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Season 2 - Episode 5

Hip and Heart Centered Flow

45 min - Practice
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Description

Alana guides a hip-focused flow designed to build strength and stability in the legs, and create more space in the pelvis, hips, and heart. We move through a familiar sequence of sun salutations towards variations of Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2). This practice will generate heat and encourage you to breathe into your edge with ease, self-compassion, and awareness.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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(waves crashing) Good morning. Welcome back, thank you for joining me. This morning's practice is gonna focus on opening the hips. So we'll find our way into some sun salutations and some standing hip-opening sequences. As you're ready, please join me at the top of your mat.

And beginning our practice with grounding down through our feet, drawing our awareness down and then beginning to invite the breath to deepen. (inhaling) (exhaling) And as you invite the breath to deepen, spreading the toes, and just notice, feel, feel where you are in your feet, kind of shifting your weight through your feet, and then aligning from the inner arches all the way up towards the heart. Softening the shoulders down the back, and that beautiful widening through the base of the skull. (inhaling) (exhaling) And let's begin by interlacing the fingers, softening the knees. Go down through the feet, and then just begin to go up through the arms.

Leaning a bit from side to side, reaching from the heart into the palms, finding that ujjayi breath. (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) And then slowly releasing the arms, maintaining that relationship with the breath. (inhaling) (exhaling) And finding our way into surya namaskar A, some variations. Really moving at your own pace with your breath. As you're ready, inhale, reaching the arms up, (inhaling) and as you exhale, forward fold.

You might soften the knees here as you release the head. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. (inhaling) Exhale, bend the knees, step the right foot back, and then step the left foot back. Come into this first plank pose. Reach back through the heels, forward through the heart.

Lowering the knees, keep the elbows in, lower onto the belly. We'll find cobra. Inhale, draw the shoulders back, tractioning the heart forward. Elbows in towards the rib cage. And then exhale, release.

Tuck the toes under, press back into downward-facing dog, and in this first downward dog, lean a bit from side to side. You might come high up onto the balls of the feet, and then let the heels get heavy. Three full breaths here. (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) And then from here, inhale, reach the right leg high, and as you exhale, look forward. Step the right foot between the hands.

Let the left foot follow. Inhale, half arch, lengthen, look up. Exhale, soften the knees, forward fold, releasing the head. Inhale, circle the arms up, reaching up through the fingers. Exhale, release the arms.

As you're ready, inhale arms up, second round. Exhale, forward fold. Releasing, inhale, half arch. As you exhale, step your left foot back, right knee bends, step back into plank, and you might lower onto the knees, or perhaps this morning, chaturanga. Elbows into the ribs, lowering down.

Inhale to cobra, draw the heart forward. Exhale, release. Tuck the toes under, and come into downward-facing dog. Three breaths here, spreading the fingers, and reaching the hips away from the hands. (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) As you're ready, inhale, lift the left leg high.

Let the hip open. Look forward, exhale, step the left foot between the hands, let the right foot follow. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. Exhale, soften the knees, forward fold. Inhale, circle the arms up to the sky, reaching up.

Exhale, release the arms, taking a moment to pause. (exhaling) Moving towards a variation of surya namaskar B. Hands together, as you're ready, bend the knees, utkatasana. Circle the arms up. Exhale, press down through the feet, dive forward, naval to the spine.

Head releases. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. Exhale, bend the knees, step the right foot back, step the left foot back. And you might lower the knees, you might lower chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog this morning.

Exhale, downward-facing dog. Moving towards warrior I. Inhale, reach the right leg high, exhale, float the right foot between the hands. Root through the outer back edge of the foot, strong legs, inhale, float up, warrior I. Breathing.

Exhale, and release. Step back into plank, and lowering down. Inhale to cobra or upward dog, exhale, downward-facing dog. Left leg, inhale the left leg high, exhale, float the left foot between the hands. Pivot onto the outer right edge of the foot, inhale warrior I.

Breathing. Exhale, release. Step back into plank and lower. Inhale to cobra or upward dog, exhale, downward dog. And let's take five breaths together.

(exhaling) (inhaling) Really finding integrity through the fingers as you root, and then reaching the hips away from the hands, breathing. (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) Now a few options here. You might step forward with the right foot or play with hopping forward. As you, on the exhale, bend the knees, look forward and hop the feet to the hands. Inhale, half arch, exhale, forward fold, uttanasana.

Bend the knees for utkatasana, chair pose. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, press down through the feet, and release the arms. And just taking a moment to catch your breath, notice the sensation. You might widen through the feet.

(exhaling) And notice what has your attention, and bringing your awareness back towards your breath. And bringing the feet towards each other. Second round as you're ready. Surya namaskar B, bending the knees, utkatasana, reaching the arms up. Exhale, forward fold, releasing.

Inhale, half arch, exhale, bend the knees, step the left foot back, step the right foot back. Lowering onto your knees or chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog. Exhale, downward-facing dog. Warrior I on the right side.

Inhale the right leg high, exhale, float the right foot between the hands, root through the outer left edge as you inhale, come up, warrior I. Breathing. Exhale, release the arms. Step back into plank and lower down. You can inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog.

Exhale, downward-facing dog. (exhaling) Left side, inhale the left leg high. Exhale, look forward, step the left foot between the hands in preparation for warrior I. Inhale, reach the arms up, breathing. Exhale, release.

Step back into plank. Knees or lower down. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog. Exhale, downward-facing dog. Five breaths here.

(inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) Softening the back of the neck. (exhaling) (inhaling) I like to look towards my belly so I know I'm breathing. (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) As you're ready, you might inhale the left leg high and step forward between the hands, or play with bending the knees and hopping forward, which can be fun. Inhale, half arch, exhale, forward fold. Bend the knees, utkatasana, chair.

Inhale, arms up, strong legs. Ah, exhale, press down through the feet, releasing the arms. Taking a moment to pause. Notice how you feel. Tracking the sensation through the body, (exhaling) and noticing the effects.

Beautiful. From here, adding on. So finding a variation of surya namaskar B, and then moving into a hip-opening sequence. As you're ready, join the hands together, bend the knees for utkatasana. Strong legs as you lift, naval to the spine.

(exhaling) Forward fold, uttanasana. Inhale, half arch, exhale, bend the knees, step the right foot back. Step your left foot back into plank, lower onto the knees or chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog, exhale, downward-facing dog. Inhale the right leg high, exhale, float the right foot forward for warrior I.

Root through the outer back edge, inhale, float up to warrior I, breathing. We're gonna open up to the left for warrior II. Letting the hips open, sinking down into that left hip. Notice if that knee is collapsing in, and you feel that opening that external rotation through that right hip as you reach the arms out. Sinking down through the sit bones, breathing.

(inhaling) (exhaling) Moving towards reverse warrior. As you inhale, slide the back hand down the back leg. Reach the right arm up, lengthening out of the hip, and then pressing into the ball of that right foot, we'll move towards trikonasana. The emphasis here is to really lengthen the underside, reaching. Your hand might find a shin, your shin, your ankle, or your foot.

And then reaching the left arm up. Rooting through the outer edge of that left foot. You might be looking down towards the floor, towards your foot, straight ahead, or up towards your left arm. Breathing. (exhaling) And then as you're ready, releasing the left arm down.

Find the shape of a lunge, bend the front right knee, step back into your plank pose. Find that strong active plank through the legs, and then lowering down. Inhale to cobra or upward dog, exhale to downward dog. Again, here you might inhale the right leg high and step forward, or you might play with bending the knees and hopping forward. Inhale, half arch.

Exhale, forward fold. Bend the knees for utkatasana, chair. Exhale, press down through the feet. Come all the way up. And taking a moment to pause here.

Perhaps widening a bit though the feet. (inhaling) (exhaling) And then as you feel ready, bringing the feet towards each other. We'll find that on the second side. Hands together, bend the knees, utkatasana, inhale, arms up. Exhale, forward fold.

Dive forward and in, releasing. Inhale, half arch, exhale, bend the knees, step the left foot back, step the right foot back. Come into your plank, and then lower onto the knees or lower down chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog, exhale, downward-facing dog. (inhaling) (exhaling) Inhale the left leg high, exhale, float the left foot between the hands in preparation for warrior I.

Inhale, reach the arms up, virabhadrasana I, warrior I, breathing. And then moving towards warrior II, on the second side, now opening up to the right, letting the hips open. Take a look down at your knee. Can you feel that external rotation through the hip so the knee isn't collapsing in, right, sinking in. Sit bones dropping, aligning from within.

(inhaling) (exhaling) Breathing. And here, notice what you choose to do with your hands. So this morning, my palms are grounding towards the earth. You might let the palms turn up. From here, reverse warrior.

Slide the back hand down the back leg, reach that left arm up, lengthen through the left side. Inhale, exhale, press through the ball of that left foot, left leg towards straight, and enjoy the reach as you lengthen that underside. Hand might find your shin, ankle, your foot, and then reaching the right arm up. Breathing. And here, see what you can do to lengthen through the torso.

Maintaining that connection down through the feet and the legs. And notice what you choose to do with your gaze and your head. And taking one more full breath here in trikonasana. And then as you're ready, releasing that right arm. Find the shape of the lunge, spin onto the ball of the back foot.

Step back into your plank, and then lowering down. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog. Exhale, find downward-facing dog. Let's find five breaths here. (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) As we make our way forward, you might step the left foot forward between the hands and let the right foot follow, or you might play with hopping forward, bending the knees, looking forward, and then hop, skip, jump.

Inhale, half arch, exhale, forward fold. Bend the knees, utkatasana, chair pose. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, press down through your feet. Release the arms.

And taking a moment to pause and reset, notice how you feel. Tracking the inner movements and sensations in the body. From here, finding our last round and adding on with some variations. Spreading the toes, hands at the heart. Surya namaskar B.

Bend the knees for utkatasana. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, press down through your feet and dive forward and in, uttanasana. Inhale, half arch, exhale, bend the knees, step the right foot back, step the left foot back, lower the knees or lower down chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog, exhale, downward-facing dog.

Inhale the right leg high, exhale, step through for warrior I. Root through the outer left edge, inhale, warrior I. Exhale, open up to warrior II again, opening up to the left. From here, warrior II dance. Let the palms rotate up.

As you inhale, press into the ball of the right foot, reach the arms up. Exhale, open warrior II. Four rounds, inhale, (inhaling) exhale. (exhaling) Inhale, (inhaling) exhale. (exhaling) Inhale, (inhaling) exhale and pause.

Finding reverse warrior, slide the left hand down the back leg, reach the right arm up. Press into the ball of the right foot for trikonasana, lengthening, reaching the left arm up. From here, you might continue to reach that left arm up. You might play with rotating the elbow forward and wrapping the left hand around that right hip, finding a wrap-y variation of trikonasana. For me, I'm gonna slide my right hand slightly up my thigh, my shin, as I lengthen.

Inhale and breathe. (exhaling) Opening out through the heart and the collarbones. As you're ready, bend the right knee, and then bring the right hand to the floor. Circle the left arm in front of the face for extended right angle, parsvakonasana. Breathing.

(exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) As you're ready, releasing that left arm back down. Find the shape of the lunge, spin onto the ball of the back foot, step back into plank. From plank, lower down either onto the knees or chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward dog, exhale, downward-facing dog. (inhaling) (exhaling) Breathing.

Here you might inhale the right leg high and step forward between the hands, or bend the knees, look forward, and hop. Inhale, half arch, exhale, forward fold. Bend the knees, utkatasana, reaching the arms up. Exhale, press down through the feet, release the arms and pause. (inhaling) (exhaling) Inviting your awareness back down into the feet.

And finding our way to the second side. As you're ready, bend the knees for utkatasana. Reaching the arms up, exhale, dive forward and in, uttanasana, releasing the head. Inhale, half arch, lengthen, exhale, bend the knees, step the left foot back, step the right foot back, coming into plank, from plank, lowering down. Inhale to cobra or upward-facing dog, exhale, downward-facing dog.

From here, we're gonna step the left foot forward into warrior I. Inhale the left leg high, exhale, step the left foot between the hands, inhale, warrior I. From warrior I, we'll open up to the right for warrior II variation. Finding warrior II dance, palms up, inhale, press into the ball of the left foot, circle the arms up. Exhale, bend the left knee, open warrior II.

Four more rounds with your breath. Inhale, (inhaling) exhale, (exhaling) inhale, exhale warrior II. Two more rounds, breathing in. (inhaling) Exhale, land. Last round, inhale, and exhale warrior II.

Pause in warrior II. Finding reverse warrior. Sliding the right hand down the back leg, lift the left arm up. And then trikonasana. Press into the ball of the left foot, lengthening through the underside.

Left hand might find the shin or the ankle as you reach the right arm up. Here you might play with the option of finding that internal rotation through the right shoulder, and then wrapping the right hand back towards the sacrum around that left thigh. And then inhale, press into the ball of the right foot, outer edge of that right foot, lengthen. Exhale, gently twisting. Breathing.

(inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) And then eventually, as you're ready, finding parsvakonasana, bending the left knee. Bringing the left hand towards the floor. You might prefer the forearm to the thigh. And then sweeping the right arm in front of the face, and breathing into the shape. (inhaling) (exhaling) Sinking down into the left hip.

And then releasing that right arm down by the back foot. Come back into the shape of the lunge. Spin onto the ball of the back foot, step back into plank, and then lower onto the knees or chaturanga. Inhale to cobra or upward dog, exhale, downward-facing dog. Five breaths here.

(inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) Lengthening the back of the neck. (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) From here, you might lift the left leg high and step forward between the hands, or play with bending the knees, finding some flight as you jump forward. Inhale, half arch, exhale, forward fold. Bend the knees, utkatasana. Reaching the arms up.

Exhale, press down through the feet, releasing the arms. Stand with the feet slightly wider. Just taking a moment here before we make our way down to the earth, letting the palms open. Soft, receptive. (exhaling) From here, finding a malasana, squat pose.

Sometimes we call this gardening pose. Sinking down into the hips. You might stay here. Some of you might begin to bend the knees a bit. The hands might find each other in prayer, as the elbows push in gently into the thighs and the spine lengthens.

Softening the jaw and the face. (exhaling) So here, from malasana, making our way down onto our sit bones for a baddha konasana. Carefully releasing your arms, and you might have your own creative way to get down onto the floor. So for me, I'm gonna release my hands behind me, and then from here, bringing the soles of the feet together, knees wide, finding a butterfly baddha konasana shape. And then inhale, letting the spine lengthen a bit, letting the heart lift, softening the jaw, and then exhale, gently folding forward.

And notice if you're trying to use your arms to like, pry yourself forward. This soft belly invitation to deepen into the fold, letting the hips open. (exhaling) And taking a few breaths, allowing the spine to round, head releasing. (inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) You'll notice the postures, and our relationship with the postures, they deepen and change with time and breath. (inhaling) (exhaling) Good, as you're ready, slowly find your way up.

Bring the hands onto the shins, and we'll find just a gentle backbend, rolling the pelvis forward, letting the heart lift, feeling the spine lengthen. The gaze might stay here. You might begin to lift out though the sternum. The head might gently drop, shoulders down the back. And then leading with the heart to come back up.

From here, we're find janu sirsasana. So bringing the right leg in, bring the right sole of the foot to that left thigh, finding about a 90 degree angle with that right leg, and then from here, I like to use my hand to gently pull back for the left side as I begin to lean forward. So your hands might be on your shin this morning, letting that right hip open. Perhaps you might be invited in. Hands around that foot.

Again, notice if you're trying to use your arms to crank yourself forward. Taking a moment to root down through the sit bones, lengthen the spine, soften the face and the belly, and then gently folding forward. (exhaling) And taking about five breaths here. Softening the shoulders down the back. And I'm staying active with that left foot, toes are spreading.

(inhaling) (exhaling) (inhaling) (exhaling) Good, as you're ready, slide the palms underneath you, come back up towards a seat. Take a moment to pause, and then drawing that right leg in and switch sides. Drawing the left knee in, opening that hip. And then as you're ready, squaring the hips, and then leaning forward, perhaps. And you might stay right here.

I like to bring my right hand and gently pull the right side back around the belly, and then leaning forward. Now, for me this morning, this side feels quite different. My hamstrings are a bit stickier on this side, my knee is mischievous, so notice what feels right for you as you approach the second side. (inhaling) (exhaling) And so ultimately, it's this quality of attention that we're cultivating rather than trying to bring our forehead to our shin. It's this quality of mindfulness centered in the body.

And eventually, after maybe a thousand years or lifetimes, we might bring our forehead towards our shin. And just notice where you're at this morning. And breathe into where you feel the stretch. Few more moments. Beautiful, as you're ready, slowly making your way up, taking a moment to pause.

(exhaling) And then bring the left knee in, releasing both legs, shake it out. And then making our way into a bridge pose. I'm gonna turn around on my mat. And finding your way onto your back. And just taking a moment to draw your knees into your chest, allowing yourself to rock a little bit side to side.

Nice, and then setting up for a round of bridge. Bringing the heels in line with the sit bones, arms along your sides. Inhale as you're ready, exhale, curl the tailbone under, press down through the feet, lift the hips. Hands might reach enthusiastically towards your ankles, or you might roll and tuck the shoulders under as you interlace the fingers near the sacrum. Pressing down a bit through the arms, feeling that connection as you lift the hips, lengthening through your thighs, spacious around the throat, and breathing.

The temptation is to want to really grip and squeeze through the buttocks, through the glutes. See if you can relax some of that effort, but keep the legs active and engaged. (exhaling) (exhaling) As you're ready to release, come high up onto the balls of your feet. Reach the arms up towards the sky, and slow, keep the naval in towards the spine as you gently release down, feeling the back and the spine release. And a clearing breath.

Let the feet go wide, let the knees rest together, offering some space through the sacrum, lower back. (exhaling) Nice, from here, as you're ready, draw the knees into the chest, and you might rock a bit from side to side. You might prefer to find a happy baby as we close, bringing the hands around, perhaps the outer edges of the feet, drawing the knees in towards the underarms, letting the hips open, and you might rock a bit from side to side here, softening the jaw. (exhaling) Relaxing through the shoulders. (exhaling) Nice, good, slow.

The knees come towards each other. As we make our way up towards a seat, you might rock and roll up towards a seat, or roll to your side and press your way up. And then closing our practice with a seated meditation, finding a comfortable seat. And as you come into a comfortable seat, you might sit up on a cushion or a blanket. Noticing how you approach your seat in meditation.

And gently aligning with the breath. Softening a bit through the belly. Widening through the base of the skull. Last few moments, notice what might have your attention. If there's a thought, or perhaps a worry, or a sensation.

Last few moments, resting on your breath. And gently, from here, guiding your awareness towards your heart. And with your awareness here at your heart, let the palms join, the hands join together at the heart. And closing our practice with an Om, we'll offer a clearing breath. Deep inhale.

Exhale, releasing the breath. Inhale, breath in. Om. Offering gratitude for your practice this morning. Namaste.

Thank you and have a beautiful day. Namaste.

Comments

Lovely series, thank you
Thank you, Elke. I'm glad you're enjoying the series.
I enjoyed this series as well! Great way to begin my morning! :)
Hi Brooke, thank you for being here! I'm so delighted that you enjoyed the practice. Wishing you a wonderful day. :)
3 people like this.
“Eventually after a thousand years or lifetimes we might bring our forehead towards our shin”. Made me laugh and feel more gentle towards my efforts. Bless you for that wisdom.
Hi Simon, Happy new year! Thank you for tuning in, sharing, and for your efforts. Kindness towards self is an advanced practice.
Great cueing, nice flow without being too fast. You will sweat, you will feel good too! Not too difficult, but not too simple that you feel like it was not beneficial.
Hi Lisanne, I am so delighted to be practicing together! You captured the essence of this practice. Wishing you a wonderful day. A
Alana, I am almost 59 years old and was able to do this practice with some slight modifications and without injury. That's a lot, considering I have osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. I will definitely be practicing again with you soon!
Lisanne, Thank you for sharing. I am so glad that you took care of yourself with slight modifications. There are so many wonderful practices on Yoga Anytime to explore. Keep us posted on your experience. Best wishes, A
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