Good Morning Yoga Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 5

Meditative Flow

40 min - Practice
67 likes
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Alana guides us in a slow and meditative practice designed to replenish and renew. We begin by drawing our awareness towards our breath in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound-Angle Pose) before easing into Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations) and a twisting lunge sequence. You will feel more spacious, present, and available for what emerges.
What You'll Need: Mat, Square Bolster

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(waves crashing) Welcome back. This is a replenish and flow sequence, so we'll begin from the ground and then make our way up through some sun salutations and then back down to the earth. So I'll invite the question what would it feel like to have a bit more ease and fluidity in the body? So we'll begin supine in one of my favorite opening postures, Supta Baddha Konasana. So at home, if you have a bolster, that's great.

You can also use a folded blanket for support, and we'll explore our breath. So finding your way onto your sit bones and bringing your bolster or your blanket right up against your sacrum. And then bringing the soles of the feet together, knees wide and then finding your way onto your back. And take your time to settle in. Initially, there might be some irritation or tension around your lower back.

If that's the case, you might bring the feet slightly wider than your hips and allow your knees to rest together just to ease into the shape. Otherwise, you might prefer a Baddha Konasana. The soles of the feet together, knees wide. And then as you begin to settle in, draw in your shoulder blades down your back. So away from your ears.

And I like to bring my hands right around the base of the skull, the occiput, and gently begin to lengthen the back of the neck. And you can even play with tractioning a bit through the base of the skull. Once you feel that length through the neck, release the arms and see what it feels like to allow the palms to open. So there's a receptive quality through the hands. And then as you settle in, begin to just simply observe your breath.

Without working with the breath at first, just begin to notice and observe the sensation of the breath in the body. You might notice there's a rise or an expansion on your inhale, a fullness, and a softening or maybe an emptiness on the exhale. Just a few more moments, checking in with your breath and the sensation in the body. And as you do this, notice where you can begin to relax any unnecessary effort or gripping. Like allowing the back of the eyes to soften, the jaw to release wide across the collarbones and allowing the rib cage to soften a bit.

All right, so receiving the support beneath you. And as you begin to feel the support, begin to invite your breath to deepen. You might bring your awareness down towards your lower belly, lower part of the abdomen. You might even bring the hands to rest there. And with your awareness in the lower belly, inviting the breath here.

Notice how the breath responds. And can you get a sense on your inhale of receiving the breath rather than forcing or working the breath, manipulating the breath, rather receiving the inhale and then releasing the exhale? Just a few more moments here. Developing this intimacy with the breath, this relationship with our breathing. Notice where you can soften a bit through the sacrum, lower back, tailbone, hips.

Once you begin to have a sense of the breath, the feeling of the breath in the lower belly, gently begin to bring some attention towards your exhalation. And sometimes, on the exhalation, it might sound or feel like a sigh, a long exhalation. (exhales) You might keep the hands where they are. It might feel nice to stretch the arms overhead and find the elbows, hands around the elbows and just taking a moment to lengthen and keeping the back of the neck long, softening a bit through the rib cage. Again, what would it feel like to have a bit more ease and fluidity in the body?

As you're ready, come gently release the arms. And just a few more moments here with the breath. Noticing the quality now of the breath. Okay, as you are ready to transition, you might bring your hands around your outer thighs and gently guide the knees towards each other. As you're ready to transition, rolling onto your side off the support, you might take a moment to pause on your side and then pressing the hands into the earth, head comes up last, coming all the way up.

Okay. And then pushing your bolster blanket off to the side, let's transition onto all fours. So as you come on to all fours, take your time here, spread your fingers wide, bring your shoulders over your wrists and just begin to feel, feel the weight down onto your palms. And then moving with our breath, cat cow as you inhale. Feel the body begin to slightly arch, the collarbones widen.

And as you exhale from the tailbone, begin to round, curl the tailbone under. Draw the navel towards the spine, let the head release fully. And as you inhale, roll the pelvis forward, meeting with the heart. Shoulder blades dip down and towards each other as you feel that lengthen opening through the collarbones and maybe the throat. And then continue exhale curl, and you might explore tucking the toes under as you get round.

Inhale, arching the body. A few more rounds moving at your own pace with your breath. On the exhale, you're getting round and curling and on the inhale, you're arching the body and perhaps lengthening. And allow the movement to be interesting for you. Good. Now next time you come into the rounded shape, press back towards child's pose for a few breaths, Balasana.

You might walk the hands out in front of you and then we'll work actively here. So rooting through the fingers and then reaching the hips away from the hands. (breaths deeply) Breathing. Now from here, begin to walk the hands over to your right. As you root through the fingers, reach the left hip away from the hands.

You're beginning to feel a stretch through the left side body. Breathe into the left rib cage. Keeping the neck and the head relaxed. On your next inhale, walk your arms back to center and then over to your left. And then root through the fingers as you reach the right hip away from the hands.

Again, inviting the breath into that right rib cage, soften through the neck and the head. Hmmm. And then walking the hands back to the center, take a moment to pause here in the center. And from child's pose, as you're ready, inhale, come back onto all fours. We'll settle for a side plank variation.

From here, as you're ready, spread the fingers wide, extend back through your left foot, pivot on the outer left edge. And then from here, transfer the weight into that right arm, shoulder stacks over the wrist and then extend and reach the left arm up to the sky. Draw the right shoulder blade down the back for support and find a place where the head and neck feel connected and comfortable. From here, sweep the left hand down by the back foot in front of the face and in towards the front of the mat. Extend through the outer right left edge as you reach through the fingers breathing.

And you might explore here with rounding down towards the floor or spiraling the heart up towards the sky, finding the hand with the gaze. Beautiful, inhale, exhale. Release the left arm down, come back onto all fours. And then moving it through the body, inhale, arching a bit; and exhale, curl. Let's do that one more time, inhale and arch.

Exhale and curl. Coming back onto all fours, we'll find that on the other side. So left hand spreads wide, extend back through your right foot, pivot on the outer right edge. And then begin to reach that right arm up towards the sky and reaching from the heart into both hands, feel that support for the right leg. Extend through the crown of the head and then sweep the right arm down by the back foot in front of the face and then towards the center of the room or top of the mat.

Extend and reach and breath. Enjoy your breath. You might play with rounding forward a bit. Notice how that feels. And then spiraling the heart up, gazing up towards that right hand.

Yes, inhale, exhale and release. Come back onto all fours and then inhale, arching; and exhale and curl. Good, from here press back child's pose for a breath, walking the arms out. And then coming into downward facing dog, spreading the fingers wide, tuck the toes under. Find your downward facing dog.

And in this first dog, come high up onto the balls of the feet, bend the knees and let the sit bones lift up towards the sky a bit, rooting through the fingers and then walking it off as you bend one knee and the other knee. Walking it off for a few breaths. Good, and then coming into neutral here and downward dog. From here, as you're ready, inhale, come forward into plank pose, shoulders over the wrists. As you exhale, keep the elbows in, lower onto your belly.

And then soften the shoulders down the back, draw the elbows in for cobra. Tops of the feet on the floor. As you inhale, press down a bit through the hands and lift the heart. And then exhale and release. We'll do that a few times rolling up.

So draw the chin in towards the heart. As you press down, you're gonna peel the heart up and then exhale and release. We'll find that two more times. Inhale, rolling cobra. Exhale and release.

Last time, inhale and exhale and release. Bring the forehead to the floor, reach the fingers towards the toes. As the inner thighs rotate up, inhale, lift the heart and then lift the thighs for Salabhasana. Inhale, reach; exhale, release. Bring the palms underneath the shoulders, elbows in, tuck the toes under, lift the thighs, strong legs and core.

And then press your way up to plank, press back downward facing dog. Good, take three breaths here. (breaths deeply) At the bottom of your exhale walk or hop forward to your hand. As you inhale, half arch to lengthen. And as you exhale, Uttanasana.

And from Uttanasana, soften the knees and let's roll up towards standing, keeping the chin to the chest. And then feeling the heart and the shoulders and the head. Just taking a moment to spread the feet slightly wider, letting the palms open, softening the knees. And as we make our way into variation of Surya Namaskar A, just take a few moments to arrive here in Tadasana. So bringing your awareness down into your feet.

And you might imagine the bottoms of the feet actually opening to receive the support. Again, what would it feel like to have a bit more ease and fluidity in the body, in our bodies? From here, you might bring the feet a bit closer, spread the toes, continue to allow the palms to open. And this quality of lifting up through the spine, spreading the toes, lifting up from the tailbone towards the heart and then drawing the chin slightly in to allow the base of the skull to widen here. So it's more of an energetic widening, the sense of lengthening through the back of the neck, softening down through the jaw and then allowing the mind to settle and perhaps even rest in the body.

And then moving with our breath, we'll find half sun salutations just to begin to move with the breath and warm up. Hands at the heart. As you're ready, on your inhale, circle your arms up to the sky, lengthen. And as you exhale, you might soften the knees and forward fold, Uttanasana, releasing the head and the arms. As you inhale, Ardha Uttanasana, half arch and lengthen.

Exhale, Uttanasana. Strong legs, inhale, reach the arms up to the sky, lengthen. You might find a slight back bend. Exhale, hands at the heart. We'll find that two more times.

On your inhale, circle the arms up. On your exhale, dive forward. Dive in, Uttanasana. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. Exhale, Uttanasana.

And strong legs and back. As you inhale, circle the arms up. Exhale, hands at the heart. Last round like this. On your inhale, arms rise up.

On your exhale, navel towards the spine, diving in. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. Again, exhale, Uttanasana. Inhale, circle the arms all the way up, reaching from the heart into the hands, again maybe a slight back bend. Exhale, hands at the heart.

Take a moment to pause, notice the sensation of the breath in the body. And then adding on, as you're ready, inhale, circle the arms up. Exhale, dive in, Uttanasana. Inhale, half arch. Lengthen, lengthen.

Exhale, this time as you bend the knees, step the right foot back and step the left foot back. Come into your plank. And from plank, you might lower the knees or you might lower through Chaturanga. Nice and slow, elbows in. Come all the way onto your belly, softening the shoulders down the back, tops of the feet on the floor.

As you inhale, press down through the palms, rise up cobra. Draw the heart forward. Exhale and release. Tuck the toes under, lift the thighs strong through the core. Press up through plank.

Press back, downward facing dog. Take three breaths here. In downward dog, I've been really practicing rooting through the outer edges of the feet, lifting a bit more through the inner lines of the legs and then noticing how that affects the sensation through the belly. (exhales) From here, as you're ready on empty, you might walk or hop your feet to your hands. Inhale, half arch, lengthen.

Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, circle the arms all the way up to the sky. Exhale, release the arms along your sides and find the hands at the heart. Continue, inhale, circle the arms up. Exhale, forward fold.

Inhale, half arch. This time, as we exhale, we'll step the right foot back, let the left knee bend and find that twisting lunge. So bring the right hand down. You might toe heel the left foot slightly wider. Bring the left thumb into the left hip crease, take a moment to lengthen from the back right heel to the crown of the head and then twisting towards your left.

Inhale, exhale, soften the belly and twist. Your hand might stay right where it is or you might extend and reach the left arm up to the sky, again reaching from the heart into both hands. You might look up towards that left hand, breathing. Inhale, exhale, release the left hand down. We're gonna walk the hands over to our right for hammock pose.

So walk the hands over to the right and then walk the hands far out in front of you and then reach your hips away from your hands. So the fingertips are active as you reach the hips away from the hands. (exhales) And breath, let the head release. You might play here with pressing, rooting through the outer edges of the feet, softening through the heart, head releasing. (exhales) Take one more breath here, full inhale.

And as you exhale, walk the hands underneath the shoulders. Walk the hands back to the front of the foot. Come back into the shape of the lunge, and then step back into plank. From plank, you might lower onto the knees or lower slowly through a Chaturanga all the way to the floor. Finding cobra, softening the shoulders down the back, tops of the feet on the floor, press down, inhale and rise up.

Exhale and release, tuck the toes, strong active legs, elbows in, press up through plank. Inhale, exhale, press back, downward facing dog. Let's take three breaths here. (breathes deeply) As you're ready on empty, at the end of your exhale, you might step the left foot forward or hop between the hands. As you inhale, half arch to lengthen.

Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, circle the arms up to the sky, reaching up. Exhale, arms release along your side. Hands at the heart. And continuing together on our second side with the hands at the heart breathing in, and exhale, release the breath.

As you're ready, on your inhale, circle the arms up to the sky. And as you exhale, forward fold, Uttanasana. Inhale, half arch, lengthen. Exhale as you bend the knees. This time, step your left foot back, right knee bends.

You might toe heel the right foot slightly wider. And then as you bring your left hand down, bring the right thumb into the hip crease, reach back through the ball of the left foot forward through the crown of the head. Feel an inhale, and as you exhale, soften the belly, twist towards your right. As you're beginning to open that right shoulder, you might stay right here, you might extend and reach the right arm up towards the sky. Again, reaching from the heart into both hand.

And where can you find a bit more ease within the effort of the twist? Breathing. Yes, inhale, exhale, release the right arm down. We'll find hammock, walk the hands over to your left towards Prasarita Padottanasana. With the feet parallel, walk the hands out in front of you and then reach the hips away from the hands, breathing.

(breathes deeply) And as you breathe in this shape, allow the head and neck to completely release. So there's a soft, fluid spaciousness right through the base of the skull. (breathes deeply) Allow for one more inhale, exhale. And then walk your hands underneath your shoulders. Walk the hands back to the front right foot and then step back into your plank pose.

Take a moment to pause and plank. You might lower onto your knees or through Chaturanga Dandasana. Nice and slow, elbows in, all the way onto your belly for cobra. Tops of the feet on the floor, softening the shoulders down the back, elbows in. As you inhale, press up.

And as you exhale, release. Let's find that again, rolling cobra, draw the chin to the heart, inhale, rise up, exhale, heart forward, releasing the gaze, the head. Inhale. Exhale. One more time, inhale, rolling up (mumbles) last part.

Exhale, release, forehead on the floor, reach the fingers towards the toes, Salabhasana. Inhale with the heart, the thighs, reach the fingers towards the toes, drawing the back body in towards the spine as you lift right through the fingers and the toes. Exhale, release, slide the palms underneath the shoulders, tuck the toes. As you're ready, inhale. On your exhale, press up, press back, downward facing dog.

Three breaths here. (breathes deeply) From here you might walk or hop your feet to your hands. Inhale, half arch. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, circle the arms up to the sky, reaching.

And exhale, release the arms, hands at the heart, just taking a moment to pause. From here, making our way down to the earth with the sun salutation. As you're ready, hands at the heart, inhale. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, half arch, lengthen.

Exhale, step back into plank. From plank, lower onto the knees or through a Chaturanga. Inhale, press up, cobra. Lengthening the heart forward, elbows in. Exhale, release.

This time, we'll tuck the toes under, get round and press back towards child's pose, Balasana, hips towards the heels, forehead towards the floor. Okay, slowly, as you're ready from child's pose, slide the palms underneath the shoulders, draw the chin into the chest and then slowly roll up for just a moment to Vajrasana, sitting on the heels, feeling the heart, the shoulders, the head. Get long through the neck and the fingers. And then from here, we'll transition onto our back, coming onto your back supine. As you come on to your back, draw your knees into your chest and just allow yourself to rock a bit from side to side.

We're moving into windshield wipers, so soles of the feet on the floor wider than your hips, stretching the arms overhead. Allow for an inhale. And as you exhale, the knees fall over to your left, lengthening through the right side body, from the fingers down towards that right knee. Inhale, let the knees come back, exhale over to the right and lengthening the left side body from the fingers down the thigh towards the knee. Inhale, exhale over to the left.

Inhale over to the right on the exhale. Take about a handful of rounds, just moving at your own pace side to side with your breath, finding that ease through the neck, fluidity through the body, softening through the jaw and the eyes, letting the knees come back up. Hug the knees into the chest. And then from here, the suggestion is to bring a bolster underneath the feet for supported Baddha Konasana. And you can do this with a blanket or without.

So I'll bring the soles of the feet now on my bolster, let the knees go wide. And wiggling and adjust and just taking a few moments to close our practice, the hands might rest on the belly as the thighs fall into the support. Long through the back of the neck, connecting back with the sensation of the breath in the body or in the palms, the hands. You're welcome to stay here as long as like. When you feel ready to transition towards a seated position, guiding the knees back towards each other, rolling onto your side and then using your hands to press you up, coming into a comfortable seated position, you might sit up on your bolster if you have one.

Settling into your seat, (exhales) allow for an exhale to help ground down through the sit bones a bit. And then lengthening up through the spine. So the invitation is the back of the body is strong and lengthening, and the front of the body is soft and relaxed. So softening, warmth in the heart and the belly. Just taking a few moments to settle here, allowing your awareness to gently expand a bit.

Feeling your presence, gently expand a bit more. The last few moments where can you find a bit more ease? What would that feel like? And to bring us back, guiding your awareness into your hands, bring your hands together, finding the heart. Namaste.

Thank you for your practice and for showing up.

Comments

Jess
2 people like this.
This was a great flow for me!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Jessica! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the practice. Wishing you a beautiful day. xo
Elaine Fox
I really liked the arc of this practice. Perfect for me today!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Elaine! So delighted to hear that you enjoyed the practice...such a nice way to ease into our day. Enjoy!
Aparna S
Wonderful class. Thank you. I noticed I felt a great deal of nausea during uttanasana...do you have any suggestions for eliminating nausea? Thank you.
Alana Mitnick
Dear Aparna, I'm so sorry to hear that you felt nauseous. It can be a common effect of the yoga practice, especially in the beginning. The twisting and bending can speed up the process of elimination, and queasiness is sometimes a result. We recommend practicing on an emptier stomach and drinking water throughout the day to help the body flush. Sometimes this practice, the blanket bolster can help. http://www.yogaanytime.com/class-vi ew/644/video/Yoga-Relaxing-the-Bell y-by-Heidi-Fokine
Please keep me posted. xoA
Aparna S
Thank you Alana. I do practice on an empty stomach. But I do need to drink more water.
Alana Mitnick
Me too, Aparna. It's a good reminder for all of us. :) Take care! xo
Frederic M
Thanks Alana. I loved the opening sequence and the bringing the awareness on receiving and releasing the breath.
Alana Mitnick
Wonderful, Frederic! So delighted to be practicing together. Thank you for sharing. ~ Alana
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