Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 6

Crossing the Midline

30 min - Practice


In this class, we explore crossing through the midline of the body, which is good for brain health to and finding a sense of spaciousness. We move through core work, hip opening, balance poses, and twists on our way to Crow pose, to leave you feeling mentally and physically untangled.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back. Let's start this practice in Supta Baddha Konasana, and I'm going to do a simple version. If you want to prop up in any way, put blocks underneath your legs or a bolster underneath your spine. But it can also, we're not going to be here for too long, so it could just be a simple soles of the feet together, reclined. Allowing the weight of the body to fall into the hand of gravity.

Entering into your practice with intention and attention, and inviting a friendliness or kindness towards yourself. Let's put one hand on the belly and one hand on the chest and just check in with your state, your emotional state. And not obsessing about it or analyzing about it, but just kind of glimpsing in a bird's eye view, how am I right now? Knowing that whatever you find will change. Take a deep inhalation.

Let's let it out with a little sigh. Then bring your knees up. Bring your hands towards the ceiling, hook one thumb on top of the other, carry your arms up overhead, and then straighten your legs and give yourself a big stretch through your body. Bring your arms up, hook the other thumb on top, and bring the arms once again up overhead. As you inhale, get a little bit longer.

And as you exhale, bring your arms down by your sides. I'm going to hold on to the edges of the mat, bend your knees, and then reach your feet up towards the ceiling. Flex your feet, invigorate your toes, soften your eyes. And then as you inhale, lower your right leg, and you can just go a foot or you can go halfway or you can go till it's hovering off the ground, you decide, and then bring the leg back up. Second side, really simple.

Left leg lowers any amount and comes back up. Inhale right leg lowers and lifts, the legs very awake and energized. Inhale left leg lowers and lifts. Inhale right leg lowers. This time as the legs coming up, you're going to cross the right ankle right behind the left ankle.

Keep the ankles crossed. Lower both legs down, again, any amount down is fine. And as you exhale, let your right leg lift your left leg back up to the starting place. Inhale, legs lower, exhale, legs lift. One more time, inhale, legs lower, exhale, let the belly deflate, go down as the legs lift up.

And then we're just going to slide the left foot down the right leg, bend your right knee. Here we are in figure four. You can hold on behind your thigh or to your shin and then just do a very gentle rock from side to side. And as you rock here, see if you can rock your weight down towards your tailbone. So the tendency is for the legs to pull the pelvis into a tuck, trying to keep the pelvis relatively neutral.

From here, we'll lower the right foot to the ground, cross your left leg completely over your right leg, shift pelvis about six inches to the left and allow your knees to fall over to the right. Let's take the right hand and put it on top of the legs. If this feels like too much, you could put a block underneath your left knee or you could uncross your legs. And the head can just be up towards the ceiling and then emphasize the breath coming into the upper left lung, filling, spreading on the inhalation and then deflating, descending on the exhalation. The next pose that we do is going to be a side-lying pose on the right side.

So bring your left arm over towards your right arm and then straighten your right arm and your legs and lie on your side. And it's really helpful to look down your body as you do this to see that your heels and your hips and your shoulder and your arm are all in a straight line. From here, we'll take the top leg into tree pose, so lift it up, turn it out and bring it up and you might use your hand to pull the leg up high onto the upper inner right thigh. Firm your right leg. I press the outer edge of the right foot down right there to help the leg feel very firm, almost like I'm standing on it.

Anatasana, bring your left knee towards your shoulder. You can either hold on to your big toe or keep your left hand onto the ground for stability. Either way is fine. So as you're here, radiate through all of your limbs, feel strong and bright. And as you're strong and bright in your legs, especially in your arms, let your eyes and your jaw and your tongue stay relaxed.

We'll release that leg, step it behind you onto the mat and then roll onto your back, both knees bent, three bridge poses with arms. So as you inhale, pelvis up, arms up, as you exhale, pelvis down, arms down, rolling in through the spine, inhale, rising up into bridge, exhale, lowering down, a little massage for the spine and a strengthener for the legs, inhale, we rise up. This time as you lower down, once again, hold onto the edges of the mat, bring your legs up, left leg lowers with an inhale, we're back to where we started, exhale, left leg lifts, inhale, right leg lowers, exhale lifts. Keep going and really notice in your body what it takes to make these movements, what's working. Next time your left leg is coming up, hook it behind the right and lower and lift your legs a couple of times.

So there's only one famous muscle that connects the legs to the spine, which is your psoas. So there's a lot of other things going on, but we're targeting a strength in the psoas as we do these leg lifts. All right, one more here with the legs crossed, the left leg is lifting the right leg up and then slide your right foot down your left leg. Here we are in our figure four, holding on either behind your thigh or the shin. And again, we'll rock a little bit and feel, you probably feel, the tendency is the low back to be pressed into the ground.

So try to roll a little bit more on your sacrum as you rock side to side towards the tailbone. So there's a little space underneath your low back and really feel into the stretch of the right hip. And we will come to the twist now. So the left foot comes down, right leg crosses completely, pelvis shifts over to the right and the knees go to the left. We're using the left hand on the legs to create a little bit of weight down through the legs, a little extra weight, and then feeling, really dropping attention into the upper right lobes of the lung.

And what is your experience right there? Steady breath, smooth breath, right into the upper right lung. Okay, side lying on the left side. So roll to the left, extend your left arm. I find it very helpful to use my eyes to make sure that my heels, my hips, my shoulder, my arm are all on the same line.

And then the right leg lifts up, turns out, and comes into tree pose. Pause here. Check in again like we did at the beginning, how are you doing? Sometimes I practice with a friend and about this point she always says to me, Margie, I feel five percent better, and see if you feel any amount better from your practice. Right knee in towards the shoulder, either holding on to the big toe or leaving your right hand onto the ground for balance, and lengthen the right leg up towards the ceiling.

Onatasana, a pose dedicated to Lord Vishnu's couch. Right in the legs and the arms, soft in the organs of perception, tongue, eyes, ears. Okay, we'll release the leg all the way down. This time we'll roll onto our belly if you need to scooch it over onto your mat. And then take your hands a little bit off of your mat, so wide hands, reach back through your legs, reach back also through your tailbone, and then just come up to a cobra.

And I want you to really, please don't, don't watch, don't link your eyes to me. Be in your own experience and press down and see in your own spine what feels good as far as how far to lift. The moment you have a pinching, a gripping, a grabbing pain, lower down, reconnect to a length of the tailbone, a strength of the legs. And then as you lower back down, lengthen, feel like you're lengthening as you come down. Do one more time, reach back through your legs, come up, really a personal experience about you and your spine.

And then as you exhale, lower down. We're going to take the right ankle, cross it over the left ankle, interlace your fingers behind your back, pull the arms back, lift your chest, and then lift your legs just a teeny bit up off the ground. Feel the energy of this cross-ankled locust pose. From here, we're going to release the arms, let them flow forward, reach the arms up a little higher, the legs up a little higher, and then softly melt, unwind your legs, turn your head to one side, feel the ground beneath you. Second side, left ankle crosses, take your hands behind you, see if you can get the opposite as your habitual interlace with your fingers, pull the arms back, let that lift your chest, and then the right leg can lift the left leg here, cross-footed locust pose.

Free your arms, let them slide forward, lift your legs up a little higher, your arms up a little higher, and then melt, turning your head to the opposite side. From here, hands by the ribs, press up to hands and knees. Let's cross the ankles, see how this feels to go into a cross-ankle child's pose. If it hurts your achilles or your shins, go back to regular child's pose, but you might feel this is comfortable. I know I have a friend who actually loves to sit like this with his ankles crossed.

Come up a little, put the other ankle on top, sit back, and then come up to hands and knees, regular dog, tuck your toes, lift your pelvis up and back. Three deep breaths together here, inhale, exhale one, inhale, feel how nothing is crossed. Here the limbs are open, so feel the space of that, inhale and exhale. From here we'll consciously walk the hands back to the feet. Once you get there, make sure your feet are parallel, the toes are open, and then as you inhale, lengthen your spine, as you exhale, fold over your legs, and then inhale, come up to stand, the palms press at the top, look up, as you exhale, fold right back over your legs, spill your spine over the legs, inhale to elongate, exhale to fold, inhale rise, feel your hands meet at the top, exhale one more time, open, fold, inhale is an unfurling of the spine, exhale is a softening of the spine, inhale the legs get to be very foundational as we come up, exhale mountain pose, you're going to take the right ankle, I'm on a theme here, right ankle, cross it over the left, and then reach up, hold on to your right wrist, side bend over to your right side, and let your pelvis move a little to the left, so we're going for a big, a big side body opener, you might want to firm your glutes a little bit, feel the tailbone coming forward, and then inhale, come up, take your arms straight out to the side, we did this maneuver with the, on our backs, we're going to take the right leg and just slide it up the left, and then bend your left knee, tilt your pelvis forward, kind of like I feel like a big hawk, bend the left knee, well the bottom part of the body feels like I'm in a meeting, an office meeting, my ankle over my knee, my upper body like a big hawk, soft eyes, inhale, stand up, slide your right foot just behind your left foot for the second side, we'll hold on to the right wrist, take the upper body to the left and let the pelvis move a little bit to the right, it definitely plays with the balance, we're not used to standing on this little small platform, so it's okay to have a lot of negotiations, I feel my feet working like crazy to keep me balanced here, inhale come up, wide wings, left leg slides up, and then groins pubic bone move back to tip forward, I heard that if an eagle could read, it could read a book from a mile away, really soft open focus, all right stand up, we'll be here at the back of the mat and inhale reach the arms up, exhale fold, keep a little extra weight back into your heels as you walk into downward facing dog, and then as you inhale lift your right leg up towards the ceiling, exhale step your right foot to the outside of your right hand and then reach the right arm up, it's kind of an open feeling to this twist with the right foot a little bit wide, so feel the space, the space and in the space you're turning, exhale land your right hand, lift the right leg up and back again, this time as you exhale step your right toes right to your left wrist, so we're crossing the midline and then straighten your right leg and walk your fingertips forward any amount, this can be a little intense if you need to want to put your hands on blocks, feel free to do that, this crossing the midline it opens different parts of the body and it's also very good for your brain to work on diagonals across and crossing your midline, brain health is important, you bend your right knee, step your left foot right behind your right foot, fold cross-footed uttanasana, this one with the legs crossed opens outer legs, it also creates space in the back, it can be therapeutic for sciatica and some different low back pain, from here we'll reach the arms out and up, palms press at the top, open your arms, right arm under the left arm, eagle and you're welcome to stay right here or bending the knees coming into the leg part of eagle pose two where the right leg crosses high on top of the left, toes single or double wrap, we sit low with the elbows lifting up and then slowly, smoothly release, shake and shake your lips and we have, we just have a second side here so we'll start in mountain pose, inhale reach the arms up, exhale open, fold, inhale elongate, let's step or jump back into dog pose, inhale left leg rises up, exhale step your left foot to the outside of the left hand and twist, feel the back leg strong, left outer hip hugging in and the right ribs and the left thigh coming towards each other, exhale this hand finds the mat, left leg up and back, breathe in, exhale left foot steps across the midline and we straighten the front leg pulling the left outer hip back away from the rooting of the left big toe, hands walk forward, thinking if my body was, if my body was singing right now it would be singing kind of some loud opera, it feels, this moment feels a little dramatic for me, okay we're gonna bend the front knee, step the right foot behind the left, fold, drape your spine over your crossed legs and then inhale, come up, reach up, as you exhale open your arms to the side, left arm this time goes under and again you can stay right here or bend your right knee, cross the left leg high on top of the right and sit the pelvis as the elbows lift, Garudasana, the magical mystical eagle, unwind, okay from one bird to another we're just gonna do a touch into crow pose and if an arm balance isn't in your cards I'll give you an option but I was thinking since we're doing all this crossed work I really like to do crow with my ankles crossed so we come down with feet together into a squat and bring your upper arms inside of your legs, rise to the balls of the feet and then begin to come forward and when you get forward a little bit the right foot can get light and it can cross behind the left from there the left foot can lift the right foot up and if this isn't working for you you can do the upside down version where your ankles are crossed and you're on your back like this see how this exact same pose it's just flipped over okay if you're up in crow bring your feet down and then of course we have a second side so we'll nuzzle in, nuzzle in, rise up, put your other ankle on top, lift your belly, open your chest and then let your bottom leg lift your top leg up, release, get your block, sit down, we get a this might feel like a little bit of reward for that hard work, we're gonna lift the pelvis, put the block at any height underneath the pelvis, let's hold on to the sides of the mat, roll the shoulders under so that the chest is very broad and then lift one leg up and then meet it with the other leg.

If in this pose, viparita karani, you feel a grip in your hips or a tightness in your belly please slightly bend your knees. We want this pose to energetically be very much like a waterfall, feet to pelvis, pelvis to heart, heart to throat, brain quiet. Begin to let the breath become more subtle and once again check in, just kind of like as if you were seeing an old friend, how are you? And not any big answer, just kind of a glimpse, a blink of the emotional state. And then bend your knees, let your feet find the mat, lift your pelvis, move the block to the side and slowly lower down and then let's just rest one hand on the heart and one hand on the belly and let the knees drop in towards each other.

Take a deep smooth inhalation, open mouth, let it drain out. And you're welcome to stay here for the end of class which is a meditation or you can roll to your side and come up to a seated position, so whichever position that you're in, arrive with your mind, feel the shape that your body's in and let's put the hands on the heart for just a moment. This peeking in an emotional state is not a new idea, it's in the first teaching of the Buddha, the Satipatthana Sutta, mindfulness of emotions, so just checking in. And then release your hands. And if you feel like in a place today where there's not a big emotional thing or you're not really connecting with this idea of seeing emotion, you can just sit quietly, watch your breath, do a really steady grounding meditation.

If you do have some emotional call, just notice if there's a way that that emotion is living in your body. Maybe you could identify a color or maybe a direction is the feeling from the emotion rising or falling or swirling or is it still or is it stuck? And now I invite you to let the breath feel like it's mingling in with the emotional state, giving it a little air, a little space. Maybe it neutralizes if it's a sharp sharpness, maybe it gets a little bit more neutral. And now letting that go and just letting your awareness expand a bit.

Maybe it feels like it just moves to the skin or three inches away from the skin. Instead of the brain coming in and focusing in, let it begin to dial out. Maybe the awareness widens even a bit more, maybe it holds your neighbors, family members, any friends in need. Awareness of our practice here together, widening and widening any amount. And then holding the wide awareness as you listen, I'm gonna ring my bell one time, let your awareness be broad and hold the sound.

So we'll draw the hands together and may your practice, your time on the mat, fortify you, heighten your awareness and give you space and strength to move out into this challenging world. I wish you well, namaste.


Jenny S
4 people like this.
I have loved and resonated with every class this season Margi ❤️🙏🏻. You have such a creative way of sequencing and I learn something new every time I practice with you.  Best of all is your down to earth demeanor that I find so calming.  I do hope you’ll be back soon 🤞and in the meantime enjoy your summer! 🏖️🛶🏕️⛱️🎡🎇
Christel B
5 people like this.
Another wonderfully engaging class. Thank you Margi.
Sandra Židan
I loved all the birds in this practice and especially the crow! Thanks, Margi, for sharing it with us! Kind regards from Croatia! ❤️😀

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