Bend It Like Bex Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Core Balance

35 min - Practice
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Can we find strength and balance without gripping? We begin with a 3-minute meditation to land before finding some strength on the mat. Bex then leads us through an effective and fun play of standing balancing postures challenging our core stability and inspiring humor.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

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(waves crashing) Welcome I'm Bex and this practice is about balance. Moderation in everything. So begin by coming to a comfortable seated position if sitting's not comfortable for you today go ahead and recline. Just make sure that when you recline it's gonna keep alert in the whole system. That you're not gonna space out and fall asleep.

So seal the eyelids. Open your vision to everything that's inside. And then with a grounded sense through the sit bone lengthen through the roof of the mouth and the crown of the head. Sometimes it's nice to just draw the ears back and have buoyancy in the sternum. And then as you begin to draw the breath in and the breath out notice whatever is spinning around in your mind.

So as you keenly watch it see if you can be less incited to bite into the thought and just watch. Especially if it's the best idea you've ever had. So just watch it, until it disappears. So use the platform for the seated practice to just bring you back into your breath and that state of inhaling what you need and exhaling what you want to release. And in this brief sit you're just delving into that space where you sharpen the concentration telescope the energy inward and reclaim that space and that sweetness that is you.

So bring your hands to your heart center in prayer. Picking your intention for the practice. Maybe it's an area of the body, mantra, dedication. Motivation or keeping aligned with that theme of balance. Then allow the chin to come to the chest.

As you open your eyes see if you can take everything in with a fresh perspective. And come onto all fours in a bit of free forms. So you come on all fours and you can move anyway you like. And sometimes if you aren't certain which way to move just moving up and back can inspire you to go side to side. That happens to be one of my favorites to winch or wet my thigh bones, swivel pelvis.

Wherever you are though just tune in and breathe. You may even find that you wanna go right into childs pose and settle in there. Please note that at any time in the practice you can take that childs pose. It's there for you. (deep breathing) And you might find that just moving on all fours allows you to come right into your body and be here.

Now slowly begin to settle in that neutral place where the belly and the back kind of co-contract the need each other. And then on your inhalation extend the left leg and the right arm. Keeping them in the frame of the body so not going too far out or too far narrow. Bend the elbow, bring the elbow to the knee. And then inhale extend.

Repeat that. Exhaling, rounding scooping the naval in and inhale and breath. See if that shoulder cannot hike up I just noticed mine was. Exhale and then inhale. Slowly place the right hand down left shin down, round the back when you exhale.

Inhale, come into extension. And then exhale tight back into that neutral place. Extend the right leg and the left arm. And then bring the knee across to the elbow inhale. Place that right knee down left knee down, I mean left hand and then childs pose.

So there you are just breathe for a moment be with your breath. Slowly come back onto all fours take your time here and gently move into down dog. In downward facing dog peddle your feet. As you peddle your feet let all the little nooks and crannies in the side of the body feel the breath. Relax the shoulders away from the ears so the eye of the elbow gazes gently at the opposite thumb.

So right eye of the elbow toward the left thumb. Left eye of the elbow toward the right thumb. Just check it out see if that's possible for you. And then slowly walk your feet to your hands and deeply bend your knees so your chest rests on your thighs and once you grab for an opposite elbow switch so it feels like the foreign elbow is the one you're holding on to. Let the arms hang and climb the hands to the right little bend in the left knee.

Little bend in the right knee. And then climb the hands to the center then to the left little bend in the right knee bend in the left knee. Hands to the mat. Roll up super slowly. When you get all the way up shrug the shoulders up to the ears and then down down the back.

Do that three times. Just shrug and roll. Shrug and roll. Step to the top of your mat. Give a little bit of space there and you will hug the left knee into the chest and then release.

And then you'll hug the right knee into the chest and release it. You can go slowly or you can go at a faster pace. So it feels like you're kind of pumping the breath in and out and pulling the legs in and it's giving you a bit of the challenge of balance without gripping in the feet. And as you do this you just know the way the weight shifts and how you wanna find that place where there's the balance over the grip. There's the engagement over the tension.

So just a handful more. Right knee into the chest. Left knee into the chest. Right knee into the chest. Left.

You might even switch the hands. Feel what that's like. And then on this last one left leg lowers, hands heart center, close your eyes again. So if your heart is beating rapidly good for you. When the eyes open anchor yourself into your right foot.

Inhale lift the left knee into the chest. Left hand on top. Right hand on the bottom. And then just like that fresh perspective from meditation you'll step that left foot back and you might have a wonky landing, I know I just did, into a warrior two. Virabhadrasana II.

Slowly begin to feel the feet underneath you and then the work of the rhythmic breath... Sometimes I just like to take that outer part of my right thigh and kind of rub it toward my outer right hip. To just feel that play. And look back at the left arm. Reverse the warrior.

So deep invitation to sit into the right thigh. Not into discomfort, into what's possible. And then in that space see if you can grow the side bend. So the contraction is through the left side and there's a bit of that lateral (mumbles) through the right. And then adding in from there, inhale up to warrior two.

Mostly straighten that right leg. Coming into Trikonasana. So I like a little bend in the knee as I come down feeling my upper thigh bone, my femur slid in. The block is available. Hopefully you had one close.

Or you can grab the floor. Reach up with that left arm. Lengthen into those long lines of energy. And then take a deeper breath. Inhale come back up through warrior two.

Place the forearm on the thigh and the left arm over. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana. Lately I've been playing with this variation, if it inspires you, see about trying it. I just have been turning my right arm out like I'm serving a tray and then letting my left ribs roll. Dialing them back just a little toward the back body.

The transition here is to place the left hand on the left hip, using your block or whatever you have close that's tall sliding it just outside the right baby toe and transitioning into (mumbles). If balance is an issue right here, you can just bend the knee, keep the hand on the hip and gaze to see that left foot. If not add on by lifting the left arm. So you could look down, up or to the side. I prefer looking down.

And then you expand deeply into your extremities. And you contain through the core all the contents of the trunk, side body, back. Low belly. Reach the left arm over, place the left hand on the floor. And then place the right hand on the floor.

And you fold and do splits in air. It doesn't matter if the foot is six inches off the mat or all the way up. Wherever you are you're just grateful. You're practicing, your body works. You can do whatever you can do.

You maybe add on by putting the right hand behind. If you're really wanting to see where you are in your balance. Maybe you add the left. Both hands come down. Left foot joins the right.

Bend the knees. Roll up super slowly and then stand still. Great time to just close the eyes. Take in what just happened for you. Breathe.

Eyes open. Left knee into the chest. If you think you just did this. You did just do this. Step the left foot back pivot around and then test your balance by sweeping, oop, I needed a step, the right leg up and then place the right foot down.

Settle in again. Earth the left leg. Bring the right leg up. Step the right foot way back, come into warrior two. Now leading on the left side so those eyes are open to the back of the mat or what you might think is the back of your mat.

But you've already agreed that this is a new practice. You're refreshed and you're just checking out all sides of the world of the mat. So it's like you've travelled to a new place. Breathing in and out. From Vera two simply reverse.

Now I notice I forgot my block so I'm going to be really sneaky here and as I straighten my left leg I'm gonna bend my right one and pass the block to my left hand and then sure up my stance for (mumbles). Inhaling coming back right up. Shimmying back into that happy place and then slowly sliding into (mumbles). So right here I find the place I employ the legs. I gather up my strength.

And then from my center I reach out through my arms, through my legs. Through the roof of my mouth crown of my head. Inhaling with a little micro bend in my left knee. Right back into warrior two. I need a wider stance so I take it.

And then slowly forearm to thigh. Left arm comes and holds the tray there or over as the right arm reaches and you lengthen from the outer perimeter of that back foot. Really feel the breath, washing, rinsing through. Right hand to the right hip. Left hand use the block if you need a little shimmy of a step, and I'm feeling like today I might need it, so I step the right foot in and then I lean down.

Now you'll do the best that you can to find that (mumbles) that place where the right leg lifts. The left leg grounds you and then maybe the right arm rises. This happens to be one of my most favorite poses. Whenever I'm not inspired to practice, which is rear but whenever I'm not I start in this shape. And then the right hand comes down.

That is the truth. Lift the right leg. Breath, fold. Maybe on this side you feel like ugh, I'm gonna be braver. I'll see if the left hand can come behind.

And then you think no or yes. Whatever you like, you breathe. And then slowly the right foot joins the left. The knees bend, roll up, hands at the heart center. Right knee comes into the chest.

All the way. Right foot steps back warrior two. Straighten. And then turn. We'll put one (mumbles) in here.

Hands on the hips. Inhale, lift the chest. Separate legs stretching. Exhale fold forward and down. Take your index and middle finger grab those big toes and then begin to fold.

As you fold gather shoulders up towards the ceiling. Elbows bent and you just delight in your breath right now. Inhale lift the chest. Exhale hands to hips. Inhale come all the way up.

And now pivot on the right heel and lift the left knee up and into the chest. Better than me for sure. And then slowly lower the left knee. And to complete that sequence bring the left knee into the chest and then down, right knee into the chest just as we began. These are like our (mumbles).

With the knees into the chest and you breathe here and as you're feeling that happen it's allowing there to be awareness of the (mumbles), the back body. Just opening up. So just two more each side, breathing right knee and left knee in. Completeing your full round by right knee coming in and the feet down, hands at the heart center in prayer. Then very slowly inhale reach up.

Exhale fold forward and down. Inhale lift the chest. Exhale the right leg back. The left leg back hold steady in the plank and slowly roll over onto the outer blade of your left foot and then come into (mumbles). If you need to be on the forearm please feel free to go on the forearm.

If the left knee needs to be down that's fine. Reach the right arm up and over. Place the right hand down, regather your energy and then roll onto the outer blade of the right foot. You could do this with the right foot down. You could lift the leg.

You can gaze down and lift through the pelvis. Pull the ears back, breathe. Steady through the palm of the hand. Inhale reach over, stretch. And then slowly place the left hand down lower the knees to the mat and then all the way down to the floor.

Slowly roll the right thigh and then the left thigh bone in. Tops of the feet connect with the floor and then shrug shoulders and roll the shoulders down your back. Squeeze the elbows in towards the torso and inhale. Lift, follow cobra. And then exhale release.

We're doing three rounds of dynamic low cobra. Inhale up. Exhale down. Inhale up. Exhale down.

You can turn your left ear on the mat or place your forehead down take a deep breath here, rinse through yourself. And then exhale. Place your hands on your bottom. As your hands go on your bottom you'll gently nudge your elbows towards each other. So round your back, meaning let your tailbone grow toward your heels.

And then let your tailbone arch up toward the ceiling. And you're feeling it happen. So in this position it feels like your bum is a little juicier. And then find right in the middle. Squeeze those elbows towards each other and inhale lift.

Soft happy face those feet. Tops of them are down, lift, lift, lift. And then exhale release. Now if you put your left ear on the mat you'd put your right ear on the mat here. Or you can just rest on the forehead.

Same shape with the knees bent. Like a skydivers pose. If you feel like you want a little bit more you can interlace the fingers. Roll those thigh bones in, point the toes and then just be kind and compassionate with yourself. So lifting through the arms, lifting through the chest.

And then add the lift of the legs, the thighs. If anything is struggling back off. I tend to close my eyes here and just feel, breath, lift, feel. And then gently slowly release. Again hands can go down by the side.

You could look to the right this time or rest the forehead. It's always nice to just bend the knees and just windshield wipe the shin bones. And then we go back at it. It was so fun the first time we'll do it one more. So switch the weave if the fingers.

Point the toes, deepen the breath. And then find that happy place and inhale lift. Add the legs. Big toes can touch if you like. Breathe here.

See if you can breath in a way that inspires like the chest is being massaged by a divine hand from the back body. And then slowly gently release. Hands down, windshield wipe. Maybe you're on your right ear and you're just breathing here. So you have the option to just rest the legs and take a longer break.

There are some of you that maybe really inspired and wanna grab your feet. Or you might grab your feet and notice that the root of your tongue all of a sudden hardened. Then you'd think maybe today is not the day I wanna grab my feet. And if it is you grab your feet and you just gently lift the chest and maybe you add a lift of the legs. Maybe you don't.

Right and you remember here, you're just doing the best (mumbles) that you can do. Maybe I could go deeper but maybe I don't want to. So you just find that place where you're happy where you are, and you know the way that it's authentically you. No comparison. And then slowly release.

All the way down, right here on the mat. You can shimmy and breathe and just rest. We have a mantra in my household. Comparison is the thief of joy. So as you move through your practice just stay in that space where you know the best you can do is be you.

And that's all that's needed. Roll onto your back now. That might make you very joyful. And as you come onto your back slowly take your time to slide your heels in. And you can grab your block between the inner thighs.

So in that space take the palms of the hands press them into where the thigh bones insert into your pelvis and just round your back and arch it. It's a wonderful place for tractioning the lumbar spine. And sometimes after a bit of back bending well one might hope it's a uniform curve, there might be a little more work being done in the lumbar, we kind of just shimmy it out. Interlace your hands underneath the base of your skull holding yourself really steady there. And as you hold yourself steady there you're letting your head feel weighted.

Almost like a watermelon in a hammock. The hammock would be your hands. So mt feet are very relaxed. So are yours. You take a deep inhale as you prepare and then on the exhalation you curl up.

Now when I look down I'm certain my pubic bone is not higher than my naval. I have a nice amount of space under my lumbar and then exhale down. Inhale. Exhale up. Stay for the inhale.

Exhale down. Inhale, exhale up. Inhale. Exhale down. If you want a little bit more of a challenge flex your feet like your heels are on a tabletop and then if you notice you have a swooping rainbow under your back, see if you can find that place where the belly is supporting you slightly more.

And if it feels like it's too much on your back lower your feet. Otherwise exhale this time, curl up. Inhale curl higher and then exhale slowly come down. Inhale, pause, that's still work happening for you. And then exhale curl up.

Inhale. Exhale coming down. Take and inhale here. Exhale curl. Slide your heels out a little.

That wakens my lower belly. And then bring the heels back so they are like gliding on that table. And slowly come down. Gently lower the feet. Now you can remove the block.

Grateful for its support for you. Put the block down and then just let your knees come to touch. One more fun variation here. Slide the right leg over and wrap it around the left. Now if the foot can hook, great, if not no big deal.

You have the option to hold the head again or you can take the right elbow under the left and bring the hands. So it's like (mumbles) eagle on your back. It's much easier here. Take a deep inhale. Exhale curl.

Inhale down. Exhale curl. Inhale down. Exhaling up. I feel everything getting a little bit of that, down.

Last time up. And down. This time when I release I let the legs, and you will let your legs go long, and your arms reach. And then slide your legs in take the left thigh over the right. Wrap if it's available and the left elbow under.

If the neck felt any kind of strain or struggle hold the head and four times curl exhale, inhale. Exhale. Slowly release. Reach up. Exhale hands down by your sides.

Slide your heels in fingertips could touch the heels. Turn the palms of the hands up. Slowly lift your chest and roll onto the back of your head. And just let yourself be in what's a modified fish. So really puffing the chest up and rolling onto the back of your head.

Hopefully if you have a ponytail it's not in the way. Mine definitely is almost there and then lift the chest. Lift the chin and slowly find your way back down. Breathe. Right hand on your heart, left hand on your belly.

Hands down. Gently, slowly lift up into (mumbles). And as you come here roll the right shoulder blade and the left shoulder blade weave the hands, see if you can take the space underneath your wrists and diminish it so there's less space. And if you can't you can place the hands down or turn the palms up. Wherever you have comfort and at the same time you're cultivating openness through the heart center.

And there is work in the legs. Then gently come all the way down. Hug those knees into the chest. So both knees come in not one at a time. Because right here you can just let yourself feel the support.

And then release the legs. Turn the palms of the hands up, let the legs be nice and wide and close your eyes. You can either continue to enjoy the benefits of (mumbles). You're core exposed and just continue to assimilate whatever it is you need. Or reawaken with a deep inhale through the nose and a stretching of the mouth with a (gasping).

And on the second round maybe add the tongue. Inhale, exhale. And if you enjoyed that do that variation again or whatever variation excites you. Wiggle your fingers and your toes. Wriggle your wrists and your ankles.

Again so surprised that this body works. Reach the arms up, over, stretch. Bring the knees into the chest and roll to the right side. Both hands support you up to seated. Hands come to your heart center in prayer.

Inhale. (chanting) May we live like the lotus. Happy in muddy waters. Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Wonderful classā€¦would LOVE a 60-75 minute class incorporating this moves and more!! Bex, you are fabulous!
1 person likes this.
i did this class immediately after 'get your spirit moving'.. a couple of the same poses but I felt good at the end. I really like the ab work in this class, even if just a short portion.
1 person likes this.
Fantastic sequence and very grounding. My body feels alive! Bex, your words are inspiring. Taking the "happy in muddy waters" with me today. Many thanks.
Bex, your words inspire me too. "The best you can be is to be you. And that is all that is needed" is the mantra I'm working toward. Thank you and namaste.
Wonderful opening practice thanks
miss having you in class live, love knowing we are together somewhere in the universe...xo
1 person likes this.
I miss being in your class but I'm delighted to practice with you almost every day
1 person likes this.
Love love love to practice with you
1 person likes this.
A practice that empowers
1 person likes this.
This is a wonderful practice. Balance is difficult for me but I got through the one knee up, and used blocks for half split. Great core work, and no issue with my low back. Grateful for your teachingšŸŒ¾
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