The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 6

The Fierce and the Formidable

30 min - Practice


The work of loving ourselves through the many cycles of life is a ferocious battle. In this practice Jessica calls on Shiva as she sequences us toward Ganda Bherundasana (Formidable Face Pose). You will feel energized and fierce. May you be victorious.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Aug 03, 2015
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Welcome to The Fierce and The Formidable. This is where we're intersecting our life and asana and plowing deep into Terrible Face. It is one of those postures that no matter how many times I practice it, I literally still fear it and that's the work. Our life has a cycle that rotates, I like to call it the rotation between sparkly pants to crappy pants back to sparkly pants back to crappy pants and it can go this way too. Oh, she's so lovely.

Like my best friend. Can you believe she said that? I can't stand her. I really like milk. Mm, it made my belly hurt.

Wonderful. Terrible. Right? So here we are, The Fierce and the Formidable. This is Shiva, like stick your tongue out, rub the ash on, dig your hands in some dirt, get fierce.

Come on into Child's Pose. So, taking the knees wide, bringing the hands forward, let the belly soften on through, lower the third eye of the forehead to the ground. Take a few releasing, grounding, restful breaths here. I want you to imagine as if the heart is moving, and maybe it literally, physically does, moving towards the ground. And the shoulder blades draw together just a little bit.

And you breathe here. The next inhale, you'll shift on up to all fours and you'll keep the knees wide and the big toes together and then walking the hands forward we come into Puppy Pose. It's just kind of a little bit bigger of what we were just doing. Again, forehead can come to the ground. You let the heart soften and the shoulder blades move together and this may be where you stay and you start to be like, "Ooh, hello, "face on the ground." Alright, if you've got a little bit more room, spaciousness, maybe the gaze starts to move forward and it's kinda like (kisses mat) kiss the ground just a little, your mat.

Hi sweet mat. (kisses mat) A little bit more chin to the ground and the gaze towards your hands. Wherever you are, you breathe for a few moments. Gaze comes back towards the mat. Draw your hands in underneath your shoulders.

Press yourself up until you're all fours and then move through a little wiggle, wiggle, Cat-Cow action. So, arching the spine with the inhale. Gaze lifts up. Exhale, rounding through the spine, lowering the gaze. Again, this doesn't have to look or stay just in this linear line of Cat-Cow.

You can allow it to be a little side to side, wiggle the hips, shift back, Child's Pose, rounding forward. Just greeting your spine, your shoulders, your hips. There's something intuitive that shows up here. Awesome, you should do it. Take a few more breaths and movement.

That intention. And then we'll tuck the toes and come on into Downward-Facing Dog. Shift yourself forward from here into Plank Pose and then push forward into the toes, lower the knees down. Stick your booty up in the air. Place your chest between your thumbs and your gaze forward.

Draw the elbows in, press down through the hands, Ashtanga Namaskara and then pull forward and up to lift into Bhujangasana, Cobra, and then tuck the toes, Downward-Facing Dog. Right leg comes high. Step through. AnjaneyÄ쳌sana. Lower the back knee down, release the back toe, inhale, take the arms all the way up.

Good few breaths here. Let the hips draw forward. Slight draw in down to the big toe, that front foot. And then we turn this into the All-In-One. Take your left fingertips out, off the mat with them pointed away, move your front foot, your right foot over, just a little bit.

Toes turn out to about 2:00. Right hand to the inner thighs, Bendahara. Breathe, pause here. Continuing on, reach back, thumb up like you're hitchhiking. Find the back foot, pinky edge.

Breathe here. Moving onward, maybe elbow down to the ground. Take ahold of your ankle. Spin up. Release.

Toe, heel the foot back to center line. Tuck the back toe, lift the back knee. Ground your hands. Downward-Facing Dog. Shifting forward, Plank Pose.

Push forward into the toes. Knees down, booty up, heart between the thumbs, chin in front of that gaze forward, press down, draw in. Inchworm forward to lift up into Cobra and then tuck in the toes. Downward-Facing Dog. Left leg comes high to step through.

Anjaneyasana. Back knee is down. Finally inhale, reach the arms on up. Big full breath here. All-In-One, other side.

Right finger tips come off, edge of the mat with the fingertips going away. Move your left foot out just a little bit and turn the toes up to about 10:00 and then press the left hand, the inner thigh and the gaze lifts up. Pause here or a thumb up. Pinky edge. Mm.

Pause here. Elbow down. Revolve a little bit more. And then release through center. Toe heeling the foot in.

Press down, step back, Downward-Facing Dog. Take the right leg nice and high. Step through, Virabhadrasana II, Warrior II. Grounding through the back, heel, the front knee is bent. Open on out.

Arms reach the sides, gaze is forward. Breathing here. Inhale, take it back through Peaceful Warrior. And as you exhale, straighten into the front leg, Trikonasana, Triangle Pose. Reaching that left arm up.

And then taking the arm over the ear. Reach it forward. Gaze comes down to the floor, hands come down. Walk the hands over towards the left, parallel the toes. Finally, inhale here, exhale, soften.

Release, Prasarita. Take the peace fingers, if it's accessible, to the big toes. As you inhale, extend out long through the spine and exhale, bend into the elbows. Inhale, extension through the spine. Fingertips release.

Walk it forward here. Come into a low lunge, facing the front of your mat. Walk your fingertips forward and lift up through that back leg, coming to the Standing Splits. Really use this glute to lift the leg up. You can keep the hands on the floor for balance.

Maybe take one. Two hands to the ankle, folding in. With or without your hands. Maybe releasing bottom foot to the floor, coming through to Nasana. Forward Fold.

Toe heel the feet together if they're not there already and then come on down to a little squat here. Take the knees wide. Malasana. The heels move towards the ground. The big toes come together and you fold on over.

A nice rounding really. It's like a little tiny bee. As you lift up, come back to the squat. Reach the hands forward. Ardha Navasana.

Start to lower the heels down. Boop on your butt. Come on up, Boat Pose. Take your peace fingers around your toes if you like. Extend the legs.

Re-bend into the knees and lower yourself all the way down onto your back. Robot your arms and press the elbows into the ground. Open a little bit through the chest. Press down, draw the knees forward and stay here, or maybe shimmy a little bit further onto the backs of the shoulders and release the fingers. Press them down and Bridge Pose.

Breathe here. Release the arms. Come on down onto your back. Draw the knees in. There's a little Rock-And-Roll action.

You have a choice. Maybe you cross the ankles, come back up and over and back into Downward Dog. Maybe you plant the feet, plant the hands, Chaturanga, Right? Start to rock head to toe, get a little bit of momentum. Little bit of momentum.

Prayer to Shiva, Shiva. Shiva. Plant the feet. Plant the hands. Chaturanga.

(grunts) And move it back. Now we're facing up. Shift it forward here, Plank Pose, and lower all the way down onto the belly. Take the arms underneath you. Make sure that your elbows are underneath your shoulders.

Take your right fingertips 'til they point to the left elbow. Press down through your right elbow and then reach back again. Thumb up, find the big toe side here. Stay here. Work this or fingertips down, palm of the hand to the top of the foot.

Press the heel. Elbow goes up. Press down, maybe gaze comes forward. Work this or spinning the fingertips forward. Work this.

Release. I like to make a big X. My little shake out. Then come on in to the other side. So, back into Sphinx.

This time left fingertips towards the right elbow. Reach back, thumb up. Find the big toe side, stay here. The tendency is to collapse. Make sure that you really press down.

Fingertips down. Palm of the hand presses in. The top of the foot, stay here or spin the fingertips forward. Elbows pointing up, press down, gaze can come forward. Release, make a big X.

I like to rock the hips a little bit too. Feels nice. And then hands underneath the shoulders. Lift yourself up all fours and then Downward-Facing Dog. And we do the other side.

Take the left leg nice and high. Step through Virabhadrasana II, Warrior II. Come on up. Front knees bend, arms reaching out, gaze over the front fingers. Inhale, Peaceful Warrior.

Then exhale, straightening into Trikonasana, Triangle Pose. That top arm, arm can come over the ear, reaching forward. Gaze comes down to the front foot. Hands are down, walk around to the right. Parallel the toes, straighten the legs, Prasarita, extend through the spine, exhale, fold on in.

Again, peace fingers around the toes if you'd like. Press the thumbs into the ground, extend through the crown of the head. That's an inhale and then exhale. Elbows bend, fold and release. Inhale, extend out through the spine.

Walk around towards the left, find your low lunge. Start to walk the fingertips forward, lifting up through the back wing, coming to the standing splits, other side. Walking the hands in. Focus on using that glute, lift up through the back leg. It's allowed to have that hip open a little bit.

Maybe one hand. Maybe both. Fold on in. Can you keep it hand-less? Find your Utkatasana, Forward Fold, bringing the back foot to meet the front.

Inhale, extend, exhale, fold on in. Toe heel the feet together if they're not already, and then again, coming down to Malasana. Knees come wide. Let the belly get low. Release the head.

You can wrap the arms underneath the shins to take the back heels. Big toes are together and heels are moving towards the ground. They don't necessarily have to touch, but maybe they do. Let it be small. Tiny.

Hands come forward, knees together. Reach the arms forward. And then the Masana. Heels, booty, legs lift. Peace fingers around the toes, extend.

And do this straight into your Rock-And-Roll. So start to lower yourself down onto your back. Swing it. Can you do it? Alright, it's gotta be don't cross the ankles.

Plant the feet, plant the hands, Chaturanga. Upward-Facing Dog into your Down Dog. Walk yourself back if you came off your mat. Breathe here. Take your right leg nice and high.

Step through high lunge, so back heels lifted, front knees bent, inhale, arms come all the way up. Keep the left hand high here. Reach the right hand down. Again, find that back thigh. Can you get ahold of some meat?

Reach down, up, and then using this expansion on your left side, when the inhale comes in, the left elbow comes outside the knee. Press the elbow into the knee. Then press the palms together. Revolved Side Angle. Gaze comes down.

Hands come down. Find your Three-Legged Dog. Lift the right leg really high and take the gaze forward here. Use the glute to lift the right leg high. Shift forward, Three-Legged Plank.

Chaturanga. Foot comes down, Upward-Facing Dog. Down Dog. Left leg comes high. Step through, high lunge.

Back heels lifted, front knees bent. Arms come on up. Keep the right hand high. Take the left hand behind you. Can you find the thigh?

Reach up and back, spaciousness on that right side body. Find the exhale, elbow comes outside the knee. Twisting, press your elbow into your knee. Press your palms together. Revolved Side Angle, the gaze can work up and around.

Gaze comes down. Hands are down, framing that front foot, Three-Legged Dog, stepping back. Left leg high. Use the glute, lift the leg. Look forward.

Three-Legged Chaturanga. Upward-Facing Dog, both feet are down. Down Dog. Shift the knees down, lower back, Child's Pose. Pause here.

Walking the hands and up to the knees. Have a seat. So, here's where I'm gonna teach you Terrible Face. We'll have an opportunity to practice it and then we'll integrate it into our sequence to practice it one more time. What the important elements are are drawing in through the arms, pressing down through the hands, the gaze coming forward and the chin actually touching the ground and then using your booty to lift the leg.

We'll come into Downward-Facing Dog and you'll take your right leg nice and high. From here, start to practice that gaze forward and the lift of the leg. Alight? And this may be a pausing point. From here, you'll start to shift forward into your Three-Legged Chaturanga and put the chin on the ground.

Again, pausing point. Maybe some little hops. Pausing point. Splat relax. And then press yourself back, Downward-Facing Dog.

If you're gonna go for it, you bring all those actions together and instead of just tiny hops, you actually hop. So you lift your leg, gaze comes forward. Bend the elbows, lower the chin, hop, land in your Chaturanga. Upward-Facing Dog. Down Dog.

Left leg comes high. Gaze is forward. Bending the elbows, putting the chin on the ground and taking a little hop. Chaturanga. Upward-Facing Dog.

Downward Dog. Lower the knees down. Take a moment. Child's Pose. Find a few breaths.

Coming into Downward-Facing Dog, tucking the toes, lifting the knees and here it is, integrating our Terrible Face into our vinyasa flow. Take your right leg nice and high. Step through. High lunge, keeping the back hell lifted, the front knee is bent. Inhale, arms come on up.

Exhale, take the hands to the heart. Collect your energy into your front foot. Back knee comes all the way up to the chest. Tick tock forward. Left knee at your chest.

Vrksasana, Tree Pose. You can take ahold of the foot if that helps. Press the foot into the lean. Do something fierce with your arms. Whatever you do is awesome.

Let this shift into Ida Pingala, which is taking that left ankle on top of the right knee, bending into the hips, bending into the knee. Your forearms might move closer to your shin. Lift back up, left knee up to the chest. Press it back, like you're pushing a weight away. Bend into the standing, landing into a high lunge.

A big inhale here. Exhale, hands come down to the ground. Low lunge, take it back. Three-Legged Dog. Terrible Face, gaze forward, bend the elbow.

Chin on the ground. Chaturanga. Upward-Facing Dog, Down Dog. Left leg comes high. Step through, high lunge.

Inhale, arms coming up. Exhale, hands come to the heart. Root through the upfront foot. Back knee to the chest. Standing up, right knee at your chest standing on your one leg.

Tree Pose, foot to the thigh. You can use your hand. Hands to the heart. Something fierce. And then taking that right ankle to left knee, bend into your hips, bend into your knee.

Lower it down. Draw the knee in towards the chest. Press it back like you're pushing a weight away. Find the high lunge by bending into the standing leg, lightly landing the back leg. Inhale, big breath and arms come up.

Exhale, hands down, low lunge. Take that left leg high, Three-Legged Dog. Last Terrible Face, here it is. Chaturanga. Upward-Facing Dog.

Down Dog. Breath in nice and deep through the nose. Exhale out through the mouth, stick the tongue out. No one's looking. Do that one more time.

Breath in nice and deep. Shift forward. Plank Pose. Lower the knees, Child's Pose, breathe here. Slowly walking your hands on up towards your knees.

Coming into Rock Pose, sitting on your heels. We'll take a little side stretch. So, left fingertips find the ground. Your hips move to the right and your right arm comes on over. We switch and go other side.

Right fingertips to the ground. Left hip's off to the side, left are comes over. Come back through center. Take your right ear to your right shoulder. Breathe here.

This may be a good place to stop. If you want to take it a little bit further, you can start to reach those left fingertips down and out to the diagonal as if they're gonna come to the ground. For some people they might. For most of us it's just a longing towards the ground. You get this nice opening through this line of the left side of the neck.

Release that left hand to your side. Take your gaze down and release the head down. Lifting the head on up and then doing the other side. So, left ear, left shoulder. Pause here.

Right hand might reach the diagonal towards the ground. Release the hand, gaze comes down to the lap. Relaxing the neck and the head. Lifting the head, come on down onto your back. Extend your legs long.

Allow a little space between the feet, space between the arms and the body. I like to have the palms up. Checking in with that backside of the body. Points of contact. Can you allow the ground to receive you?

Just notice if there's any resistance to surrender over to the Earth and can you ask for her to embrace you? Soften through the forehead. Relax the jaw. You want to allow a little bit of space between the lips. And cheeks move away from the nose.

Surrender over to rest. If you're oh so sparkly here, stay and rest. Otherwise, find a deeper inhale. Let your belly get nice and full and round as you breathe in. And as you exhale, let the exhale come on out through the mouth.

Give it a few more times. Breathing in nice and big and full. Exhaling out through the mouth, letting go. And with that next inhale, reach the arms overhead. Point through the toes, like a nice glorious good morning stretch.

And then as you exhale, bending into the knees, roll on over to your right side. Pause there. Allow yourself to come on back. Pressing into the ground, come on up to a comfortable seat. Bring the hands to the heart space.

One hand on top of the other, press in. Make contact engagement with your heart. Bow the head on in slightly. The work of loving ourselves through the many cycles of life is a fierce battle. May you be victorious.



Chelsea D
1 person likes this.
Your closing remarks were wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing
Danielle P
Super fun class! Feeling very sparkly! Jessica, you are a great instructor and I will be sure to check out your other classes. Thank you, Danielle
Deborah K
Thank you Jessica. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun with a yoga practice. Great for teaching us not to take ourselves so seriously. Smiling! Deb

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