The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 7

Through the Fire

40 min - Practice
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Fully stepping into ourselves is fiery and full-hearted work. Jessica encourages us to greet the world with a courageous and joyous heart as we sequence toward a version of Archer Pose. You will feel energized and delighted.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall, Block (2)

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(gentle rushing waves) Hi, welcome to Through the Fire and Into Your Heart. Today, we're gonna practice a forearm balance variation that I like to call archer pose. This posture to me, represents how, in life, we bump up against our edges, and that the work is to move past that point so that we can fully step into ourselves. This is fiery and full-hearted work, but the best kind. So to start, we're gonna need two blocks, and we're gonna come in to child's pose.

So you'll take your blocks, and set them up in the front of your mat. And you can do the low setting, medium, or even high. But sometimes it's nice to kind of start a little bit lower, and then work your way up to kind of discern where the best placement is for you. Your big toes come together, the knees are wide. And it's a little awkward getting in, but once you're in, it feels more comfortable.

You place your elbows on top of the blocks and the palms come together and dip the head down. Start to soften through the front of the heart. And if you find that, you know, this is a pretty good range of motion here, maybe you stay if you find that you have a little bit more space. You lift up, and you change the block up to their higher setting. And again, a little bit awkward, kind of finding the placement, make sure that it's the backs of the biceps.

Right, that that meets the blocks. And you can have them be a little bit wide. Palms dip behind the head, and you release. Once you're at your placement, here, you allow the work of the front of the heart to open and allow the head to be relaxed. (deep exhale) And belly to soften.

Take a good few breaths here. And then breathing here, with the inhale, draw the elbows together and press down and you lift out just the slightest bit. And then as you exhale, soften and release again. As you inhale, do that again. Draw the elbows in and press down, lift out.

And then exhale, soften and release in. And just notice how maybe you go a little bit deeper with each exhale. One more time, drawing elbows in and together, pressing down, and then exhale, softening. Maybe the head even moves closer to the ground. (deep inhale) And release this, draw the hands back forward.

Again, a little bit awkward coming out. Move your blocks off to the side. And come into a little cat cow. So. All fours, hands underneath the shoulders, knees underneath the hips, inhale, arching the spine, exhale rounding through the spine.

A few more like that. Washing out, inhale, lifting. Exhale, rounding. Last one. Inhale, gaze comes up.

Spine arches, exhale, rounding. From here, you tuck the toes. Come into downward-facing dog. And just give it a moment. Wag the tail.

Walk through the knees here. Give any sort of intuitive movement. I like to call this greeting your mat, greeting your downward dog. Saying hello to your practice. And then slowly start to take the feet towards the hands, coming to the front of your space, uttÄ쳌nÄ쳌sana.

I always like, I think these first forward bends, was like the grumpy grandpa side of the body. Just bend the knees, and let them be all soft. Alright, shake the head out. Maybe opposite elbows can feel good. The belly moving towards the thighs.

There can be a little bit of movement here. And again, it's intuitive, you can allow there to be this creativity process in it. A few breaths here. And there's slow rounding rolling, all the way on up. Eventually you reach the top, you find the inhale, reach overhead.

And exhale, hands come to the heart, tÄ쳌á¸쳌Ä쳌sana. And bring your feet together to a comfortable space. And then inhale, reach the arms on up. Pause, take the hands wide. This is the I love you universe posture, so the arms go wide, and it's like taking this front of the heart and allowing it to greet the world.

Like presenting yourself forward. I love you, universe! You let the hips move forward, you reach the heart upward. I'm here! Yay! And then you contract with the belly, chest. Fold on down past your third eye with your hands. Heart down to those lotus feet.

Exhale there. Inhale, there's a little extension. Hands ground, step your right leg back nice and long. Lower the back knee down, release the back toe. And then inhale, arms come on up, anjaneyasana.

Breathing here. We'll take a few breaths, variation with the arms. Reach up, inhale, exhale, draw the elbows as if they were gonna actually touch behind you, pulling the chest through. Inhale, reach up. Exhale, drawing elbows.

Inhale, reach up. Exhale, drawing elbows together. Inhale, arms reach up. Exhale, hands come down to the ground. Either side of that front foot, tuck the back toe, lift the back knee.

Step on back, plank pose. Exhale, lower the knees. All the way down towards the belly. Take the hands back slightly. Roll the shoulders up down and back.

Elbows draw in. Use your feet line, press into the hands, lift up, your cobra bhujaá¹?gÄ쳌sana. Exhale, soften it. Back down to the ground. Tuck the toes, plank pose.

And then downward-facing dog. Okay, this comes forward, inhale. Exhale, step your right foot forward, and follow it up with the left. Inhale, extension through the spine. Exhale, fold.

uttÄ쳌nÄ쳌sana. Then grounding down to rise on up, upward salute. That's an inhale and then the exhale, again, back hands to the heart, tÄ쳌á¸쳌Ä쳌sana. Same thing other side, so inhale, arms come on up. Again, take the arms wide, let the be spacious, let this be you.

Greet the world. I love you, universe! (playful laughter) And then contract from the belly. Move it through center line, take it slow, third eye. Heart down to the feet. Inhale, there's extension through the spine.

And then the last leg goes back long. Lower the knee, release the back toe, inhale, arms come on up. With your breath, inhale, reaches up. Exhale, elbows draw together, chest pulls through. Two more, inhale.

Exhale, opening on out. Inhale, reaching up. Exhale, opening. Inhale, reaching up. Exhale, hands come down to the ground, tuck the back toe, lift the back knee, step on back.

Downward-facing dog. Inhale, shift forward. Knees can come down. Lower all the way to the belly. Take the hands back slightly, shoulders up down and back, broad through the chest, use your feet.

Your inhale, lift up cobra. Exhale, soften it back down to the belly. Can use your knees to lift up, plank pose. And then downward-facing dog. Left leg comes high, step through, low lunge.

Follow it up with the right. Stepping forward, front of your space, there's an inhale there. Exhale to fold. Inhale to rise on up. Exhale, hands to the heart.

Last one like this. Inhale, arms come on up. Again, pause like, I love you like you mean it. I mean it! I do, I swear! Greet the world! (playful laughter) And then take the palms together. Slow, lower on down.

Inhale, there's extension through the spine, ardha uttÄ쳌nÄ쳌sana. Exhale, ground the hands, step on back, plank pose. Here, exhale, lower down to the belly. Inhale, lift yourself up, bhujaá¹?gÄ쳌sana cobra. And then tucking the toes here, lift it back, downward-facing dog.

Breathing here. (deep exhale) Taking the right leg nice and high. You'll step through, again, anjaneyasana. Inhale, arms come all the way up. And then as you exhale, take the hands to the top of the knee.

I like to call this classy anj, or classy anjaneyasana, for a little bit more classical variation, you shift the hips back, and you move your front foot back a little bit, and start to come into a deeper flexion in the knee. But you only wanna come so far as that you still maintain contact with the heel on the ground. So if you go back and it starts to come up, you've gone too far. And it's gonna look different for everybody. So you're gonna find your perfect spot.

And it might mean hands on the knee. Alright, might mean arms come on up. And breathe here. And then from here, hands will come down to the ground, we'll start to walk the fingertips forward, let the back heel, or let that front heel lift, as the knee comes down to the ground. And then tuck the back toe, and you might stay here with the fingertips on the ground.

Or. (exaggerated hoot) Lifting the arms on up. (deep exhale) Hands come back down. Transition back out into your anjaneyasana. And then take your left hand back, and reach for the big toe side of that back foot.

So pausing point one, right? You might stay here, work this. Maybe lifting that front arm up. Breathing. Pausing point two.

If you're continuing on. Heel to the seat, fingertips are down, elbows up. Breathing, holding here. And that front arm can lift up. (deep breathing) Pausing point three, starting to work the big toe into the nook of the elbow.

Front arm reaches up, and the two maybe meet back there, and then press together. Little clingy bind. Release on down. Step on back, three-legged dog here nice and high. Shift on forward, three-legged plank.

To caturaá¹?ga. Upward-facing dog. Down dog. And starting from the left side, take the left leg high. Coming forward, anjaneyasana, lowering the back knee down, release the back toe, inhale, arms come all the way up.

As your exhale, place the hands on top of the knee, again, that classy anj, shift back, adjust your front foot to the position that's right for you. Again, making contact with the heel, but drawing the calf and the thigh a little bit closer together. Breathe here. Or take the arms all the way up. As you exhale, bring the fingertips down to the ground and start to walk them forward, moving that front knee all the way down.

Can pause and keep the fingertips on the ground. Tuck the back toe, press down, (exaggerated hoot) lifting up! And exhale, hands come back down to the ground. Walk them back, shift back into your anjaneyasana. Again, taking the hands to the top of the knee. This time you'll reach your right hand back, see if you can find that big toe.

Pause here. Option one. Option two, fingertips come down. Pressing the heel closer to the seat, the elbow goes up. (deep inhale) Option three, starting to work the big toe into the nook of the elbow.

Left hand comes around. The two meet, and you press the head into the hand. Little clingy bind. Release. Come back.

Three-legged dog with that left leg high. Inhaling. Look forward as you exhale, caturaá¹?ga three-legged. Both feet are down, upward-facing dog, that's an inhale. And then exhale, hips go back, downward-facing dog.

(deep exhale) Taking the right leg high, step through, vÄ«rabhadrÄ쳌sana one, warrior one. Ground through the back heel. Inhale, arms come all the way up. Keeping your right hand high, take your left hand down, bend into both elbows, and take this modified version of gomukhÄ쳌sana arms. Drawing that top elbow a little bit more center line.

And then pressing the head into the nook, opening through the front of the shoulder. Breathing here, nice strong bend into the knee, gaze lifts. Release the arms. Cross right on top of left, eagling the arms on up. Root and connect through the front foot.

And then bring your left leg up and around, all the way for eagle pose. Nesting down. As you unfurl, it turns into ardha candrÄ쳌sana, your right fingertips come down to the ground. Back leg extends, left arm reaches on up. Bend into the standing leg, and send it long for peaceful warrior.

The right fingertips reach on up, inhale, taking it back. And then as you exhale, triangle pose, trikoá¹?Ä쳌sana. Right hand comes to the ankle, the floor, even the thigh. Gaze lifting up if it's comfortable. Gaze comes down towards the floor.

Fingertips are down, walk around to the left, parivrtta. (deep inhale) (deep exhale) As you inhale, take the hands out underneath the shoulders, and then your left hand's gonna start to walk over to the right. It might not meet the right foot, or if it does, you can bend into that right knee. Maybe it takes the ankle, it can also take the shin with the fingertips on the outside. And then walk your right hand forward in front, and then use and engage with that left arm and pull yourself through, coming to a revolve variation.

Here in prasarita. As you release, find an inhale, extend through the spine. And then switch on the other side. So your right hand walk on over, finding the calf, the ankle, with the fingertips on the outside, you can bend into that left knee. Left hand walks forward, and then using and engaging with your right arm, pull the gaze underneath your arm.

Revolving. A few breaths here. (deep breathing) And release through center, inhale. And as you exhale, walk around here. Low lunge, step on back, caturaá¹?ga.

Upward-facing dog. Down dog. (deep inhale) Okay, take your right leg nice and high. Step through your vÄ«rabhadrÄ쳌sana one. Warrior one on the left side.

Inhale, arms come all the way up. Keep that left hand high. Right hand comes down. Both elbows bend, make a clasp, and then draw your left elbow more through center line, taking the head back into the nook. Opening through that left shoulder.

Nice strong bend to the front knee, gaze starts to lift up. Arms come out to the side, wrap left on top of right for eagle arms. And then connect, root through the front foot. Eagle up that right leg on top of the left. Coming to the standing balance.

Nested down nice and low, bending into the hips, bending into the knees. A few breaths here. And then it unfurls like a flower into ardha candrÄ쳌sana half moon. Left fingertips are down, right arm reaches on up, use your glute, flex the back foot. Think Jane Fonda leg lifts, lifting the leg high.

Bend into the standing leg. Lightly land it, peaceful warrior, nice inhale with that left hand coming back. And as you straighten into the front leg, exhale, trikonÄ쳌sana triangle pose. Breathing here. It's gonna be a nice resting place.

(deep breathing) Gaze comes down, hands come down, walk around to the right. Inhale, extension through he spine. And then exhale, fold on over, sweet prasÄ쳌rita. Shake the head out. Find a good few breaths.

Alright, so I like to have even a little bit of movement here. You can allow it to be intuitive and creative. I like to say, "You can't do this wrong!" (deep inhale) We'll take that revolve twist one more time. So hands come out underneath the shoulders. Take your left hand, start to walk it over.

Ankle, calf, fingertips on the outside. Walk your right hand forward, and then use and engage your left arm to take the twist underneath. (deep inhale) Release, find an inhale. And then switch other side. So right hand starts to walk over, you can bend into that left knee and kind of get out of the hamstrings a little bit.

Walk your left hand forward, and then engage through your right arm to pull yourself through. (deep breathing) Release, find the inhale. Exhale soft and full, just a breath. Take the hands out underneath the shoulders. Walk around towards the front of your mat, find your low lunge.

Step on back, caturaá¹?ga. Upward-facing dog, with the inhale. And the exhale's downward-facing dog. (deep breathing) Shift on forward here, plank pose. Lower the knees down, release the toes, and come all the way down to the belly.

So coming into sphinx pose, you have your elbows underneath your shoulders, and the forearms out. This is our bus stop number one. There are five, as we work towards the final shape. So you really wanna practice in the place that best suits you. I like to say that we all live at different stops, and you wanna get off at the stop where you live.

Don't go to your neighbor's house. Don't follow them home. It's weird. So, press down into the elbows here. Engage and pull through the fingertips and take the gaze forward.

Use your feet as well. Alright, so the whole thing's nice and active, and then draw the belly button in, like you're putting on a pair of tight pants. You really wanna fit into, right? Not lifting your pelvis up, but just drawing the belly button in. Breathe and hold here, it's a really active sphinx pose.

Alright? And then, oh, sweet relief! Just like, let the whole thing go. Alright, let the heart sink, let the head sink, relax your belly. (playful laughter) Let the pants be tight! (playful laughter) Breathing here, and then we press down and we engage again. So we push down through the elbows, we pull with the fingers.

Take the gaze further, and then we put on our tight pants, drawing the bellybutton in, use your feet line. Breath, and then soften, release, relax. Breathing here. Sweet relief. And then one more time, press down through the elbows, pull with the fingertips.

Gaze comes forward. Tight pants on. Use your feet. Soften and release. And this is a nice time to just take a little break, release your fatigue, wag your tail.

No matter where you're gonna go. (deep exhale) And then turn the gaze to the other side. And breathe here. (deep breathing) And then we'll press ourselves up. And from here, we're moving on to the wall.

So, there are several places that you can work here. One, you don't even have to come up, but the placement of the hands, all the baseline, all starts just like this. And the balance is on the forearms. So, working and knowing the shape is important. So you're gonna bring your mat, and scoot it closer to your wall, and you wanna have that the mat is actually on the wall, because the first step is to have your knuckles pressed all the way into the wall.

So interlacing the fingers. The elbows are underneath the shoulders. Here, tuck the toes, lift the hips, gaze is between the forearms. You breathe and work here. This is bus stop number two.

Right along our path. You might lift up one leg. And put it down. Lift up the other leg. Put it down.

Hold a few breaths. Gonna lower the knees down and take a child's pose and rest. Alright, you can keep practicing there if you're gonna stay there. Otherwise again, with the elbows pressed into the wall, or with the knuckles press into the wall, the elbows underneath eh shoulders, tuck the toes, lift the hips. And then step one foot in, it doesn't really matter which one, step one foot in.

And it might be just little tiny swings. Just starting and engaging here. Alright, if you're gonna go all the way up. Hello wall, we're so close. Right?

And then just allow the butt to come to the wall. See if you can find the elbows. And then we do that work of engage, press down, pull through, oh, and then soften and release. And then engage! Press down, pull through. And then soften and release.

Then engage, press down, pull through. And soften and release. And that's a lot of work. Coming on down. Taking a good few moments in your child's pose.

Resting. We're gonna continue on. Right? The next step, is to start to work yourself farther away from the wall. And, this is where lizard brain, fear brain, takes over.

It's like the wall, no matter how close it is, it feels endlessly far away. So I like to literally do this several times, to kind of teach myself, "I'm safe, I'm okay, I can do this, "I can move through my fear and into a place "where I'm fully myself." So that might mean for you, that you're just this far away to start. It's the same work, right? Just taking yourself a little bit away. Tuck the toes.

Right, step one foot in. And then take a swing. Right, take a swing. Can you find the wall? Pull through.

And you come on down. Take a breath. And breathe. If that's good, you stay like that. Or if you're like, "I'm working a little but farther." Right?

You start to come a little bit farther away. Step one foot in. Take a swing. Where's that wall? Pull through.

Right? And then this is my spot. Right, this is the one where like, my brain goes like, "No!" So, I know the wall's there. But my brain doesn't know it's there. Right?

And I literally will like, I like, literally will catch myself moving closer before I actually go in. It's really funny how this ends up working. Tuck our toes. Same thing. And there's this moment where you're like, "No, I don't wanna do it!" "No, I don't wanna do it!" "Okay, I'm going, oh there's the wall!" And we pull through.

Right? Hello, press down. Find your toes. And you release. Take a breath.

And you're like, "I did it!" The scary one, try your other leg. Right? The one you don't like as much, the one you don't wanna kick up with. That one's even harder. So for me, that's my left side.

I step in. Right? It's a little less... Familiar. Feels like I'm using my neighbor's leg.

Who's body is this? It's not mine! Yes it is! There's the wall. Pull through, find your toes. Press down through the elbows. Then come on out.

Take child's pose. And whatever that ended up looking like for you, congratulations. You moved through it. That's pretty awesome. What great practice in our bodies.

So from here, we'll take one block. Come onto your back. Bend your knees, plant your feet on the floor. And use, it's tempting to wanna go to our extremes, but really, just use the lowest, flattest, widest setting of the block, it's really friendly. Bend the knees.

Press into the feet, lift the hips, place the block low. So, not into your lower back, but low, actually, underneath more the tailbone line. Solidly on the sacrum. The backside of the pelvis. Hands can be along the sides.

Here, and then you'll just draw one knee, and then the other knee up towards the chest. And you allow a little bit of this tilt to happen in the pelvis, the bellybutton should draw in. And you might breathe here. What you're looking for, is that this is effortless. Alright, that it requires no work to be here.

And if your abdominal muscles are working to hold you here, then probably the block is too high up. So you're gonna wanna move it lower, towards your feet. Alright, you might rest. Breathe here. Just working on grounding our sacrum.

Right? One option is to start to make little circles here with the knees. And this is like, free form exploration. So like, you find a sweet spot, be like, "Oh yeah, the edge of the block, hello, that's nice." Right? And kind of use it as your own personal masseuse.

And again, just pausing, working, make circles going back the other direction. Hey, maybe figure eights. I know, threes could be nice. Eventually, you find center. And maybe extend the legs on up, taking a more restorative version of shoulder stand.

A few breaths here. Alright, really looking to ground through the sacrum, finding steadiness there. Coming back to center. If you still feel a lot of heat, in your body, maybe a few exhales out through the mouth. Allow the backside of the heart to soften.

Relax the palms. Allow your gaze to be soft, or even close the eyes. A good few breaths here. Then we'll slowly draw the knees back in towards the chest. And place one foot down.

And then the other, keep the block just as it is, and extend the legs on out onto your mat. Giving a few moments of release to the front of the hips. Alright, so again, if the block feels like it's in your lower back, it probably is. So move it down lower. Alright, and if it's too much here, on the front side of the hips, you can always take the knees wide, and this kind of gives a little bit less, or your can always plant the feet on the floor.

We'll take a few breaths here. The front side of the pelvis being the highest point. And if you want a little bit more expansion in the front side of the chest, the arms can come overhead. And this is always used to set subtle bit of resistance here of like, trying to stay away from the ground, lifting out of it, and I want you to just surrender over. So there's always this subtle aspect of resistance.

And I want you to just surrender over. Like to think of this as being embraced. Allowing the Earth to embrace you, hold you. One more nice big, full breath here. And we'll re-bend into the knees, plant the feet on the floor.

Press down through the feet, move the block out and out of the way. And then take the feet a little bit wider than your natural hip distance, and let the knees fall on over to the right. So there's some space still between the feet, it's not quite the same as just a regular knees bent recline twist. I like to call this windshield wipers. And, I live in Oregon, and so it's the misty Oregon, Pacific Northwest kind of rain, so they're on super, super delay setting windshield wipers.

Alright, so you come on up. Maybe every few breaths, and you switch the other side. And it's this nice opening through the side of the hip. One more time, each side, back and forth. And let this move with the pace of your breath.

Inhale, probably pulls you out, and the exhale, you soften on over towards the left. As we come out, we keep the feet a little bit wider than your hip distance. And you allow the knees to come together, as this constructive rest pose. Press slightly into the feet, and draw the tailbone long so you flatten out your sacrum, flatten out the lower back a little bit. And then lift your shoulder heads forward, so that you draw the shoulder blades wider, and then that space flattens, and releases into the ground.

And then the hands come along the sides, whatever's comfortable. A few moments here, grounding, releasing into the backside of the body. A nice, flat, neutral, spine. And then with your next exhale, or when you feel ready, starting to move into your Å?avÄ쳌sana, extending the legs long. Release through the feet.

Wiggle out the hands. Notice if there's any sense of that resistance to the ground. And can you allow your body to be held here? I imagine that the backside almost has this widening quality, as if you're being held in the smallest, most subtle of hammocks. This really sweet and gentle embrace from the mother.

She holds us. Roots us into the ground. Allow your jaw to soften. The forehead. And completely surrendering over.

And taking a rest here. And so if you're really happy and content as you are, and you'd like to stay a little bit longer, feel free to do so. Otherwise, allow a bigger, fuller, inhale to start to greet your body again. And come back into your space. The belly get round.

To inhale. As you exhale, the the exhale fall out through the mouth. (deep exhale) Now with the next inhale, reach the arms overhead. Point through the toes. A nice good morning stretch.

And come on over here, to your side. Pausing, resting. When you feel ready, pressing yourself on up to a seat. And bringing your hands to your heart, and bowing the head on in. Just taking a moment here, acknowledging your work.

Acknowledging your strength, and your fearlessness. And how can this serve you in your life? How can you bring these teachings with you, off the mat? So that when you meet those edges, you move through them. And into your heart, into the fullness of you.

May your path be blazing, and blessed. Namaste.

Comments

That was FUN! Thank you!
Blazed & blessed.
XOXOXO
So lovely, clear and nurturing. Thank you Jessica xo
1 person likes this.
I felt like a kid. Thanks
Awesomeness! And Radical Yogis! Happy, honored, & grateful to help brighten and serve! xoxoxo - j
1 person likes this.
So fun--a nice flowing practice in itself, but also preps you for the final pose step by step. Think you can't do inverted poses? Think again.You can do it! And it is so much fun:)
Thank you Lisa! I'm happy you had a fun time and enjoyed the challenge. And yes! You can do it!
1 person likes this.
Another wonderful practice! Your teaching is inspiring, refreshing, and always so much fun. Thank you so much for this delightful precursor to a rainy workday. :)
You have a wonderful way of evoking love, humor, and playfulness . . . even when we're working hard!!

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