The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 4

Grounded in Foundations

40 min - Practice
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Whatever touches the ground, even your gaze, is what grounds you. Alex begins with a simple seated meditation to center. We then flow into a standing sequence designed to awaken our foundation. We finish with a deep front thigh opener to let go of the work in the legs. You will feel settled and calm.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

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(waves gently lapping) Hi. So, welcome back. We'll be looking into our foundation and exploring what it means to be grounded, how it feels to be grounded. Oftentimes, we might think that foundation grounding is in the feet and that's partly true, but it's also where we're at emotionally, mentally and coming to the physical, it's whatever touches the ground. Even your gaze is part of your foundation.

Where you place your gaze has tremendous role in where you're going. So, let's just start with settling in. Close your eyes. Place your hands where you feel appropriate for this practice. Connect to your breath.

Connect to your ground. Just notice what's touching the floor. What parts of you are grounded? And can you just by noticing that, feel even more grounded, more in your own space? So, start by breathing into your base.

From your base, without leaving your base, lift up towards your heart. Breathe into the spaciousness around your heart, the front of your heart, the sternum area, behind your heart in between your shoulderblades. Feel your chest expand and go back to its center. Okay, so from the heart, without leaving your base, without leaving your heart, lift up towards your third eye, or if it feels more appropriate, your crown, the crown of your head, the top of your head. Just notice for a moment, your steadiness without restriction.

Your stillness. Gently open your eyes. So, even though movement is wonderful, movement has a tendency to disintegrate us so, just remembering where your foundation is, remembering where your center is, where to ground from and where you're going with it, you can, even in movement, come back to your stillness, your foundation. Okay, so let's start on all fours. We'll be taking our sit-bones back to our heels.

Bring your hands back toward your knees, approximately shoulder-width apart. You might want to put them a little broader. From your inhale, lift your navel up towards your heart, lift your heart up towards the sky and maybe even your gaze. As you exhale, root down into your hands and round the back, round the whole of your back. Imagine almost being able to lift from the floor.

We're going to do that soon. Inhale, lift up. I'm taking my hands back slightly. Exhale, round the back, maybe even lift. Notice what your ground is, where your foundation is, where you're lifting from.

Inhale back to the Earth, lift the heart up. Exhale, root down. Lift, soften in the neck. Inhale back to the Earth. We'll do this one more time.

Exhale, round, root and rise. Your heels are to stay sort of together, which means just slightly apart. Inhale, lift and bring yourself to all fours. From here, it can feel nice to just round the back after the back bend. Stretch one side, stretch to the other.

Come back to neutral. Roll the head. So, we're gonna play a little with our foundation. We don't know that we are stable before we become unstable. So, root down into your right hand, your left knee.

Reach your right leg back. Reach your right hand to the front of the room. On your exhale, bring your knee and your elbow towards the middle. Round the back like we did before. Inhale, reach out.

Exhale towards the middle. Inhale, reach out, towards the middle. Let's do this two more times. Maybe you play with it. You don't have to go forward and back.

You can go other ways. Okay, whoop. And back. So, place your left hand to the floor. Place your right foot to the floor, toes pointing toward the long side of the mat.

We're going to balance here just slightly so I take my left foot slightly backwards. Place your hand just in front of your shoulder and your hand to your hip. Lift your navel up towards your heart. Lift your arm up towards the sky, a little circulation for the wrist. Reach out and down.

Place your knees down towards the Earth. We're still on the right arm. Take your right arm and just sweep it over to the left. Okay, head to the floor, fingertips on the floor on your left side and twist. Okay, so we can play with this if you want to.

Maybe find your balance. Spread your toes, root down. Raise your left leg. There is the possibility of rolling back on your back. Only you have to laugh a little at yourself and then get back on all fours again.

Yay! And come back again. So, left hand back. We bring ourselves back to all fours. Settle in. Inhale.

Exhale, in towards the middle. Inhale up. Exhale in towards the middle. Inhale up. Maybe we want to twirl it around, do something else, because, you know, you don't know if you're stable unless you move it out a little.

Last time. And place your knee to the floor. So, reach your left leg out towards the set so you have your arch of the foot, arch of the left foot, right foot to the floor, right foot to the hand. If you want more stability, you just sweep your right foot back a little so you have like something to lean into. Inhale, reach your left arm up.

Exhale, take it back. Just one more time. Inhale, reach it up and reach. Again, can you notice what's grounded? Your hand, your knee, your foot?

And come all the way back, knee to the floor. Sweep your arm out to the side and if this is nice, take your right leg up. Now, doing this quickly might mean that you will roll onto your back more quickly and efficiently, but doing it slowly, yeah. So, bring your leg back. Bring yourself up to all fours again.

Inhale here. Exhale, just bring your tailbone back. Reach out. And, bring yourself to Down Dog. Okay, so in Down Dog, roll forward to your Plank.

Feel your arms holding you, put your weight into your hands. From Plank, roll up to Down Dog. Notice the difference between the weight-bearing on your hands and on your feet. So, gaze to the front of the room, bring the right leg up, all the way in between your hands. Place the back knee to the floor.

Inhale, gaze up, softening your face. Roll your shoulders back. So, from your foundation, we've been playing with that a little. Now, we have a different ground, we have a different foundation. Can you, from what's on the floor, root down, lift up, lift forward and up, so we give the spine a chance to roll up.

Maybe, maybe it would feel nice to reach up towards the sky. Heart blooming and fold. From here, lift up the back knee. We're going to be placing some weight on the arm, on the hand. Lift up into your twist.

From your twist, roll to the outside of your left foot. Take your right leg up and we're in Side Plank. Yes, come all the way down again. We're in Dog. From Dog, inhale, left foot up.

Bring your foot in between your hands and place the back knee to the floor. So, again, just soften. Be here for a little while, and notice what's touching the ground. Notice where you might rise from. Inhale, lift up, arms out to the side gives you more opportunity in the shoulders, shoulderblades.

Lift the heart up towards the sky. Exhale, fold. Root down into your right hand, lift the back leg up. Bring yourself to a gentle twist and from this twist, roll onto the outside of your back foot and place your feet together. This takes quite some balance to do.

And bring yourself all the way back to Dog. Okay, gaze forward. So, I'm going for a jump here. Maybe you'd like to do the same. Notice where your foundation is.

You're going to be placing weight on your hand. Yay! Inhale, gaze forward. Lift the naval, lift the heart, soften in the neck. Exhale, fold. Okay, so we're going to be coming up in a little different, a more different way than we've done before.

So, start by placing your hand on your hips. Lift your naval up, lift your heart up. We're bending the knees. Remember how I said the gaze was part of your foundation? So, place your gaze where you feel grounded.

Lift up on your toes. As you lift up on your toes, you're dragging everything in towards the middle. When you do that, you start to get long in the spine, side but long. Lift up, whoo! Come up to standing and place your heels. (sighing) Okay, so for this one, we're gonna be using blocks.

And again, if you don't have yoga blocks, use a book, use a couple of books or something else that could bear your weight. So, what we will be doing is starting to acknowledge the soles of our feet, so I'll start by turning towards you. Spread all your toes. So, this is a party trick. Let your big toe go down.

Let your little toe go down, your pinky toe, while the other three lift. This is quite difficult so it takes some concentration. And release. Root down through your big toe, the mound of your big toe, the big toe. Root down through your outer heel.

Lifting the other toes. This could happen and it's okay. It's like the monster look. Root down through your outer heel, big toe and just notice that connection. What happens up towards your hips?

And release. When you release, also notice what your tendency is to go back to, what you do. So, we're gonna do the other diagonal. Root down on your little toe, the pinky toe side, the mound under your pinky toe side and the inside of your heel. So, the inside of the heel, little toe side, and release.

Okay, so we have these four points, sometimes three, meaning big toe side, little toe side and then, if you want to count them foot to floor, because this is different from what we enjoy, what is more simple for us. We also have outside of the heel, inside of the heel, so that's just like the middle of the heel because that's more grounding. I use the four. Big toe side, pinky toe side, inside of the heel, outside of the heel. So, I'm just telling you so we know what to feel when we come up on the block.

So, let's use the right leg first and bring it up. Place it onto your block. Inhale, come up. Exhale, come down. Okay, inhale up.

Exhale, down. One more time like this. Notice the wobbling. The wobbling is good. It means you're strengthening something.

So, this time we go up, bring your arms up, bring your leg up. And down. Two more times like this. Inhale, reach up, reach your leg up. Keep your other hip down.

And down. So, one last time. Inhale, up. Exhale, down. Okay, so let's do one more variation.

Inhale, reach up. Stay on the block, take your leg back, your arms back. We're in Warrior Three on the block. Inhale all the way up, exhale all the way back. Inhale all the way up, one last time, and bring yourself back to the floor.

Release the block and before we go over to the other side, just notice what you feel. Notice what you feel under your foot. The ground, is it different from the left? The leg, your foundation? Okay, let's do the other side.

So, we'll do them in three, three. So, start by taking your left foot to the block. Lift, inhale. Exhale, down. Keeping the foot on the block.

Inhale, lift. Exhale, down. One more time, so inhale, lift. Notice the wobbling, notice any changes. And down.

We've got a few more times with some variations. Inhale, lift all the way up. Exhale all the way down. Again, inhale, reach up. Okay, so one last time.

Inhale, reach up, heart blooming. Exhale down, stay on the block. Inhale, reach up. This time the leg goes back, all the way back. And whoop, all the way up.

Two more times like this. Notice what happens when you look around. You can even close your eyes if this is too easy already. It seldom is. Come all the way up and just step down, down and away from the block.

Notice any differences? Differences can be very subtle. Maybe nuances is more the word. So, let's put the block aside. Inhale here.

Lift your right leg up towards the sky. Exhale, take it all the way back and notice the feeling with the block, without the block. Inhale, lift your heart up, your arms up and press your front foot so that your leg goes straight, arms down. Inhale up. Exhale down.

Inhale, lift up. Exhale. Place your heel to the floor. Lift up your left arm towards the sky. Okay, so I'm turning towards my right.

You stay where you are and we're doing the switch again. Okay, so from here, settle. This is a very grounded position because you're standing, you can't be much broader with your feet, and everything is just whoo! So, let your arms fall to your side. Soften in the head, soften in the gaze. So, from here turn your right foot towards the short side of the mat.

Inhale your Virabhadrasana Two. Exhale, straightening your leg. Bring yourself to your heart, so bring your hands to your heart. Inhale, reach out. Exhale.

Inhale, out. Exhale. One more time, inhale out. I do different things with my hands. It depends on what goes on.

Roll the shoulders back and just be attentive to your ground. It's like you're softening into the Earth. You're softening into your feet. You're letting your feet and your legs hold you, and as they do that, grow up towards your heart. Let your head be soft on your soft neck without disengaging.

Okay, so from here, bring your right hand to the outside of your right foot. I'll bring my left hand to my hip. Take a little hop up, keeping that leg stable, keeping that leg bent and lifting. Lift your torso up from your leg and, if you want to play with it some more, you can lift your hand. Whoo! Okay, so bring back the foot, way back.

Lift up your right arm towards the sky. Beautiful. Toes pointing towards the front. Settle, and we'll take ourselves back to Down Dog. Hands on each side of the foot.

Lift up. Wobble a little. One heel goes down, the other leg straightens. One knee bends, okay. So, the other side.

Lift your right leg up. Come forward. Inhale, lift your leg up towards the sky, and take it all the way back. Inhale, lifting the heart. Exhale, straighten the front leg, arms down.

Inhale up. Exhale down. Inhale up, straighten your front leg. Place your back heel to the floor. Let your left arm fall towards your leg and reach out with your right arm.

So, from here, we're not collapsing. We're lifting. We're lifting from our roots. Come all back, toes pointing towards the front of the mat. Inhale.

Exhale, settle. Okay, so turn your left leg towards the short side of the mat. Inhale into your Warrior Two. Exhale back to center. Inhale to your Warrior Two.

Exhale back to center. Open the heart, feels like opening the heart. Exhale back to your roots. Open the heart. Hold.

And again, can you ease into your foundation? See, you're already being held. Your feet are already placed where they are. You know where you're going and, if you don't, it's okay. So, from here, we place our hand on the outside of the left little pinky toe.

Lift the right leg, keeping the left leg bent since it gives you a little bit more room in the hips to make possible the raise in your right leg. Once it's up, maybe you stretch out the leg. If you want to make this a little bit more difficult, this is the left leg and my left side is not really as stable as my right, but I'll try. Whoop! So, place your foot back towards the Earth. Bring yourself up to your Virabhadrasana Two.

Open up the hand towards the sun. Deepen in your front knee and come up again. Again, settle into your ground. Let the ground have you. Let your feet have you.

Now, let's go back to our Down Dog. Hands to the floor. Soften in the neck. Again, it can be nice to wobble. We don't always have to do that, but the option's always there.

From your Down Dog, roll to your Plank. Place your knees and lower. Okay, so inhale, lift your heart. Leave the floor from your hands. Take your hands back towards your feet.

I like to lift them. It's just that it is easy to let them go out to the side, so keep yourself centered. Hands under your shoulders again and bring yourself up to all fours and from all fours, bring yourself to your Child's Pose. Wobble into it. So, if your breath's here in Child's Pose, which is a very grounding pose, everything is being held.

Your thighs are holding your torso, the Earth is holding your arms and your head and your legs. Just allow yourself to give in. Notice the effects of it. It's like softening around your skin, beneath your skin. So, generally, when you're ready, take your hands back.

Lift yourself up. Okay, get yourself to sitting. So, this pose we'll be ending with, actually we end with Shavasana, lying down, but I like to open up in the front of the thighs before letting go. So, for this, I will be placing a block under the energetic heart, so it's gonna be holding the back side of the sternum. From here, I'll be taking my right leg back, so the heel is right outside the hip.

I lift myself up to get my sit-bones correctly down. This is really feeling into pose. It might have to change. Of course, this pose, the variation of this is to just sit. I am going to lean down.

You can keep your foot to the floor, which will help you adjust what you need to adjust. I'm going to reach the leg out. (exhaling) And let the shoulders fall towards the Earth. I'm just gonna allow myself to be held, carried, which is a very difficult practice. This is what we practice.

Soften in the hands. So, as we've been working from the inside out, we can also try to relax from the inside out. From our mid-line, we can let ourselves just be held. So, take a couple more breaths here. Soften behind the eyes.

So, getting out of this pose can be a little tricky. Let's give it a try. We place our foot to the floor. I'm gonna bring my elbows down so I can lift. Hands down.

So, I'll be sitting to one side, reach out my leg and just pause again. So, the left leg back in the same way. The heel is just slightly outside the hip. I'm gonna try to find my sit-bones. Root them down with a sense of, okay, this is where I am.

Start rolling down. It is easier with a foot on the floor, though, because it's like the volume. (giggling) Do I want it intense or do I want it mild? Arrabiata or not? Actually, this is not intense, depending on what sort of body you're working with.

If you find that no, this is not gonna work for me, you know, just laying or sitting towards a wall works perfect. Maybe tip-toe yourself out. Again, soften in the face. Like I said before, at least for me, this is what happens. Movement is wonderful, but movement has this way of making us disintegrate.

So, if we just could practice movement and being here, even though we're going places. (exhaling) Notice where you feel the tension. Is there any, is there a grip that you're not really letting go of? It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be mental, it could be wherever. Just notice it.

You don't have to let go of it, just notice it. Okay, so we're getting out of the pose now. I'll be placing my foot. Maybe you have another way of coming out of it. Just be gentle.

Elbows down, hands down, lifting up. I'm going to one side, to my right side. From here, I'm just gonna lie down now. So, place the block out to the side and roll. Roll, let the ground have you.

Let the mat carry you. Arms out to the side. Reaching my leg. If, for you, it's more appropriate to have knees bent, then that's what you'll do. So, very gently, pressing the back of your head into the floor will help your shoulder blades come into place.

Notice the back body. Notice the back body being completely supported and all you have to do is absolutely nothing but breathe. Notice if there's any icky-sticky places still there. Just sometimes, it's enough to notice them. Deep inhale.

Exhale completely. (exhaling) So, if your wish is to stay here a little longer, then that's what you'll do. I'm gonna, very gently, get myself out of this pose. So, again, I roll to one side. Put on leg up, roll to the other.

We don't want to rush ourselves out of relaxation. It's like sort of an undone job. (giggling) Yeah, okay, so roll to your side and very gently come up to sitting. So, the thing is, if we know where we're standing, if we know where we stand, then we also know we have places to go and where to start these journeys from. We never know what we're getting, because a journey is that way, but at least we can be centered enough to receive, to accept, to notice.

Good luck, see you soon again.

Comments

Love this.. sweet flow but very grounding!
I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Thank you ??
Bhakti :)
1 person likes this.
-Lovely!
1 person likes this.
thanks!
1 person likes this.
Beautiful!!! Alexandra Kambler
Ali
1 person likes this.
I love the variety you bring to postures with the freedom to explore variations. I feel really playful and creative when practising with you. The practice is stepping up to the block was interesting - my Vira III felt lighter and more exciting! Totally blissed our in that final posture on the floor. Thank you Alexandra.
Ali
1 person likes this.
Sorry for typos! Am too blissful for accurate typing!
Ali  I'm so happy you enjoy my classes! Thank you for sharing your appreciation! You are so welcome!!

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