Deep Stretch Total Body Yoga Practice

Prepare Our Mind and Body

This is just a normal winter evening.

So this is gonna be amazing if you’re wanting to increase flexibility in your body.

This is gonna be really awesome if you’re wanting to stabilize the joints, everybody needs that.

Take time to just be with your breath, focus on alignment, and balance out whatever it is you got going on in your life.

So hop into something comfy and let’s get started.

Let’s begin on our backs. Come to lie down. And right away when you get down there, go ahead and take a deep breath in. And as you exhale hug the knees into your chest. And again take a deep breath in and as you breathe in a little deeper a little, more conscious breath here, right from the start think of your breath in, and your inhale, as an expansion and then think of your exhale as a bit of a contraction.

Navel drawing in, the cycle of breath that we’re gonna play with today for our deep stretch practice.

That is an inhale expansion and exhale contraction.

Alright we’re just taking a couple of full breaths to settle in, squeeze the
knees up towards your chest.

Notice the quality of air in the room or wherever you’re practising. And so we’ll work today with the breath to create a full 360 all-encompassing experience, that includes not just the body, not just the physical, but the mind as well and also your heart space.

So that’s how we get the most out of this time, the most out of this practice. And then it’s also a very the generous act of self-love. So on the surface, we have the stretch but beyond that, there’s just so much more.

Take one more big breath in and then again thinking contraction on the exhale we’re gonna peel the nose up toward the knees. Now you may get nowhere near your knees and that’s all good. We’re working to create a little bit of spaciousness through each vertebra of the spine.

You’re also feeling nice support of the lower back. We’re starting to tap into the muscles of our core. And you can stay here
squeezing the knees up and in or release the fingertips, palms faced up, you’re gonna reach them towards the front. Breathing deep here, make sure you’re not clenching the face or shoulders, nice and relaxed.

Might start to welcome a little bit of heat here. Take one more deep breath in. And one long breath out.

Head and Shoulders to the Earth

And then slowly release head and shoulders to the earth. Alright grab your right knee, send your left leg all the way out. Let it hover just above the earth.

Squeeze your right knee in towards your chest, and then open it up just a bit up towards your right shoulder. And then again right knee towards your chest or your figurative heart space, and then over towards your right shoulder, so you’re just kind of creating a little compression in the front of your right hip crease.

Great take one more deep breath in. Exhale to release, left heel to the earth.

Now when you’re in these shapes, we’re not just hanging out, holding, waiting, but especially today with our deep stretch we’re using the breath to move it forward, a little deeper, allow it to unfold.

So think expansion on the inhale.

And a bit of contraction as you breathe out. Now close your eyes and go ahead and soften through the toes and the feet.

And again big inhalation in. And nice long exhale out. Great one more here, big breath in.

And long breath out. Fabulous now again activate your left foot.

Press into your left heel, and activate your right foot, press into your right heel. And this time you’re gonna grab the right hand, or take the right hand and you’re gonna grab the inner arch of your right foot.

Now if that doesn’t quite, if your hand doesn’t quite make it there, just grab the inner calf muscle here, the inner leg, you can just grab here. Creating a little one-legged stirrup posture here, so here kick your right foot up towards the sky and then anchor
your right shoulder down.

If this is way way way way way too much in the hips, just lift your left knee and firmly plant your left foot on the ground
for a little more stability.

Breathing Deep, Inhale and Exhale

Opening up through that right hamstring, big inhalation.

And long exhale. One more time big inhale. And long breath out. Awesome now take that right foot, we’re gonna cross it over
the top of the left thigh.

So just crossing over, creating a little figure four shape here, peek at me if you need to.

And then press the palms down into the earth, connect to your core and slowly lift the left leg up
high towards the sky.

Now left leg does not have to straighten, but both feet are nice and active here. Inhale in, exhale lower it down. Inhale.

Exhale, navel draws in, lift it up. Now I’ll sync you up with the breath, here we go. Inhale to lower.

Exhale to lift. Inhale to lower. And exhale to lift, press the palms into the earth firmly. One more time, inhale to lower.

And exhale to lift. Awesome bend the left knee, thread the needle, right fingertips go in through the hole, interlace, and we’ll squeeze the legs up towards the chest, the heart. Keep the feet active here and now just nice full breaths, you got it.

Start to let go of the day thus far.

Anything that you have coming after this practice or on the agenda, see if you can allow the mind to be at ease, just give yourself permission to be really present here, I know it’s tricky and tough for someone to tell you that.

But maybe it’s what you need. Just a little time and space, to stretch and be with your breath.

Alright releasing left foot to the ground. And slowly taking it to the other side. So what we’ll do is we’ll start by lifting the left knee in
towards the chest, squeeze, and send the right leg out to hover. We start to tap into the muscles of the abdominal wall here. Breathing deep.

So if you’re a beginner you’ll start to feel a little shake here. If you’ve been on your mat for a while play with the subtle body, scoop the tail bone up, draw the navel down, relax the shoulders, play with the natural curvature of the spine, finding support from within.

So there’s always so much depth to play with here. Breathing deep.

And then here we go, if you haven’t already, start to draw the left knee towards the left shoulder just a bit. This is a very small move here, and then in towards the center.

Again we’re creating just a little massage in the front of the right hip crease. We’re also challenging our centre of gravity.

Gonna feel it in the abductor here, oh yeah. Back and forth back and forth with the left knee.

And then take one more deep breath in, bring your left knee back in towards your centre, so hug it in, and then exhale, slowly release the
right heel down to the earth.

Left hand comes to the left inner arch. Move nice and slow here, opening up through that hip.

So left foot, sole of the foot now goes towards the sky.

You can bring the right hand to the earth for a little stability or maybe on the front of the right hip crease.

We’re opening up left hamstring up towards the heavens here. Strong bright energy through the toes to protect the knee.

Full Body Experience

This is not an isolate experiences, so see if you can relax your shoulders, see if you can let your ribcage just be nice and heavy here, hips nice and heavy.

And then reconnect with your breath, find a new breath. Again if this is too much you can bend the right knee, bring the sole of the right foot to the ground for a little stability.

And then to release nice and slow, take the hand away, cross the left ankle over the top of the right thigh, so you’re opening now left knee towards the bottom right corner of your mat.

Just take a second to feel that out. If you’re super tight in the hips all of this work already has been maybe a little bit intense, but all the more reason for you to be here on your mat.

And also the reason that we’re starting nice and low to the ground so that you’re not having to do a bunch of weight-bearing work here in the beginning.

Alright take a deep breath in, press your hands into the earth. You can also grab the outer edges of the mat if it was a little bit hard for you last time.

And inhale, lift the legs all the way up. And then exhale all the way down.

Now let’s sync up with the breath here, so big inhale at the bottom.

Use the contraction to lift back up and we flow. Inhale to lower.

Exhale to lift. Eventually, you wanna try to slow this down so that you’re building strength but just do your best here so inhale to lower. Move in a rhythm that feels good for you and exhale to lift. Tuck the chin.

Try to keep the length from crown to tail here so it’s just an awareness.

Hug the lower ribs down and in. Use that contraction of the navel to the spine to really lift the legs up and hug the lower ribs down.

If you’re starting to sweat a little here or shake, awesome, beautiful, welcome that.

It’s a sign of being strong and alive, not weak. And then slowly we’ll release, beautiful. Bend the right knee, sole of the right foot comes to the ground, thread the needle, left fingertips are gonna go through the hole here, hey yo and then squeeze the lower body up towards the chin, the chest.

Breathe, breathe, close your eyes. And breathe nice long smooth deep breaths.

Maybe find some soft gentle movement in the head, the neck.

And then release, awesome, nice and slow-release, hug both knees into the chest. Inhale in, exhale, take your lower body, your legs, your knees, all the way over to the left.

Open the arms super-wide, and turn to look past your right hand.

Deep breath in. Exhale, navel draws down to the core of the earth, knees come through the centre and take it to the other side.

Knees Fall to the Right

Big stretch here, and turn to look past your left fingertips, recline twist, inhale in. And exhale back to centre, cross the right ankle over the left, grab the outer edges of your feet.

We’re just gonna stretch the tops of the feet by pointing the toes here and lifting the heels up, up, up.

Big breath in. We’re also creating nice strong muscles that hug around the joints, so nice stable joints here,

Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, point the toes!

Release and switch left ankle on top, grab the outer edges of the feet, and again point the toes, lift the heels, and kick the feet up just a bit here, we’re getting a nice stretch in the tops of the feet, the ankles, but also creating stability around the knees, the joints.

Deep breath in. And exhale to release, awesome.

Bring the feet to the ground, nice and easy turn to one side, and slowly press your way up to a seat.

Alright sit up nice and tall, legs are crossed, ankles crossed, going right into it. We’re gonna bring the left elbow down to the earth here nice and slow.

Left elbow to the ground. So you’re gonna feel this in the right side body, the back body, the hip.

If this is too much then we’ll just lift the hand up here and come here.

Once you feel like you have this, start to bring your breath into the picture, and allow your right glute, your right booty to get really, really heavy here.

Then notice we’re just hanging out here and the neck lengthens through the crown of the head.

Then when you’re ready to take the right fingertips behind the right ear and inhale, reach, reach, reach toward the left side. Big stretch here, inhale in, exhale right hand’s gonna come right to the front.

Beautiful then take it all the way, thumb back, pinky forward, all the way back,
open through the chest, and then reach towards the front.

Then you keep this movement going just a couple more times.

Right thumb back, reach to the side.

Your Fingertips Forwards

Right thumb back, and fingertips forwards.

One more time, this time try to really revolve, or rotate your heart all the way up towards the sky, maybe look up towards the sky, big stretch, big breath.

And then exhale to release everything. Just take a second here, head
over heart, heart over pelvis.

Close your eyes and just evaluate how you feel. Left side of the torso and right side of the torso.

Alright and then when you’re ready take the right elbow down.

This is a great one to kind of build focus on sensation over your shape. If you’re just in extended side angle, there’s the temptation to just really get into that posture
and nail the asana.

So here we are focusing on the sensation over the shape. The left sits bone is
gonna wanna come up here.

So see if you can anchor, anchor, anchor, through the power of your breath, create more space to get that left glute down.

Right shoulders over the right elbow here. And again if this is too much, if we need to tap into some deeper fuller breaths, and have more weeks of regular practice in order to get that elbow down then let that be the case and lift your right hand to
the earth and take your time.

There are so many shapes in yoga and just so many experiences that I have that I just never thought I would have.

I never thought my body would have that spaciousness. In fact, people ask me all the time, “Have you always been flexible?” And the answer is no way Jose.

So use your breath here, in fact, feel the inhale, feel the skin of your left lower backstretch. Also really really good for the body here.

Not just your muscles lengthening, but so great for the kidneys. Make sure that you’re not dropping your right shoulder, but keeping that awareness through the crown.

After you’ve taken a solid moment to evaluate, to notice the sensation and to check-in with your breath, take your left fingertips and bring them right behind your left ear. It’s more fun this way too.

Reach out to the right, big stretch, big, big, big stretch. Keep the left glute heavy so you’re actively anchoring down through the top of the left thigh bone. And then here we go, left thumb pulls back, inhale.

Exhale, just take your arm right to center.

So you’re reaching right out in front, and then here we go.

Smoothing your left palm on an imaginary surface here, pull the left thumb back.

Find your breath as you bring it back to center, and now continue this on your own. So good for the posture.

You’re gonna feel so awesome after this man.

Pull the left thumb back, breath in. And exhale, smoothing your palm on imaginary surface, reach forward.

Alright and then next time you pull your left thumb back, really pull it back, wrap that
left shoulder blade around, open, revolve, chest up towards the sky, maybe look up, claw through your right fingertips, inhale, and exhale, come
back to centre nice and slow.

Head over heart, heart over the pelvis. Just take a second to evaluate, feel it out, relax your shoulders, lift up through your chest to your heart.

Great inhale in, exhale, make your way to all fours nice and slow.

Tabletop Position. Wrists underneath the shoulders, knees directly underneath your hip points, press into the tops of the feet, and claw through the fingertips, strong.

Then imagine your front body really lifting up here to meet your back body. So lift everything up towards the sky so we’re not collapsing to the ground but rather defying gravity and lifting up with awareness all the way to the ceiling.

Keep that Awareness as You Inhale

Open the chest, exhale, navel to spine, crown to the earth. Inhale, drop the belly, open the chest, move with your breath, exhale, rounding through. Inhale, open the chest. And exhale round through.

Awesome inhale to Tabletop Position, bring the two big toes together, bring the knees as wide as the mat, and then send the hips back nice and slow, reach the fingertips actively towards the front edge of the mat or in my case towards the end of the mat.

Inhale and then exhale melt your heart down. As you melt your heart down, option here to really lift the palms up and just press into the fingertips, get a little deeper stretch.

Once again listening to the sound of your breath.

Thinking about expansion as you inhale. And contraction as you exhale. And if that doesn’t work for you just think about getting bigger and think full breath on the inhale, and then think about getting softer on the exhale.

So bigger fuller on the inhale. And then softer almost surrender on the exhale. Great now walk the hands off your yoga mat and over to the
left, big stretch. Let the hips remain heavy here. Inhale, and exhale chin to chest.

Beautiful inhale to lift the chin, walk it all the way over towards the right side. Hips nice and heavy here, inhale, reach, look forward, and exhale, draw your chin to your chest.

Awesome, slowly release, come back to centre, press into the tops of the feet to come all the way back up.

Walk the knees underneath the hips and here we go.

Downward Facing Dog

Go nice and slow, so set your hands up with a meticulous love, and then curl your toes the same way.

And when you’re ready peel the tail all the way up.

Pedal it out, feel a nice deep stretch through the backs of the legs.

See if you can really be present, I know it’s hard to hear the sometimes, with the sensation. So perhaps close your eyes in order to do that.

Create spaciousness in the shoulders. Whatever that means to you, maybe opening the elbow creases towards the front of your yoga mat.

Maybe you’re turning the big toes in just a bit. Maybe letting go of something that’s been bugging you.

Awesome then when you’re ready anchor the left heel down, and send the right leg out, and then slowly bring the right knee all the way up and in as you step your right foot up, lower your left knee down.

Fingertips are on the yoga mat and we just find soft easy movement here.

Maybe walk that left knee back. Maybe not. Front knee over front ankle, start to open up through the chest, breathing deep. Great then plant your left palm.

You’re gonna open the right toes out towards the right edge of your mat and inhale, reach your right arm all the way up towards the sky, big stretch here, opening up through the chest.

And then exhale bring your right elbow all the way down to the earth, coming into a lizard variation here.

So if the forearms don’t come down you can stay on the palms.

Right toes stay turned out, and then I like to press into the top of my left foot here so I can get a deeper stretch.

Listen to the sound of your breath. And then soften the skin of the face here, notice where you might be holding or clenching or griping.

Maybe allow the head, the neck to relax down. And slowly make your way back up really, really, really slow, hands to the earth.

Awesome, nice work.

Have it underneath your heart space, your chest, and take the deepest breath you’ve taken all day all morning, noon or night, whenever you’re practising.

Use your exhale to relax the weight of your body completely and fully into the mat. And close your eyes. And see if you can soften
everything, relax everything.

Take a second to notice how you feel. You did awesome work today. Repeat this practice regularly to witness the unfolding and
to grow your practice.

So a lot of times these heavy vinyasa classes need the backup of a nice in depth stretchy, slow breath pranayama focus practice, so repeat this one regularly, stay here as long as you can, otherwise start to wiggle the toes, wiggle the fingers.

Bring the hands together and we’ll bring the thumbs right up to the third eye. The light in me recognizes and honors the light in you.

From my heart, to yours, namaste.

Originally posted 2021-02-08 23:27:00.

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