30-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 2

Solar Lunar Balancing Flow

30 min - Practice
107 likes
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Description

Develop the ability to self-assess, balancing solar activating energy with lunar receiving energy. In this class, we move fluidly through Sun Salutes and standing poses, listening to internal queues for when to persevere, and when to soften. You will feel energized, grounded, and awake.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

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Transcript

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Greetings friends, welcome to your Solar Lunar Balancing Flow. This is a super accessible practice and it just gives us some opportunities to assess our energy, body, mind, and spirit, and some essential skills for bringing yourself into balance whether it be on yoga mat or in life. So let's get started, and if you'd like to have a blanket handy, we'll use it at some point during the practice and it's nice to have it as an option. So let's come onto our backs to start. Bring your feet to one end of the mat and just slowly roll down your spine, draw your knees into your chest, and relax into the support of the earth beneath you.

You can rock a little bit side to side here across the low back and even let your head and neck go. And throughout this practice, we'll be just looking at some different options within all the different asanas and shapes that we move through to either bring it to a more simpler place or a more intense place, a lunar place or a more solar place. So from here and for now, just start to breathe deeply, come right back to the center, take a deep breath in through the nose, exhale through the mouth, and the sound of that breath just capture it as you inhale through the nose, keeping the lips closed, exhale through the nose. And on your next breath, reach your arms over your head, draw the knees together. As you exhale, circle the arms wide and draw yourself up into a tiny little ball of energy, forehead towards the knees, just pulling everything in.

And once again, inhale, reach over your head, exhale, circle the arms wide, curl up. If this bothers your neck or feels like too much, you can just keep your head down the whole time. That would be more lunar, just staying relaxed. One more time, inhale, reach over your head, exhale, either curling up or keeping the head down, and then just extend one leg long, letting it hover over the mat and change legs. So it's a bit of an activated lower back stretch.

And again, we're just getting the body moving, breathing, and so as you alternate from one side to the other, check in with yourself. We'll do this often. How do you feel? Does this feel like enough or is it too much? We can always take it down a notch, head down, leg can come to the mat, or we can take it up a notch and go hands free, right?

Let's take our hands behind our head and just start to bring elbow to knee, just bringing a little warmth into the center of the body, into your core, activating a little fire element to warm you up. As you move side to side, just continue to stay connected with your breath. We've got about four more rounds here. I'd love to invite you just to stay curious with how your body feels, how your energy feels, moving from side to side. One more cycle, and then exhale, relax your head down, hug your knees into your chest, take a deep inhale here.

Holding on behind the knees as you exhale, just start to take a little baby rock. Feet can toss over your head, you can rock up to your sitz bones. Play around with this again, get curious. Maybe one leg kicks over your head or the other leg. This can be super small or a little bit bigger.

And then come all the way up to seated, and we'll flip around to our hands and knees. Taking your hands underneath your shoulders, your knees underneath your hips, and if you'd like to put a blanket underneath your knees, feel free to do so. So from here, a couple of rounds of cat cow as we inhale, we arch our back. As we exhale, we round the spine. Let's drop the belly, open the chest, and inhale, exhale, round the spine, delm your back, draw the navel in.

Twice more if you'd like here, just activating a little movement through the spine, central channel of our energy, and if you'd like a little more, the next time that you round your spine, press into the tops of the feet, let your knees hover a little bit. You'll feel your core activate, and then set the knees lightly down, inhale to arch, exhaling round. Once again, maybe give that a little feel, activating solar energy in the core. Breathing back down, open the heart, let's walk our hands forward a little bit, curl the toes under, lift the hips up and back into downward dog. Bicycle pedal through the feet and knees, and just shifting your weight a bit, and again, just getting curious here with how you feel, checking in often, noticing what needs a little love, what needs a little energy, breathing into that place.

Let's inhale up onto the toes, exhale, lower the heels down towards the mat, feeling the toes spread wide, once again, rising up, exhaling, lower. And then start to walk your feet and your hands to the middle of your mat, just meeting right in the middle of that balance point. Inhale to lift your heart, slide your hands up the shins and bring your spine parallel to the earth, and then exhale, soften the knees, relax down. Let's slowly roll up through the spine, keep your knees bent, draw your navel in, slowly rise like you're coming up out of the earth towards the sun, turn towards the long edge of your mat, let's take the feet a little wider, and we'll reach out and up, tracing the shape of the sun here, and you can feel that energy as you really reach to your full height, and then exhale, draw your hands to your heart. Really simple namaskar here as we take one arm up and over, nice big inhale to side bend.

As you exhale, soften and curve, and let's bring our elbows to the knees here and just pause for a moment, it's almost like an umpire position. And then as you exhale, straighten the legs, create a flat back with your spine, arms wide. As you exhale, let everything soften back to the knees, and then just roll up the spine. So really activating the center of the body, taking the other arm up and over, sweeping into a nice big side bend, and then exhale, soften and dissolve, elbows to the knees. Create a flat back, arms like airplane wings, legs long, exhale back to the knees.

Roll up through the spine, let's do that again, one arm up and over, feel the activation, the solar energy, and then that lunar softening down to the knees. Inhale wide with the arms, active in the spine, and then this time take it all the way down to your forward fold and slowly roll up. Feels so good in the spine to move in this way. Let's take the other side up and over, big inhale, exhale, soften, dissolve. Inhale, activate and expand through your fingertips, exhale, release all the way down into your forward fold.

Slowly roll up, right through the midline, then both arms circle out and up, full inhale, right back down into your forward fold, wide legs, palms can meet the mat right under your shoulders, lift the heart, and then exhale, release down, crown towards the earth, and feel that release of energy through the spine. You're welcome to stay here. Couple of options, you can take the hands to the outer ankles or heels. I love to open my shoulders here so you can reach behind your back and lace your fingers or take a strap with hands wide, and send your knuckles up and over, releasing down towards the earth, relax your head and neck, and see if you can keep your legs active while you lift your shoulder blades. It's a very dynamic posture here.

We have this sense of lifting through the legs, through the shoulders, but also releasing through the spine and through the crown. So hanging out here for one more breath, exhale completely, and then slowly release your hands back down. We're moving to our first standing sequence right from the center of the mat here, so lift the heart, come up onto your fingertips, as you exhale, walk your hands over to the right side, pivot the feet, come into a low lunge. Let's reach our arms forward and up, so we're in a low crescent pose, and then exhale, hands come back down to the mat. If your knee's sensitive, you're welcome to put a blanket or fold a towel underneath.

Taking the right arm up into a twist, nice big inhale here, exhale, release your arm down. Now, the back shin's gonna pivot like a rudder on a sailboat, and we come up into a kneeling warrior two. It's a more lunar version of this standing sequence, and notice if you kinda lean into your legs here, you get this really nice opening through adductor, through the base, through your roots. Leaning into it one more time, and then go ahead and reach back into a little reverse warrior. We'll straighten the long leg there, the right leg.

Fingertips come to the mat, and as you exhale, release your hands down to the opposite side. I'm pivoting on my knee. Option here, a little more solar, would be to pull the knee up into the core or to leave it down, and then exhale, we set both knees to the middle of the mat. Walk your hands back to your hips. This is our back bend.

Instead of upward dog, we're coming into a high camel pose, and then exhale, hands to the mat, step your left foot forward. Super simple, right? So let's inhale to a low crescent, reaching up. As you exhale, hands come down, just grounding yourself, right hand grounds, left arm lifts into a twist, stay for an inhale, and then exhale, release. Pivot the back shin like a rudder, and then slowly come up to your kneeling warrior two.

Notice I kind of heel-toed my foot so that I have a better alignment for my hips. And then let's lean into this a little bit, just exploring and getting curious of how things feel in our roots, in our body. Also getting a little more acquainted with our own knees, right? So pad them up as necessary. And then reverse, reach back, you can reach through the toes of the long legs, fingertips to the mat.

Take a deep breath in here, feel this expansive reach of the body. Exhale, pivot back towards your plank. Knee can come up or stay down, and then set both knees down right in the center of the mat. Hands to hips, lift the heart on your inhale. Exhale, bring it back down to hands and knees.

Good. Curl the toes under, lift your hips, downward dog. And just notice how you feel, a couple of simple movements with breath, with focus. Notice if you're feeling like, okay, bring on more or maybe a little rest, in that case come into child's pose. Your choice, always.

Take another deep breath here. Exhale completely. Now you can step or lightly hop your feet to the middle of the mat. I'm gonna hop, walk in it back, inhale, lift the heart, the level of the horizon, fingers slide up the shins. Exhale, release, soften the knees, and let's roll up, nice and slow.

Turning back towards the long edge of the mat, circle out and up, really taking up space. Reach as tall as you can through the roof towards the sun. Now hands to your heart, and then take it all the way down to the earth. Bend into your right knee, a little high skandhasana, it's a side lunge, we'll shift from side to side here. And this, we'll be working with this particular posture and moving through it in the coming practices in this show, and you can feel free to turn your toes out and take it into a low malasana and pop in a little wheelie there with the opposite foot.

If the knee's like that, you can go low, or you can always stay a little bit high. It's up to you. And then bringing it back to the center, ground through your left palm, and as you inhale, reach the right arm up, sample twist, exhale, release it down. We'll keep a little flow here so it feels a little more lunar. Press into the right hand, inhale, left arm rises, exhale, bring it down.

Press into the palms, inhale, right arm, exhale, through the nose, releasing into ujjayi, inhale, exhale. And then from here, lift up halfway, inhale, notice how you feel once again. Exhale, walk your hands over to the right. We're gonna repeat this standing sequence but with the back knee lifted so it becomes a little more activated. So finding your balance, feet hips width apart, let's inhale to rise up to crescent.

And you'll notice right away, this requires a little more focus. As you exhale, left hand comes down, right arm reaches up, simple twist. Take a deep breath in, and you can always make a choice here. You can always just return to knee down if that feels better to you. Otherwise release your hand, set the back foot for warrior two, check in with that heel to arch alignment, and then let's sweep the arms forward, up, wide into your warrior two.

Reverse your warrior, straightening the front leg just like we did in the first sequence. And then exhale, let's come through triangle pose. So your hand can rest on your shin, block, or the earth, your choice. I'm gonna go a little deeper, take a full inhale here. And then as you exhale, let's transition, circle your arm, pivot your foot towards the long edge of the mat.

Let's bring that high skandhasana back into the flow here. So side to side, once and twice, and then turning to the left side, super simple. Organize your feet so they're hips width apart, finding your balance, finding your focus. Transition for knee down, more lunar or up is more solar, and then inhale to rise. Gaze is steady.

This always helps the balance just to keep your focal point steady on one particular beautiful place. I'm imagining the orchard outside of this wall. And then exhale, right hand down, left arm lifts. Hanging out here for a moment, checking in, see how you feel. Do you need less or more?

And then set the back foot. Slowly come on up to your warrior two, oh, hello, coming into your base. And then let's reach into our reverse warrior, straightening the front leg, take a huge breath in, exhale all the way up and over into your triangle pose. Hand can rest shin, if you have a block handy on a block or the earth. Exhale inhale here.

Exhale completely. Top arm circles, pivot this front foot in, and let's come back into that skandhasana and maybe take it a little lower, turning the toes out. Hands can really go wherever you like to balance your body. Sometimes it's even nice to bring the hands to the heart, create a little more soul or energy through this flow. And then coming back to the center, parallel the feet, bring them in just a little closer together.

So kind of a wide, not quite hips width, a little wider than that. And then exhale, release, turning the palms to face up, softening the neck and relaxing here into your forward fold. So this is a really nice lunar moment for us to just catch our breaths and release. And again, check in, ask the question, how do I feel? One more breath here.

Let's start to roll up the spine, so take a breath first, nice deep inhale. And then as you exhale, soften the knees, pull the navel in, slowly start to roll up one vertebrae at a time. Once you come to standing, circle the shoulders up and back a few times. Checking in, noticing, listening. And then go ahead and shift your weight over to your right foot.

We'll push off the left foot and it's a big balance transfer of weight, bringing your pelvis over that right foot. Lift your left knee, reach your arms up. This is our first single leg balance pose in this particular sequence and we're kind of just tasting it. Now from here to change sides, I'd love for you to just set that foot back down a little wider than hips width apart, cross the arms through the midline. It's kind of a Qigong transfer and we take the weight over to the other side.

Like you're about to take a big step somewhere, but just holding the space here. Feel the rooting of the standing leg, the lifting of the spine, the focus of your gaze. Exhale once again, step that right foot wide, come through the midline. Feel how your pelvis transitions from left to right and then lifting up. We'll bring this kind of little balance transfer back in and so some of the later practices in this particular season, but for now just feel this beautiful shift, balance, focus.

What I love about balance postures is they require both solar and lunar energy. They require our focus and steadiness and intensity. Let's go to the first side again, but we also need to be relaxed as we move in and out of them. So notice where maybe you can relax your body and where you can activate your focus. Transition again through the midline.

Once more, lifting up through that opposite knee and just feeling your balance. Sometimes it can be squirrely and that's okay. Come down through the center. Take that nice wide base and let's come back to the beginning, sweeping one arm up and over. Notice how it maybe feels a little different.

Exhale soften through the midline, curving to center, inhale wide through the arms. A little solar would be to reach forward activating the upper back and then exhale, let everything go. Bend the knees, roll it on up. Feels totally different now. Take the other arm up and over, reaching through your side and exhale, soften through the midline.

Inhale wide with the arms, straighten the legs into a flat back. Maybe reaching your arms forward is a little more solar and then exhale, soften everything down. Lunar. Let's stay here. This feels right.

Hang out here for a moment and allow your spine to move like a tassel. Nice and easy. We want to transition down to the mat once again and so just take this moment to kind of put a period on the end of the sentence for our standing postures to breathe, to release. Shifting your spine easy, maybe the hips shifting a little and then walk your hands towards the back of the mat, pivot to a runner's lunge and let's tuck right knee in and have a seat. Okay, so let's spin around actually to hands and knees coming back, back to the beginning yet again and set your hands under your shoulders, your knees under your hips and bring the big toes to touch.

Big move here. We're dropping back to child's pose, yes, because it's always great to remember that child's pose is here for you and the Sanskrit name for this particular asana is balasana which roughly translates as wisdom pose, wisdom pose, so really knowing when we need to drop down. The advanced yogi is not the one that you know can do the big flashy asanas, it's really the one that knows what they need less or more on any given day in any given moment. So just breathe into that wisdom here for a few breaths and accessing that knowledge really requires the element of self-study which is one of the limbs of yoga, looking inward, being willing to ask the question and listen for the answer. So just take two more breaths here and maybe notice where you're at in this moment and in the bigger picture, the ground scheme of things and how you can show up in a more solar or more lunar way for balance.

So let's inhale to hands and knees. And moving through a lunar vinyasa, we'll shift the hips forward, the shoulders forward and then slowly surrender with strength. I'm going slow, bending the elbows, coming through chaturanga so the chest, navel and hips come to the mat at the same time. Reaching back through the tops of the feet, I like to bring my thighs a little closer together and spiral them in and then easy cobra, lift your heart, pressing into the palms just enough to create that healthy upper back bend in the spine. Exhale, release your forehead back down and now we'll press to hands and knees but allow your chest, navel and hips to leave the mat at the same time.

It's easier said than done. So pull the core in and let your spine leave the mat at the same time and then press back to child's pose. Inhale shift forward to hands and knees, we'll do that again. Shoulders forward, exhale, lower in one piece, nice and slow. Looks easy but feels challenging.

Inhale easy cobra, roll the shoulders back, lift your heart. This time lift your hands so you feel your back working. Our back core just as important as our front core. Exhale forehead touches down, press to hands and knees. Back to child's pose and this is a great way to build strength for the more classic vinyasas, classic chaturanga that's coming in the next practices.

So inhale forward, exhale lowering down, feel the strength and the ease. Inhale easy cobra. Now stay in cobra, move your hands back an inch, press into the tops of the feet and let's lift into upward facing dog. So standing in the hands, standing in the tops of the feet, roll the shoulders back. Feel how much more solar this feels.

And then exhale, lift your hips, press back to down dog. Two deep breaths here, exhale completely and then bend your knees, swivel them towards one side of the mat and have a seat, yes again. We'll take our blanket as an option and we'll place it right at the back of the mat so that when we roll down, it'll land right behind our, or we will land on it right with our heart center. So slowly coming down and then moving into a supported fish pose. So this would be more lunar and you can even roll the blanket or use a bolster if you happen to have one at home but you can see this nice easy back bend that I have in the spine here and if this feels good, hang out here, relax, enjoy.

If you'd like this to be a little more active, you can slide your hands right underneath your glutes, palms face down and then pressing into the forearms, rise up into an active version of fish pose, perching on the crown of your head, lifting up through the back of the heart. This is so great for our posture, opens up the heart center, opens up the throat, reach long through your legs, take a full breath in here, stay for the exhale and again this is just an option, a little more solar than where we were just at, reclined on the blanket. Both are good, both are great, they're just different. Last breath here and then exhale, slowly draw the chin to the chest, release down, release your hands if they were there under your glutes. We'll bend the knees and start to army crawl our way back a little bit over the blanket, just enough so that when we lift our hips, we can slide it down under our sacrum.

So now we have this really nice supported bridge option where the hips are just on this cushion again, you could be higher on a block or a couple of blocks, stacked blankets. This is the solar version of our bridge or the lunar version of our bridge. The solar version would be to lift up, lace the fingers, I'll push the blanket out of the way and activate, rolling the back of the shoulders underneath you so you have the option. If you're a Gemini like me, you like to do everything, you want to feel all the options so that's fine too. And wherever you end up, just give it about three or four more breaths.

Try not to turn your head in this particular shape because sometimes it can sort of make our neck feel a little funky but just keep your gaze either inward with eyes closed or straight up towards the sky. Feel the feet hips width apart pressing down into the earth as the hips rise, thigh bones are parallel, shoulders shrugging down the back, breath is deep, focused and also relaxed. Taking one more breath here and then release your hands if they happen to be laced. If you moved the blanket, slide it back underneath your tailbone, got a nice little crack in the knee there. Lift your legs straight up into the sky in a supported shoulder stand, let's reach through the balls of the feet and if you can, legs in a nice long plumb line from the hips up.

If this isn't working for your low back or hamstrings, you're welcome to bend the knees, totally fine. And then just relax here for a moment or two, feel that float of the legs. Sometimes it's nice to even circle through the ankles and the toes and just open up through the feet, extending, flexing and pointing and it's nice to return to that ability. Oh, let me see my feet and see how they articulate, right? In traditional Chinese medicine, they say we age from the feet up and so keeping this mobility through our wonderful feet, so important.

So wherever you end up here, press through the balls of the feet, spread the toes, take a deep inhale, arms are wide and exhale. Feel that balance of relaxation through the upper body but activation through the lower body in space. So last breath here, just enjoying the float of the legs. As you exhale, draw the knees into your chest, give yourself a little bear hug and then let's set up for Shavasana. So bring the feet to the mat, lift your hips.

You're welcome to leave the blanket there or set it to one side and stretch your legs out long. Feet a little bit wider than hips width apart, turn the palms face up and then as you take your next inhale, just feel it rise like a wave from the belly to the ribs to the heart, a little suspension at the top of your in-breath and as you exhale, heart, ribs, belly, relax. Inhale belly, ribs, heart. Inhale heart, ribs, belly softens and just take a few moments here to relax and completely let go into your Shavasana. You're welcome to stay here and continue to rest in a longer Shavasana as you like.

If you'd like to close your practice with me, send a little movement to your fingers and your toes, reawakening your body as you inhale and reach your arms over your head and stretch the legs long. Just bring your awareness fully back into your body, your mind, your spirit all in one place integrated and then as you exhale, draw the knees into the chest. Gently roll over to one side, come on up to comfortable seated position, bringing the hands together at the heart and this is literally the symbol of balance, bringing the solar and lunar sides of our being, our brain, our body together in balance. So take a deep breath into that deep feeling of calm, peaceful stillness and balance. Exhale completely.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you have a beautiful day. Namaste.

Comments

Francesca Venturini
Welcome back Shelley !! nice practice. I like the integration of Qi-gong!!
Rachel S
3 people like this.
Oh, that was just right! I really appreciated this today. I'm excited to see your new season! 
Pia A
2 people like this.
Very balancing and movings like waves. I will repeat it also in the morning. Thank you🙏😊
Matthew
3 people like this.
agree with Francesca about the qigong flavour. structure and flow - so nicely balanced. thanks.
Jenny S
2 people like this.
Oh Shelley…I’m a Gemini rising so I totally get it!  Now I know why you incorporate so many creative variations into your sun salutations and why this resonates with me.  Variety is the spice of life!  Loved this!!! 🌞🌚🙌
Sandra Židan
Today's practice was a great start of the day for me! Thanks, Shelley! Namaste! ❤️🌹🌼🌷
Kate M
2 people like this.
Just a beautiful class. So many ideas to play with here! Loved the wide-legged variation namaskar. I want to play with these ideas in my practice and take whatever arises into my teaching : ) Your creative flowing sequencing is so inspiring!!
Lina S
1 person likes this.
A very enjoyable class with creative variations, balancing yin and yang. Nice flow of movements that leave the body and soul in a happier place! Thank you!
Shelley Williams
Francesca Venturini Thank you Francesca! I love incorporating the essence of qi-gong, and sometimes Ba Gun Zhang tai chi into vinyasa flow...feels natural! Glad you enjoyed!
Shelley Williams
Rachel S Thank you so much, and so glad to know this practice hit the spot for you... this is one of my personal favorites :)
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