There are some days you just a need a quick reboot from the heels to the heart and that is EXACTLY what this practice is all about. We begin with the feet and move up through the legs, hips and into the heart for a 30 minute - full body Yin practice!
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Foot/Ankle Stretch & Toe Flip
Hold: 1-3 minutes
Sit back onto your heels with feet tops flattened back underneath your hips. Use a blanket rolled behind knees or a block/blanket to support the hips if this is too much for your knees. Stay here seated or take your hands back behind you and out to the sides and begin to lean back, taking the knees off the floor slightly. The higher your knees come off the floor, the more the tops of the feet are stretched. This pose activates all the lower body meridians and gives the feet a good stretch. To come out, lower down and come onto hands and knees then step back to Downward Facing Dog - walking your dog out for 5-8 breaths. Return to your knees and flip your toes over so the toes face your knees and the bottom of the foot is in full extension. You can lean forward to reduce the pressure OR lean back and sit on your heels. Hold here for 1 minute then release the toes and tap the tops of feet lightly on the floor.
Hold: 1 minute each section
Place a rolled towel or blanket directly behind the knees and begin to sit back (you can use your fingertips on the floor and lean forward if this is too much). Stay in this position for 1 minute then lean forward, move the roll to about midway between the knee and heel and sit back again for 1 minute. Continue to move the roll all the way to the ankle joint, sitting back again for 1 minute.
Twisted Deer/Giraffe Pose
Hold: 2-4 mins/side
Sit up with sitting bones stable on the floor or a folded blanket. Bring both feet together, knees wide to sides. Take your right leg and turn it out to the side, keeping the foot flexed. Take it back behind you as far you feel comfortable, knee bent (remember the 2/3 of your max idea). Leave your other foot out or pull it closer to the pelvis for Giraffe. Take one hand to the inside of your legs and the other to the outside of your left leg. Sit up tall and breathe into the legs. Begin to twist toward the front foot knee and lower as far as appropriate for you. Your hip will come off the floor slightly (that's fine). This pose seems so simple but pay attention to releasing muscle engagement in the thighs and hips. To come out, bring feet back together and flutter knees up and down for 5-10 breaths. Continue to second side.
1/2 Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins/side
Come onto hands and knees (blanket underneath for comfort if needed). Begin to drop your belly down towards the floor keeping hips directly over knees. Start to walk your hands out in front of you (wide if that opens your shoulders more). Take your right hand and cross the forearm so you can rest your forehead on top of it or a block. Take your left arm out straight overhead or at an angle to the left. Allow your back to lengthen and your chest to drop - stretching your side body, shoulders and chest. Breathe deeply into the spine and chest (engage navel if this is too much on your lower back). To come out, engage your core and begin to lift, walking your hands back towards your knees. Take Downward Facing Dog for 5-8 breaths - bending one knee and the other. Continue to the other side with the left forearm bent under your head and right arm outstretched in front.
Hold: 3-5 mins/side
Come onto your back. Gently press through your feet to lift hips over to the right side. Bring knees to chest and drop over to the left side, stacking the knees as much as possible (using a block underneath if the knees don't come to the floor easily). Take arms wide out from shoulders and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to pull your knees ground bound and settle your shoulders deeper. Enjoy the release of the spine, back and hips in here and breathe deeply into the space you have found. To come out, turn head to center, engage core and come back to center hugging knees in and rocking for a few breaths. Take the second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up or one hand to heart, one hand to belly. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath and let go.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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