30-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 3

Earth: Coming Home

30 min - Practice


Build strength and steadiness from the ground up as you reconnect to the roots of your body in this creative, grounding Earth element practice. We flow in and out of various poses in a slow, intentional way, exploring standing, balancing, and twisting postures to activate and strengthen the lower body with smooth intensity. You will feel focused, steady, and refreshed.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block (2)

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Greetings, friends. Thank you for joining me in this Earth Element Practice. This practice is going to reach you back into your legs, into your own roots, and it's helpful to have a couple of blocks and a strap handy. We'll start standing at the top of the mat, feet a little bit wider than hips width apart, and just turn the palms to face up right at the base of your pelvis. Let's inhale and sweep the hands forward and up, creating a wave of breath. And as you exhale, just let the palms cascade down the sides of the body, palms face down, almost like a French press, just pressing away and releasing, composting anything you don't need. So as you inhale, it's a fresh breath in. And as you exhale, release down the midline, down the roots into the earth. Take that one more time. Big inhale. You're welcome to close your eyes for a moment. And then exhale, let the hands cascade down the sides of the body and continue all the way down into a forward fold. And you can bend the knees, relax your head and neck, and just let your rib cage be supported by the thigh bones. From here, we'll step the left foot back and come into a long, low lunge for a simple earth namaskar. You're welcome to bring your blocks on either side of your front foot. Same movement pattern as we inhale. We'll reach the hands forward and up, and then slightly shift the pelvis back as your hands come down the midline. Sweep your hands forward into the mud, flexing the front foot. And you'll feel your hamstrings say hello here. And then take that again, shifting forward into a low lunge. Inhale, new breath. As you exhale, shift the hips back, stretch the front leg long, and just dive down below the earth. And there's a little balance component here as we move through these two asanas, inhaling to open the front body, shifting back, exhaling to open the back body. Let's take that one more time, shifting forward on an inhale, and reconnecting to your base, to your legs, to your low center of gravity here, shifting back. From here, we'll bend the front knee, ground the palms, step back to downward facing dog, and moving through a lunar vinyasa, shifting forward to plank as you inhale, lower the knees, chest and hips as you exhale, come all the way down to the earth. Easy cobra is your inhale, and then exhale, release back to downward facing dog. Simple. Take a breath here. And then as you exhale, step the left foot forward and lower the back knee down. On an inhale, sweep forward and up. And as you exhale, shift the hips back and dive down into the earth. And notice we're moving kind of slow but steady as you inhale. And on an exhale, shifting down and back. And take as much time as you need to find your balance. It's okay if you have little speed wobbles going on or if it feels a little squirrely, this is your time to just start to connect into your focus, into your steadiness. We'll repeat that one more time, shifting forward, inhale to reach, shifting back, exhale to dropping down. And then re-bend the front knee, curl the back toes under, let's step to the front of the mat, forward fold, soften the knees. Lift your head and your heart, and on an inhale, reach forward and up. We'll catch this first moment again as you exhale like a French press, bring the hands down the midline. Let's do that again, inhale to reach forward and up. Exhale, hands cascade down into your forward fold, rerouting, this time stepping the right foot back to a low lunge, lower the knee. Inhale, reach forward and up. Exhale, shift the hips back, diving down just one cycle this time. Shifting forward, step back to your downward dog and really pay attention to what's in contact with your mat, what's in contact with the earth, hands and feet. Shifting forward to plank on an inhale, exhale, lower the knees, chest and hips. We'll stay with this lunar vinyasa. Inhale, open the heart, reaching back through your legs. Exhale, back to downward dog. Stepping the right foot forward between the hands, lower the back knee. Inhale, reach forward and up. Exhale, shift the hips back, diving down. Completing the exhale, shifting forward, step to the front of the mat and relax your spine into an easy forward fold. Bending the knees makes it a little more lunar, a little more relaxed, straightening the legs a little more solar, more fiery. Lift your head and heart with a flat back, come all the way up to stand. Exhale, press the palms. Once more, inhale forward and up. Exhale, pressing the palms, come back into your forward fold. Lift the heart halfway and we'll bend the knees, we'll actually come down onto our back. So however you like to get there, I'm just going to tuck the knee, swivel around and roll down onto my back. From here, let's activate our core a bit while we kind of examine what's happening in the lower body and the legs. So separate the knees and bring the big toes to touch. And this is the shape of the legs in Bakasana in crow pose. We'll reach your hands towards the sky and as you exhale, curl up as if you're pushing the roof off of the building that you might be in. Inhale, come back down. Exhale, as you curl up, lift the tailbone. Inhale, back down. If your neck is feeling a little tired, hands behind your head, back down. Exhale, curl up. And just feel that Bakasana, crow pose shape as you lift. One more like that. Exhale to lift. Stay lifted, cross the right ankle on top of the left knee. Pull this whole shape in for a threaded needle. Option to just hang out here for a few breaths. Let this be lunar. Or option to lace the fingers behind your head and pulse in and out a few times, activating your core a bit more. We'll take three or four pulses just to say hello. And then as you come down and release, we'll take this threaded needle shape. The peace fingers will come to your big toe as an option or you can take your strap and loop it around your foot. But I'd love for you to just experiment moving from threaded needle shape to what we call Padagustasana B. That's a mouthful. Basically extending the right leg long, left leg down on the earth. And then bring that whole shape back in. Threaded needle to Padagustasana B. Let's curl up and then extend wide and long. Feel that expansion and contraction as we move in and out, expanding the body as you extend the leg, coiling, pulling in, condensing. Once more, extend. And then exhale, release your foot, draw the knees to the chest. Let's take the second side. So left ankle on top of the right knee. Pull that whole shape in. And I really love this particular asana. It opens up the hips and low back so nicely. So either resting here a little more lunar or hands behind the head and starting to coil. I feel it on this side. You'll notice if one side's a little tighter than the other in the hips or one side's a little looser. Just noticing, getting curious. Option to grab your big toe or loop a strap around your foot and then let's expand, opening up the lines of energy through the legs, coiling to bring it back in, expanding to open. And we'll be doing this particular movement, these two asanas, standing in a little bit. Exhale to coil. Inhale to open. And then release knees to chest. Take a moment here, rerouting into earth energy beneath you. Always feels like coming home when you lay upon the earth. Exhale completely. And then let's go ahead and rock on up and pivot back around towards the front of the mat. Climbing your way, that's like a tiger crawl. We'll be doing this a couple times in this practice. Curl the toes under and press back into malasana. So the knees are wide, the big toes are touching. And let's start to kind of prepare ourselves for bakasana, crow pose. So squeeze your knees into your triceps, same shape we were in on your back. Lift up and shift your weight forward, looking forward. And then just bring it back and down. We'll pulse a few times here. Knees squeeze in, lift and shift forward. Once more, squeezing in, lift and shift. Maybe one toe lifts as your knees press the triceps, maybe the other toe. Maybe none of that. And you stretch the legs long into a forward fold and release your spine. Take a moment here.

Exhale completely, surrender. And then from here, if your blocks are handy, I'd love to use them for our next standing sequence that we're moving into. Just place them at the top of your mat. You can set them up low, medium, tall, whatever works for you. I'm going to keep them tall for now. And bring the toes up so they're just behind the blocks. From here, let's move into a simple standing split. So we'll inhale the left leg high. And as you exhale, just melt your spine down for a moment. Again, feeling that rooting and rising through the base, through the feet, through the spine. As you exhale, step back to a long runner's lunge. So in this runner's lunge, just ground down. Notice where everything is in your base. Feet are hips width apart, hands are resting lightly on the blocks. And let's take the right arm to the sky to open up into a simple twist, keeping your chest close to your thigh. Hang out here for a moment, expand through the heart and really reach back through the back leg, through the back heel. Exhale to bring your hands down. Scoot the back foot forward and then straighten both legs. So front foot straight ahead, back foot slightly turned out. This left hip, pull it forward a bit. Inhale to lift your chest. Exhale, melt down into your Pyramid Pose, Parsvottanasana. We can hold here steady. Engage the legs and just feel that grounding support of the earth, base, your roots, your own legs. And then inhale to lift your heart. Pivot your toes towards the long edge of the mat and we'll come into a high Skandhasana with or without hands. Re-rooting from here, maybe taking the arms wide as you shift back and forth. Just feeling that opening the inner thigh line. Walk it forward to the front of the mat. Once again, push off the back foot back into your standing split. The right block, stride it forward so it's under your shoulder.

Turn your hips open and let's turn this into a Half Moon, Ardha Shindrasana, our first balance of this sequence. Keeping your eyes steady and rooted, undistracted on one point. Top arm, top leg reaching high, expanding, rooting and rising. And now as you exhale, bend your standing leg, step back to your Warrior II. It can be a little squirrelly but re-root as best you can. And then on an inhale, straighten the front leg, pivot the toes. We'll come back to this Skandhasana. The left foot turns out. The right toes can lift. Ooh, it's nice and deep. And then we Tiger Crawl back to the top of the mat, stepping into a Forward Fold. Relax your head and neck. Inhale, lift the chest. We'll go right to the second side. I'm gonna move my left foot back, lift the right leg up, standing split on an inhale. Exhale, melt it down. Hips can be square or open. It's really your choice. It's kind of nice to move around between the two and see what feels best. And then exhale, bend your standing leg and step back to a Long Runner's Lunge, adjusting your feet as you need to. So we'll notice a lot with this sequence. We're kind of adjusting from one shape to the next. And that's important to be able to do, to adjust in a moment's notice. So let's take a simple twist. Left arm up. More lunar would be to lower the back knee. More solar would be to keep it lifted. Take a full body breath here. And really arrive into this shape as if it's been waiting for you all day. As you exhale, both hands come down. Stride the back foot forward. Let's straighten our legs and square our hips. Inhale, heart forward. Exhale, release. Upper body, mellow, reaching down, rooting down. Lower body, grounding and rising. Feeling the dynamic between the two. Exhaling, lift the heart.

Pivot the left toes in. Turn towards the long edge of the mat. Let's take a little Skandhasana shift side to side just to warm up the hips as we'll go into it a little deeper, arms wide. And then stepping to the top of the mat, back leg lifts, standing split once again, striding the left block forward. So go ahead and start to open your hips. Right arm rises. Left leg rises. Completely okay to do this against a wall if balance feels a little off today. But keep your eyes steady. Keep your focus steady. Even when you fall out of these poses, because it happens, mentally you can still stay present in them. Let's bend the standing leg. Slowly step back to warrior two. Reaching back so you have a nice deep right angle at the front leg. And then inhale. Come on up. Pivot the left toes in. Arms reach. Exhale, right toes turn out, adjusting onto the left heel. Low Skandhasana. And then crawl out of it like a tiger. Yes. Stepping to the front of the mat into your forward fold. Let's step the feet back a bit. Separate them hips width apart. Soften the knees. Relax your head and neck. From here, we'll take our strap and we'll slowly come on up. You can roll up through the spine if you like, or lift the head and heart and circle the hands forward and up. And exhale like a French press, composting, releasing. And then take it to the long edge of your mat. So remember the postures we were working with on our back a little while ago, moving from threaded needle to Padagusthasana B. We'll take that here. So let's set our feet a hip bone distance apart and we'll be using a strap. I'll demonstrate it once with and once without. As you bend your knees and come into Utkatasana, Chair Pose, strap is in one hand and think of it as part of you. As you exhale, bring the hands to the heart. Focus your eyes on one point. Let's shift our weight into right foot, ankle on knee. So here we are in our threaded needle. We're already in the balance. Hips shift back. If you'd like to use the strap, this is probably the hardest thing I'm going to ask you to do is loop it around the sole of your right foot and hold on close. I'm going to let the rest of the strap just go, hand to the hip. Now from here, come up to standing, lifting your knee out on a diagonal, just outside your elbow. Totally fine to go stand next to a wall or a chair and put your free hand on it. I'm going to try to stay right here with you. Now keep standing tall, finding your Tadasana and rooting, pressing down while rising is key. If you'd like to extend this leg long, we practice this on the mat and then exhale, bonus points to come back into your temple dancer. Don't stress out about it. We're just checking it out, getting curious, right? Feeling that earth energy rooting and rising as you come back up. Ooh, Padagastasana B. And then exhale, gently exit out of it.

You can take the strap off your foot and relax and then we'll take side two. You're welcome to use the strap again if you'd like. I'm going to take second side and demonstrate it without a strap. So bend your knees, slowly reach your arms forward. Here we go. It's part of me. Forward and up as you inhale, Ukatasana and then exhale. If you're working with it, loop it onto the foot. I'm going to set it to one side and we'll bring right ankle on top of left knee. If your hamstrings are feeling a little more open, you can work with your peace fingers. Grab onto the big toe as you steady yourself and then slowly come up to standing. Lift through the chest, feel your Tadasana start to extend your leg long or any amount. And then slowly bring it back down and notice that I'm having you move in between, in and out of these two asanas. And when we observe trees in nature, they're never just steady. They're always in movement. There's always things happening. So rooting and rising and then slowly bringing it back down. It's not supposed to be easy. Oh, look at that. There we go. And then come back to standing. And it feels so good to have both feet on the mat and so wonderful to feel that accomplishment. Let's step to the front of the mat. Bring the hands to the heart and just reroute. Hands come down. Inhale, sweep the arms forward and up. Exhale, draw the hands down outside the body all the way to the blocks. Forward fold. Notice the difference in how you feel here. Let's lift the left leg up. Find your standing split. This time, step back to warrior one. So we'll set the back foot into diagonal. Inhale to rise. As you exhale, twisting triangle, hands come back down, stride the back foot in. You can move the block to the inside or the outside of the foot. I'm going to go without. And then take the right arm to the sky, reaching the spine forward, turning your gaze and breathing here. Last breath. Exhale, release. Pivoting the toes out, coming into your skandhasana. It's going to be a low skandhasana this time, so low that we actually sit down for what's called gate pose or parigasana options. This knee can be pointed up to the sky. It can be turned in. It can be turned out. It can be extended. Choose one that works for you. I'm going to keep the knee pointing up. Hold on to the ankle or palm to the mat and then sweep the horizon with your free arm over your head. Might feel good to you to keep that top arm reaching high, heart open, on a diagonal or all the way to your foot. And then just take a breath here. Feel how close you are to earth energy, kind of listening, getting your ear to the path, literally. You turn your heart open. Take a full breath in. And then exhale. We'll soften and release out of it. Bend your front knee. We'll tiger crawl. This is a technical method here. Back to the forward fold, hands on the blocks, just giving it purpose. Inhale to lift your heart right into the second side. Let's lift the right leg, standing split, and then stride back to warrior one. Inhale to rise, sinking into the lunge, pressing into the outer edge of the back foot, and then exhale. Stride the back foot forward, setting up for twisting triangle. Same base as Parsvottanasana, it's pyramid pose. Moving the block in or the hand in to either side of the front foot, and then opening up to your twisting triangle. Just enjoy a few breaths here. Feel both the ease and effort in this shape. And exhale, surrender to gravity. Turn the toes out, coming into that Skandhasana, low Skandhasana, opposite side, sitting the hips down, taking whatever variation you like with this opposite leg, and then sweeping right arm across the horizon. And anywhere along the way that works for you with that top arm, turning your heart towards the sky. I'm in it pretty deeply here, but you're welcome to be a little higher up, right? There's so many options. Finding the one that works for you is the best choice. Last breath here. Relaxing into gravity. And then as you exhale, come on up out of it. Bend your front knee, and we'll get ready to come on to our backs again. We'll turn these blocks into a pillow, functional pillow. From here, come on down, tuck and roll onto your side. If you have a pillow handy, that's even better. Bottom arm extends long, top knee comes forward, and bottom leg reaches down. Just asked you to do a lot. Now let this top knee roll and slide so your hips open towards the earth, and it should feel kind of open after all that adductor opening we just experienced. This bottom leg, you can leave it long and just hang out here in this kind of reclined, relaxed twist. You can bend the bottom leg and reach back and take this quadricep opener. This is such a great option if you have any knee issues and your knees tend to bother you in quadricep openers. This is a really kind, accessible skin pose, actually, called cat catching its tail. So you can draw that heel in any amount if it's a little far to reach your foot. Use a strap or some sort of lasso there and draw it in. Just a breath or two here. Notice again how you feel. Breathe into that spaciousness, that grounding. Release your foot and then simply turn the chest open towards the sky, coming into a relaxed twist. We'll be here just for a moment. Exhaling completely. And now let's slowly change to the second side. So you're welcome to roll onto your back. And just continue to shift onto opposite side. Bottom arm reaches long. Top knee comes forward. Down leg reaches down. And then slide your hips open towards the earth. You're welcome to stay right here or reach back and it's cat catching its tail. Grab onto that back foot, drawing the heel in any amount towards your glutes, pressing the front of the hips into the earth. And again, just reconnecting, coming back home to your base, to what's basic. Last breath here. And then exhale, release your foot. Slowly open up into the twist.

Allow yourself to relax into gravity. As you're ready, come back to the center of your spine. Move the blocks out from underneath you so that your neck can be completely neutral. Stretch your legs long. Stretch your arms long, setting up for Shavasana. Expand your breath into your heart, your ribs, your belly, down into your legs, all the way out the soles of the feet. And as you exhale, let your whole body just dissolve down into the support of the earth. Anything that might be on your mind or weighing on you, just let it drop down. Picture the soil beneath you wherever you are. Is it sandy? Is it rocky? Is it muddy? And anything that you can drop into that becomes reconstituted. Turn it into energy. Allow yourself to simply let go and rest. Take about 10 more breaths here.

And we have a bit of a longer Shavasana in this particular practice simply for the reason of dropping down into earth energy. A lot of times, we're always feeling like we need to be on the go and moving and our schedules are so full. Life is so full. And when you head out into nature and witness spaciousness and steadiness, even though things are always in motion, things are always changing, just taking the time to slow down. So key for our own energy balancing, clarity of mind, depth of heart and soul. So take a few more breaths here. Let yourself become part of the landscape just for a moment or two, the natural landscape around you. You're welcome to stay here and continue to rest on your back in Shavasana. If you'd like to draw your knees in and roll onto one side, come up for just a little bit of breath work. You can slowly just turn over and maybe even keep your eyes closed as you come up to a comfortable seated position and finding a tall seat here upon your throne on the earth with the shoulders rolled down your back, turning the palms to face up on your knees or your lap, inhaling through the nose to the count of one, two, three, four, five, pausing at the top, exhaling five, four, three, two, one, pausing at the bottom. Inhaling one, two, three, four, five, pausing at the top, exhaling five, four, three, two, one, pausing at the bottom. Two more rounds, inhaling one, two, three, four, five, six, pause, exhale six, five, four, three, two, one, pause. Last round, let's make it the deepest one. Inhale one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, pause, exhale seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, release. Natural breath in, relaxed breath out. Gently open your eyes, bring your hands together at your heart. Beautiful work. Thank you so much for joining me today. Namaste.


Elizabeth M
Love this class, thank you, Shelley!

Francesca Venturini
So nice practicing with you1 thank you!!
Jenny S
3 people like this.
A perfect practice for this late-season nor’easter day here in Connecticut 🌨️ as I sank into the earthy grounding flow the pine trees outside my window were laden with heavy, wet snow and the driving winds caused them to sway this way and that. Just then, you mentioned that trees are never still and it was like it was scripted! Thank you Shelley for this beautiful offering 🙏🏻❤️❄️
Whitney K
2 people like this.
That was so lovely, so feel-good and so creative! This was y first time taking one of your classes. Can't wait to practice with you again!
Rachel S
2 people like this.
Really fun class! Thank you!
Sandra Židan
What a beautiful and calming practice! Thanks, Shelley! Namaste! ❤️🥰🌹
Deborah O
2 people like this.
What a nice step into Spring,  Thank you for the breath work and sense of calm.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Each of these little practice sequences are such exquisitely crafted jewels. Thank you Shelley : )
Lina S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this playful practice!
Shelley Williams
Elizabeth M Thank you so much for the sweet note, I am so glad you enjoyed it...and it was a wonderful experience creating this with YOU! 
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