30-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Moon: Relax and Receive

30 min - Practice


Flow with a relaxed and steady tone as we explore movement reflective of the cycles of the moon, from expansion and doing to contracting and receiving. We move through grounding Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutes), "off-road" in a playful Marichyasana vinyasa variation, and explore a restorative back bend. You will feel nourished, soothed, and steady.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster, Block (2)

About This Video


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Greetings, friends. Welcome to this lunar-based practice, relax and receive. It'll be helpful for you to have a bolster and a couple blocks handy and also some open wall space to support your legs at the end of the practice. So let's get started. You can take your bolster and just place it right at the edge of your mat and we'll tuck and roll onto our side and just snuggle down so that you feel your shoulders and hips stacked, reaching both arms out away from your heart center.

We'll move in a little bit of a circling spine twist here. So as you exhale, slide your top hand past your bottom hand and feel the bottom shoulder receive a little stretch here. And then as you inhale, trace an arc up and over your head, reaching back behind you and then create that full moon circulation as you come all the way back around to the beginning. And we'll do that again, reaching past the bottom hand inhale and you can even visualize how we move from or how we observe in the sky, moving from new moon to full moon, roughly every two weeks. So one of the most ancient timekeeping techniques, right?

As we open and expand and then close back inward and downward. Let's take a few more circulations here, feeling that fullness and expansion and then that gentle coming back in and down. The next time that you reach up and open into this twist, just hang out here for a breath or two, relax the back of the shoulders down towards the earth and receive, let your body receive and relax into this twist particularly on your exhales, just soften down. And the bottom hip, the one that's in contact with the floor, sometimes there's an unconscious gripping. So relax the sides of the hips, relax your navel center.

And we'll just casually move to the second side. So you can simply center your feet, shift your hips over, shift your shoulders over and come on to the second side here. Same thing, both palms reaching out away from the center of the heart. As you exhale, slide the top hand past the bottom hand, feeling that bottom stretch on the shoulder and then circulating up and over, tracing that full moon circulation. Maybe the fingertips can brush the floor the whole way as you reach up and over so you maximize your shoulder and chest opening.

And when you feel into the energy of this, it gives us a little feedback and information. When we see full moon in the sky, it's like that's the time to bring projects to completion and as we circle back to new moon to open up and listen for new intention. So expanding outward and then bringing those to dos to a close so that we can turn inward and listen. So very beautiful teaching. Take one more circulation, expanding outward and then pulling back inward.

The next time you reach up and open into the twist, hang out here, relax, restore, receive, soften into gravity and breathe. As you exhale, slowly shift back to the center of your spine aligning shoulders and hips. You're welcome to keep the bolster underneath your head or you can set it to one side. I'm gonna place it back next to me on the mat and then cactus the arms kind of a I surrender position. Let it be soft.

Let's go ahead and cross one ankle on top of one knee and then allow your threaded needle here to just shift from side to side, opening up low back and hips, a little easy rotation in the pelvis, letting your rib cage go along for the ride and then come back to the center and pull the threaded needle up into your chest, release your fingers around the back of the hamstring. Notice how you feel just checking in with physical body, energetic body, mental body and with that, this is a restorative relaxing practice but we will move and flow a little bit. We will get up to our feet and move our circulation and energy through the whole body but our focus and the tone is relaxed and receiving. Take this whole shape, let it rotate towards the right, sole of the foot comes to the floor, hold on to it if you can, opposite arm reaches wide and that top knee, just press it away from you. You probably feel a nice bit of opening along the sideways channel here.

Deep breath in, maybe turning your gaze away from your foot and then exhale, come on back to the center and changing the crossing of the legs, take a nice big kick as the other ankle comes up on top and then we'll rotate from left to right hip, just creating a little mobility in the lumbar spine and the hips, outer and inner hip joint, get a little massage here. The next time you rock it over, sole of the foot stays on the earth, grab onto it, let the opposite arm reach long. The top knee, press it gently away from you and breathe into that whole sideways channel up into the ribs. Coming back to the center, lift it up a bit, lace your fingers so we just kinda take it up a notch here and then rock it back over. I'm gonna land right on the bolster which is fine.

It's a nice little bit of support there, pressing top knee away from my body. Deep breath in, sometimes I like to place my hand there. And then slowly come on back to the center, hug your knees into your chest, take a little happy baby pose, holding on either to your big toes, heels or the sides of the feet and draw downward. Back of the neck is long, breath is long, so let's take a slow inhale, exhale completely. Release your knees to your chest, let's start to rock and roll along the length of our spine, forward and back a few times.

Can let your feet toss over your head and massage your back along the mat as you rock, keep a little integrity in the core here to facilitate the transition and then just come up and pause for a moment, sit tall. And then we'll make our way onto hands and knees. So let's make our way onto hands and knees, hands right underneath the shoulders, knees right underneath the hips. Curl your toes under, let's circulate shoulders and hips over the arm and leg bones a few times, just encouraging a little bit of breath and movement, lubrication in the large joints of the body. Take it the other direction and you're welcome to, you'll naturally feel a little cat cow come in through this movement pattern.

Coming back to center, let's lift up into downward facing dog. Bringing the feet to hips width apart or wider, softening through the knees, take a couple breaths right here. Release and surrender through the neck, through the jaw, maybe make a funny face or stick out your tongue just to open things up, relax. And let's go ahead and walk our feet towards our hands, coming to the top of the mat and preparing for moon salutations, chandral namaskar. So we'll hang out here for a moment or two, grab onto opposite elbows with knees soft and allow your spine to just drape over your legs, traction through the spine, through the neck, empty out through the crown of your head.

Surrender here, exhale, release your hands. Let's slowly roll up our spine, bending the knees, draw the navel in and up. Come up to standing right at the top of the mat and bring the hands together at your heart. Exhale, release your hands. Let's move into our chandral namaskar.

So if you imagine a crescent moon sweeping right up in front of you, as you inhale, reach forward, up and back like you're tracing the inside of a crescent. As you exhale, draw the hands all the way down the midline, forward fold with knees soft. We'll step the left foot back in a long, generous low lunge and then inhale, sweep forward, up and back inside that crescent. Exhale, release to downward facing dog. We're moving gently and fluidly.

Inhale, shift forward to plank. We always take a lunar vinyasa inside of chandral namaskar but you're welcome to take a more solar one if you're feeling that energy. So lower down, inhale, easy cobra. Lift up through the heart to your bhujangasana and then exhale, press to hands and knees, back to downward facing dog. Now without sweeping the left leg up and back, just step it directly forward between your hands.

Lower the back knee down and inhale, reach forward, up and back. Let your gaze follow your hands back down to the earth and then step to the front of the mat, forward fold. Inhaling to rise, lift your head, your heart, your hands. Exhale, draw the hands back to the heart. That was half of a round.

Let's do it again. Inhale, reach forward, up and back. Exhale, forward fold, empty out completely. Step the right foot back to a long, generous low lunge. Inhale to reach.

Exhale, downward dog, moving simply with focus. Inhale, ripple forward like a wave. Lower the knees, chest and hips at the same time. Inhale, easy bhujangasana, cobra. Exhale to hands and knees, downward facing dog.

Stepping the right foot forward, lower the back knee and inhale. Feel the steadiness and the ability to stay within the flow as you exhale, stepping to the front of the mat. It's a really beautiful kind of quiet, calm power as we come all the way up. Exhale, hands to the heart. One more full round.

Inhale to reach. Exhale to fold, slow and steady. Left foot steps back, lift it first and then step back. And this time as you reach forward, up and back, open up your arms, spread your wings and slowly release to downward facing dog. Rippling forward to plank on your inhale.

Exhale, surrender, knees, chest and hips, back down to mama earth. Inhale, open the heart. Exhale, hands and knees, back to downward dog. Step the left foot forward, lower the back knee. Inhale to rise.

Open your wings, exhale. Step to the front of the mat. Come all the way up to standing, lift the head and heart. Inhale to rise once again, open your wings, feel your fullness and bring your hands back to your heart. We've got one more half of a round here.

Reach forward and up. Exhale, hands through the midline, forward fold. Right foot, lift the leg high and then step back to a low lunge. Inhale to rise. Open your wings, exhale.

All the way back to down dog. What I love about chandra namaskar is that it really warms our body but without taxing our energy. So shift forward, lower the knees, chest and hips. Inhale, so we're really receiving and building our energy as we move. Exhale, hands and knees, downward dog.

Step the right foot forward, lower the back knee. Inhale to rise, gathering, opening, receiving as you exhale. As you exhale, step to the front of the mat. Inhale to rise, come all the way up. Suspend at the top.

Open up your wings. Exhale, hands to your heart. Take a moment here and pause and breathe. Relax and receive. Inhale, release your hands, open up your eyes.

Let's circle the arms out and up this time, tracing the shape of the sun or a full moon and then swan dive. Open your heart, imagine you're swan diving off just a small cliff into some warm, a warm pool of water, softening in and down. Let it feel good and then lift the heart halfway. As you exhale, step back to plank, top of a pushup. So we'll learn a new vinyasa.

I like to call it a Marichyasana Vinyasa. We get to roll off-road to the left and right side of our mat. So if you have your props next to your mat, just come down for a moment and just shift them forward so you create a little space for yourself and then come on back to plank. So we'll go through this kind of slowly and steady. Shift forward with legs strong and core strong, lower all the way down in one piece to the mat.

Relax your toes. Inhale, lift your chest, coming up into a high cobra. Now as you start to come back down, bend your right knee, roll over the left hip and come up to seated right off the edge of the mat. Look at that. Bring the sole of your right foot to the inner thigh and just relax forward into your Janushirasana, head to knee pose.

And anywhere that you can reach along your leg is totally fine. We're here just for a moment or two. Relaxing down. Let's slowly roll up the spine, inhaling. Turn your chest and hands back towards the center of the mat and then like you're duck diving through a wave, just roll forward through, back up to your high cobra.

Pour your heart center down, bend the left knee, roll onto the right hip off-road. Feels kind of nice. And then reach up and over your long leg. And breathe. And just notice that we're staying active, keeping a little bit of movement and flow, but really staying very grounded, giving some space here in between each asana to receive and to taste each pose fully.

One more breath. Slowly roll up your spine. Lift your heart, turn your chest and your hands back towards the center of the mat, diving through. Let's go one more time, a little more fluidly. Melting down, bend the right knee, roll to the left hip, reach up to the sky, forward fold over the long leg and then come right up out of it.

Inhale to reach to the sky once again. Turn your chest and hands back to the center of the mat, dive down and through the back of a wave, inhale. Exhale, bend the left knee, roll over the right hip, come on up, reaching to the sky, fold over your long leg. Come right back up, inhale. Reaching high, exhale, turn your hands and heart to the center of the mat, roll through to your high cobra, suspend here for a moment, and then exhale, melt all the way back to your child's pose.

Take a few breaths here. Notice how you feel, notice if you're needing more rounds of chandranamaskar, of that marichyasana vinyasa, if you're just feeling just about right, just hang out here, you're always welcome to go back and repeat sequences, add on. Last breath here. Draw your hands towards your knees, slowly roll up your spine, come to seated on your heels, and we'll work with our props at the back of the mat for a restorative backbend with a quadricep opener. So you can take your two blocks and stack them right at the back of the mat, one tall and one medium.

We'll take our bolster and set it up lengthwise so that we have a little nice recliner. And if your knees are a little bit tight, there's gonna be variations for you. Sometimes it's nice to put two pillows or two bolsters here, but just have a seat right in front of your recliner, extend your legs long, and we'll go ahead and have an option here to tuck the left foot in just right next to your left hip. If this doesn't work for your knee, just leave your leg long. And then we'll slowly recline back over our bolster.

Oh yes, this feels amazing. Hang out here, tuck the tailbone under slightly so we lengthen the low back. You're welcome to just relax and receive. Simply let go of any unnecessary movement if you're feeling like, oh yes, I finally came home. Otherwise, if you'd like to continue just a little circulation, you can always take your arms up and back over your head, let your upper arms drip past your ears, and then circle wide and down.

We'll take that two or three more times. And the beauty of doing this particular movement pattern while you're supported by the blocks and the bolster is that it gives you a little more space to open up across the chest. So just take this once more. Relaxing with the arms wide, deep breath in here. Exhale, receive.

And the easiest, safest way to come out of this shape would be if you have this left knee bent, roll towards your right. Come onto your forearms. We take the pressure off the left knee, stretch it out, come back up to seated. Give your legs a little shake, rattle, and roll, some love to the kneecaps, and then we'll take the second side. So just shifting to your left hip, tuck the right foot in, maybe move the calf out of the way a little bit here, and then recline back over the bolster.

Tailbone adjusts underneath you. Notice the difference between this side and the first side and open the arms wide. Your choice if you'd like to just hang out here, if you'd like to add that simple circulation of the arms reaching up and back over your head, widening and coming around, backs of the hands maybe dragging along the floor. Inhale to reach. Opening through the chest, exhale.

This is a beautiful and simple movement pattern to work with if your chest and shoulders tend to be super tight, if you have kind of pain in the neck at all. It sometimes comes from just the pec muscles being a little bit over tight. So this simple movement pattern can help relieve any neck pain. One more time, big inhale. Exhale to open.

Pause with the arms wide. Take a breath here. Release, enjoy the exhale. Start to roll over towards left hip, towards your forearms. Release the right leg long.

Come up to seated. Give the legs a little shake, rattle and roll. And then we'll finish this practice at the wall. So you can take your bolster and place it up against a wall. Give yourself a nice landing pad for your hips and your blocks can just simply set to one side.

So let's make a transition over to the wall. Scoot your hips as close as you can to your baseboard. And I like to take the side of my hip right at the edge of the bolster and then tuck and roll onto the back. Centering your pelvis, extending your legs up the wall and relaxing the arms wide. Oh, this feels amazing.

Such a beautiful place to hang out. We could, if we did nothing else, it would be wonderful but I do have a few more shapes to share with you. So enjoy this for a moment. Feel that release of fluid and the weight that's been lifted off of you from gravity. Just hang out here.

Take a couple breaths and enjoy. Arms can release over your head if you like or stay wide. And if you were enjoying some of the deeper hip openers, we can come into a thread the needle again right here at the wall. The closer you are to the wall, the deeper it is, right? You can see the degree of flexion in my hip and knee.

So once I cross my ankle over, I'm in a pretty tight threaded needle. If it feels too tight, just army crawl yourself back away from the wall any amount and then you can move the bolster with you. So you can adjust this as you like. Ankle on knee, press your right knee open and anchor the tailbone, the sacrum, down into your bolster and take a few breaths here. Just relaxing, breathing, experimenting.

Kind of our theme, getting curious with what you're feeling, what you can find, how you can adjust a little bit. Finding your sweet spot. And then let's go ahead and change sides. Extend your right leg up to the sky. Maybe pull it in for a bit of a hamstring breath and then set it down and let's take the other ankle on top, pressing the knee open.

You can place your hands or forearms wherever it feels good and enjoy some breaths here. Relax and close your eyes, keeping just enough activation so that it has your attention, right? Pressing the tailbone into the bolster, pressing the knee away from you. Breathing deeply. Slowly release and extend your left leg to the sky.

Draw it towards you, opening up through the back line of the left leg. And then taking both legs up the wall once again. You have a moment here with the legs wide, coming into a supported Upavishta Konasana, wide leg stretch, arms open. Really wonderful way to increase flexibility both in the hamstrings and the adductors, just allowing gravity to help. Three deep breaths here.

And then taking your hands to your inner knees, soften the knees, start to slide your feet towards one another. And you're welcome to just cross the legs like we would seated. We call this Sukhasana, easy pose. Pressing the knees away from you, slightly lifting the waist. You can stay right here, or you're welcome to turn this into a half or full Lotus.

It's really nice to experiment with Lotus, with Padmasana at the wall. You get a lot more accessibility, rather. So right ankle typically crosses first, left ankle on top. If you're doing one half Lotus at a time, just keeping one ankle crossed for a few breaths, and then changing to the second side for a few breaths as you're ready. So I'll let you navigate that on your own.

Those of you who are in full Lotus, hanging out here for about four more breaths, two breaths on each side if you're in half Lotus. Hands can rest right at the navel center, relaxing into this shape, receiving lunar energy, so restorative, so nourishing. It's really nice to, again, just remember the symbolism of the lunar cycles when we have that new moon where we can't see any light in the sky at all. It's that time to turn inward and listen and reflect for any intentions, any seeds that you'd like to plant. We see that first sliver of a crescent moon appear in the sky.

It's like a bowl, a sacred bowl that we could literally place the seeds of our intentions into and work towards nourishing and nurturing our intentions in the two weeks that lead from new moon to full moon. When we see that full, big, beautiful orb in the sky, that's the time to bring things to completion, or at least a step closer to completion. And then to surrender. We'll surrender our legs now, if you haven't already done so. Coming into our final legs up the wall as our Shavasana, and so just bringing that thought to completion, full moon to new moon, as we see that waning cycle as the shape of the moon gets smaller and smaller in the sky.

This phase is usually longer than new moon to full moon. The full moon to new moon phase, the luteal phase, is typically longer. And we tend to kind of sometimes overwork during that phase. That is really the time to soften, to relax, to allow the fruits of your effort to take root. You're welcome to stay right here for a long Shavasana, as long as you love.

If you'd like to bring your practice to completion, just send a little bit of movement to your fingers and your toes, softening and dissolving down, knees to chest, sliding your feet down the wall, feeling each shape as we roll on over to the left side, curling into a fetal position, pressing yourself up, and coming back to your seat at the center of your mat to bring your practice to a close. Let's bring the hands to our heart center. Left hand to the heart, right hand on top of the left. Take a deep breath in. Exhale completely.

Thank you so much for sharing your presence and your practice with me today. I hope you feel nourished and restored and rejuvenated. Namaste.


Sara S
2 people like this.
So good for me, thank you.
Jenny S
3 people like this.
That felt so good! A lovely lunar practice was a rather perfect way to end this season of yoga 🌚🌕❤️. PS I rarely practice full lotus but doing it against the wall made it feel so accessible and even enjoyable! Thank you for your infinite wisdom Shelley 🙏🏻☺️
Francesca Venturini
This beautiful session was perfect in my evening. You have such a great ability to make me feel fluid like water. I love it so,so much! Everything dissolve and my mind is floating with my body in sweet places. Thank you for the beautiful season!!!
Shelley Williams
Sara S So happy to know you felt this met you exactly where you needed :)My best!
Shelley Williams
Jenny S My friend Jenny! It is my great honor and pleasure. So happy to know you enjoyed the supta padmasana love at the wall... its my favorite, too! All my best to you!! 
Shelley Williams
Francesca Venturini It is my honor Francesca! How wonderful to know the yoga rivers are flowing through the virtual ether waves, and you felt the vibe so potently!  Thank you for dedicating your time to this, and for your kind comments! All my best to you! 
Kate M
2 people like this.
Such inspiring moon imagery: a nurturing way to structure the flow of time... Thank you, Shelley : )
Shelley Williams
Kate M thank you Kate! I hope you feel nourished and regenerated !
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Loved the transition into and out of Janu sirsasana with the wave imagery. I enjoyed this lovely moon flow. Mahalo Shelly.

Sandra Židan
Thank you very much, Shelley, for this wonderful and relaxing practice! I feel great after doing it! Namaste! 🌹❤️🌷
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