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Season 3 - Episode 9

Ishvara Pranidhana: Devotion

30 min - Practice


Devotion, Ishvara Pranidhana, is a way for us to offer our efforts to something bigger than ourselves, a steady source of wisdom and reverence lovingly wrapped around our practice. In this class we move slowly through gentle hip openers, easeful vinyasas, and moments of stillness in standing and seated poses. You will feel relaxed and restored, with a felt sense of patience, humility, compassion, and love.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

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Welcome to your practice. This will be a slow and luxurious practice. So let's get started. Sit in Sukhastana across your legs midway on your shins. You may need to sit on a blanket.

You're welcome to snuggle your sitting bones into the floor or blanket and take a moment to sit up as tall as you can, bring your hands together in front of your chest keeping your chest well lifted by your head. And you can allow your eyes to softly close, Just taking a moment to perhaps appreciate this moment, your practice, your body. Take a couple of deep breaths. And when you're ready, allow your eyes to open and stretch your arms out to the side, turn the palms of your hands to face the ceiling. Then as you inhale raise your arms overhead and as you exhale hands to your heart, And then do that again. Inhale.

Stretch your arms over your head and exhale hands to your heart. Do that a couple more times on your own. But notice perhaps how this has a way to create a sense of humility a sense of devotion is quieting of the ego. Turning your attention to what's really important in this practice. And that's being very compassionate and kind towards yourself.

And then one more time, inhale stretch your arms overhead. And as you exhale, bring your right hand down, take it into a lateral stretch. So just nice and slow here. Inhale. Come back up. And exhale, second side, left hand down, right arm over your head, lateral stretch, inhale back to center.

So finding your own pace here, we'll do this a few more rounds synchronizing movement with breath. And if you find that you wanna stay on one side a little bit longer than one breath by all means do. So, ultimately, this is your practice. Pause when you need to stay in a pose longer that feels right. Just one more round here.

And then eventually, we meet back in center and then interlace your thumbs and use that interlace to lift up a little higher to sit up even taller, and it's helpful to press your sitting bones and little toes out of each foot into the floor helpful to get a sense of pulling the thumbs apart without actually doing that to get a little bit more height. Relax your neck, your jaw, the muscles around your eyes. Let's take one more deep full breath in lengthening as much from the back of your body as you do from the front of your body. And then exhale, release your arms down, and Intellate your thumbs behind your back. Roll your shoulders back a nice way to just stretch your shoulders, the muscles in your chest.

Tuck your chin in and release your chin down for just a couple more breaths here. And then go ahead and release. So cup the floor with your fingertips and then walking your hands forward. Now as you walk your hands forward, you may feel a nice stretch in one of the hips or both hips. If you feel any knee pain, I would back out of the pose a bit.

So just a couple more breaths here, and you can walk your hands a bit to your left. A bit to your rights and just notice what gives you a better stretch, maybe more interesting stretch. We'll meet back in center. And then walking your hands back. Remember what leg is in front.

You're gonna switch. So stretch out your legs and switch. Bring the other leg in front, snuggle the sitting bones into the floor. And then one more time, you're gonna interlace your thumbs, but do it then, non happy chill insulate. So the other thumb on top and extend your arms overhead.

K. So that sense of pulling the thumbs apart to get a little bit more height And if you draw the chin down a little bit, you may find it easier to draw the front ribs in and lift more from the back ribs. Let's take one more deep, full satisfying breath in, and exhale lower your arms. And then insulate same non habitual way behind your back. Roll your shoulders back. Lift and open your chest and see if you can breathe all the way up into the top of your chest below your collar bones and then release And then once again, walk your hands forward, keeping your sitting bones heavy. And with this leg in front, you may feel a stretch more or less.

And, again, you can explore walking your hands to your right, Walking your hands more to your left. So being curious as to where you feel sensations. And back to center and then walking your hands back and sitting up tall. So go ahead and stretch out you legs, and then we're going to come onto our hands and knees. And once you're on your hands and knees, finding a tabletop position where your knees are underneath your hips and your wrist are underneath your shoulders.

Then as you inhale, open up your chest, reach your sternum away from your navel, you don't necessarily have to look up just looking towards the wall in front of you, the space in front of you, then exhale curl your tailbone, under round your back scoop your belly in and up and let your head dangle, push the floor away from you. And then as you inhale, lift your tailbone, lift and open your chest so spinal extension and then exhale round your backs, a spinal flexion, So just slowly look seriously, go back and forth synchronizing movement with breath. Adding a pause at the top of the inhale and a pause at the end of the exhale. It may feel good to close your eyes. So just a couple more rounds here.

And then eventually finding your way into a wide down dog. So take your hands forward an intro to bring your hands wide apart as the width of your mat, turning your hands out moderately, and then feet as wide apart as the width of your mat coming into downwards facing dog, align the outer edges of the feet with the side lines of your mat So there are times when I come into this position, went into my first down dog where I enjoy peddling my feet. Where I enjoy swaying my hips a little bit from side to side. And other times where it just feels really good to be still So check-in with your body, with your mind, with yourself. What do you need to do right now?

So just a few more breaths here. You can think of this practice with an attitude of devotion of really turning, tuning inside, and then walking your hands back to your feet. And, again, kind of like a luxurious, uttanasana feet wide, bend your knees, even if you're super flexible, just Let your knees bend. Let them soften. You can keep your hands on the ground or you can hold your elbows.

But take a moment to spread your toes and feel the Four corners of each foot pressing into the floor. The aliveness in the arches of your feet and let your head be heavy. And sometimes just swaying a little bit from side to side so I straighten my right leg and I lean more over to the left leg that's bent. And then I just slowly go back and forth, straightening my left leg, bending my right knee a little bit more. Swing more to the right.

So just slowly with curiosity going back and forth. And then maybe meeting here right in the middle, and any amount may be straighten your legs if that feel appropriate. And then placing your hands on your mat and turning your feet just a little bit and squatting down. As you squat down, if your heels don't end on the ground on the mat, you can roll up the of the maddo place a blanket underneath your heels. You can bring your hands together in Angeli Mudra and just take a couple of deep or breath here.

Use your elbows to gently squeeze the knees apart. Some students, I know in my classes, they liked to sit on a block or 2. It's just more comfortable, less flexion of the knees if they have anything going on in the knee so you can consider that. Take your time to find your way back into utsana. But with a more classical stance, feet hips with pause here for a moment.

And then being up onto your fingertips slowly start to walk your hands forward. As you walk your hands forward, press the thigh bones back. Maybe your heels come off the floor. That's fine. And then a few more breath here shifting more weight into your fingers firming your triceps in Just one more breath.

And then as you inhale, raise your right leg behind you leading with the inseam of that leg. And as you exhale, step your right foot up between your hands, I like to suggest using blocks here and starting with the highest level of the blocks. And then slowly as you inhale straighten your right leg and flex your right foot, And then bending your right knee. Then as you inhale straighten your right leg, and exhale bending the right knee. So slowly go back and forth like this.

I mean, you're really looking to raise any kind of tightness. You feel it almost feels like congestion in the muscles. So just one more round here and then meeting in a low lunge. So bring the left knee down, point your toes, And you're welcome to stay right here. And with the highest height of the blocks, is it a little easier to take the shoulder heads back and open your chest.

You can also raise your arms overhead that feels good today and maybe arching back a little bit. Gently hug your navel in. And then as you exhale, bring your hands back down, the blocks out of the way for a moment here and then find your way back into your down dog. And coming into plank pose, just for a moment. Firm in your belly, front ribs, up towards your back body.

And then find your way back into down dog, inhale, raise your left leg behind you. And as you exhale, step the foot up between your hands, And, again, option to use blocks. And then slowly as you inhale straighten your left leg and flex your left foot. And as you exhale, bend your left knee, inhale straighten. So just slowly go back and forth with curiosity Like, where do you feel each pose?

How is your breathing? Just a couple more rounds. And then eventually bring your right knee down, and you could stay right here. You could even slide the blocks back a little bit to more easily take your shoulders back. You could also reach your arms overhead and my back out of the pose a little bit to more easily lift the hip points to draw my navel in.

Can arch back if that feels right for you in this moment. And then exhale moving the blocks out of the way, find your way back into downwards facing dog. Turning both feet to your right, leaning into that right hip, right shoulder, turning both feet to your left, leaning into the left hip, left shoulder, back to center, and then inhale plank. And exhale lower down. Intellate your thumbs behind your back again.

Lift your shoulders, lift your chest, and just keeping your feet down for now, but see if you can be right onto the center top of each foot. And then opening the right chest a bit more, right shoulder, a bit more, maybe looking over your right shoulder. And then the left shoulder, leaning more to the right, looking over the left shoulder a little bit, back to center. And then place your hands by your lower rims coming into cobra. Could be low cobra where your belly's on the floor or deep high cobra could be upwards facing dog, see what feels right again.

And then we meet in Downers facing dog. So just a couple more breaths here. And then walk your feet up to your hands. You can bring your feet all the way together, folding forward. So as that sense when you are in a forward fold, that bowing kind of allowing your ego to quiet even more tuning your attention more deeply inside.

Couple more breaths. And then when you're ready in helping your arms out to the side and lifting all the way up, and exhale hands to your heart. Now turn to face alongside of your mat. And I do want to suggest using a block behind each foot as you separate your feet about 4 to 5 feet apart plays a block behind each foot. We're coming into tree.

So bring your arms out to the side Turn your left foot in slightly. Turn your right foot and right leg out 90 degrees. Take a deep full breath in. And as you exhale, triangle pose. So the block helps you lengthen the right side of the torso.

You may get away with grabbing the ankle or cupping the floor with your fingertips. You can turn your gaze up. Press your feet into the floor. Inhale. Come all the way up. Parallel your feet.

Turn your right foot in slightly. Turn your foot and left leg out 90 degrees. Take a deep full breath in. And as you exhale triangle pose, again, option to use the block, and you can change it to the lowest, the highest level of the block. Lengthening the left side of your torso, the best you can, reaching up and out through the top hand, pressing your feet into the floor, looking down, inhale coming up, parallel your feet hands to your hips, inhale, lift and open your chest.

And as you exhale hinging from your hips coming forward, bending both knees, inhale lengthen your spine. You can always use block underneath your hands. And then bend your right knee a little bit more, straightening the left leg, getting into that left inner groin a bit more. And then slowly going back and forth, alternating, bending the opposite knee. And then eventually back to center, walk your hands back between your feet, and drawing the crown of your head towards the floor, you can always put a block underneath the crown of your head.

You can always bend your knees and then please walk your hands forward again, inhale halfway up exhale hands to your hips, inhale coming all the way up. And then inhale bring the arms out to the side. And once again, turn your feet to your right, and then exhale triangle pose. Sometimes repeating a pose is interesting. Right? So in this this tree konasana.

See if you can find a line of energy from your tailbone out through the crown of your head and from the bottom hand moving up and out through the top finger tips. So feeling more like starfish like spreading in all different directions. Spreading your wings, press your feet into the floor, inhale coming back up, parallel your feet, Turn your feet to your left. Take a deep full breath in. Exhale. Triangle pose.

So, again, a line of energy from your tailbone out through the crown of your head from the bottom hand up beyond the fingertips of the top hand. When you're able to go in all those different directions, you may start to feel a little bit lighter, more open. Pressing your feet into the floor looking down, inhale coming back up, then intellate shifting is behind your back You can always shorten the stance a little bit for more stability. Roll your shoulders back inhale. And as you exhale, fold.

So letting your head be heavy stretching from your shoulders to your wrists? And then press through the Four corners of each foot. Inhale come all the way up. And exhale hands to your hips and step your feet together. Pause for a moment.

And let's step back to the top of the mat. You may want to use the blocks again, so have them buy the side of your mat feet hips width. Inhale. Circular arms overhead. And as you exhale, fold, Usana, inhale. Open your chest. And then as you exhale, bend your knees a little bit and step the left foot back about 3 a half feet, set the back foot flat, turn the back foot in as much as you can.

Make sure you're not in a tight rope. So even though your feet are apart thin hips width, you can use blocks here. So a variation of Parshvultana, pressing more strongly through the mouth of the right big toe, firm the outer right hip in and lengthen your spine. So that line of energy from your tailbone out through the crown of your head Some of you can get away with maybe lowering the blocks or no blocks. See if you confirm your thigh muscles and press more strongly through the amount of the right big toe You could also choose to fold over your right leg, maybe walking your hands forward.

Just a couple more breaths here. Keep hugging the outer right hip in. If there's any discomfort in the back of the right knee, put a little bend in the knee. And then when you're ready, coming halfway up lengthen, exhale, step your left foot forward. Feet hips with.

Inhale. Open your chest and exhale. Step your right foot back. So about hips width still, turning the back foot in, maybe raising the blocks initially, straighten your left leg and then lengthen through your whole spine, line of energy from your tailbone out through the crown of your head. So you could stay right here or maybe lowering the height of the blocks. Oh, perhaps no blocks, but notice the tendency to round your back, meaning flexing your spine.

So bringing the ground up closer, can you more easily lengthen your spine? And then for some of you, it may feel good to fold and your back will round but it's doing the best you can to avoid bending from your lower back. Maybe bending the left knee a little bit if need be. And then when you're ready, just move the blocks out of the way. Stepping into downwards facing dog.

And an inhale plank pose, exhale. Maybe chaturanga, if you're up for it, or lower all the way down, inhale. Up dog or cobra stay here for a breath or 2. And then exhale, down dog, inhale raise your right leg behind you and exhale bring the right knee up to your right thumb coming into single pigeon. If this is not a good pose for you, if you have knee issues or very tight hips, you know, lie down on your back and do thread the needle.

That will be a better option. Take a moment to square off your pelvis, pulling the right hip back, the left hip forward. And as you do that, you might realize that your right buttock comes off the floor. So you could take a blanket or a block and place it underneath the right buttock, the right thigh. And then walking your hands forward.

But any discomfort in your right knee, you want to change the position. So nice stretch in your right hip, right glutes, Maybe the left hip flexors. So just a couple more breaths here. Pressing the little toes out of the right foot into the floor. It can be such a nice release for your hips here.

Walking your hands back, finding your way into downwards facing dog, and then inhale raise your left leg and exhale bring the left knee to the left thumb And this is my tighter side, so I will definitely, actually, I'll always use a blanket underneath my left buttock. I left thigh. And then take a moment to internally rotate your right leg. Spend the right inner thigh up, drive the right hip forward, left hip back. And maybe you stay up right for a little bit longer or perhaps you're ready to walk your hands forward and fold.

So pausing here just for a little bit longer. Pressing the little toe side of each foot into the floor. Use the exhalation to soften to relax into the stretch. Again, if there's any knee pain better to modify the pose, skip the pose entirely and maybe move into thread the needle. And take your time to find your way back into downwards facing dog.

And if you like, you can go through another Vinyasa. It may feel good. And Vinyasa, as you probably know, means to place in a special way, So it really implies us moving mindfully. And then please walk your feet up to your hands feet hips with, gently carefully squatting down to sit down. If you have a blanket, you can have it nearby.

You may want to use it. Inhale. Raise your arms. And exhale make a c curve and just very slowly roll down one vertebra at a time. I like to place the blanket on top of my thighs. Sometimes.

Take a moment to make yourself comfortable for Sebastian. Allow your eyes to be softly closed. Bring your mind's eye to the center of your chest. Choosing to go more deeply inside. Cultivating, felt sense of compassion.

In your chest and feel that felt sense, compassion spreading, into your arms, hands, legs, feet, And imagine that your body has no boundaries and you can allow your energy, your awareness to expand beyond the physical borders of your body. Feeling a bit more wide open, spacious. Maybe allowing your face to softly smile. Now you can always stay here longer. It's a great way to relax and restore If you're ready to bring yourself back, do it slowly.

Maybe wiggle your fingers, your toes. Bending your knees, rolling over onto one side, and again, just take your time to slowly sit up. So the aim is to keep some of that calmness and Awareness of your own self as you move back to the outside. Thank you so much for practicing with me. Meditating with me.

Have a wonderful day, Namaste.


Jenny S
5 people like this.
This was such a beautiful, relaxing and introspective way to finish the season ❤️ I’m putting a plug in right now for a whole season of this slower, luxurious style of yoga, taught by YOU, Birgitte!  Your calm way of speaking hits just the right note.  Seriously I could do this all day…🙏🏻❤️
Laurie  P
4 people like this.
This was wonderful! Thank you! You have such a calming voice and your pace allowed me to really feel my body in the poses. Please do more like these! 
Padmini R
4 people like this.
Relaxing movements. Thank you for the flowy movements. My body feels good after the practice. 
2 people like this.
Jenny S Hi Jenny, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this practice. This is the way I practice most of the time.....just a great way to take care of myself. I would love to do a series of classes like this. I think we all need a little TLC these days. Warmest, Birgitte
2 people like this.
Laurie P Hi Laurie, Great to hear. Thank you for sharing your feedback. I like to practice this way.....honestly, most of the time. Warmest, Birgitte
1 person likes this.
Padmini R Dear Padmini, So happy to hear you enjoyed the practice. Thank you for practicing with me and sharing your feedback. Warmest, Birgitte
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Just loved this delicious, gentle practice first thing this morning. Great to hear all the options for each pose. As I get older this does seem the way to go, thanks for showing a path. Aloha
1 person likes this.
Christel B Hi Christel, Thank you so much for your kind feedback. I prefer a gentle practice in the morning.....time to tune into my body and patience to listen. Hoping you are having a wonderful week. Warmest, Birgitte
Julia R
1 person likes this.
A wonderful, relaxing, and very thoughtfully guided practice, as always. Thank you so much, Birgitte! Miss you!
Julia R Hi Julia, It is always lovely to hear from you. Happy to know that you liked the practice. Hope you are well. I miss you as well! B

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