Empowered Aging Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Stand Up, Stay Up

40 min - Practice


This standing class builds the strength and stability needed to stay active and mobile as we age. It's also great for days when you're having trouble getting onto the ground but don't want to miss out on a challenging full body Vinyasa flow. You'll increase strength, stability, and flexibility in your legs, hips, and glutes in Chair, Warrior 1, Humble Warrior, and Half Moon, and, as balance creates stability, we take time in Tree Pose. As always, we have our props nearby to make all poses feel more comfortable and accessible for us. You will feel secure, challenged, and accomplished.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

My name is Jason, and thank you for coming to practice with me today. So important. The ground isn't everybody's friend, but that should not preclude you from being able to practice and practice through a whole series of poses that are challenging, but also so so good for us. So let's challenge our our ourselves today. Stay standing.

So we will never go down to the ground. So I invite you to start. You can be at the front of your mat. I'm gonna just face so I can see everybody. And find yourself in mountain pose.

Hands can be at your heart, or if you'd like to join me, bring your palms open. Should or blades back. Close your eyes for a moment. It said when we take one of our senses away, the rest of them heighten. Maybe your hearing becomes incredibly acute.

But what I want you to draw your attention to is first your feet and your connection to the ground. Lift your toes up away from the mat and feel all four corners of each foot pressing into the ground. Get a little rock from side to side and maybe even a little shift from heel to ball of your feet. And then settle with all four corners pressing into the ground and feel force pressure of your feet pressing down into the ground. And at the same time, feel a lift in the ankles a lift of the kneecaps and engagement of the muscles, the quads, and the hamstrings, the glutes reaching towards the center line, and you feel an engagement through the abdominal muscles, lift through the spine, reach the crown of the head towards the ceiling, roll the shoulder blades back.

Take one more deep breath in. Exhale it out. Bring the toes back down to the ground. Keeping the hands at your sides or hands at your heart. Slowly lift the heels off the mat, find the weight pressing into the balls of the feet, The height that you lift up to, that's up to you. Slowly bring the heels back down.

Lift the toes, see if you can lift the balls of the feet off the ground. You're gonna see this come back a little bit later today. Bring the balls of the feet down, lift the heels. And slowly bring heels down, lift the balls of the feet one more time. And relax the feet down to the ground.

Take a big breath and reach both hands up over your head. As we exhale, bend the elbows, take the eyes to the sky. Palms come forward fingertips up cactus. Inhale, reach it up. Take that left hand grab onto the right wrist and exhale gently pull the right over.

Take a breath in, maybe turning the eyes up towards the sky, rolling the right ribs open, and inhale up to center exhale cactus. That little extension lifting the heart, slight arch in the back. Inhale, bring it forward. Now taking that right hand grabbing onto thress and taking it across. On the exhale, rolling the ribs eyes up to the sky, and inhale up to center in cactus. Are you ready for our first little challenge?

Inhale. Bring it up with that left hand grab onto the right wrist. And as we exhale and take it over, Shift the weight into the left foot and see if you can come up onto the toe of the right foot. Maybe even lifting that right foot. Just an inch off the ground, harder than it looks. Right? Inhale the center, both feet down, exhale cactus.

Inhale bring it up. Oh, right hand grabs on the left, exhale take it across. If you'd like that extra little challenge, come up onto that left toe, see if you can lift the left foot off. Hey. You might find you're a little stronger on one side than you are on the other. Come back to center. We think we're balanced, but typically we're not.

We tend to be a little stronger on one side than we are on the other. Take a big breath and reach the hands up one more time and being very nice and very gentle, exhale. Walk the hands down your legs and find a forward fold. Allow the whole upper half of the body to just hang. If the hands don't reach the ground, you might wanna consider blocks or even a small stool or a pillow to put your hands on.

Think about length through from the tailbone up to the crown of the head and exhale. So a little bit of a soft bend in the knees, if that feels good. Just might be what the doctor ordered. Inhale halfway up and exhale forward fold. Inhale all the way up to stand and exhale dive right back down into it. Inhale halfway up and exhale forward fold.

Big sweep of the hands all the way to stand. And exhale all the way down. Hold here for a moment. Let's take a little bit of a rotation. Reach the right hand over to the left calf.

Right hand might come back. I'm sorry. Left hand may come back onto the tailbone and exhale into a bit of a rotation. Come forward and exhale reaching the left hand across right hand goes back and rotate. Come back to center and exhale into your forward fold. Inhale halfway up and exhale forward fold.

Big sweep of the arms all the way up to stand. And one more time, exhale forward fold, take an inhale halfway up, reach the right hand across, left, exhale for a twist and inhale center. And exhale twist the opposite side and come back to center all the way up to stand. Enhance the heart. A little bit of shoulder mobility while also doing we don't want to miss out on that joy of warming up our spine through cat cow. Take the hands, clasp the fingers together.

Now on option is also to bring the hands to the knees and still work this. So I'm gonna turn to the side so you can watch as I'm doing this. Hands can be at the knees. Or clasp the hands together, a little softness in the knees as we exhale round the spine and press the palms away from you or just round the spine. Keep the hands connected to the knees.

You choose. And as we inhale and go into spinal extension, bring the thumbs up to the sky, pull the shoulder blades back, eyes up to the sky, and exhale again. Soft in the knees rounding through the back, spread the shoulder blades, press the palms away from you. And, again, inhale bring it up. Thumbs reaching back. Good. One more time? Yeah.

One more time. Excel. Let's do it. And inhale all the way up and exhale. Bring the hands down. Give yourself a little bit of a shoulder roll. I'm still gonna face you, but again, you could be facing towards the front of your mat.

Make sure that the feet are about hip width apart. Some like to bring the big toes in, bring the knees in. For my body, a little bit of extra space just feels better. As we inhale reach the hands up overhead, think of energy through the fingertips as we exhale and we sink the tail bow down for chair pose, and we practice that shifting of the weight forward and back in our feet. The weight shifts into our heels. Take a moment. Look down.

Can you see your toes? We wanna make sure that the knees are back. And the tailbone is down. The belly button is in, and we have length through the spine. So, again, stay where you are.

I'm just gonna turn to the side. As the tailbone reaches down, we find length through our upper body. And if this is starting to round you or you're finding an intense curve in your lower spine come up a little bit. Inhale all the way up to stand and exhale chair pose. Sync the weight into the heels, toes are light, tailbone down, length, lift through the heart.

And if you're finding that intense curve in your spine by engaging the abdominal muscles, it'll start to lengthen the tailbone down. Inhale all the way to stand. One more. Excel. And from here, come all the way back up and Tedasana. If we're going to meet back at the front side of our mat.

Before we get started, maybe now is a good time to grab your props. Because a block and a strap may be your best friend for this flow today. So just keep them handy in case you decide you want to use them. Square off toes reaching towards the front of the mat. Make sure that the feet are parallel.

They could be touching or there could be a little bit of space between them. Take a big breath in, sink the tailbone for chair pose. Shift a little bit more weight into the right. See if you can lift that left foot and step the left foot back with the toes at an angle reaching towards the front left corner of the mat. If you're on a railroad, just one straight line, you might fall over.

So open the feet a little bit to allow you to draw that right hip back and allow the left hip to spin slightly forward. Try to keep the left foot grounded and that right knee directly over the right heel. If you're feeling you've got space, you could open it up a little bit. If at any point you feel any pinching in your lower back, feel free just to open up just slightly toward the left side, and that will ease up on your lower back a little bit. Now the next pose that we're going to take can cause a little bit of wobbliness and really challenge your flexibility.

So this is where the block and the strap may come in handy. As we move into humble warrior, take a big breath in, to lengthen. As we exhale, let's all go through this one time with the block. Take that block and move it to the inside of the right foot. As we keep lengthen the spine, We exhale and we drop our torso to the inside of that right knee. All of this space is for us to use.

Now you may bring the hands to the block or you say, I'm feeling really sturdy if you're feeling really sturdy, maybe you bring the hands back to your tailbone and allow the head and the chest to drop. Take a breath here. If it doesn't feel comfortable to have your hands together, on your tailbone, you can take a strap and hold on to that strap reaching the knuckles towards the back wall. Let's keep that block right where it's at because it's gonna be very useful. Take that strap and just move it off to the side, but know that we may need that again.

As we inhale rise, squeezing the glutes to come up, and now we're gonna open up nice and wide into our warrior 2. In our warrior 2, now our heel might align with the arch of our foot. We open up all of that space. We drop through the tailbone. We feel tall through the upper body.

Shoulders and ears, they wanna stay away from each other, so drop those shoulders down. Inhale reverse the warrior. And as we exhale, rather than using momentum, we're gonna use strength. So we're gonna find that block. Place that block about 6 inches in front of the right foot. Reach with that right hand.

Press into that right foot and slowly lift into half moon pose. Now if balance is your challenge today, feel free to keep that toe down on the ground. But we're gonna see just how light we can make that toe and use your hand on that block as another brace See if you can lift that toe. Lift that left hip. You can keep that left hand on the hip And as we exhale and roll the left ribs and the left hip to the sky, imagine you're standing on the back wall with that left foot.

And now if we're feeling strong, lift that left hand. Take one more breath. And as we exhale, slowly bring the left foot back down to the ground for warrior 2. Working on that hip stability. This is that strength move as we press deep into the right foot.

Really press down to that right knee. We're gonna lighten up the weight on the left. Slowly drag that left foot forward. And you can either keep the toe on the ground, bring the arch of the foot to the shin, or all the way up and don't hesitate to help it up in the tree pose. I'm gonna you stay here.

I'm gonna turn forward so we can see free pose. Again, toe can be on the ground, left foot down, but toes are super light. Pressing down through that right foot and engaging the muscles in that right leg. Engaging just means that you're aware of them. But we're not contracting really hard.

The that right glute reaches into the center line. We embrace If you'd like to take that left foot to the shin or to the inside of the thigh, We never wanna press against the knee because that puts a lot of undue pressure laterally on the knee, which we never want. Good hands at heart. Or if you're feeling strong in your tree today and you wanna grow your branches, extend the branches to the sky, And bring the hands to the heart both feet down. Beautiful. We're gonna come back to the center of the mat.

And we're gonna find ourselves on the opposite side of our mat. If you wanna stay on your one side of mat, please do. I'm just gonna do this. So that I can see all of you as we practice today. Take a deep breath in and sink the tailbone into chair pose. Hip shifting back, weight in the heels, feel the energy of the legs and the knees working into center But if your feet are not together, then the knees should not be together.

We don't ever wanna close that angle. Take one more breath. Shift the weight into the right foot and slide the left foot back as slowly as you can. Ground that heel. Remember, we want the toes at a just a slight angle reaching towards the front right corner of the mat.

That left knee is directly over the heel. Think imagine you're elongating that left femur and allowing the hips to rotate forward for Warrior 1. That slight little turn to ease up on your spine. Hopefully, you have a second block. If you are gonna need your strap, make sure you locate that strap.

And then reset. Our feet are not nailed down. Just come back to your pose. Take that extra breath to settle. And then one more breath to lengthen. Choose.

Block to the inside of the left foot. Even if you don't choose to use it, it might be nice. Just a little bit of a comfort zone to have it there. Keep length in the spine as we exhale hands come back to the tailbone, maybe interlacing the fingers, taking a strap, grabbing onto a scrap, strap, or a towel, and allowing your chest torso and head to sink to the inside of that left knee, humble warrior. And as we are in this humble warrior, we're still pressing down through the left foot still trying to find that length and drawing back through that left hip and allowing the right to slide forward just slightly pin it into center reach down to the outer edge of that right foot.

Take one more breath. If you have your strap, release it, keep that block close by, maybe just in front of you, big sweep of the arms. Woah. Up to warrior 2. Fast movements knock you off balance. Heel to arch, open, make sure that left knee is open nice and wide.

In how reverse, and we're gonna use our strength versus momentum exhale, reach with that left hand, find that block or that perfect spot, press into that left foot, Make sure toes are reaching towards the front of the mat and tip on up into half moon pose. This is where being a little slow and thoughtful of your movement is where you're gonna win soft bend in the left knee. Maybe that right hand is on your hip. Can you lift the right ribs and the right hip a little bit? You are standing on the wall with the right foot.

And if it feels good to raise that right hand. From the tips of the right fingers, to the bottom of the left tips of the left fingers or one straight line. Slow and controlled, return the right foot back down to the ground, and come into warrior 2. Yogies fall too. We all do. You know what the best thing is? When you fall, get right back up.

It's what it's all about. This is that hip strength, that stability pressing into that left leg How slow and controlled can you bring that right foot up to meet it? Maybe even we're gonna practice this keeping that foot off the ground as we find our tree pose. That toe can stay anchored on the ground. If that's what helps you to feel a little bit more stable, on the shin or bring it up onto the thigh.

The goal is not to open this balance leg. All the way out to the side, but instead at an angle so that it doesn't quote were quite cause us to spin, but we feel that openness in our hip. Find your stability. Grow your branches. Shoulder blades down.

And as we press that left foot into the ground and we squeeze the muscles just slightly in that left leg, it creates that stability. One more breath and x, he'll bring it down. Wanna flow through it one more time each side? I think we should. So I'm gonna start from the front of the mat, take a big breath in. Again, you can stay facing the same direction you are.

I'm just gonna turn this way so I can see you At the front of the mat, make sure you have your strap. If you're gonna use your strap, make sure you have a block at each side of your mat. Here we go. Take a deep breath in. Exhale, sink into chair pose. Take an extra breath here.

And exhale it out. Shift the weight into the left foot. See if you can hover. Shift the weight into your right foot. And see if you can hover the left foot off the ground.

Slowly take it back. Find warrior 1. One breath in to reach and lengthen through the spine as we exhale hands come back behind you or reach down to that block humble warrior interlacing the fingers and allowing the entire torso in your head to just sink. One more big breath in. Exhale it up.

Release the hand spin up into warrior 2 with control inhale reverse the warrior. I think control is the name of the game here. Slow and easy reaching for that block about 6 inches in front of your feet. Press into that right foot and tip on up into half moon pose. Maybe practicing, floating.

The hand off of that block and use it for a comfort but less for support. Slowly bringing the left foot back down to the ground warrior 2. Pressing into the right foot. Let's see if we can keep the left foot off the ground. As we come back into our standing position and tree pose.

Hold for one extra breath. You're a mighty oak. Lift as tall as you can. And bring both feet down. Give a little rock out of those feet.

Remember, you can stay at your end of the mat, take a deep breath in, exhale it out. I'm gonna come to this side of the mat so I can see all of you through our practice. Take a deep breath and reach the hands up and exhale sink the tailbone down. We are gonna press into the left foot lift that right foot off the ground and step that right foot back, warrior 1, And as your hips warm up, you might say a little more space in my warrior 1. So we've been deep into that left knee We reach to the sky.

If you want your strap, you want that block to the inside of your foot, make sure it's there. Otherwise, as we exhale, hands come back behind you, interlace the fingers, and humble warrior. And now maybe your thumbs are against your tailbone. Can you start to reach back through the knuckles, maybe lift away from the tailbone? And allow the torso to drop just a bit deeper. If it makes you feel more secure to keep your shoulder, left shoulder on that left knee, by all means. It's a great way to start and get comfortable with this pose, release the hands, Slow, big breath in and exhale, sink into that warrior too, heal the arch, that back foot opens up just a bit more.

Utilizing strength and control, inhale reverse, and exhale reach, press tip, lift that back foot, half moon pose. It's not a trick. Single finger on that block. 2 fingers. Palm of your hand.

The goal is to use all that strength in our left leg. The lift, like, we're stacking our right hip right on top of the left. And our ribs reach the sky and we're a straight line from finger to finger, and we try to be as light as we can on that left hand. And slowly bring the right foot back down to the ground, warrior 2. You might say this is where I wanna sit for a moment.

Sit for a moment. When you're ready, slowly bring that right foot up, see if you can hover it to the front. And bring it in for your tree pose. Feeling a little wobbly, double check. Am I pressing the left foot into the ground?

My gauging everything into the center is my focus on an inanimate point. And slowly bring both feet back to the mat. Shake those feet out. We're gonna complete our practice today before we move into our final stretches. With a little bit of an extra balanced challenge.

So make sure you have blocks close by because they make them in handy. We'll just go with one block, and we're gonna start with our weight in our left foot. So make sure that that block is in front of the right foot. We're gonna bring the right foot onto that block. Now so many of our poses are standing poses start in the single leg balance.

And how often do we grip with our toes onto that mat? So with that foot on that block, Can you raise the foot off the ground? Really press down through that left foot. And at the same time, can you lift the left toes off the ground so you feel all four corners of your feet pressing into the ground and all the other muscles lifting. The bones lifting away. Everything into the center line.

Take that right hand on that right knee and open that right knee out. Extend left handout. Remember that foot can stay on that block. And you can test just a slight lift in down and a slight lift in down. Bring it back to center and both feet come down.

Take that block, move it over just slightly. Press into that right foot and lift the left foot onto the block. Rushing into it is a sure, far away, to fall off balance. So find your stability, then lift that leg, see if you can use the abdominal muscles, the glute muscles to help lift versus just relying on those hip flexors. Still tall through the spine.

Lift the right toes off the ground. I know what you're saying right now. You're saying, wow, this is a little more challenging than I thought. It really is. So press that right foot into the ground and now open up.

We wanna make sure both hip bones are still facing towards the front of the mat. So as we open, we try to avoid letting our hips twist and keep them neutral towards the front of the mat. Are your toes still lifted off the mat? Say yes. Yes. Good. Come back to center.

One more time through, and then we'll stretch it out. I'm gonna give you an option, which maybe a strap will come in very handy for this. So take that strap and keep it close by. Bring that block in front of the right foot and bring that right foot up. I'll show you what we're gonna do and then you can say, hey, a strap is gonna come in very helpful.

Lift that right knee. Open that right leg out. Use that right hand, place it right underneath the thigh and extend through the heel. Put on the block. Still open up the leg.

If extending that leg out is a bit more challenging than we're ready for today, take that strap. And place it around the ball of the foot, extend the left hand out, and open. Gonna choke up as much as you can on that strap. So you have a nice long arm, tall through the spine, reach through the heel. And bring it back to center.

Comes in handy. So maybe we're just gonna hold that in our left hand. Move the block over. Start by placing that left foot on the block. This is an option.

And it felt so good. I think I'm gonna keep it. Find that stability through the right leg. We already know lift the toes. That'll let you know that you're pressing down through all four corners of the feet. Keep a little softness in that knee.

And when you're ready, lift the left knee up. You see that little fall off balance? Catch yourself by engaging, engaging, engaging, and when you're ready, open up. If you're gonna use this, keep this handy. Otherwise, take that left hand underneath the thigh and open up for that single leg extension, reach through the heel.

If you wanna try to do it with the strap, strap goes underneath the ball of your foot. Keep the arm as long as you can. Come up to rise and extend out. There's no reward given at the end of the day. For who has the highest extension.

So don't take yourself out of good alignment to try to raise those toes up. Instead find where you feel long and balanced. And slowly bring that back down to center. Keep your buddy. Don't let it go too far away.

And put that back at the back of the mat and bring your block back. A little balance work works all those lower body muscles, but balance is what creates stability. As we age, I can say that. What we wanna make sure is that we can continue to climb upstairs, go downstairs. We wanna make sure that we find that stability in every step.

And all of this balance work is what's gonna keep you mobile and active. So let's finish off with a deep breath in And, again, take that left hand and exhale, reach it across. Inhale center and take it over opposite side. Inhale center. And this time, keeping the hips reaching forward, exhale, and rotate, bringing that left hand back in the right hand forward.

And if your hips start to twist, then maybe we just turn our torso a little bit more back towards the front. Just find that twist that works for us, inhale forward, and exhale twist the opposite side. And as you twist, bringing that right hand back Think of the right hip reaching forward. One more time through inhale using that left hand grab onto the right wrist and take it us. Inhale center and excel opposite side.

Let's take in a bonus cactus, exhale extension through the spine, inhale, bring it up, and twist towards the left. Inhale back to center, twist to the right. And come back to center and hands to heart. Return back to where we started. In mountain pose in Tedasana, hands at your heart, or hands out at your sides, rule the shoulder blades back.

Think of your shoulder blades are best friends, and they want to meet in the center of your back. With your feet directly beneath your hips, lift the toes one more time. And then gently lay the toes on the mat. And through all the remaining practices that you do every single time when you come back to your mat, ask yourself how light can I be through my toes and how grounded I can I be through my feet? Close your eyes for a moment.

And let's just take 3 deep slow breaths. You may ask why We did our practice standing today. Why we worked on all of this stability and grounding. Well, it said that when looking at a beauty, the beauty of a building, you shouldn't look at the construction of what you see, but instead, at the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time. So the strength that we build in our feet the strength that we build in our standing poses, the strength that we build in our balance will help you to stand the test of time.

So thank you for practicing with me today. Stay standing, and, hopefully, we get to practice together again.


2 people like this.
Some days I’m not feeling for traditional up & down flows (maybe tender wrists, elbows, or shoulders). This class adds a great option. The detailed instructions for paying attention to grounded foot positions and alignments are very helpful. Jason clearly explains steps to build up to asanas with suggestions for modifications. I learned new ways to use blocks and strap to work on poses incrementally. Half Moon is a challenge. Using  a block for fine adjustment is a great help.  I tried lightening up the pressure of a hand on a block.  It felt empowering.  Jason’s encouragement throughout the class is uplifting. 
Thank you! I look forward to more class releases in the series. 
Peggy L
2 people like this.
Enjoyable class! As I age, i understand the importance of balance.
Thanks :)
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Thank you YogaAnytime for offering this Empowered Aging series. It offers great focus on maintaining and building strength and balance to provide stability as we move on in years. Definitely feel the work here as we are offered variations to suit us. Wonderful practice!
Jason S
Peggy - balance is important at any age. As we grow older, I believe we become acutely more aware of how important it is and how easy it is to lose it! And the result could literally stop us in our tracks! Therefore, a bit more dedication to our strength, our longevity and our balance is crucial! So glad we could practice together and get stronger!
Jason S
Thank you Christel. Appreciate your praise and feedback!
Jenny S
2 people like this.
I’m slowly working a bit of yoga asana practice into my day following a period of illness and injury.  This class was the perfect way to begin - it was challenging but mostly doable, which was good for my body as well as my spirit.  I appreciate your calming presence and guidance and I’m looking forward practicing your other offerings in this Empowered Aging series 🙏🏻❤️🕊️
Stefania M
2 people like this.
I appreciated a lot this practice.
Very nice!
Lea M
2 people like this.
I loved this standing practice.  i will be coming back to it again.
Jason S
Jenny S as a life-long athlete, I can relate with the struggle of a practice based on our body/our lives of today...not what it was yesterday.   But that's the beauty of YOUR practice.  You get to make it personal to you.    Celebrate what you accomplished today.  And tomorrow, celebrate what you were able to accomplish then.   Before you know it, you'll be looking back and amazed at how far you've come.    Super proud of you for even showing up!
Jason S
1 person likes this.
Stefania M Thank you!   I hope that this Empowered Aging series keeps offering you more and more to appreciate.
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