Yoga for Mobility Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Happy Joints

30 min - Practice


Mobilize and loosen all of the joints in your body, and feel taller, less stiff, and more stretched out.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block


Read Full Transcript

Hello, everyone, I'm so glad you're here to practice today. I've got a great class for you that will leave no joint unrolled. So we're going to explore hopefully turning every single joint in your body. And to make this class a little bit more fun, you'll probably appreciate having a blanket, a block and a strap. And we invite you to slide onto your yoga mat and maybe take whatever fold of a blanket you like.

So you've got a little height under your hips, as we'll start sitting, perhaps in a cross-legged seat. If you need a little extra height or a different shape, by all means make a shape that's comfortable for you to stay vertical. So in our upright seat, we're going to start from the top and work our way down into our toes eventually. And as you start to sit, imagine that you've got maybe a book or maybe you've tried one of the practices this week where we're lifting our head into our hand and trying to get as long and tall in your spine as possible. So kind of finding what feels like good feedback for good posture.

And then if we try to maintain that healthy posture and just start to pay attention to the joints of the neck as we tilt our head a little bit to the left, sometimes people call this the curious dog tilt. And we come back up to center and pay attention to the joints of your spine as you tilt your head to the right. And the way if you have a dog or dog friend, we know sometimes it might be staring at you wondering, where are my snacks? We're going to go again to your left side. Pay attention to your joints on the neck on the right, come back up, and one more curious dog tilt with your head to the right.

How's it feel on the muscles, joints on the left, and then come up. Now tilt your head just a tiny bit forward towards your chin, and then we'll tilt the chin a little bit up towards the ceiling. And just noticing how we're pivoting through the joints up through the neck spine here. Doesn't have to be a lot of movement. And then might we go into what I think of making mini circles where we're letting the head kind of roll around at the top of the spine here where we're just paying maybe a little bit more attention to any feedback that we're getting, any sounds that we're hearing, and these little joints that hold your head up all day long.

Can we move in a way that's graceful, that creates better flow, and those little joints? Now let's say maybe we've loosened them up a little bit, bring your head back on top of your spine, and we'll do a couple little shoulder shrugs up and back. And as we do them as a team at first, then I might invite you to see what it feels like to roll one back and then the other, and just movement that you might enjoy doing, taking a break here and there throughout your day and just rolling the joints of the shoulders. And I always like to take it a step further than by putting your fingertips on the tops of your shoulder area. What happens when we bring the elbows up and forward to feel not only how the arm bones are moving in the ball and socket joint, but also what kind of movement you might feel in one or both shoulder blades, how they're sliding up over those upper back ribs.

So I know we can't see our shoulder blades moving, but can you feel them as you move your arms? And then let's flip it around and go the opposite direction and notice when you're going up and back how much extra stretch and space you feel across the front of your chest. And maybe this is where you feel a fuller stretch across your collar bones and kind of that intersection where they meet up into your joints with the arms. So we're clearing a little bit more space here. And now let's have the arms pause for a moment and then come into kind of a classic goal post arm position.

Let's see what it feels like to track your left arm, the arm bone and clavicle as you turn your left palm to face down and then we'll flip that arm back up and follow again the collar bone and right arm as you flip down and then come back up and then maybe we can go a little faster where you're paying attention to the arm bone meeting into the joints and feeling how you're moving and creating maybe more ability as you go into this maybe odd range of motion we might not do very often in our day. And then once I moved in that direction I like to then to let my arms stretch out longer out to the side so my right palm will face up as I wind my arm around like I'm holding onto a large rope and let that right arm curl forward as my left arm bone curls back. And then you flip it around to the other sides and I like to try to get some energy out even into the hands so I'm really trying to elongate across the chest and collar bones into each arm. And I'm kind of paying attention to how my arm bones are moving in the joints and then send again a little energy out to your fingertips getting the fingers moving and if we pause and pull your thumbs inside your palms and as your fingers curl over let's move the wrist in little circles and then maybe we point and flex get a little bit movement in the wrist joint. And then with your arms open let's tip over to your left side and set your left hand down as you take your right arm overhead and now let's start doing some kind of graceful circular like movements with your right hand and whatever feels good to move your first direction in the circle and then the other direction.

And we'll take your right arm down to your side as you turn your nose to look over towards your left hand and we'll turn and feel more movement through the neck joints upper spine look straight ahead as we swing that right arm again up by your ear right arm down as you again look towards your left hands see how those joints in the neck are moving look straight ahead one more time with your right arm up in the air right arm down as you look towards your left hand and then tip on back to neutral we'll slide your right hand out to the right take your left arm up and on that first one let's try to move the right left wrist the fingers in any way that feels good for you maybe you organically make a hand gesture or mudra that helps send more energy up to your fingertips never helps you feel a little more graceful and then take the left arm down to your side as you look towards your right hand and those seeing how the joints in the neck respond raise your left arm back up look forwards and then your left arm down as you look towards your right and trying to find that comfortable full range of motion look straight ahead the left arm up last time reach across the room and take the left arm down look towards your right hand and then tilt back up to neutral so if your hands and can move to your rib cage as we move a little further down the body and let your ribs move around and oftentimes we'll notice there's not a lot of movements as it's kind of a stiff area in the body because there's so many bones here but just a little bit of movement through these joints in your ribs and where your ribs meet your spine and sternum go the other direction a couple times maybe even feeling some of your core muscles engage and then hold on to your knees with your hands and as you look down round your back spread your shoulder blades like you're doing cat cow and then tip forward look a little bit up rock back look down look forward or up and then down as you round right now let's free those legs that have been folded for a bit so if you put your legs out in front of you and give a moment to have your feet far enough apart that you can let your legs the legs from your femurs down to your toes just sort of rotate side to sides we kind of feel how we're moving the head of the femur here in the joints and then if we stop as you hang out here now and now target the ankles and just kind of go around and try to make some more targeted movement in your ankle area and really decadent simple movements let's go the other direction a few times see now we might clear away some popping cracking sounds and then point and flex your toes point and flex to feel that movement in the ankle that hinge joint as you go back and forth now if you sit straight up let's invite the right leg to bend and grab your foot and maybe hang your ankle over that left knee and now we're gonna take your hands and insert your hands your fingers in between your toes and again no joint is getting left unrolled here so we're even gonna do a little bit of work for your toes if we try to spread your fingers to create a little more space in the joints of the foot squeeze and then open your hand your toes now while you're holding your toes start to make some little kind of back and forth movement or circular movements how long has it been since you've treated your toes to a little massage and then we'll go a little bit more to the ankle here and eventually we try to get it moving so it's quite rhythmic and smooth if the ankle is tight again be really patient we might do this every day a little bit to get a little bit more fluid and go the other direction and see what's different interesting place lots of sensation in the feet right now while we're holding let's go ahead and let go of the toes hold your right leg and lift that up and you might kind of just lift that up a tiny bit off that lower leg so you can move the leg back and forth and feel into this range of motion for that right hip joint you go a little bit side to sides this simple right now let's send your right leg straight out in front of you and then take your left leg and maybe have that dangle off to the right and if you can insert index finger middle finger ring finger the thumb might be more around that big toe area and you might first spread your fingers and spread your toes and then squeeze open squeeze and then maybe start to make some little back and forth movement in the joints of the toes then circular and then eventually get up into your ankle area and nice again if you're without shoes around the house a little bit more to take breaks just to tune into your feet a little bit go the other direction especially if you're noticing that they're really stiff they're really tight okay so maybe now we're getting ready to let go of the foot and now lift your left leg just maybe an inch or so off your lower leg just so you can move that left leg a little bit out to the right and the left and just seeing how we're moving in that left thigh area creating more space ideally in that left hip joints all right so now let's go ahead and send the legs out in front of you and let's transfer your blanket that you might be sitting on to your mat so we're going to come to tabletop and come to a pose I do probably every single day in tabletop position I learned this from Angela Farmer a long time ago where you're on your tabletop and you try to tune into your actual bones in your lower spine tailbone area and maybe start swaying side to side and see if you can literally make a circle with your the joints around the tailbone and the sacrum and you're just literally targeting that end of your spine other parts move but you're trying to specifically move tailbone sacrum and then try to follow your way up into now your lower back area and can you move the joints of your spine and whatever way feels good it could be side to side it could be circles there's no right or wrong way to do the movement how can you help your joints feel a little bit happier here by giving them some movement and then circle the rib cage around imagine all those bones circling around and as they move how your shoulder blades move kind of bring a little bit of attention and awareness to that you know let's pause and take a moment to let your hips swing back a little bit more towards your heel so now checking out ankles and knees lengthening through arms and the back and then we'll come forward that's our forward bend we'll come a little bit into a back bend and open out more the joints at the front of the spine as you move toward knees down upper dog and then as much as you like rounding going back into your extended child's pose you don't need to go all the way back to your heels and then how can you articulate the movements in your spine so we're trying to maybe minimize feeling like a stiff board going back and forth and try to kind of feel into different parts of your spine as you go back and forth maybe one more time kind of easing into the backbends and then rounding back we can start to slide your knees perhaps a little bit more towards the right as we tip onto our left sides now when we come to our left and we put our left elbow down see if you can place the left side of your body on the floor in a way that you might support your head with your left hand so in our propped up variation here we're gonna use your right hand in front of you to support yourself as you stretch your legs long and now flex the ankles strong legs here keep your balance with that right hand in front of you as you slide your right foot to your inner upper thigh and then we'll tip the knee towards your chest and then stretch your right leg out in front of you and then bring your right leg down slide your right foot to your inner left leg like tree pose knee to shoulder leg up and then right leg down a few more times just checking out different ways to move this joint as we bring that right leg in knee to shoulder leg up right leg down let's do one more right foot in like tree pose knee to shoulder leg up and then leg down now let's keep the right leg above the left leg and bend that right leg see if you might be able to reach back some of you can catch your foot with your hand sometimes this is a nice opportunity to drop your head into your lower arm and bring your head closer to the floor as you press your foot into your hand or if you can't grab that right foot it holds your hip and stretch your leg straight bend your knee stretch your leg straight or some of you will get that quadriceps stretch so a little more space for the front of that right hip joint here and of course the joints at the front of your spine right now in between we're going to release the right leg and we're going to roll onto your belly in between sides and when you're on your belly if you will stack your hands and let your hips wiggle just a little bit side to side so you're kind of trying to release any tension along your entire spine and sometimes we can release some of that as we wiggle our hips a little bit side to side okay since the muscles along the spine also releasing so when we're done wiggling we're gonna lift our head off our hands and stay up for a moment as you turn onto now your right side we're gonna do that same sequence right elbows down you're gonna prop your head up to hold your head with your hands and imagine your legs here in a straight line left hand is in front of you to help you balance as you slide your left foot to inner right leg left knee to shoulder and then left leg in the air left leg down left foot to inner right leg knee to shoulder left leg in the air and then leg down just notice how this feels in the left hip joint as we're sliding that foot in a little more external rotation knee to shoulder leg up in those different joints of the body again tree pose left foot in a right leg knee to shoulder left leg in the air and leg down now if we float your left leg off your right leg bend that left leg some of you might be able to grab that foot with your hand because it's harder to balance up high I usually put my head down on my right arm here and press the foot into the hand to find the quadriceps stretch if that's too much on that knee bend the legs straighten the leg bend the knees straighten the leg is a really great alternative to do a little more strengthening for that left glute and hamstring if you're in the quadriceps stretch let's take one more second as you are here and then we'll release and send the legs down together and then we're going to roll over onto your belly one more time as I mentioned I believe this will be our neutral spot this time stay up on your elbows and if we can pay attention to your lower back and any feedback you're getting that this is too high your elbows would be further away from your chest so then maybe we grab an opposite elbow and try to elongate through the joints of your spine for a moment as you try to feel like you're dragging your elbows a little bit towards your chest and your chest is stretching forward towards the top of your mat so your arms are engaged feet are rooted to the floor as we lengthen through the spine one more moment feeling maybe the little sway and movement that's happening in your body as you're breathing in and out all right now we'll go ahead and flip over onto your back and maybe you like the blanket still underneath your hips it would work just fine and maybe your strap is somewhat in close range as you get down onto your back let's have your arms out to your sides and then tip your left knee in towards your chest and then stretch that left leg in the air bend the knee stretch the leg straight bend the knee and then keep the legs straight and circle in this way your left leg so you're circling around that left hip joint seeing how that feels and then let's keep that left knee in towards your chest and then grab your strap and let's add that around the bottom of your foot and I find it amazing that every day this might be a pose that you do regularly that each day that leg can get tight overnight or based on whatever you did movement wise yesterday the muscles along the leg get tight regularly so it's nice to continue to stretch them give them a little love and then also do things that strengthen them so let's point and flex your left foot to feel your calf move a little bit more in the back of your leg and to work that ankle joint a little bit more and then maybe you find an angle that works for you to pull the strap against your foot a little bit more and the foot presses into the strap at the same time that your arm bones get heavy and move towards the earth to ground your shoulder blades rather than rounding your shoulders off the ground take one more moment as you are here tending to that left hamstring and then release maybe just drop that strap on your front body for a moment as we switch and swing your right leg in the air bend your knee swing your right leg in the air bend your knee third time leave the leg up and let's start to circle your right leg to feel how today we're moving in that right ball and socket joint when we're on our back this is the place where you get more ease more delights go the other way and again just nice take little breaks find a few moments to be on your back and do some beneficial work if you've been sitting a lot to bring a little bit of circulation into your hips okay let's keep the leg in and strap around the bottom of your foot as you take your right leg up in the air before we get super committed let's point and flex the right foot to feel how your right calf is moving on the back of the leg and how our ankle is flexing flexion and extension let's keep the toes now flexed pointing down towards your face as you press your strap foot into your strap and pull as much as you like to get some feedback where we're grounding your right femur towards the earth head of the arm bones towards the earth and really just bringing some focused awareness to your hamstrings and hopefully the thick fleshy part of the muscles of the hamstrings to encourage a little more length and width all right if that feels similar to your first side let's go ahead and get rid of the strap and let's get rid of the strap and instead grab a strap a block in your hands it would invite you to turn over onto your left side and hold the block in your hands and if you feel like you need padding under your head you could also put padding under your under your head so my legs are about 90 degrees holding onto a block with my hands and we'll try to lift that block up off the ground and move it a little bit more up towards the ceiling to feel some rotation in my thoracic mid back again it's that bony part of the body that's kind of hard to move so if we lift that block up reaching that block towards the ceiling and bring it back down to the floor so remember it's not a ton of movement we lift the block and try to follow the block with my eyes as I look up bring that block back over to the left come back up and then maybe we stay for just a moment kind of feel into some places in the upper mid back that we don't often get to in our day to day activity one more lift up and lower down right from here let's swing this top arm the right arm right above your ear and cheek get longer through that right side turn your right palm open towards the sky and let that arm sweep out to your right for a moment as you look towards the ceiling laying that right upper chest open let's go ahead now tip all the way on to your back and then we're gonna roll right over to the other side and as you roll to your other side legs about 90 degrees hold on to the block with both hands and see as you hold that block if you can reach the block away from you and then tip it up towards the ceiling take that block back to the floor and the hips don't move knees don't move we're just lifting that block up and bring it down and feel into some of those areas that you're moving in that mid back areas you reach your block up come down maybe one more time sending that block away from your chest hold and then come down and keep holding the block as we swing the left arm right above your ear and cheek for a moment so you're stretching long through your left side turn your left palm open towards the ceiling and then sweep your left arm out to the left as you maybe look towards the ceiling laying that left side of your body open let's roll on to your back it can just leave the block where it is and when you're on your back reach up and grab your opposite elbow and let your elbows drift to the left as you turn your nose just a little bit to the right so you're peeling that right shoulder off the floor come back to neutral send the arms a bit to the right as you turn your nose a little bit to the left back to center and then tip your forearms up towards your forehead or to the space beyond your head come back down and now let's draw a circle holding the elbows this feeling how the shoulders are moving the arms are moving in this particular way and then from here let's let the arms stay now open out to your sides as your knees start to tip to your right in our windshield wiper move turn your nose to look to the left come back to center legs slowly tip to the left as we turn our nose to the right and whether you're wherever or not you're getting all these different joints of your spine to move legs to the right nose to the left pay attention to your spine all those joints moving legs to the left eyes to the right come back around to center let's join the bottoms of your feet together knees open wide and we'll tuck the hands under the back of the head when you lace your fingers together here we'll do the curling up action as you exhale and lift your head shoulders as you curl forward going wide legs wide elbows curl up getting the neck shoulders spine hips all working together two more times curl up on exhale roll down on inhale curl up on exhale and roll down on inhale right now after all that lovely rolling joint rolling work we've done today let's stretch your legs out straight if that feels like a good place for you to be arms out to your sides and give yourself room to really feel spread out here take up space and as you wiggle into what might feel like a wonderful resting place to fall back into the floor as if you could literally fall back like another half inch deeper into the yoga mat or your carpet the floor whatever it might be really make yourself at home and just sensing as you lie on your back of all the different places we've opened and moved today and if there's generally a sense of better circulation more aliveness more energy in your body as a result of rolling our joints if not now hopefully we can have hope that maybe next time we practice we'll feel more of that maybe as we take a few last few breaths on our back we might even notice with those bigger fuller breaths that we feel certain spaces of our body open or joints move through the deep inhale mid back rib cage maybe on a subtle level you feel different shifts into the joints as you exhale all right now let's make little circular movements with your fingers and your toes your wrist and your ankles and then making some little movements with your legs and arms before we start to draw the legs in closer and closer and bend your legs and maybe we curl over into your fetal position for a moment from fetal position press your hand into the floor in front of your face and then we'll come on up to sit crossing one leg that might feel better in front and I'm gonna fold underneath you that you tilt your pelvis in that way that helps you lengthen your spine it's like a big inhale exhale together centering yourself a little small movements through the joints neck down through your shoulders spine and hips happy joints and I hope this class brings you some joy and some energy thanks so much for practicing with me namaste.


Nina G
3 people like this.
Great way to start the day! Thank you.
Jenny S
4 people like this.
I was feeling really blah today so this class was the perfect pick-me-up. As we moved through the body I felt more and more awake and just really better overall. It always amazes me when seemingly simple moves have such a profound effect. Thank you Melina ❤️🙏🏻
Melina Meza
(Edited by Moderator - Brittany Potter on November 17, 2022)
Thanks for sharing, Nina and Jenny. I'm grateful for your continued interest in these classes and wish you both a safe and healthy holiday season.
Sandra Židan
Thank you very much, Melina! This great practice was exactly what my joints needed today! Namaste! 💝
Jane T
2 people like this.
Love this! Thank YOU!

Wendie Heijmer-Arendse
Very nice  and relaxing  practice at the end of the week, thank you Melina and have a nice weekend! Greetings from the Netherlands :)
Pat Pao
2 people like this.
Lovely!  Just what I needed. Thank you Melina
David G-
2 people like this.
So sore from YTT weekend. This was all I needed for active recovery. You are on fire with the photography as well. If you have a class on Friday, would love to drop in. Best, David 
Melina Meza
Thanks everyone for your sweet comments and for doing your yoga!!!
David - Yes, been spending some serious time outside making the most of this autumn season. I'm not teaching Friday....luckily YogaAnytime is FULL of classes and I think I'll have one more from this series for you to explore.
With gratitude, Melina
Judy S
1 person likes this.
Lovely as always. 
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