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Season 1 - Episode 5

Balanced and Focused

25 min - Practice
20 likes
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Balance in the fluidness of life. With an emphasis on finding and holding your center, Alana guides a slow, safe, and effective practice to increase balance, strength, and focus.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Block

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(waves splashing) Thank you for being with us today. Thank you, Elaine. Thank you, Clela. Delighted to have you. Delighted to be together.

So today we'll start with a basic practice, and we'll start seated in chairs, and we'll just start with some hip opening, some really simple hip opening, finding the internal and the external rotation in the hips. We'll make our way towards standing, and we'll work on some balancing, and then we'll make our way down to the chair. How does that sound? Okay. So the first step is to just start by bringing some attention towards our breath.

It always helps to just start with a few breaths, so just breathing in. And exhale, breathing out. And a few times. And as you breathe, notice again where you might be able to relax any tension through the jaw or the shoulders. Good, and then one more breath together, breathing in.

And then release. Good, and letting your eyes open. And then spreading your toes, and just begin to lengthen up through the spine a bit. And then feeling the heart gently rise a bit, the shoulders draw down the back, so you're finding your posture, good. Good, and then we'll start with our right side, and we'll show different variations.

So, Clela, you'll bring your right ankle across your left thigh, okay. And then, Elaine will demonstrate with a block. So this is a nice variation with a block. Good, and then Elaine, you'll come on to the outer edge of your left foot and just let your left hip open, so you're feeling that exactly, that opening from the hip joint. Good, and then supporting your knee, so you might support the outer part of the knee, good.

And then, letting the spine lengthen again. So you might roll towards the front of the sit bones a bit. Good, and then draw the knee in towards the heart, finding that internal rotation. Good, and then as you exhale, let the hip open, and we'll do this a few times together, just beginning to bring your attention in to your hip joint, so as if you were bringing your mind, good, into your right hip joint, and you might even visualize the hip joint, and notice if you're gripping through the jaw or you're holding your breath. Good, and just a few more times.

So you're initiating the movement from the hip joint, and letting it open. Good. Yeah, and Elaine, you're rolling on to the edge of the left foot, letting the hip open, and then rolling in, drawing the knee in. Good, and the next time, let the hip open. Good, and pause for a few moments.

Take a breath. Again, let the spine lengthen. Good, and you might stay right here. Some of you, couple of you might begin to see what it feels like to lean forward so you're kind of hinging forward. Again, you might have the hands supporting the outer knee.

Or you might even let your forearms rest gently on your legs, right? Or, you might choose to round the spine gently and let the head release. Good, and then notice what's happening with your breath, so often times, it's easy to hold the breath or grip, just take a few full breaths, and you might even imagine breathing into your right hip, so inhale, and then exhale, softening any tension. Good. One more full breath.

Beautiful. Good, and then slowly rolling up. Good, and then slowly, gently release. And just take a few moments with both feet on the floor. And take a full breath, and just again notice and track.

You might even notice the difference between the right side and the left side. The right side got longer. The right side got longer. Yeah. Okay, and then, second side.

Okay, there you go. Good, and then again, finding the internal rotation, so drawing the knee in towards the heart or in, and then that external rotation, letting the knee and the hip move away and open. Good, and just continue exploring that a few times. Most likely this side feels different, right? And so you're initiating, you're moving from the hip joint, the inner most part, and the knee is following.

Good, again notice what's happening though the spine. Is it kind of rolling forward and collapsing? That effort towards lengthening and lifting. And just a few more times. And as much as you can, bring your attention in to your hip.

And the mind loves, it's good at being everywhere else, just drawing it in, and just noticing. And this is an invitation to just notice, and have a relationship with your left hip. Good, now the next time the hip opens and you find that external rotation, take a moment to pause. Good, and then again, lengthening up through the spine. You might stay right here.

This might be perfect. You might begin to, if appropriate, begin to lean forward. And you might pause when you first begin to feel a stretch in the hip, and usually it doesn't take much to feel it. Again, check in with your face and your breath. And then you might continue to release the forearms.

Good. And breathe. Good, and let's take one more breath together. Good, and then as you're ready, gently rolling up. Good, and then releasing.

You might use your arm to help release. Good. And then again notice, and just take a moment to let your hands rest on your thighs. Good, and then let's bring the hands together at the heart, and we'll just do some shoulder opening and through the side waist. So inhale, reach the arms up, and lengthen.

And reach up through the arms. So down through your sit bones, up through the spine, and can you get a sense of reaching from the heart into the hands? Good, widening through the back of the neck. Good, and as you reach from the heart into the hands, can you let the rib cage soften a bit? Beautiful, breathing.

Yes, inhale. And as you exhale, slowly releasing the arms down. Good, and let's inhale and draw the shoulders up around the ears, and then exhale, and release. And then inhale, draw the shoulders back and up, squeeze. And exhale, drop.

We'll do that one more time together, inhale. Good, and then exhale, and release. And let's do a clearing breath, inhale. And exhale. (sighing breath) Feel better already.

Okay, now we're gonna make our way up towards standing, so again, bringing some attention down into the feet, letting the hands rest on the thighs. Okay, and then it can help to lean forward in the chair. Good, strong legs, and then come all the way up to standing. And just take a moment to stand in Tadasana, Mountain pose. Good.

Nice. And then, from here, we'll do a little chair dance and bring the chair to the top of the mat, so facing the chair away from you. Good. Let's bring it up. Just enough.

There you go. Okay. Good. And then let's just stand behind the chair just a little bit, and bring the hands together at the heart. Good, and then spreading the toes, and as you spread the toes, lengthening up through the spine, softening the shoulders down the back.

Good, and can you get a sense of lifting from the inner arches of the feet? Good, up through the inner lines of the legs. Up the spine. Again, that widening through the base of the skull. And you might draw the chin slightly in as you widen.

Good, and then bring your attention towards your breath. Good, and then together, moving with our breath, so quarter sun salutations. So hands at the heart, we'll inhale together. And as we exhale, we'll press the hands towards the earth, and then inhale, circle the arms up, lifting, reaching up through the fingers. And then exhale, hands together at the heart.

Beautiful, and then six times together. Breathing in. And then exhale and press the hands down. Inhale, circle the arms up, lifting. And exhale, hands together at the heart.

And five more together at your own pace. And keeping the eyes slightly open and awake. (deep breathing) Then two or three more. (deep breathing) Okay. More.

Good. And then, releasing the arms down. Good, and then walking towards your chair, so letting the hands rest on the chair. And we'll find a chair dog together. So with the hands resting on the chair, walking your feet back so that they're at a right angle underneath your hips.

Again, here the emphasis is to really reach and lengthen through your sit bones, so the feet are about hip distance apart. You're spreading the toes, and press down through the feet so you really feel the support in your legs. Yeah, and then lengthening the sit bones away from the hands, and allow the head to be an extension of your spine. And then bring your awareness towards your breath. Yeah, so keeping the neck soft, there you go.

Good, and then walking your feet back, slowly back to the chair to come out. And then just take a moment to stand in Tadasana, releasing the arms. Okay. And then from here, we'll move into a Warrior One variation. Okay, so with the hands on the chair, let's step the right foot back.

And now notice in your stance, you might prefer a shorter and wider stance for more stability. So see what it feels like to just toe-heel your left foot slightly wider. Good, and then bend your left knee, so your left knee is like tracking over your big toe, and you might just take a look down at your left knee there. Now from here, if you prefer a longer stance, you might step the back foot slightly back a little bit. And the back right foot is about 45 degree angle.

Yeah. And then really make that connection with the back foot, so you're rooting through the outer edge of the back foot. Good, and then finding a spot to focus on, so letting the heart lift. Good, and you might bring one hand on the chair for support, and one hand might be resting at the heart. Yes, and then finding a spot to focus on.

Good, and really feeling the support down through your legs. Drawing the shoulders down the back, away from the ears. Yes. And you might play here towards drawing the left hip back a bit, and the right hip forward. So you're towards squaring the hips.

Yeah, and let's take three breaths here together. You're really feeling the support down for your legs. You're rooting through the outer edge of the back foot. Can you find that ease in the neck, in the base of the skull? Yes.

Good, and then releasing the hands to the chair, and then step forward. Good. Okay, and then let's find that on the other side. So stepping your left foot back. Good, and then again, as you bend the right knee, notice where the knee is tracking.

Good, and Clela, how would it feel to draw your foot in a bit? So you draw this foot in. There you go. And you might at this point readjust your stance, so as you bend the right knee, again notice where it's tracking, you might find a slightly wider stance or a longer stance. Good, and as you feel the support down for your legs lengthening up through the spine, softening the shoulders a bit, you might play with drawing the right hip back and the left hip forward.

Yeah. Good, and then one hand might begin to rest at the heart. Again, the chair is there for support. Notice your breath here, if you're holding your breath. Really finding that fullness of breath.

Good, and then feeling the support, and can you find some ease within the effort? Yes, let's take three breaths together. Beautiful, and then as you're ready, releasing the hands to the chair, and step forward. Good, and then walking both feet back into the chair dog just to reset the hips. Again, reaching your sit bones away from your hands.

Your feet are about hip distance. Pressing down through the feet. Mhmm. And then, softening the back of the neck. Good, breathing.

Good, and then as you're ready, walking your feet back to the chair to come out. And taking a moment here in Tadasana. Good, and we'll find Warrior One one more time, then we'll perhaps add on. So stepping the right foot back, hands on the chair. Bending the front left knee.

And then really pressing, feeling that connection through the outer edge of the back foot. Again, the left hip might be drawing back. The right hip forward. Good, and then notice what's happening through the pelvis. Often times, the pelvis likes to kind of roll forward.

Can you get a sense of drawing the tailbone down towards that back heel and lifting up? Good, from here again, one hand might be on the chair. One hand or both hands might be at the heart. And as you find a spot to focus on, breathing. You might keep both hands at the heart.

You might begin to reach the arms up towards the sky. Beautiful, and down through the feet, up through the spine. Breathing. Beautiful, yes. Yes, inhale, and then exhale, release the hands to the chair, and then step the back foot forward.

Lovely. Okay, and then last side, stepping the foot back. And then bending the right knee. Again, you might readjust your stance so that it feels supportive by finding a wider, shorter stance, and then making that connection through the outer edge of the back foot. Good, and as you find a spot to focus on, again lengthening up through the spine, shoulders soften down the back.

Then you might have both hands on the chair this morning, today. You might have one hand at the heart, or perhaps both hands at the heart. And from here, the arms might begin to reach up towards the sky. Beautiful, again feeling that support in the legs as you reach up through the spine, from the heart into the hands, breathing. And where can you find some ease?

Within the effort. Yes, inhale. And then as you're ready, exhale, release, and step forward. Good, and we'll just stand for a moment in Tadasana, releasing the arms, coming into Mountain pose. Good, and let's inhale together.

And then exhale, release the breath. Good. And then let's face our friends and find Tree pose together. Actually, before we come into Tree, let's bring the feet slightly wide apart, and let the hands come on to the hips. And we'll do some balancing work side to side, so just beginning to rock your weight side to side.

And you might find a spot to focus on. Yeah, and just feeling your weight on one foot and the other. So you're just kind of distributing the weight. Good, and as you come on to one foot, you might play with balancing here on one foot. And then releasing.

And balancing on the other foot. And releasing. And let's just do this a few more times, side to side. Again it helps to find a spot to focus on. Good, and then let's come back into Tadasana, standing on both feet, and suddenly this feels quite simple, standing in Tadasana.

Again, so spreading the toes. And with the chair or the wall beside you, you might bring the hand there on the chair, and let's find Tree pose. So with the right foot on the right side, letting the right hip open. Good. And then bringing the heel towards the inner ankle, and lengthening up through the spine.

Good. Yeah. Again, the chair is there for support. You're letting the hip open as you lengthen up through the spine, and you might have one hand resting at the heart. And you might bring both hands together at the heart.

Again, drawing the shoulder blades down the back as you lift up, and breathe. Yeah. Good. And then releasing one hand to the chair, and release. You might shake it out a little bit.

Good. And then, second side. Again, the first step is to really spread the toes of the standing leg. Let the hip open. And then bring the heel towards the inner ankle as you let the hip open.

Good, and then one hand might rest at the heart. You might bring both hands together at the heart. So this is a variation of Tree. We call this Little Tree. Good.

Beautiful. And then finding the ease of the breath. And often times the wobbling and the wiggling is actually strengthening on the foot and ankle muscles, so yeah. Good. Then you might keep both hands together at the heart, and you might play with reaching one arm towards the sky or perhaps both arms towards the sky.

Yeah. Good, and then as you're ready, you're releasing. Good, and then releasing the legs. Then you might shake it out. And then last time standing in Tadasana, and spreading the toes, and then lengthening up through the spine.

Good. Nice, good. And then relaxing the effort. And let's sit down in our chair. We'll adjust, and make your way to the chair, and you can face each other, it's fine, yeah.

Good. And then sitting towards the front of the chair, and we're gonna come towards a meditation, so just closing with a seated practice. So bringing your feet underneath you, spreading the toes, letting the palms rest on the thighs, and then again, you might visualize with the mind's eye lengthening up through the spine, and releasing the shoulders down the back. If it's helpful, the shoulder blades squeezing towards each other a bit, towards the spine. Yeah, and that widening through the base of the skull.

So outwardly, it might look like drawing the chin in a bit. Yeah, and then relaxing the jaw. Good. And taking a few moments here to simply rest with your breath. And you might keep the hands resting on the thighs.

You might prefer to let the palms open. Again as you rest here, notice where you can relax any effort through the jaw, through the back of the eyes, through the hips. And just letting your attention, your awareness rest on your breath. Good, just a few more moments. Good, and then letting the hands showing together at the heart, and let's take a breath in together, breathing in.

And exhale, release. One more time breathing in. And exhale. Namaste.

Comments

2 people like this.
I'm from the Midwest, hard to find yoga for seniors. This video and instructor are excellent
Terry, I'm so glad to hear you enjoy these classes :) Thanks, Ashley from Yoga Anytime
Hi TerrySo delighted that you are here with us on Yoga Anytime! Our latest Chair Yoga Show with Karen Kelly has a full season of wonderful senior friendly practices. Stay close! With Love, Alana
1 person likes this.
This class was excellent.  Also Alana is an excellent instructor.
Thank you, Roslyn. Sharing and teachings and techniques of Yoga is my greatest honor and joy. So delighted to have you join us! Warmly, Alana 

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