Wake Up with Yoga Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 6

Svadhyaya: Self-Inquiry

30 min - Practice
27 likes
Loading...

Description

This dynamic class encourages Svadhyaya, self-inquiry, while exploring coordination and balance, and increasing strength and stability in the shoulders, arms, and back as well as mobility in the joints. We journey through lunges, Salabhasana variations, Side Plank, and Dolphin, before settling into seated stretches. You will feel quiet and relaxed.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block (2)

About This Video

Transcript

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to your practice. In today's practice, we will do a lot of self-study inquiry also in Sanskrit called svatyaya. So we'll start in Virasana seated on a block. So I suggest placing the block like this underneath your seat, but you may have to do it a little bit taller or maybe two blocks. But if this bothers your knees, sit any way that is, that works for you. So just take a moment to bring your hands together in Anjali Mudra.

Allow your eyes to softly close. Feel the touch points of your body on your mat. And if you're sitting in Virasana on a block, press your inner ankles against the block and fan out all ten toes, spreading your toes. And with your eyes softly closed, start to tune into your breath, the air flowing in and out through your nose. Just taking a moment to center yourself, to pause briefly before we start to move.

Just a few more breaths here, gradually making your breathing a little deeper, a little fuller. And then when you're ready, go ahead and open your eyes and then stretch your arms out to the side like a T. And then externally rotate your arms, palms of your hands facing the ceiling. And then internally rotating your arms so your thumbs are pointing straight down. And just go back and forth between this external rotation, the internal rotation.

So both movements are important for the mobility of your shoulder joint. But especially when we're weight bearing, we want to avoid the internal rotation, it's less stable. So when you do anything where you're weight bearing, the external rotation will just create more stability of the arm bone in the shoulder socket. So just a couple more rounds here, just nice and easy, a little inquiry into the shoulders. Now next time the palms of your hands are facing the ceiling, inhale, stretch your arms overhead.

So holding on to that external rotation, firming your triceps in. And then as you exhale, lower your arms. And just a couple more times as you inhale, palms of your hands facing the ceiling, raise your arms overhead, palms of your hands facing one another. And then slowly lower. Again, inhale, circle your arms overhead, just like you do in sun salutes.

And then exhale, lower your arms. One more, inhale. Now this time, keep your arms overhead. We're going to move into lateral stretch, lateral extension. So when you're ready, exhale, bring your right hand down, stretching the left side of your torso.

And then as you inhale, come back up into this position, arms overhead, and then exhale, left hand down. And lengthening the right side of your torso. And then inhale back up, and then exhale, right hand. So just very slowly go back and forth. The inhalation takes your arms overhead, the exhalation takes you into that lateral stretch.

So synchronizing movement with breath, keeping your sitting bones heavy on whichever surface you're on. So just one more round here. Stretching the muscles between the ribs, the intercostals. And then eventually both arms up. Take a deep full breath in, and as you exhale, lower your arms.

So now you're going to face the front of your mat and have the block available to you. We're going to come into child's pose, keeping your knees just about hips width apart, no wider. And then as you stretch your arms out in front of you, coming onto your fingertips, lifting the forearms up away from the floor, and then placing the block right so that it's underneath your forehead. And if your shoulders are a bit tight, you may have to raise the block to the medium height. And we'll be here just for a few breaths, exploring being up onto your fingertips and kind of pulling your thumb and index finger towards one another, which will activate the arches of your hands a bit more and the undersides of your forearms.

And you're dynamically lifting your forearms up away from the floor. And then especially pressing through your index finger, thumb, as you firm your triceps in, so that extra rotation of the upper arms, of your arms. So just a couple more breaths here, breathing into your side rims, your back rims. So like an active child's pose. And then go ahead and come forward onto your hands and knees.

And then take your blocks, medium height, and your thumbs are to the inside, the other four fingers to the outside. So again, this facilitates that extra rotation of the upper arms. And then find your way into your first down dog. So what's nice about using blocks, I do it quite a lot in my own practice, is that again, it facilitates that extra rotation using the blocks the way I'm showing you. But also it's easier to elongate your spine and maybe getting the heels closer to the floor.

So it just gives your body a little bit more space. Align your ears with the inner upper arms, lengthening your tailbone away from the crown of your head. If your hamstrings are quite tight, you may have to lift your heels and bend your knees to find that nice length of your spine. So just a couple more breaths here. And as much as you can, breathing smoothly in and out through your nose.

Again, giving your body a little bit more space. And then when you're ready, go ahead and step your right foot up between your hands. So when you're using blocks, it's really easy to end up on a tight rope. You may need to just move the right foot, the right block a little bit more to your right. So if you're one of those people like me, I tend to hang out, right?

So I back out of the pose a little bit more, so that way I can feel the stability and strength of the pose. And then strongly pressing through the right heel, pinning the outer right hip in. So sometimes backing out of the pose, you actually will end up getting a little bit more out of it. And then you can stay here if you feel that this is enough, or you can reach your left arm forward. So externally rotate your left arm.

You're rotating the arm bone in the shoulder socket. Now if you feel that this is quite easy, or you need a little bit more of a challenge, then reach your right hand back. Lift your right shoulder. And then you can explore going back and forth, reaching your right arm forward, left arm back. Just very slowly going back and forth.

And as you're doing this, can you stabilize your trunk, meaning firm your belly, front ribs in. So this works a lot on strength and stability. And do make sure that your right knee is not moving ahead of your right ankle, so that your right knee is directly above your right ankle. Maybe explore both arms forward. Two more breaths.

And then bring your hands back down, and bring your left knee down. Point your toes, spread your toes on that left foot. And it could be that staying right here is enough, feels good for you, for your body. It could also be that you want to climb your hands up onto your right thigh, and then back out of the pose a little bit, because then it's easier to draw the lower belly in and up, lifting your hip points, and you may feel the left buttock firming in. So now you're getting into stretching the hip flexors.

And if your hands are on your right thigh, now take your arms out to the side like cactus arms. You're pressing your hands back, elbows forward. So this draws the tips of the shoulder blades in towards your chest. Gently draw your lower ribs in. So just a few more breaths here.

Squeezing the elbows forward, hands back. Maybe bending the front knee a little bit more. And then stretch your arms out to the side. Turn the palms of your hands to face the ceiling. Inhale, stretch your arms overhead.

You can look up. You can also seal your hands. And then as you exhale, bring your hands down. Hands on the blocks like you did earlier. Straighten the back leg and step into your down dog.

So just a couple of breaths here to work on lengthening your spine. If you have a tendency to hang out, right, so you're sway back or you're looking like you have a hammock here, can you draw your belly, front ribs up towards your back body? And then when you're ready, step your left foot up between your hands. Maybe move the left foot a little bit more to your left. And instead of kind of letting your hips hang, press your right thigh bone up, pin the outer left hip in.

So maybe you want to stay right here. It's enough. You could also take your left arm, reach it forward. And this may be enough. You could take your right hand back. Doesn't matter which arm you start with here. And then you can explore maybe going back and forth.

So the arm that reaches back, that shoulder extension. The arm that reaches forward, that shoulder flexion. So it's good to do all these different movements to create mobility in your joints. Keep firming your belly, front ribs up towards your back body. Consider maybe reaching both arms forward.

So both arms are in flexion. Two more breaths. Keep pressing through that left heel, left knee above your left ankle. Ears in line with the inner upper arms. And then bring your hands down and bring your right knee down.

It probably feels good. You could stay right here or bring your hands on top of your left thigh and back yourself out of the pose a little bit. Draw your lower belly in and up. Bring your arms out to the side like cactus arms. Press your elbows forward, hands back.

So you draw the bottom tips of the shoulder blades in towards your chest and gently draw your lower ribs in. Couple more breaths here. Maybe bending the front knee a little bit more. Straighten the arms out to the side, palms of your hands facing the ceiling. Reach your arms overhead.

You have the option to look up, option to seal your hands. And then exhale, hands come down. Straighten the back leg and step into down dog. And then moving the blocks out to the side. Hands flat, down dog.

So though your hands are flat, think about moving your thumb towards the index finger, index finger towards your thumb. And you may feel the undersides of your forearms working, the arches of your hands lifting alive. Now inhale, come forward into plank pose. Firm your belly, front ribs up. Look about a foot or so in front of your fingertips.

Start to come forward with your chest. And to the count of five, lower down, four, three, two, one. Land. Take one block, hold it behind your back. Grab it.

Lift your shoulders. Spread your toes and see if you can draw your tailbone under a little bit more so you feel the buttocks firming. And then lifting up, lift your feet and legs off the floor. So just a few more breaths here. Notice perhaps the tendency to lead with your chin.

Draw your chin in. Take one more deep full breath in and then exhale. Move the block out of the way. Fold your hands underneath your forehead and just rest for a moment. As you're resting, breathe into your lower back.

Now place your hands by your lower ribs. Inhale, low cobra. And as you exhale, lower. So a couple of times as you're lifting up into low cobra, try to keep your hands really light. You could even take your hands a bit off the floor so that you're kind of ensuring that your back muscles are doing this work.

Keep lifting the head of your shoulders. Keeping your neck more or less in neutral, you tend to lead with the chin. Now placing your hands down and start to use a little bit more of your arm strength to lift up. And maybe you lift up a little higher. But keep your pelvis down.

So a couple more rounds here, moving more dynamically. Make sure you keep your shoulders down away from your ears. And then maybe you consider staying either low cobra or more into a high cobra. So shoulders down and back. Some of you may want to explore upward facing dog.

So you lift your knees, thighs and hips. Keep pressing through the index finger, thumbs out of each hand as you take the head of your shoulders back. Take one more deep full breath in. And then exhale, downward facing dog. Take a few deeper breaths here.

Spread your fingers, spread your toes. Evenly reach your inner and outer heels towards the floor. And then come on to your hands and knees. And coming into child's pose, you're welcome to bring your knees all the way together if that works for you. Resting for a moment here.

Breathing into your lower back. And then slowly sit up. And then you can either sit on your heels in vajrasana or sitting on that block again if that works better for you, or sit cross-legged. So whatever is okay on your knees. And then bring your arms out to the side and then turn the palms of your hands to face the ceiling.

And then bend your elbows and make fists, like happy fists. And then squeeze and see if you can firm the biceps and the triceps. So you're hugging the muscles into the bones. Relax your neck, your throat, and keep hugging the muscles into the bones. Straighten your fingers.

And slowly straighten the arms, really trying to resist a hyperextending locking the elbows. So when you first find that muscular connection, engagement, it's harder to do that hyperextension. Now keep the external rotation of the upper arms. Turn the palms of your hands to face the floor. And then point your fingers up, pressing out through the heels of your hands.

So this is wrist extension. And imagine that you're pushing two opposing walls apart. So a couple more breaths here. Gently firm your belly, front ribs in. One more breath.

And then straighten your hands, palms of your hands now facing the ceiling. Inhale, stretch your arms overhead. Take a deep full breath and maybe squeeze your arms back a little bit more. But as you do that, can you firm your belly, front ribs in. And then lower your arms.

That probably feels good. Insolace your fingers behind your back. Roll your shoulders back. Lift and open your chest. Gently draw your navel in.

A couple more breaths here. This is shoulder extension, but also external rotation. And then please release. Coming on to your hands and knees. Check that your hands are about shoulder width apart.

Spread your fingers evenly apart. If your shoulders are tight, it's not a bad idea to turn your hands out a little bit. But strongly root through the inner palms. Firm your triceps in. If you see that the eye of the elbow, not the bony part, the eye of the elbow is facing straight ahead, turn your hand, turn the arms a little bit.

Tiny micro bend so that the eyes of the elbows are facing more towards your thumbs. And then see if you can firm the biceps, just like you did with the arms out to the side. So again, just avoiding that hyperextension that can put a lot of stress to the inner wrists. And find a tabletop. Firm your belly, front ribs up towards your back body. Tuck your toes under.

Straighten your left leg. Straighten your right leg. Step your feet together. Firm your belly, front ribs up towards your back body. And then coming over onto the side edges of the left foot, take your right hand to your left side of the chest to the pectoralis muscles.

And then just very gently nudge that part of your chest back a little bit and externally rotate the left upper arm. Maintain that. Reach your right arm up. Firm your belly, front ribs in, and it's easy in the beginning to look down. Lift your hips up a little higher, maybe.

Lift your right leg until it's about parallel to the floor. Externally rotate the top arm, reach the arm over your cheek. Two more breaths. Ooh, do I feel that. And then back to plank.

I hope you felt that too. In a good way. So coming over onto your right hand, coming over onto the side edges of the right foot, take your left hand to the right side of your chest and just kind of nudge it back a little bit. Externally rotate the right upper arm. Reach your left arm up.

Firm your belly in. Lift your hips. And then option, lift your left leg so you work the outer hips, not only on the left leg but definitely also on the right. Externally rotate the left arm, reach the arm over your cheek. And sometimes it helps to smile.

Two more breaths. And then come back to plank. Feet hips width. Look about a foot or so in front of your fingertips. Start to come forward with your chest.

Very slowly lower down. Insulate your fingers the non-habitual way behind your back and lifting up into yet another variation of salabhasana, locust pose. Option to lift your feet and legs for two more breaths. Hands by the side of your chest, either cobra or up dog. And exhale, down dog.

Walk your hands to your feet. Slide your hands underneath the soles of your feet. See if you can bring the toes all the way up to the creases of your wrists. Inhale, reach your sternum away from your navel. Exhale, fold.

It's fine to bend your knees here. Massage your wrists with your toes. Two more breaths. Inhale, open your chest. Exhale, walk your hands forward back into down dog.

Coming onto your hands and knees. And then take one block. Place it like so. And bring your hands to either side of the block. Karate chop the floor with the outer wrists.

Elbows about shoulder-width apart. Kind of squeeze the triceps in, as if you're squeezing the elbows towards one another. And then find your way into one variation of dolphin. If this does not work for your shoulders or your arms here, you can interlace your fingers instead. So just a few more breaths here.

You can bend your knees to more easily lengthen your spine. Relax your neck. This is great preparation for headstand. We're not going to do that, but this works a lot on creating strength in your shoulders, arms, upper body. And then please come onto your knees.

Move the block out of the way. Child's pose with the arms down alongside your shins. And just take a couple of breaths here. Relax your shoulders. And then slowly roll up.

Now turn to face you. You're going to move your hips to one side and bring your feet out in front of you. You're going to fold your left foot, left leg in. Bring the right foot across like so. And not to pull the right foot way back, ankle more in line with the opposite knee here.

Wiggle on to the center of the sitting bones. You may need to sit on a blanket or a block. And if this bothers your left knee, straighten out your left leg. Now cup the floor with the fingertips of the right hand. Take your left hand to the right knee and gently draw the knee in towards your chest.

Inhale, lengthen your spine. And as you exhale, without initially turning your head, start to turn your belly, rib cage, chest. You can wrap that left arm more tightly around your right knee. You can also take the elbow to the outside of that knee. See what works best for you.

So you're exploring, rolling the right shoulder back. And lastly, turn your head, looking over your right shoulder. So just a couple more breaths here. So inhale, pressing through the sitting bones to elongate your spine. Exhale, maybe you turn a little bit more.

And then coming back to center, crossing your right knee more tightly over the left, crossing your legs. Again, you can keep the left leg stretched out. Press the little toes out of each foot into the floor. So I call this happy cow. This is really about stretching the outer hips.

You can stay upright or you can walk your hands forward. So just a few breaths here. So it's a variation of cow face pose, gomukhasana. And for a lot of people, they feel it in the right hip if the right leg is on top, and it's especially targeting the piriformis, one of the external hip rotators that is also characterized as being a troublemaker. Now walking your hands back, uncross.

Stretch out your legs for a moment. Bend your knees, fold your right leg in. Take your left foot across. Wiggle on to the center of the sitting bones. Take your right hand to the outside of the left knee.

Cup the floor with the fingertips of the left hand. Gently draw the knee towards your chest. Inhale, elongate your spine. Exhale, start to turn your belly, rib cage, chest to your left again. Let your head be the last to turn.

And you figure out which arm position is better for that right arm. And lastly, you turn your head. So as you inhale, elongate your spine. As you exhale, turn. So in my body, as I'm exploring on this side, I prefer wrapping my right arm around the left knee.

So tuning into what you need to do at any given moment, and sometimes you try something and it just does not work, it doesn't feel right, there's always another way. And then coming back to center, into the happy cow, and more or less, you try to stack that top knee above the bottom knee, moving in that direction. And then you can stay upright, pressing the little toes out of each foot into the floor, or you can walk your hands forward. So just a couple more breaths here. Notice where you feel this stretch.

For some people, this does not work, and they do this lying on their backs. Oh, they do threat the needle instead. And walking your hands back, stretch out your legs. And then I'll leave it up to you. I'm going to finish today in a seated meditation, but you are, of course, more than welcome to take Shavasana.

And if you have time, take Shavasana. Otherwise, pausing here in a comfortable seated position, bring your hands together in front of your chest. And of course, Svadhyaya many times is done studying our mind, our thoughts, our reactions. So as you're sitting here, as you draw your mind's eye to the center of your chest, just taking a moment to pause, and maybe in your self-study you realize that your mind is more quiet. That is at least my hope.

Thank you so much for practicing with me. Namaste. Have a wonderful day.

Comments

Jenny S
2 people like this.
I found this to be incredibly strong and grounding…my mind does indeed feel quiet and relaxed.  Perfect antidote for a case of “the Mondays” 🎋 Thank You! ✨🙏🏻❤️
Virag Reti
2 people like this.
This was a fantastic practice again. Thank you Birgitte! :)
Birgitte
Jenny S Hi Jenny, Wonderful to hear! Yoga is such a great start to the week. Happy that you got a practice in and feeling grounded. Namaste, Birgitte
Birgitte
Virag Reti Hi Virag, So happy to hear that you liked the practice. Thank you for practicing with me again and taking time to leave me feedback. Very much appreciated. Namaste, Birgitte

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial