The Ashtanga Practice Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 9

Modified Primary Series

65 min - Practice
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Rosemary leads a shorter version of the Ashtanga Primary Series. This is a steady practice with variations to generate heat and build strength and flexibility, resulting in focused concentration and increased energy. You will feel strong, calm, and refreshed for your day.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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So welcome back. What we'll be doing this morning is a modification of the primary series. So realistically we don't always have the time or the energy to complete an entire primary series practice, so what I wanted to offer here is a variation, just kind of trimming it down, ideally in about an hour or so for those days when you just don't have the time or energy. Here we go, enjoy, and namaste. All right, so we're stepping to the front of the mat, feet together, hands come to prayer at the heart center.

Let the eyes close for a moment and begin to shift the focus, letting your awareness drop down into your body. We'll begin with the opening invocation. If you know it, please join me, if not just listen and let it drop in over time. â?« Om â?« (chanting in foreign language) â?« Om â?« With the exhale, release the arms to the side, gazing straight ahead. Three Surya Namaskara A's, inhale, reach the arms out and up.

Exhale, bow, out and down. Inhale, lengthen, halfway up. With the exhale, hop or step to the back of the mat, lower knees first, or Chaturanga. Inhale Cobra, or upward facing, and exhale back, downward facing dog, five deep, slow, steady breaths. One, two, three, four, and five.

Soft bend in the knees, hop or step to the front of the mat. Inhale, lengthen halfway. Exhale, bow and fold, strong center, flat back, inhale, rise all the way up. Exhale, arms to the side. And again, inhale, reach up, exhale, bow, out and down.

Inhale, halfway, exhale, hop or step back, lower as you choose. Inhale, lift the heart, and exhale, go back, downward dog, five breaths. And with these first few downward facing dogs, feel free to warm it up a little bit, bending one knee and then the other, kind of shifting the hips from side to side, just easing into the back body. At the bottom of the exhale, soft bend in the knees, hop or step forward, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold. Inhale, rise all the way up, exhale, arms to the side.

Once again, inhale up. Exhale, fold. Inhale, lengthen halfway. Exhale, hop or step back, take your Vinyasa. Adho Mukha Svanasana, five breaths.

One, two, three, four, five, hop or step forward, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold, inhale, all the way up. Exhale, arms to the side. Surya Namaskara B, three cycles, bend the knees, inhale up, Utkatasana. Exhale, fold. Inhale, halfway, exhale, hop or step back, and through your flow.

Ground the left heel, step the right foot forward, inhale, rise, Virabhadrasana A, exhale, hands to the earth, step back and lower, inhale, lift the heart, exhale, downward dog, ground the right heel, left foot forward, inhale, Virabhadrasana A, second side. Exhale, hands to the earth, step back and lower. Inhale, up, and exhale, back, five breaths. Bottom of the exhale, bend the knees, hop or step forward, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold, bending the knees, inhale, Utkatasana. Exhale, Samasthiti.

Now again, bend the knees, inhale, up. Exhale, bow and fold. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, flow it back and lower, inhale, Urdhva Mukha, exhale, Adho Mukha, bottom of the exhale, root the left heel, right foot forward, inhale, rise, Warrior I. Exhale, hands to the earth, step back and through. Root the right heel, left foot forward, inhale up, Warrior I, exhale, hands to the earth, step back through the vinyasa.

Five breaths in downward dog, and as the body begins to warm, play with sending the heels towards the earth, lifting through the sit-bones, really grounding through the hands, long through the arms and the spine. Let the shoulders roll away from the ears, soft through the neck. Soft bend in the knees, hop or step forward, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold. Bend the knees, inhale, Utkatasana, exhale, come to stand, arms at the side, and one more full cycle, bend the knees, inhale, Utkatasana, exhale, fold. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, take it back and through.

Right foot forward, left heel down, inhale, up, Warrior I, exhale, hands to the earth. Step back through the flow. Root the right heel, left foot forward, inhale, Warrior I, second side. Exhale, hands to the earth, step back through the flow. Downward facing, five breaths.

Bottom of your exhale, bend the knees, hop or step forward, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold. Bend the knees, inhale, Utkatasana, and exhale, come to stand. Pada Gushtasana, take the hands to the hips, hop or step the feet about hips' distance. Inhale, lengthen, halfway up, exhale and come into your fold, grab your big toes with first two fingers and thumb, inhale, lengthen it, halfway up, and exhale, fold. You choose in this practice, you can stay here or take Pada Hastasana, hands under the feet instead.

We'll just do one variation, your choice. Deep, deep breath into the back body, weight tipping forward into the front of the feet, five breaths. Keep the grip, whichever one you have, inhale, halfway up, exhale, hands to the hips, press through the feet, inhale, rise all the way up. Hop or step the feet back together. With the next inhale, step the right foot out to the right, pivot for triangle, exhale, extend out and down, grab the big toe and reach that left arm to the sky, really long through the spine, breathing for five.

Pressing through the feet, inhale back up, exhale, pivot on the feet, back to the left into the second side. Grab the big toe, reach the right arm straight up, extend through the spine and breathing five. Lift the gaze past the right fingertips. Pressing through the feet, inhale, come back up. Exhale, pivot back to the right, right hand at the hip, inhale, left arm goes straight up, and exhale, twisting triangle, left hand outside of the right foot, grab a block if you need it, and then spiral through the spine and take the right arm up, five breaths.

Inhale, come all the way back up and exhale, pivot back to left, left hand at the hip, inhale, right arm to the sky, exhale, reach out and down, right hand outside of left foot, and spiral open, inhale, left arm to the sky. With the inhale, come all the way back up and exhale, step back to the front of the mat, hands to prayer at heart center, inhale, right foot back, pivoting open and exhale into side angle, Parsvakonasana, right hand outside of the right foot, left arm up and over, spin that pinkie-side edge of the hand down and roll open through the torso, breathing five. Press through the feet, inhale back up, exhale, pivot to the left, deep bend in the left knee, releasing left hand down, right arm up and over, press down through the right heel as you extend through the right fingertips, long through the entire right side body, five breaths. Press through the feet, inhale, come up. Exhale, pivot back to the right, right hand to the hip, inhale, float the left arm up, and exhale, twisting side angle, deep bend in that right knee.

Hook the left elbow outside of the knee and if possible plant that left hand outside of the right foot. Reach the right arm up and over, lift the gaze under that right arm and breathe. Use the inhale to spiral all the way back up, exhale to the left, left hand to the hip, inhale, take the right arm up, and exhale, deep twist, hook that right elbow outside of the left knee and try to get that right hand down outside of the foot, left arm up and over, breathing five. And inhale, come all the way back up, with the exhale, step forward to the front of the mat, and then again, on your inhale step the right foot back, turn the feet to parallel and just release the hands to the hips for Prasarita Padottanasana. Drop the tailbone, inhale, lift the belly, lift the heart, and exhale, fold forward for A, take the hands to the earth, then inhale halfway and exhale, fold.

If possible, fingers in line with the toes, crown of the head on the earth, just moving in that direction. Five breaths. With the inhale, come halfway up, exhale, hands to the hips, strong through the legs and the core, inhale, come all the way back up and exhale, ground, moving right into C. Inhale, arms out wide, exhale, clasp the hands behind the back. Inhale again, lift through that front body and exhale, fold forward, reaching the arms up and over, deep breath into the upper back, neck, and shoulders.

Just let it gradually open and unwind. Press through the feet, inhale, come all the way back up, and as you exhale, simply step right back to the front of the mat, hands to prayer at heart center. Then inhale, reach the arms out wide and exhale, take the hands behind the back if possible, drawing the hands into prayer, otherwise grab your wrists or your elbows, then step the right foot back, pivot to face the right, really big inhale, and exhale, fold forward, Parsvottanasana. Play with lifting the elbows a little to draw the palms a bit closer. Keep drawing the outer right hip and right sit bone up and back, dropping the outer left hip down.

Press through the feet, inhale, come on up. Exhale, pivot back to the left. Stay with this, take a big inhale, lift up through the heart and exhale, easing out and down, second side. Awareness through the hips, draw the outer left hip and sit bone up and back, drop the outer right hip a little bit. And then press through the feet, inhale, come on up, and exhale, step it back to the front of the mat, hands to prayer at heart center.

Utthita Hasta Parsvottanasana, draw the hands to the hips, root down through the left foot, bend the right knee and draw it in towards the chest, feel free to just keep holding the shin. Feel free to grab a strap or if you're up for it, grab that right big toe with first two fingers and thumb, and extend the right leg straight out. Try to draw the right shoulder back, keep the heart open, breathing three. Inhale, take the right leg out to the right, and if you're steady shift your gaze over the left shoulder. Inhale, come on back to center, and just try this, reach forward for the foot with both hands, bow towards the leg, and then release.

Extend that right leg out on its own, holding, five. And exhale, let it go. We're gonna ground through the right foot, steady the gaze, bend that left knee and draw it in towards the chest, again, you're free to just keep holding the shin, maybe use a strap, or if possible grab that left big toe and extend the left leg out, drawing the left shoulder back as much as possible. Three more breaths. Inhale, open the left leg to the left, shift the gaze over the right shoulder and breathe for five.

Inhale, back to center, exhale, just reach for whatever you can. Bow the chest forward towards the leg and then release out on its own, strong legs and strong core. Pull that deep, low belly in and up, five. And exhale, release, shake it out a little bit, let that go, and draw the hands to prayer at the heart center. From here we'll move right into the Warrior flow, so inhale, take the arms out and up, exhale, bow, out and and down.

Inhale, halfway, and exhale, hop or step back, lower Chaturanga, inhale, heart up, exhale, take it back. Then grounding that left heel, step the right foot forward, and inhale, rise, Virabhadrasana A. Five breaths here, so take your time with it, really descending through the tailbone, drawing the left side body forward, right side body back. Keep this, inhale, just lengthen the right leg, and exhale, pivot facing the left, deep bend in that left knee, ground through the outer edge of the back foot. Keep the awareness through the center, drawing in and up through Uddiyana Bandha, long through the spine.

With the inhale, wide open, Virabhadrasana B to the left, energy all the way out through the length of the arms and the fingertips, steady the gaze, breathing five. Inhale, lengthen that left leg, exhale, pivot to the right, Virabhadrasana B, second side, deep bend in the right knee, open through the chest, energy all the way out through the fingertips. One more breath. And on your exhale, take your hands to the earth, step it back, Chaturanga. Inhale, upward facing, and exhale, downward facing dog.

Take a few breaths here before we transition through to sit. And then soft bend in the knees, hop or step all the way through for Dandasana, seated staff pose. So once you've come through to sit, extend the legs straight out, root the hands outside the hips. Some of us, our arms are a little longer than the torso. If that's the case, walk the hands back.

You wanna be able to press into the earth without jamming the shoulders into the ears. Feet are flexed, legs awake, tall through the spine, slight drop of the chin, gazing at the tip of the nose. Ten breaths. And Paschimottanasana, inhale, reach the arms straight up, exhale, fold forward, grab the big toes if possible, inhale, lengthen it, halfway up, and exhale, releasing down, five breaths. Then inhale, come halfway up, and exhale, one more variation of Paschimottanasana, it's up to you.

You can stay with what you've got, grab the sides of the feet, or take hold of the hands around the feet, any variation, lengthen with the inhale, and exhale, fold forward again, five breaths. And then inhale, come halfway up, exhale, release. You can take the Vinyasa here or not, always optional. And coming back through to sit, moving right into Janu Sirsasana A. So extend that left leg out, really root through the sit bones.

Take the sole of the right foot to the inner left thigh. For just a moment, twist a little to the left. Get really tall through the spine, big inhale, and then exhale, fold forward, take hold of the left foot or grab a strap. Inhale, lengthen out again, long through the spine, and exhale, fold forward. If you're comfortable here and there's a little more length, right hand holds left wrist.

And again inhale, halfway, exhale, release. You can move right into the second side, or through the Vinyasa. And coming through to sit, second side. Draw the sole of the left foot to that inner right thigh. Gently twist to the right for a moment, get really tall through the spine, and with the exhale, fold forward over that right leg, taking hold of the foot or a strap, inhale, lengthen it again and exhale, fold.

With the inhale, halfway up, exhale, release and draw it in, hop or step back, take the Vinyasa. And then coming through to sit, shifting into Marichyasana A, so bend that right knee, ground the right foot on the earth, and then inhale, extend the right arm straight up to the sky. Exhale, come inside that right leg, wrap around and maybe find the left wrist. You can always grab a towel or a strap, and then inhale, extend out through the heart, and exhale, fold, five breaths. Inhale, come up, exhale, release.

Again, feel free to go right into the second side or take it back and through. And through to sit. Marichyasana A, left leg, bend that knee, plant the foot, inhale, reach the left arm up, exhale, come inside, down and around for the bind, inhale, lengthen, and exhale, fold forward, five breaths. With the inhale, halfway, exhale, release, through the Vinyasa. And then through to sit, moving right into Marichyasana C.

Bend the right knee, plant that right foot, and then ground the right hand behind the back for a little support, inhale, take the left arm straight up to the sky, and exhale, twist, hook that left elbow outside of the right knee. This might be your full expression of the pose. If so, beautiful, enjoy what you've got. Otherwise, try to draw that left arm around, reaching back for the right wrist or a strap, and then gazing back over the right shoulder, five breaths. Inhale, look forward, exhale, release right into the second side or through the Vinyasa.

It's up to your body and your energy. Back through to sit, Marichyasana C, second side. Extend the right leg, ground that left foot. Plant the left hand for support, then inhale, right arm to the sky, exhale, hook the elbow outside of the knee. Keep this or wrap that right arm around the leg, reach back and maybe find the left wrist, five breaths.

Inhale, look forward, exhale, release. Take the Vinyasa, wash it all away. And then coming through to sit, we'll move into three cycles of Navasanas, so starting with a really tall spine, hold behind the thighs, lift up through the heart, engaging through the core, and then pick up the feet. You're free to stay right here or begin to lengthen the legs and extend the arms, five, four, three, two, then cross the ankles, try to pick it up and back down, and back into Navasana, strong through that center, long spine. And again, pick it up, last one, extend it out.

Five breaths. And this time cross the ankles, roll forward, plant the hands, hop or step it back, clear it away. And then coming through to sit and moving into Baddha Konasana. Soles of the feet together, knees open, root down through both sit bones, and then grab the feet. Let's start with a really tall spine, take a big inhale, lift up through the heart, and then exhale, fold, out and down, forehead working its way towards the earth, no rush.

Five breaths. Then inhale, come all the way back up, and ground on the exhale, just one breath here. And through the Vinyasa, take it back and lower, inhale, Urdhva, exhale, Adho Mukha. And then again, coming all the way through to sit, and extend the legs out wide, moving into Upavistha Konasana. So starting with the legs out, really strong and engaged, and the hands behind the legs and the hips, planting down through the fingertips to lengthen the spine.

So for some of us this is challenging in and of itself. If so, just stay with that you've got. Work on keeping the legs open and keeping the spine straight. If you can sustain that and come forward, begin to ease the upper body out and down. Take it slowly, mindfully, and maybe reach out for the edges of the feet.

Find your edge, breathe into it for five. And then slowly inhale, simply draw it all the way back up. Exhale, use the hands to draw the legs back in. Cross the ankles, plant the hands, hop or step back, through the Vinyasa, and exhale, back. Take a big inhale, bottom of the exhale, soften the knees, come all the way through to sit.

And let's roll onto the back for three back bends. So for now, just resting the arms alongside the body, knees are bent, feet planting down into the earth, and let's take this first back bend really gently. Pressing down through all for corners of the feet, scoop the tailbone and send the hips up towards the sky. You can let the hands rest as is, or you can interlace the hands under the back to crawl the shoulders in and under. Five breaths.

With your exhale, release the arms and melt the spine back down to the earth. You can let the knees be neutral or drop in. Take one breath. Two more back bends, please feel free to stay with that variation, or full Urdhva Dhanurasana. Plant the hands under the shoulders, press through the hands and the feet, strong through those legs, and on the inhale, take it up.

Deep breath, into the heart. One more breath. And exhale, come down to the back of the head, upper back, mid, and low back. Again, knees neutral or drop in, take a breath to ground. Third and final back bend, again, just gauging your energy you might even take a block under the sacrum if you're feeling for more restorative energy at this point in the practice.

Simple supported, or on the inhale again, all the way up. Five breaths. And gently exhale, again, lower it all the way down, and take a just a breath here, again to settle. Then gently draw the knees in towards the chest. Wrap your arms around the legs, rock yourself a little, forward and back.

Then come all the way up into Dandasana, seated staff pose. Find the foundation, and then Paschimottanasana. Inhale, arms up, and exhale, fold forward, take any clasp you prefer. Once you have it, inhale, reach out through the heart, and exhale, fold. We'll take 10 full breaths here, really important after any deep back bending to counter with this forward fold, soft through the neck.

Keep your grip, inhale, halfway up, exhale to release, and simply lie all the way down onto the back in preparation for shoulder stand. Take one full breath cycle on your back. And with the next inhale, sweep the legs up and over, into Halasana to prepare for shoulder stand. Clasp the hands, crawl the shoulders in, and then plant the hands on the back and with your next inhale, extend the legs straight up to the sky. Energy out through the balls of the feet, long through the spine, long through the legs, 10 full breaths.

With the exhale, lower the legs back down. Halasana, plow pose. Clasp the hands behind the back, and five breaths. And then trying Karnapidasana, bend the knees, draw them alongside the ears or as close to it as possible, and let the eyes close, withdrawing the senses, Pratyahara, five breaths. And then extend the legs out, hands support the back again, and with the inhale, take the legs back to the sky, returning to shoulder stand.

From here, draw the legs into full Lotus, or if that's not possible, take the soles of the feet together then knees wide, Baddha Konasana style with the legs. Holding the knees in the hands, five breaths. If the legs are in Lotus, hug the whole thing in, wrap the arms around the legs. If the legs are in Baddha Konasana style, simply draw the knees together and try gently drawing the knees down towards the forehead, holding five. With the exhale, slowly release, rolling the legs all the way down to the earth.

Keep full Lotus if possible. Arch the spine, drop the crown of the head back, and take hold of the feet for Matsyasana, fish pose. Gazing at the third eye, five breaths. Keep this for Uttanapadasana. Release the legs, extend them straight out at an angle, arms follow that line, palms pressed, gazing at the tip of the nose for five.

And then simply release, and rock yourself forward. Cross the ankles, hop or step it back, take a Vinyasa. And take an inhale here in downward dog. And with the exhale, release the knees to the earth in preparation for Sirsasana, head stand. Just as a benchmark, take hold of the elbows, and then release the forearms, clasp the hands, do not let the elbows go any wider.

Then draw the crown of the head to the earth and make sure it is the crown, not on the forehead or even close to it, so the neck is in line with the spine. Tuck the toes, inhale, lift the hips, lift he knees, walk the feet in, and inhale, come on up. 10 full breaths. With the exhale, begin to lower the legs towards the earth, keep them strong and active, five. Hover about halfway down.

Then inhale, back up. Then slowly on your exhale, lower the legs all the way to the earth. Now you come into Balasana, child's pose. Just releasing to the earth, rest the arms alongside the body. Let the eyes close, beginning to slow the whole system down.

With the next inhale, come back up onto the hands and the knees. Exhale, press back into downward facing dog, re-engage a deep, full, Ujjayi breath. Inhale to plank, exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Urdhva Mukha, exhale, Adho Mukha. Coming all the way through to sit and drawing the legs all the way into Lotus, half-Lotus, or just an easy, cross-legged position.

And then from here, draw the arms back, take hold of your wrists or your elbows, take a big inhale, and exhale, fold forward. Release the forehead towards the earth, five breaths. And with the inhale, come back up, and the exhale, simply release the hands, palms up, thumb and first finger draw to touch, tall through the spine, and a soft gaze to the tip of the nose, or close the eyes, 10 breaths. Gently let the eyes open. Let's pick it up for just one breath.

Plant the hands outside the hips, strong through the center, rise, inhale, and exhale, release, extend the legs, and let the entire body just roll back in preparation for Savasana. Be as comfortable as possible here, releasing, maybe supporting the body with a bolster or blanket under the knees, maybe covering the body, and or the eyes. Let the legs roll open, the arms rest, palms face the sky. Let the eyes close, the breath is completely natural, organic, and as we rest the body here in Savasana, there's also this beautiful opportunity to rest the mind and the heart and the subtle body. Letting go of any sense of strain, effort, struggle, complete surrender, just rest.

If you'd like to stay in Savasana, please feel free. Otherwise, on an inhale, extend the arms up and over, reaching out through the fingers and the toes. On an exhale, bend the knees, feet to the earth. Gently roll to the right and then guide the body all the way back up to a comfortable seat, and tall spine, let the hands rest on the knees. Let's the eyes close just for a moment here.

If you have the time and the desire for a brief meditation here, please feel free. Otherwise, just noticing how you feel, keeping a gentle internal awareness throughout the flow of your day. Draw the hands to prayer at the heart center. We'll close with the sound of Om. Together, a big inhale.

â?« Om â?« Gently inhaling and a soft bow forward with your exhale, namaste. So thank you all so much for sharing the practice. Please remember when you don't have the time or the energy for the full primary series, this is always an option, and as you get to know the full series a little bit better you can make changes and modifications based on your own needs on any given day. Again, thank you so much, and namaste.

Comments

2 people like this.
Rosemary,

This modified primary series practice is my go-to on any day of the week. The sequences in here have really helped my physical and emotional flexibility and ease. Thank you so very much for sharing.

Namaste.
Bihter, I'm so happy to hear this! It's a pleasure to share. Be well and enjoy! R
I don't know if it's my computer, but at 6:28 seconds, the video gets stuck and I have to fast forward. Would you look to see if it needs to be reloaded?
Gia
1 person likes this.
Jane ~ Thank you for letting us know. If you watch the video in a different quality, it should work for you. The only one have problems right now is 720p. We are working on fixing it and hope to have it ready soon.
1 person likes this.
Thanks Gia. Looks to now be working! Looking forward to getting the full hour in tomorrow!
2 people like this.
Absolutely loved this practice! It really is the perfect practice when no time for the full practice or if im not feeling too energetic. Thank you once again Rosemary for this class :) xx
Thank you!!! You are such a love! ; )
Shine on, R
2 people like this.
Hi Rosemary, I started my Ashtanga practice at home 3 weeks ago, and this is now my daily go-to class. Just wanted to thank you
Thank you, Bianca. And brava on the astanga practice. Let me know how it develops... Enjoy!
1 person likes this.
Thanks so much for this lovely guided Primary series. Can't think of a better way to start my day. Namaste!
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