30-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Fire: Igniting Change

30 min - Practice


Step into your power in this core activating practice focused on cultivating fire and passion and catalyzing transformation. We begin with a breath practice, build heat, strength, and stamina in a steady, brisk flow, play into arm balances, and restore in cooling inversions. You will feel ready to show up to challenges with sharp focus and a relaxed mind.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster


Read Full Transcript

Greetings, friends. Welcome back to our fire element practice. This one is all about activating fire and passion within your body, mind, and spirit and creating change, catalyzing change. So we'll start seated. If you have a blanket or a bolster to sit on, this will help to utilize during our practice. Let's start with a little breath of fire. So bring the left hand to the navel center. We'll take a deep breath in through the nose to capacity. So a nice full breath in. And then exhale all your breath out but maintain a tall spine. We'll breathe into about half. And when we move through breath of fire, we'll have a series of quick exhales. And you want to make sure that you're pulsing the abdominal wall in, in, in to breathe out, out, out through the nose like you're snuffing out a candle. Let's practice. Take a full inhale. Exhale to half. And begin. Continue breathing. I'm going to snap my fingers to keep the rhythm. It's an exhale, exhale, exhale. If this rhythm feels too fast, you can always slow it down or go a little faster. But just focus on the exhale. Exhale short, quick spurts through the nose. Ten more rounds. Deep breath in. Exhale all the breath out. Relax your shoulders. Take another deep inhale. Maybe roll the shoulders up, back, and down the spine as you exhale. Take that a couple more times on your own before we go into the second round. And it's kind of nice to remember that some of the benefits of Kapalibhati, breath of fire, is to cleanse the sinuses, to clear and calm the mind, to tone and activate the abdominal wall, and to stimulate the digestive organs.

So there's a lot happening both on a physiological level and on an energetic level. Let's take another round. Take a deep breath in. One hand to the belly. Exhale to half. I'll snap my fingers again for a rhythm. Let's go. Continue pulsing your breath out. Continue to pulse the abdominal wall in. This particular breathing pattern is not necessarily easy, and this is our first step and opportunity in really showing up to a task that is challenging. So try your best to just stay with it. We've got 10 more. Release. Take a deep breath in. Roll the shoulders up, back, and down the spine. Exhale all the breath out. Do that again. Inhale. Roll the shoulders up, back, and down. A little bit different I'd love for you to try. We'll do one more round. This time we'll alternate two exhales through the nostrils, two exhales through the mouth. And you're going to feel this affect your body a little bit differently and definitely affect your focus a little differently. Let's take a deep breath in. One hand to the navel center. Exhale half of the breath out. We'll start with the nose first. Take 10 more rounds. Exhale. Relax your hands. Take a deep breath in. Roll the shoulders up, back, and down. Exhale. Gently open your eyes. Twice more with the shoulders. Deep slow inhale. Exhale. And again, just notice the difference that you feel in your mind, in your body, in your energy. That stimulation through the core and focus on a single point or a single task. So let's continue to move with that energy. We'll go ahead and set our bolster to one side. Place your hands right under your shoulders, knees under your hips. We'll move into kind of an activated cat cow. We've done this before in this show. So we'll inhale to arch the back. And I'd love for you to round your spine. And today, lift the knees up for each of these. And then set the knees down. Inhale to arch. If that bothers your ankles at all, you can tuck the toes under and round the spine. Coil up through the navel center. Lift the knees to a little bear pose. And then set it down. Inhale to arch your back. Exhale to round. Pick up the knees. Now we're gonna start to change the base a little here. So tops of the feet flat. Walk your hands back about six inches. Inhale, arch your back. Chest forward. Exhale, round the spine. Pick up the knees a bit, keeping the hips low. Set your knees down. Walk the hands back almost level with your knees. Arch your back. It's a smaller base. Hips are low. Exhale, round. Lean back into the feet a little bit. Lift the knees up, stretching the tops of the ankles. Set the knees down. Sit on your heels or you can place the bolster behind you. Inhale to open your chest. So we have an upright cat cow. Exhale, press your palms right next to the knees. Coil up. Pull the navel in, stretching the tops of the feet. Let's do that again. Inhale, arch your back.

Open the chest. Exhale, round the spine. Pull the navel in. Lift the knees. Maybe lift the feet for a moment. And then set it down. One more like that. Notice it takes a little bit of extra fire, a lot of extra effort to coil. Lift the knees and the feet. Ooh, that's challenging. And then walk your hands forward and come up into a downward facing dog. Opening up the back of the knees. Let's take the feet as wide as the mat for this down dog. Shorten the stance a bit and bring your right hand across to the outer left ankle. And just take a small twist here. Let your spine dangle down. Notice the hips can shift a little from left to right. And then changing sides. Right hand forward. Left hand to the outer ankle. Letting the spine dangle. Shifting a little bit. Coming back to the center. Let's continue to worm and heat the body. Taking the right leg to the sky on an inhale. Let's rise up high on the toe. Exhale, knee to the right tricep. Inhale, reach it back and up. Exhale, knee to the nose. This is a familiar pattern. Inhale to reach up. Exhale, knee to the left tricep. Reach it back and up. Exhale, this time step it all the way through. Let's take a low lunge for this first cycle. Inhale to reach up to a low crescent. Exhale, slicing right back down to earth. Left hand to the mat. Right arm reaches up. And then retrace your pathway. Top arm circles back and down. Both hands reach up. A little bit of a back bend. Exhale, let's keep moving. Step to plank. Lower chaturanga halfway or all the way. Inhale, open the chest. Exhale, moving with purpose to downward dog. Left leg rises on an inhale. Come up high on the right toe. Exhale, knee to elbow. Inhale, reach. Exhale, really deliberately through the center. Back and up. Focusing over to right elbow. Back and up. Step all the way through. Set the foot down. Lower the knee. Inhale, low crescent. Exhale, right back down to earth. Left arm sweeps up. Notice the cadence here as we circle back and down. We're moving a little more briskly in this pattern. Exhale, release to plank. If it feels too solar, slow it down and pause. If you need a little more, you can always add an extra push up in chaturanga wherever you like. We'll repeat this pattern. Left leg rises.

Knee to right tricep. Back and up. To the middle. Creating heat. Staying with the effort. Bring it over to left elbow. Back and up. Step it through. This time it can be a high lunge as an option, more solar, or low lunge, more lunar. Inhale, crescent pose. Sharpening your focus. Exhale, simple twist. Come back to crescent. Inhale. Spread the fingers. Exhale. To plank. Chaturanga. Open the heart. Maybe add an extra push up. Downward dog. Left leg rises. Exhale. Knee to tricep. Back and forth three times. To the middle. Inhale. To the right. Inhale. Step it all the way through. Lower high lunge. Stay with the pace. Inhale to rise. Exhale. Simple twist. Inhale to reach up. Exhale to your vinyasa. Feel free to skip any of them. Go right back to downward dog. Or add more. Take a couple breaths here. Notice the heat that you've already built. Notice the beat of your heart. Maybe take a moment in your child's pose. And breathe. Welcoming in this heat. And focus. And just remembering that effort and transformation work hand-in-hand typically. Let's take two more breaths here. One more breath. Come to your knees for a moment. Turning the fingertips around. Stretching the wrists in the opposite direction. We'll be moving into some arm balances here. So just take a moment to roll the backs of the hands to the mat and just open up through the wrists in different directions and the fingers. When we start to bring arm balancing into our practice, oftentimes this is the chief complaint is that the wrists feel a little bit tender. So take care of them. Take your time. And then let's go ahead and curl the toes under. Press back into down dog. So let's inhale to the toes. Bend your knees. Look forward. Step or lightly hop to almost the top of the mat. Lift the heart halfway.

Exhale. Release into your forward fold. Now we're about to go into a little crow pose Bakasana prep. And I love to just offer the bolster as like a potential landing pad for face planting. So you can take your bolster to the front of the mat. And then let's bend the knees and come into Utkatasana, which we oftentimes call chair pose. But it actually means fierce thunderbolt. It feels like a fierce thunderbolt. So feel your way into your roots, your legs, feel the power there. Reach up towards the sky, feeling that rooting and rising. And then as you exhale, draw your hands down right where your power is in your navel center will stay lifted through the core as we open the knees and sink down into a little squat. Palms are going to come onto either side of the bolster. I like to put my thumbs under it so my hands are shoulder width apart. Squeeze the knees into the triceps. Lift your hips, shift forward like you're trying to see off the edge of the bolster. One foot might lift and you might hang out there. The other foot might join it, keeping your gaze forward. And then if you want to face plant, you have a soft landing. Keep the focus here steady, holding the shape for just a little longer than you might want to or think you can, even if you're on one toe or both toes. And then as you exhale, you can step or shoot the legs back to Chaturanga. Open your chest and then exhale to downward dog. I'm going to set the bolster to one side and we'll continue through this pattern. Bringing the feet close together. Let's go off road a little bit. So right leg rises on an inhale. Open your hip. Now shift your shoulders forward. We'll come to a side arm balance with the kickstand. Option one, more lunar, would be to lower the left knee and just extend long through right arm and right leg. Option two would be to roll to the outer edge of the left foot. Ball of the right foot to the earth. Now just keep your chest and your hips facing the opposite wall. Let's lower the hips down halfway and then lifting up through your side core, your side waist. Reach up and over. Let's take two more here. Really activating through the center of the body right where our third chakra is. That's the center of willingness and strength. As you exhale, come back to plank. Right knee to the center. Now thread it through. Fallen triangle. Left arm up. Option would be knee down. Same thing here. Let's lower the hips a little. Lift back up through your side waist.

Lower the hips a bit, feeling some stability through the shoulder, through the obliques, through your willingness, and then bring your hands down. And let's step the right foot between the hands. Your back foot will turn it for a warrior two base. And then from here, reach forward through your left arm. Come all the way up with strong lines of energy. So notice the quality in which we're moving through this practice has a very different quality than water element practice. And that informs our energy. It informs our body. Turn the left palm to face up. And as you tilt into the side bend, the top arm is reaching like a sword. So feel the curve coming through your spine and the arm reaches nice and long for your reverse warrior. Stay with the intensity if it's okay with you. Otherwise, you can always straighten the leg to make it a little more lunar. Exhale, elbow to knee. Top arm alongside your ear, parsvakonasana, side angle pose. You can always take it a little deeper. You can always add a half wrap or a full wrap of the hip reaching underneath. Couple of moments here just to feel your steadiness, your strength. Deep inhale. Let's take this into half moon. So I'd like to bring either hand to hip or you can reach it long. Heel toe that back foot forward a little bit. Stride forward and sweep up into your Ardha Shindrasana. Expanding through fingers, through soles of the feet like the rays of the sun coming off your body. Expand. Full breath in right here. As you exhale, come down to a low lunge. Hands will be right inside of that right foot. Notice I moved it over a little bit. Right knee squeezes against your right tricep and then pick up your right toes and point like you're lifting your landing gear up off the earth and coil here. This can eventually become ekapada bhakasana, half crow. Step back, lower down. Inhale, open up through the heart. Exhale, downward dog. Feeling this, feeling the flame. Left leg rises. Let's stay with it. Open the hip, bend your knee. Shift forward, shoulders over wrists, either right knee down or roll to the edge of the foot. Let the ball of your left foot come to the mat. Lower down. This is a lunar moment. Let's enjoy it. And then we fire it back up. Inhale to lower. Exhale, down. Use your breath to help temper the practice. Slowly come through plank, knee to navel. Thread it through fallen triangle, either knee down or sole of the foot extends, arm to sky. Lower the hips. Lift. Use the lower body, use your roots and your sideways to power this movement. Lifting up. Once more, lower. Inhale, lift. Hands to the mat, coil the left knee in and then step it forward for your warrior two base, second side. Inhale, arrive. Sharp focus, but with a relaxed mind. Turn the left palm face up. Let's inhale to reverse our warrior. Exhale to sink a little deeper. Refine the shape. Notice where you can draw the top shoulder down and maybe rotate your inner arm towards you a bit. Back leg nice and long. Either elbow to thigh, top arm over your head for parsvakonasana, extended side angle pose, or lower your hand down. And I always like to take a little shoulder opener, a half wrap, to open the chest. Breathing here, building heat in our base. Let's transition into half moon. So I like to heel toe the back foot forward and sweep up into ardha shundrasana. Top arm reaches high, palm expands. Sole of the raised leg, the sole of the foot radiating, spreading the toes, returning your energy back to the core for your balance.

And then exhale, step back to a low lunge. Let's take the left foot a little wide, knee connects with your tricep, lift up, coiling, hold here for a moment, building heat. Exhale through your vinyasa. Inhale, open. Exhale, fold. Fire element for real. Couple of breaths here. Feel free to take a child's pose. And let's inhale to our toes. Bend the knees, look forward, hop the feet around the hands. Come down into a deep malasana. If this is too deep on the knees, you can always come up a little higher. Go to the degree that works for you. So you have the opportunity to stay right here and, again, give a little love to the wrists, or we have another opportunity to experiment with our crow pose. So you can plant the palms with or without your bolster. I like to bring the feet close together, knees high up the triceps, squeeze in, pull in through your core, shift forward, one foot maybe two feet lift. Eventually your arms will straighten, holding for three, for two, for one. Step up or float. Inhale to your backbend. Exhale. Downward dog. So let's just revisit a little bit of that standing sequence before we begin to ground it down. Take the right leg to the sky and just connect the fire and the fluidity of water. As you open the hips, shift forward. And we've come into a little flipping of the dog, which is actually a half backbend. So lift your heart, lift your hips, and just open up the front of the body. As you exhale, come back through center to plank, knee to chest, thread it through to your fallen triangle, and just one big sweep of your arm, inviting that water element to start to mellow things out. Step the right foot forward, come into crescent pose. We have just one big breath here. All this fire and heat, take it up into your half moon. We were just here. Expand into it and then feel the call of earth element. Tuck the left knee behind the right heel. Oh, thank goodness. Have a seated twist, taking your left elbow to the outside of the right thigh and turn your spine. Now if this is a little tricky for your bottom knee, extend it forward. One more breath here. Sitting tall. And then exhale, let's unwind. Step back to downward facing dog. And we'll just enjoy that almost like a dessert, a little reprise of our standing sequence. So left leg rises, inhale. Open your hips, start to shift your shoulders forward, roll to the outer edge of the knee and of the foot or the knee. And then open your heart, open your hips. Come back through the centre knee to chest as you move through plank to your fallen triangles. Take one big circle and then exhale hands to the mat. Step the left foot forward. All of those transitions require a lot of awareness in the centre of the body. Inhaling to rise. Exhale into your half moon. Expanding and then with control, strength and focus slowly dissolving down into earth. So we're starting to kind of combine some elements. Reach up through the right arm, elbow to the outer knee and twist. Sitting up tall. Exhaling. One more breath here. Exhale. Unwind. And from here, we'll make a transition to the wall. So let's move to the wall. You're welcome to pivot the short edge of your mat to a wall space and then move your bolster. I'm gonna leave my mat where it is and just take bolster to the wall. So this might be the hardest thing I asked you to do for this practice but scoot your hips really close to the base board right at the edge of the bolster. And then tuck and roll onto your back. And then just allow your arms to open up. Make sure your hips, hamstrings, calves and heels are touching the wall or as close as possible. This feels amazing. So this is a really nice way to literally kind of flip this practice on its head from a lot of exertion and fire energy to putting yourself in a place where you can fully let go and then just receive the fruit of your efforts here. So relax and allow your legs to slide open into a V. However far they go is fine. A lot of the coiling work with Bakasana, that pulling inward, this is the opposite. So we counter pose here. A little energy through the feet. Maybe point and flex a few times. And just allow that expansion from the center of the body outward. And receiving, starting to down regulate your nervous system. Breathing a little more slowly. Cooling everything down. And then slowly take your hands to your inner knees. Bend your knees and then facilitate this transition to butterfly or Baddha Konasana. So bring the soles of the feet together and press your knees towards the wall. Press your tailbone down into the bolster and slightly lift the waist, shoulders down. What I love about these arm balancing practices is that they give us an opportunity to experiment with things that we think are beyond our ability. And we show up to it with focus, with intention, with heart. We start to see it revealed and see it unfold. And so if we can do that on our mat, imagine what other changes, what other transformations you can make.

One more breath. And then gently draw the knees in towards one another. Extend your legs back up to the sky for a moment. Just open up the back of the knees. Maybe give the legs a little wobble. Relax your arms open. Bend the knees slightly so the feet travel down the wall and we'll slowly lift up into a just a little inverted moment, a supported bridge. You can bring your hands behind your back. Try not to turn your head. Just rest on your shoulders. Support your hips with your hands and then walk your feet up the wall. So it turns into a supported shoulder stand. Walking the feets up the wall. The feets. Pressing the toes towards the wall, lift the hips and breathe. One more breath here. Bringing the feet back down the wall, keeping the hips lifted. Option to take one leg over your head followed by the other coming into plow, resting on the back of the head, shoulders supporting the hips with your hands, letting the legs just relax down into gravity. And then as you're ready, bend one knee followed by the other. Bring it back to the wall. Release your hands and slowly roll down. Shavasana. Feel free to stay here at the wall with your legs up the wall, arms wide, hips resting on a bolster.

If you prefer a more classic Shavasana, laying flat on your back, you're welcome to adjust. Take a very deep breath in through the nose, filling up to capacity. Exhale through the mouth. And just allow your breath to return to natural, easy rhythm and rest. One more breath in through the nose, filling up to capacity. Exhale through the mouth, filling up to capacity. Start to send a little bit of movement to your fingers and toes. As you inhale, bring your awareness back into your body and stretch your arms over your head to reawaken. Exhale, bend the knees, slide your feet down the wall or draw the knees into your chest and then gently roll to one side as you come up to a comfortable seated position. We'll meet up seated in the center of the mat or you're welcome to stay on your back. Bringing your hands together at your heart, sitting tall, feeling all that wonderful power that's within you, all that's possible to create change and transformation. That's all inside of you. Thank you so much for being here today. Namaste.


Catherine A
Really, really nice! Very much enjoying this show, Shelley 👍💖
Christel B
2 people like this.
I enjoyed starting with the fire stoking Kalabati breathing.  It's fun to experience the variety in these elemental focused flows.
Sandra Židan
Great practice to start a day! Thanks, Shelley! Namaste! ❤️🌹🌼
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Shelley Williams
Catherine A Thank you Catherine! It was such an enjoyable show to create...!
Shelley Williams
Christel B Kapalibhati is such a great way to begin a fire-inspired practice. I love including it, especially this time of year in Spring season! Glad you enjoyed!! 
Shelley Williams
Sandra Židan Thank you Sandra!! 
Shelley Williams
Kate M Love me some TAPAS!   :)
Charlie S
1 person likes this.
Thank you Shelley! Really enjoying practicing with you.
Shelley Williams
Charlie S My absolute pleasure and likewise... I so appreciate your response, and somehow missed seeing it 2 most ago, but it is appreciated nonetheless! Happy Summer, Charlie.. hope all is well!
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