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Season 1 - Episode 6

Get Bigger

20 min - Practice


How big do we need to be in order to hold everything that we are? Meant to accompany her Get Bigger Talk, Linda leads us through a gentle sequence to explore the concept of expansion and extension to help you find joy, release, and receptivity.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Nov 14, 2015
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(waves crashing) Welcome back. To continue our conversation about this understanding of acceptance and rejection, understanding of separation and connection, I thought it might be fun to explore that in our asana practice, and one way to do that is to work with the understanding of expansion, extension actually, and expansion. Mr. Iyengar says that we extend with our brains, and we expand with our hearts, so I think that's, be worth playing with, just to see what that actually means. So, why don't we go ahead and start in child's pose, just to kind of come back to the breath, move the mind into the body. Yogi's choice, either a nice wide-kneed child's pose, with toes connected, or keeping the knees in line, whatever works for you.

But, just go ahead and release the head and neck, come all the way down into child's pose, just beginning to find the breath, the rhythm of the breath. Once again coming to my favorite sama vritti breath, inhaling to a count of four, exhaling to a count of four, and pause. And as we inhale, releasing all the effort, exhale and slightly engage. Inhaling to release, exhaling to engage. Keeping the eyes soft, the jaw released, and the throat soft, begin to bring your attention to the groin, the pelvic floor and the hips, noticing the muscle softening and releasing, in tandem with the jaw, the eyes and the tongue.

And from here, very slowly push your way up, extending your arms out, come into a nice puppy pose, pressing down into your, you can, I like to keep my feet flat, but it's yogi's choice, whatever's comfortable for you, bringing the sitting bones up into the, up onto the ceiling, and extending my arms really far away from my body. Seeing if you can keep extending more and more, it's like this grasping I want, I want, I want, moving, extending to, what am I, am I overextending? I'm, I want more, I'm grasping, I'm pulling away from my center. That was hard, that's hard work. So, go ahead and release the elbows down.

And from the mid part of your back, from the back of your heart, begin to again extend your arms long, and isometrically see if you can push the hands away, and pull them forward towards you. Push away, inhale, pull and exhale . And, seeing if you can feel that sense of extension, from somewhere, from the back of your heart, and then taking a few moments to inhale and expand on the exhale all the way through the body, seeing if you can feel every part of the body participating in this pose. Inhaling, and exhale your awareness to the tops of your feet, you shins, your knees. Inhale once again, and exhale your awareness into the armpits as they expand and move down toward the floor.

Move into your fingertips, and once again release the eyes back into your head, release the bridge of the nose, the cheekbones and the chin. And whenever you're ready very slowly begin to come up to your hands and knees and just spend a moment finding that tabletop position, using a folded blanket if your knees need a little bit more. If you have really, um, wrists that are tender or complaining, it's also fine, if you need to, to come up onto your wrists. I'm gonna move back a little bit, as we move into the next pose. Just extend your left leg long behind you, and pressing into the ball of your foot, see if you can feel a nice little connection from the belly button moving up, and the heel of your left foot.

From here, pressing into your hands, as you press gently, very gently, into the right shin. Feel like the entire body is ready to participate. Take a deep breath in, and exhale and extend that leg back toward the back wall, as you extend the arm forward. Inhaling, and exhale your awareness all the way to the tips of the fingers and the pad of the left foot. Inhale again, and exhale and extend.

And very slowly release. And, if it feels nice just kinda arch and round the back. Feel like a little bit of gratitude for my spine right now. And come to the right side again, just pressing back into the pad of your foot, noticing right away the difference between the right side and the left side. See if you can notice again that little connection, between your belly button and your heel, there's a nice little like invisible rope that extends and tugs from the belly button to the heel.

Pressing down through your hands, and softly on the shin of your left foot, inhale, and exhale, the leg up, take a nice inhale, and exhale out, noticing if you can extend from the back of your heart and extend your leg all the way, all the way up from your spine, all the way out through the tips of your toes. Pressing, inhale, and expand your awareness into your left foot one more time, to inhale, and release. And just gently round and move back into child's pose. And as we move back to tabletop, once again finding what's comfortable, just curl your toes under and press into downward facing dog keeping your knees bent for a moment, just kinda find your way in, finding some strength and stability in those arms, as they extend right through the back of your heart. Inhale, and expand your awareness out into the fingertips, and then from your legs, begin to bring your awareness to the inside of your ankles, inhale and exhale as your awareness expands all the way up through the inner thighs, all the way up to the groin.

And sometimes when the awareness goes all the way up the inside of the legs, magically the sitting pose release a little bit higher toward the ceiling. And from this pose, can you explore the difference between the tadasana energy of strength and stability, and the savasana energy of receptivity and openness, where is it that you can feel joy, release, and receptivity, in the face perhaps? The heart, the jaw, and the eyes. And on your next inhale, exhale, bend your knees and very slowly begin to walk your way up to the top of your mat, and come into uttanasana standing forward bend. Pressing down into your heels and fingertips as your sitting bones rise up to meet the ceiling.

Spending a moment in uttanasana, inhaling, and exhaling to expand, and perhaps to dig a little bit deeper into your pose, knowing, of course, that going deeper does not mean bending more, it means bringing your awareness a little bit deeper into your experience. And on your next inhale, inhale your arms up overhead and bring your palms to your heart. I'm gonna step over here. And just close your eyes. Taking a moment, once again, to inhale, and exhale, and expand outward.

I think that this particular practice of expansion and extension works really lovely in standing poses, because I think what the invitation is, is to see how, big I can be, how, how open I can get, so let's try that just playing a little bit with warrior II. So go ahead and just open up, and if you're feeling like this, what would it be like to take up a little bit more space? Just enough that somebody's not gonna like jump on your mat with you and go no, no, no you need to do this, you need. Allow everyone to move off your mat all those judgments, all those do this, do that, don't do that. And take up your space.

Nice. And just take a moment to feel your feet on the floor, once again I know I keep invoking Mr. Iyengar, but one of things that he says that really resonates with me is that whatever is touching the floor, in your asana pose, is your physical foundation. That's your ground, that's your trust, that's your stability. And as you find that, as you experience it, just take a moment to lift your arches ever so slightly. Look at your back foot, and just by looking at it, see if you can experience it waking up.

Aha, it's all the way on the floor now, it's all the way in it's position, and it feels connected, it feels heard. And then from that sense of stability and ground, he says we have a spiritual foundation, and that's the heart and so from that sense of, that heart connection, see if you can then expand your arms out, and moving from the back of your heart, you're expanding your arms with a sense of lightness and buoyancy. Doesn't mean they're wimpy arms, we're not, what do you call those things, pterodactyls or whatever? Instead a sense of expanding from the heart, and being as big as you are. It's like, how big do I need to be in order to hold everything that I am.

So then from the sense of lightness and sense of stability, take a deep breath in, and exhale into your warrior pose. Watching that knee, and just seeing if you can expand out, through your feet, through your fingertips, noticing the difference between expanding the arms and finding stability in the legs. Inhale and lift, exhale and bend. One more inhale to lift, and this time just looking over those fingers, just see if you can get a sense of allowing your pelvis to go straight down. We're not grasping into the future, we're not being pulled by what's happened already, we are right in our experience, right in the moment, right in our power.

Take a nice deep breath in, and do the other side. So we just, and we move here, and again finding that ground and noticing the difference between this side and that side. Just see if there's any difference between your experience of far, and begin to expand your arms. Feet are exactly where they need to be. Buoyancy in those arches, and a sense of almost like you have, little like, helium balloons, just gently moving your arms up, and take a nice deep breath in, and bend your knees.

And if your knee tends to come in, you can encourage it by just gently opening, gently opening this side, and recommitting to the pose. And once again, allowing your pelvis to go straight down will allow you to keep being right in the center of your experience. Not, not overextending your capabilities, not being pulled backwards, you're just right there. Pressing into that foot, complete steady, complete ease. Inhale up, and exhale down.

And thank you for sharing this with me, and I really encourage you to play with those concepts of expansion, extension, contraction and release. And see you where you land.


How wonderfully liberating, and I love the idea of allowing yourself to take up space and the alignment of the pelvis tethering you to the present. Inspiring!

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