arm goes back.

Lower your left knee as your right arm reaches up. Press into your feet. You can press into your right leg to lift or skip that part and reach your left arm up, right arm back. Let's go a little bit faster. Press down, swing your left arm up, right arm back.

Lower down, I'll show the pushing into the left leg. As you lift your left arm up, then swing your arm back. Last one, press down to lift up. And then as you lower, hold that right leg. Lean back so it's a little bit easier to transfer and put your right knee on the blanket.

Then we'll take your left leg forward and please do rest your left hand on your thigh at least the first time. Curl your back toes under. And just feel what it's like to swing your right arm up as you press into your feet. Then lift your right knee and then swing your left arm back as your right arm goes up. As you lower your right knee, lift your left arm in the air.

Again, we can press into your left leg or skip that part as you lift up, swinging right arm to the ceiling. Left arm reaches back. Mindfully lower down, left arm in the air, right arm back. Press down to lift up. Right hand to the ceiling, left hand to the floor.

Lower your right knee, left arm up. One more time, kind of playing with your rhythm which might be slower or faster than I'm cueing. Next time that you come down, let's stay with the knee down. Hold your left leg so it's a little easier for you to transfer with your left knee to the blankets. Curl your toes under and we're gonna take a moment to stretch your feet, grab the blankets, and we're gonna fold that blanket up and then get the blanket out of your way.

And then let's go ahead and come up to stand. Now that we're standing, I'm gonna turn towards the long edge of the mat and I might invite you to turn towards the long edge of your mat and make sure your space in front of you and just around you is clear for our exciting next adventure. So maybe your feet are about hip distance apart. If that's where you feel stable, let your arms come up towards your ears. If the arms are a little bit more out to the side, that's also not a bad idea to help you balance, okay?

So whatever range you wanna work with, tip over onto your left foot and take a moment to bring your right knee up towards your chest. You'll let your left hand come down and tap that right knee and then we're coming back, I'll call this our neutral, arms up, feet on the ground. Tilt to your right, lift your left knee up and bring your right hand to touch that left knee and then come back up to neutral. Try that again, reach your right knee up, tap the knee with your left hand, go back up, left knee up, reach down and tap with your right hand and balance will come and go. So this is just part of the practice.

Now a new piece is to lift your right knee and do external rotation. Bring your left hand down to touch the inner right leg, whoa, and then we're back to neutral. Lift your left knee up, do what we call external rotation and reach your right hand to touch the inner left leg, back to neutral. Let's try that one again, stand on your left foot, lift your right leg, external rotation and touch the inner right leg with your left hand, come up, stand on that right foot, lift your left leg, external rotation, reach down with your right hand to touch left leg. Last one I believe, stand on your left foot, external rotate with that right leg and tap the inside of your right leg.

Arms up, let's go ahead and give the arms a rest for a second. All right, now last one, if we have the hands just for a moment now at your hips, take your weight over to your left foot and swing your right leg in front of you, which engages the quadricep. Bring your left hand to touch that right knee, step into that right foot, balance, lift your left leg up, engage that left quadricep as your right hand reaches over to touch your left knee and then back to neutral. Let's try one more time, stand on your left foot, swing your right leg up, tap with your left hand, back to neutral, stand on your right foot, lift your left leg up, reach over with your right hand, tap that knee and then we're back to neutral. Okay, now let's put this a little bit together, so if you take your arms up, stand on your left foot and reach that right knee up, left hand comes down to tap that knee, right foot down, back to neutral, left knee up, reach down with your right hand, touch the left knee, back to neutral.

Lift your right leg, externally rotate, left hand to right leg, neutral. Stand on your right foot, lift your left knee, externally rotate, tap the inner thigh, back to neutral. Swing your right leg up, reach your left hand to catch and touch that right knee, back to neutral, stand on that right foot, swing your left leg up, right hand comes down to touch that left knee, then we're back to neutral, okay, arms down. I hope you feel present and grounded and alert and awake with that challenging concentration practice. So bring your feet when you're ready, maybe a little bit closer together.

From here, we're gonna take your left arm up in the air with your hand facing away from your head, with your right hand at your side, kick your right leg out to the right and we'll find that side diagonal line here. Right foot down, left arm down. Start with your right arm going up by your ear, palm faces away from your head, kick your left leg out into your left hand, feel that diagonal line and lower. Again, left arm and right leg, reach into your diagonal, lower, right arm, left leg. Take that moment to balance, lower.

Last one, left arm up, right leg kicks out and lower, right arm up and left leg out and then we come back to neutral. All right, now if your hands are at your hips, one of the last moves here is to stand on your left foot and bend your right leg. I'll just give you a quick little peek of bending that leg behind you. So as you bend your right leg behind you, see if you can reach your left hand back and kind of imagine you're gonna touch that back heel or you're close to touching your right heel and put your right foot down, hands back to your hips. Stand on your right side, bend your left leg, let your right hand reach back kind of in that general direction to try to touch your heel and then feet down back to neutral.

Bend your right legs, lift the toes towards the back of your head. Left hand is just gonna reach back and you might not even touch your foot but you're kind of reaching in that direction, back to neutral. Bend your left leg, lift the toes a little bit more up towards your head, right hand reaches towards that left heel, back to neutral. Last time, bring that right leg back and up and as you lift up, I pray that you do not get the deadly hamstring cramps as you reach your left hand for your right foot. Come back to neutral, stand on your right foot.

Let that left leg lift up towards your head. Hopefully we don't cramp as your right hand reaches for left foot and then back to neutral. All right, let your feet be on the ground, maybe just a couple little bent knee, hula hoop circles to get rid of any tension in that area of your body. All right, now the last piece we're gonna turn and face the short end of your yoga mat. And if you take a moment facing the short end of your yoga mat to maybe have your hands up by your hips and let's take your right foot forward and when your right foot is forward, we'll start to pull the right toes off the ground so your heel is on the floor and let your hands help you feel that your hips move back as you bend your left leg.

Now as we use the right hand to guide the right hip back, free your left arm out in front of you as you look down towards the floor. And then maybe we keep our left arm by the ear as we come up straight, look straight ahead, kind of like a really short warrior one stance. Pull the right hip back as you flex your right ankle and tip forward, reach long through your left side. Then come back up. One more time, use your right hand to kind of feel that right hip moves back as we lengthen through that left arm.

Let's come all the way back up, arms down and left foot forward. And then we'll switch out and put your right foot back. As you feel your hips move back, bend your right leg as you flip your left toes off the floor. So you're on your left heel. And then feel as you tip forward, you're deepening these hip creases as you then reach out through your right arm.

And then coming back up, maybe into a little bit of warrior like pose and be mindful that your right knee feels safe. Bend your back knee, pull the left toes off the floor as you send your hips back and then forwards. And then again, the angle of the foot might change. I'm just noticing I need to change mine. So my right knee is pointing a little more forward as I sit back and lengthen forward.

All right, please step both feet side by side or parallel as you look straight ahead. Bend both knees a generous amount. So it's pretty easy to fold over your legs and let's do something symmetrical for a moment and take a moment with your head down, hands touching the earth, feet on the ground to soften the backside of the body and free up any tension that we might have gathered here. Maybe two more exhales. It's releasing as much as you can into your forward fold, appreciating symmetry here.

When you feel satisfied, let's bend the legs and have a seat. And when you start to come down to sit, maybe have that blanket underneath your hips, stretch your legs out in front of you. And then let's start with your right leg pulled in towards the inner leg. And if this knee's a little bit tight, sometimes a block underneath that right knee is helpful to support that knee if it feels tight. I'm gonna move that out of the way.

And then like you just to simply keep your left hand at your side and try to reach your right hand towards your left foot. And if it's difficult to reach the foot, just simply bend your knee so it's easier to catch your foot. Let's take a moment as we start to bend the right elbow and tilt just a little bit forward to feel maybe a little left hamstring stretch and also a stretch on that right side of your lower back or the back of that ribcage. And just one more moment, feeling what a seated version of an asymmetrical pose feels like. Okay, when you sit up, let's go ahead and tilt that right knee in and stretch your right leg straight.

Left foot comes in for what we call Janus here, Sasana. The left knee might need the prop. So please insert that if that's helpful. Right hand at your side. And reach your left hand for your right foot.

And remember if you don't catch your foot, just bend your knees so you do catch your foot. Okay, now we might find some version of moving a little bit forward in space that clues you into there's a hamstring stretch and a stretch for the back of the left ribcage. One more moment feeling into that asymmetry in this seated pose. Okay, and then we'll come up and whatever leg you like crossed in front, perhaps we finish with whatever your favorite ankle crossing is in front. And then take a moment as you settle just to tune in to the length of your torso spine, looking for that good posture.

Taking a breath in through your nose, in and down to root yourself here. And letting your core stay long and bright as you exhale in and up. One more centering yourself with breath. And staying rooted grounding as you exhale. Feel that upward wind of the breath.

Move up and out. And then closing this part of the practice, let the hands come in front of the heart center. And I hope this practice helps you feel strong and focused for your day. Thanks so much for practicing. Namaste.


Diane C
2 people like this.
Wonderful and unique class. I particularly liked the asymmetrical  child's pose, and the lunge pose where we lifted and lowered. I found that quite challenging. Thank you.
Catha P
1 person likes this.
Hi, Melina,
As usual, so refreshingly creative and fun. And, incorporating such important components of healthy living: Brain health and balance. Thanks for this! Catha
David G-
1 person likes this.
Level 1? Ha ha. This built some heat, but it is a mind hacker:  whets the mental knife. Do you drive down to the set? Must be a beautiful trip. Planning off visiting some cycling friends in Marin in the future.  Is your studio open post-Covid? 
Paula H
1 person likes this.
That's a practice to fire up your day! Loved all the cross-body work. I found the bent knee lift lunge move challenging...took a bit of grit for sure. 
Melina Meza
Thanks for the first round of comments everyone, so glad you're with me on this journey. Love  hearing that many of you are finding poses you love and a few that challenge a good way.
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
David, yes, Oakland isn't too far from the set and always work taking a break from the city to visit Ojai!!!
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Love the assymetrical work.  Did get the dreaded hamstring cramp and immediately went to warrior three and was fine. Always look forward to your insightful class sharings.
Lina S
2 people like this.
Have you ever read or heard about the rebalancing of the two brain's hemispheres when crossing the midline or using the opposite arm and leg? I'm under the impression it works more than simply coordination. An interesting class!
Sandra Židan
Beautiful, creative and energizing practice at the same time! Thanks, Melina! Namaste! ❤️💖🌹
Pat Pao
1 person likes this.
Loved this - love your creativity in the practice - thank you Melina

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