The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 7

Refreshing Flow

40 min - Practice
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Everyday we have the opportunity to refresh and reconnect. Brenda guides us in a creative sequence of standing twists, playing with our balance and center of gravity. This practice promotes strength, increased circulation, and focus.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(waves crashing) Welcome back. So every day the sun rises, sun sets, moon rises, moon sets. It's that gentle reminder that each day we have the opportunity to renew, reset, refresh. You know, how often do we say tomorrow's a new day? But, ultimately, we can make that reset, renew, refresh in any moment.

And our mat is such a perfect opportunity to do that, and I once had a beautiful teacher remind me that no matter what happens in our life, how great the highest high is, or the lowest low is, we can always return to our mat to reconnect. So let's connect at the top of our mat through a twisting practice and some fun arm balances. So, just taking time to root and ground. Hands can be either down or at the heart-center. And just taking a moment to welcome yourself to your practice.

Just stand tall in Tarasana. Just feeling those places where your body's giving effort and those places where you can soften in a little bit. The eyes are closed, softly open them lightly, pressing the palms down on an exhale, inhale, taking the arms up. Exhale, folding forward, Uttanasana. Inhale, halfway rise.

For the first one, step back. You can also choose to continue to step back. Floor, all the way down to the floor. Optionally, the knees are straight down. On an inhale, lift up, Low Cobra, Bhujangasana.

And just pause on this one. A little softness through the face, shoulders pressed back. Ceiling down through the tops of the feet. Exhale, release it down, curl the toes under, lifting up back into Downward-Facing Dog. Heels pressed down, thighs pressed back.

First one, just holding for five breaths. So you choose, if you feel like you need to fidget, to move through the energy through, or finding complete stillness. Moving right into our first round of rhythm and repetition. On an inhale, taking the right leg up. Exhale, bring the right knee towards the left elbow, shifting, just a light tap.

Inhale takes it up and back. Exhale, knee to nose, slight pause. Place the foot down high, crescent lunge. Root through your feet. I like to take my feet hip-distance apart for strong, for balance.

On an exhale, take the left arm forward, right arm back. Lunge twist. Your inhale to lift the arms, torso comes back forward. Good, exhale, open. Again, moving with your breath.

Inhale. On this third one, pause. So choosing either holding here or take the right hand down the left leg, reaching up and back. And just hold two breaths. Release the right arm, rise back up, high crescent.

Hands come down, step back, Chaturanga. Nice and slow, crown forward. Inhale, Urdhva Mukha. Exhale, back Adho Mukha. On an inhale, left leg lifts up.

Exhale, knee to right elbow, find that twist, and a little pause. Inhale. Exhale, knee to nose. High crescent, back heel stays lifted. Take the feet hip-distance apart.

Strong core, strong balance. Exhale, left arm back, right arm forward. Inhale. Exhale, find the twist, still keep the hips lifted lightly, good, and again. Exhale.

This one either hold here or take the left hand down the right thigh, reach the right arm up. You can either take the gaze down or start to lift the chin up. Good, release the left arm. Bring it up to frame the ears. Exhale, moving through our transition.

Chaturanga or the floor. You can always press back right into Downward-Facing Dog. Inhale. Good, your exhale takes you back. On an inhale, right side, repeating.

Exhale, knee towards left. In. Exhale, knee in. Place the foot down, high crescent, arms sweep up. Strong base, strong foundation.

Exhale, open up. In. Exhale. In. Exhale, this one either hold here or reach back down the thigh, reach up and back.

So slight back bend, slight twist. Right hand comes up to meet the other. Exhale, palms down. Chaturanga or high plank to the floor. Inhale.

Exhale, thighs pressed back, hips lift. Inhale, left leg, take it up. Exhale, knee towards right elbow. Inhale. Exhale, knee to nose again.

Find that sacred pause just to gain control and a soft step down, arms sweep up. Exhale, open, left arm back. In. Exhale, work on softening the shoulders down. Good, in.

Exhale, open. Left hand reaches down, right arm reaches up. Good, soft through the left arm, bring it back up. Exhale, palms down. Take it through.

Inhale, Urdhva Mukha. Exhale, back, Adho Mukha. One more time through each side. Inhale, the right leg lifts. Exhale, knee to left.

Inhale. Exhale, knee in. Place the foot down, high crescent. Strong through the legs, light through the upper body. Exhale, open, so you can keep that left hip lifted up.

In. Exhale. In. Right, letting the chin turn with the sternum. Right hand can stay up, or reach it back.

Right hand comes up. Exhale, palms down, Chaturanga. Or skip it all together, right? And the Vinyasa can be like the bread of a meal. We can get so filled up on it.

Inhale, left leg. So honor where you are in each moment. Exhale, knee to right elbow. Inhale. Exhale, knee in.

Place the foot, high crescent, back heel lifts up high. Exhale, open. In. Exhale, open, soft through the eyes. In.

Last one, hold here or reach the arm back. Reach the right arm up. Left arm comes up to meet the right. Exhale, palms down. Moving through your transition.

Meet back in Downward-Facing Dog. Good, three breaths here. Really long breath. Good, taking the gaze forward, bend the knees, step or hop the feet between the hands. Inhale, come up halfway.

Exhale, fold. Let the head go, start to take the hands behind. Interlace if you can, or grab a strap or a shirt or a tie. Let the fists come up and over. Play with softening through the elbows.

Play with letting the head go. So notice here where your weight falls on your feet. Maybe you start to fall back. Maybe forward, see if you can find the balance where the sit bones start to drift over the heels. Can feel your weight in all four corners.

Can release the hands down. Tow, heel, the feet together, bend the knees on an inhale. Rise up, Utkatasana. So Chair-Pose. As you arrive, take the gaze down, slide the knees back, and then peel up, hips, belly, heart.

Exhale, bring the hands towards the heart. Sit down a little deeper and take a twist to your right. As you twist, take your gaze to your right knee. Slide the right knee back. Palms pressed.

See if you can lift the heart up towards the palm. Keep drawing the right knee back. Just stay here for three more breaths. So as we spin in our spine, see if you can use the entire spine. Often, we have like one or two places that we like to move from.

Remember, the spine goes all the way down the tailbone. All the way up through the back of the neck. Good, exhale. Bring the arms down, and then inhale one breath. Exhale, fold forward.

Take the feet back apart hip-distance. Let the arms come up and over again. And drop the head. All right, so in our forward fold, you can choose legs long, or you can choose a softness through the knees. Any back mischief, take your feet wider, bend the knees deeper.

Start to release the hands down. Toe, heel, the feet back towards each other. So if the toes are touching, knees are starting to come together. Inhale, rise up, Utkatasana. Do that same setup.

Take the gaze down, slide the knees back. And then start that peel up, hips, belly, heart. Right, your arms might be here, and you can take 'em a little wider, see if you can draw 'em back. And, if available, find that spin. And our upper arms back.

Exhale, hands to the heart, sink a little deeper. Find a twist to your right. Start to draw left knee back, left hip back. Heart lifts up as high as the hands. We're playing with bum a little bit lower than the crown.

Three more breaths. Embracing any little shake. Good, come back to center, inhale, Utkatasana. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, rise up.

Take the feet about hip-distance apart. See if you can lift your feet, bring your palms underneath. So back of the hands to the floor, toes towards the wrist creases. Padahastasana. Inhale, come halfway up, exhale, fold in.

And slowly release. Bring the palms back down, lift up halfway. Transitioning, you choose step or hop. We'll meet back in Downward-Facing Dog. Your inhale, either Bhujangasana or Urdhva Mukha.

Exhaling back, great. Moving through a creative flow, we'll play a little bit here. On an inhale, taking the right leg up. Exhale, knee to left elbow. Inhale, rise.

Exhale, knee in towards nose with control. Place the foot down, high crescent lunge. Good, open it up, warrior two, back heel drops down, arms open. Right into reverse. From here, we're gonna take a lunge twist.

So you've gotta rotate, lift up the back heel, lift the left hip around. All the way into a spin. Hold for a moment. Right, so options. Stay right here or start to root into the right foot.

Lift the left leg. So we're gonna play a bit with Ardha Chandrasana in a variation with a twist. Whoop. So we're rooting into the right big toe mound. Three more breaths.

And soft step back. You're gonna come into a runner's lunge. Hands down. Drop the back heel, lengthen through the right leg, and toe, heel the back foot in. Inhale, come halfway up.

Exhale, fold in. Inhale, rise up halfway. Any back mischief, keep the arms behind. If the back's okay, take the arms forward. Connect deep into that right hip.

Draw it back. Root through the feet, inhale, rise up. Right. Lift up, use this as a little hip adjustment, left hip forward, right hip back. Arms come up.

Release the arms behind, either interlace the hands or vip-er-ee-tah Namaste. Heart lifts. Right, just a little back bend up and over the hands. Exhale, come halfway. Right again, adjusting the hips.

Crown reaches forward. On an exhale, fold it all the way in. So rooting through the back foot. A softness through this front knee. Try to stamp down into the back foot to draw that right hip back.

Try to press the palms together. And exhale, release, the hands down. Inhale, come halfway up. Take the left hand either to the inside of the big toe on the foot or to the right of the pinky toe. I like to stay up on my fingerpads.

Draw the right hip back, starting to move into a twisted triangle pose. On an inhale, option of taking the right arm up. Try to get long through the spine. Find that same draw back of the right hip. Bring the right hand down to the sacrum.

Shift forward, take the left hand out in front, bring it in to Parita Art-uh-ten-drasna. So we already went in to that kind of fun variation of it. This time, come into the regular pose. Hips even, and then maybe right arm can lift up. Good, slowly bringing the right hand down.

So the hips are even, soften through the right knee. Take the left leg up into a standing split. See if you can lengthen through the right hip. Let the head go for three breaths. And then slowly bring the left foot down to meet the right.

Toe, heel the feet hip-distance and mat-distance apart and come right into Malasana. Ah. Hands to heart and just close the eyes. So notice, notice, notice what's coming up. For some this pose might be like, "Yes." For some this pose is like, "Get me out." See if you can just meet that resistance, meet that place with like a little more ease.

Maybe it's backing out a little bit. Good, and then softly, coming down into Navasana. So maybe it's reaching the arms out, boomp, right onto the bum. Take the legs up. Adjust, grab hold of the back of the thighs.

Shine the heart. We're just gonna do five up and down. So exhale, reach the feet out, take the tailbone down, and just pause. Inhale, rise up. Right, option, the legs long, knees bent, and you can always hook back on.

Exhale. Good, inhale to rise. Three more. Exhale. Belly button draws down, feet reach out.

Inhale. Good, slow lower. Good, in. Last one. Beautiful, in.

I'm gonna add one, so we come down. Knees come into the chest. A little roll. All right, so we're just gonna roll back and forth, and you're gonna come all the way to a standing forward fold. Arms up behind.

So remember, if rolling on the spine does not feel good, don't force it, just roll to the side, and meet us up here. Exhale, release the hands down. Inhale, come halfway up. Place the palms, step or hop back, Chaturanga. Inhale.

Exhale back. Moving through the left side. Inhale, left leg lifts. Exhale, knee to right elbow. Inhale.

Exhale, knee to nose. Place the foot softly, rise up high crescent. On an exhale, open up warrior two, so the back heel drops, shoulders soften. Good, left palm lifts. Right, so moving into a high crescent twist, the back heel has to lift as the right hip comes around.

Palms meet at the heart. You can scoot that back foot up. Just take a moment here to lift the heart up towards the hands. And so from here, option, you can stay here, or we can move forward, root through this left foot. See if you can lift the right foot up.

It might be just an inch, it might be heel in line with the sit bone. Oop. Still lengthening. And a soft step back. Release the hands, back into a runner's lunge.

Start to straighten the left leg. Bring the right foot in about three, six inches. Adjust the hips. Right hip forward, left hip back. Inhale, come up halfway.

Exhale, fold in. Good, root through the feet. Inhale, we're gonna come up halfway with the torso. So check in with your low back. If it feels okay, reach the arms out.

If not, keep the hands on the hips or reach 'em behind. Good, root through the feet, inhale, rise up. Hip adjustment. Left hip back, right hip forward, arms reach up. Exhale, release the hands behind.

Either interlace, grab opposite elbow, or vip-er-ee duh-namaste. Ah, little back bend over the hands. Exhale, come forward. Slow it down at the halfway point to readjust the left hip. And then exhale, fold it in.

Just stamping down a little bit stronger through the outer edge of the right foot. Then connecting to the right hip, slide it back. We have a couple ways to do this. You can take the gaze to the toes. Some like to tuck the chin, bring the forehead to the shin.

I like to lengthen through my upper back. Soft through the eyes. Then soften through the arms. Let them release down. Inhale, come halfway up.

Do that little adjustment again, 'cause the hips tend to have a mind of their own. Bring the right hand either inside the big toe on the foot or to the left of the pinky toe. Inhale, draw the left hand up to the sacrum. A little draw back, a little press through the back foot. Then, when you're ready, inhale, take the left arm up.

So again playing with the hips. Trying to draw that left hip back, trying to keep the right hip lifted. And the gaze is up to you. If it feels okay, you can tuck the chin, starting to take the gaze towards the left thumb. And if not, you can keep the gaze down.

Bring the hand back to the sacrum, slide the right hand out, coming into Parita Art-uh-ten-drasna. Right leg lifts. When you're ready, draw the left arm up, adding the twist. Two more breaths. Good, soften the left hand down.

Right leg's gonna go straight up into a standing split. Right, so as that left hip's getting tired, create space. Try not to sink into it. And then slowly lower, right foot comes down. Back into Malasana.

Feet hip-distance to mat-distance apart. Ah. Right, trying to sit out of the low back. Right, checking in that the knees are moving in the same direction as the toes. So if you have a little turn out, knees are slightly turned out.

If the toes are forward, knees are forward. Good, softly lower all the way back. So just transitioning through Navasana, lift up the chest, and then slowly lower all the way back down. Knees come in. Keep the knees just in line for a moment.

Take the arms out wide. And then start to draw the knees in a little more. On an exhale, take your knees to the right, draw them in toward the armpit, so they're hovering. Inhale, come back to center. Knees to hover to the left, draw them in.

Inhale, back up. Exhale, to the right, hover. Good, inhale. Exhale, knees left, hover. Okay, so option is stay right here with the knees bent.

Or you can take one long, or both long. On an exhale, feet are long. Take the feet over the hand and gaze in the opposite direction. Good, inhale, come back up to center. Exhale, feet to the left, gaze to the right.

Good, in. Exhale, feet right, gaze left. And one more. Exhale, feet left, gaze right. Inhale.

Good, knees to chest. Slowly roll back and forth, making your way all the way up to a forward fold on your feet. Keeping the hands down, inhale, come halfway up. Exhale, fold, let's slide the hands behind the Achilles, so they might be behind the calves, might sliding down. For some, you can start to pick up the heels.

Take the hands underneath. I prefer right around my Achilles, taking my forearms to the back of the calves. Drawing the shoulders lightly up. On an inhale, come halfway up, start to slide the toes in towards each other. Exhale, fold.

Inhale, rise up, Utkatasana. So from here, on an exhale, bring the hands to the heart. We're gonna sit down a little deeper, and work a twist now to the left. Slide the right knee back. You can hold right here.

For some, you can start to shift, hands down to the floor, come on to the balls of the feet. As you place your palms down, you're gonna work your tricep down your thigh, bending the elbows as if you're moving into Chaturanga arms, tiptoeing the feet out to the right. And then just a little, like you're tipping a teapot. Parsvakonasana. And you might play with legs long.

And bring the legs back. And then tip on back, back into Utkatasana. Back into a forward fold. Right, so forward fold of your choice. I like feet hip-distance.

Let's take two peace fingers to the big toe. If you have another preference, feel free. And exhale, fold forward. Okay, release the toes. Toe, heel the feet back in.

Inhale, rise up. Utkatasana. Hands come to the heart, slide the knees back. Twist now to your right. Take a moment to adjust the left tricep down.

So staying either right here, working the twist, you can take the arms open for full expression, or you can start to slide the hands to the floor. So I'm gonna go ahead and turn so you can see me. Bring your hands down. Start to work the left forearm down. Sorry, the left tricep down.

Start to bend the elbows. Walk the feet a little bit so you can tip. All right, so from here, hanging out here, or, for some, you can start to lengthen the legs. Then bring it back in. Back in to Utkatasana.

Just a lengthening and an exhale, fold it in. So just rolling out the wrists a little bit here. You're gonna play a little bit more on form. Some little balances. Good, bring the hands down.

Walk it out into Downward-Facing Dog. And walk the feet in just a little bit, like two inches closer. Press through the left palm. You're gonna take your right hand and reach it back. It might reach to around, below, or above the knee towards the calf.

For some, you can reach back towards the Achilles. And then work the twist through. So you're still pressing through the thighs. Right, and if that just shortens up the twist, and you want a little bit more, you can inch the feet back a bit. Then transitioning to the other side.

Press through the hands. Reach the left hand back, and find your happy place with just a soft edge. Come back to Downward-Facing Dog, choosing to hold right here or move through a Vinyasa. Sliding forward into plank. Chaturanga or the floor.

Inhaling, Upward or Low Cobra. Exhaling back. From here, take the left foot, you're gonna bring it across the right thigh, as if it's in a figure four, and then as high up as you can. Start to walk the hands back. As you arrive, if it's available, start to slide the leg all the way up, as if you're in Ardha Padmasana, Half Lotus.

Just kinda hang out for a moment. So then, bending the knee, we're gonna come down onto the ball of the foot. So an option, hang out right here, playing maybe with a little bit of balance. For some, moving into the arm balance in Ardha Padmasana. You're gonna come back into the twist.

Palms come down, work the back of the arm to the thigh. And then I'm gonna start to tiptoe my right foot out, tip forward. And just pausing. I like to take my gaze towards my toes to keep the back of my neck long. Then coming out.

Nice and easy. We're gonna come all the way back into that forward fold. And then back out into Downward-Facing Dog. And then both feet to the floor. Just take a moment, wiggle it out a little bit.

Then a little play on the opposite side. Right leg comes up. So get up as high as you can. I can get it up to there, a figure four, and then start to walk back. Do a little adjustment, taking my leg up into Ardha Lotus.

And then folding forward again. Letting my knees settle, letting my hips settle. Then from here, shifting on to the ball of the foot. Working the hands over to the opposite side. So, again, just like Chaturanga arms.

Work the back of the arm, the tricep, against the right thigh. I'm gonna tip forward and then work my left foot out to the side. And just pause, taking my gaze towards my toes. Good, softening back down. Come back into the forward fold.

Then walk it back on out. Take both feet to the floor. And pause, five breaths. Now taking the gaze forward, we're gonna jump all the way through. And taking the gaze forward, jumping all the way through, or hop to your feet and come onto your bum.

Slide back on your mat, and you're gonna come into a seated hip-opener. So take your right leg across as if you were sitting in this figure four. Turn your fingerpads behind you. Start to work the shin towards the chest and start to sit up a little taller. So you can stay right here as we start to progress, but we're gonna take a few breaths before we move into the twist.

So notice, if you're in this and it starts to round out, see if you can find a place where you can really sustain the lift of the chest. And then just waking Up through the low back. So choice to stay here or we're gonna move into Parsva Bhuja Dandasana. So from here, do a little shift onto the ball of the foot. Then walk the hands around.

As you walk the hands around, you're gonna work your foot up the tricep. This is my more stable side, AKA a little tighter. So shifting forward into Chaturanga arms. And take the left leg out long. Right, gaze towards your toes.

Then softly coming back down. As you come back down, take the left leg long, cross the right foot over, seal down the right foot, right hand behind, take the left arm up, and then exhale, Matsyendrasana. And if you prefer a bind here, please feel free. Trying to lift up from the low back. All the way up through the crown.

And as you spin here, keep the chin in line with the sternum. Nice, come back to center. Bend the knees. And I'm gonna flip around the other way so you can see on this side. Coming right into that hip opener on the opposite side, so left leg comes across.

Keep the foot flexed. Turn the fingertips behind you. And then sit up. So it might be that it's far, and this might be where you feel the stretch. Just slowly walk the foot in.

See if that works. Taking a few breaths here. And, again, playing with that lifting of the chest, the sitting up out of the low back. Right, so you choose hanging out here or trying the arm balance by sliding forward. I like to come on to the ball of my foot, taking my left hand around.

So you're trying to work the bottom of the foot up the tricep, and then, as you tip into Chaturanga arms, slide the right leg out. And keep the outer arms drawing in. Then slowly come on down. (chuckles) Bring the left foot to the floor. Left hand behind, take the right arm up, and then find the twist.

This always feels so good after that pose. (chuckles) I'm feeling the sit bones root. Nice, come back to center. Take both legs out long. Just give a little shake of the knees. Take, again, the fingerpads behind you to sit up.

And then, if available, start to walk forward. Keeping a slight flex to the feet. Coming all the way into Paschimottanasana. And, again, maybe bringing the hands across so you can let the forehead rest. For some, it might be the fists.

For some, you can get the forehead all the way down. But think about the low back, middle back, upper back, and finding space. And slowly rolling up. Lowering yourself all the way down. And just coming right into your final pose, Savasana.

And the whole body get heavy, letting the earth support you. And just doing a quick scan from head to toe, just noticing if there's any places that just breathing into, letting go. Taking a little deeper inhale. Complete exhale. Just allowing your body to stay heavy and just taking in the sensations.

And slowly beginning to wiggle the fingers, the toes, bringing a little bit of energy into the body. And, if you'd like, taking the arms up overhead. Lightly rolling on to one side. Just letting your top arm support your head. Slowly rolling up into a comfortable seat.

And, again, keeping the eyes closed down. Bring the right hand to the heart, the left on top. Remembering, at any time, you can step on to the mat to renew, refresh, reset, to reconnect. At your highest highs, at your lowest lows, your mat's just happy to see you. Thank you for sharing your practice.

Namaste.

Comments

3 people like this.
Amazing twists! I still have some way to go..... Thanks Brenda for the inspiration to try!

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